Night Mares

I started the day without a care in the world. The sun was trying to push its way through, I had very little on my rota, work was quickly done and my final solo leg homewards bound felt like a good to be alive day. I cranked up the radio and kept my foot on the pedal at steady pace… A dawdling drive back felt to be a good precursor to ditching the car in favour of shanks’s pony, yes, today would be a perfect day to stroll for a few miles and idle daydream…

I left my thoughts to tune into the words coming from the radio… A talking slot with presenters reading out texts from listeners. They laughed at the responses to today’s question – what did you misunderstand as a child? The female voice confesses that she didn’t understand the term ‘property market’ and used to be very confused to go into town, to walk through the market and not see any uprooted houses on there ready to move…

The male voice reads out texts… Oh, this is so sweet, Billy thought that he had a budgie in his chest as he heard the word ribcage and confused it with birdcage… Oh! and this one’s so adorable! Jenny, oh Jenny thought that hamsters were dehydrated rabbits!

Say what? The female is baffled… Dehydrated rabbits?

The guy replies… Yeah, I guess maybe like raisins and grapes?

Oh… OK… Yeah, I get that… Oh… Now this one is weird! Nine O’clock Horses?! What on earth?

My brain screamed OSSES! OSSES! NOT HORSES! NINE O’CLOCK OSSES! I couldn’t breathe… I struggled to catch my breath and I felt a heavy weight across my chest like a paving slap crushing the life out of me…

Nine O’clock Horses, oh this is a long text from John from Leicestershire…


My body is in the car, my mind is in 1973 in Bramley Rd… The back bedroom… My small body filled with dread…

The Nine O’clock Horses… John’s mother used to tell him that if he wasn’t asleep by 9 O’clock then the horses would take him away. She told him you knew they were coming as the streetlights go out as they approach. John says he’s 51 now and he still feels panicked when he thinks of it!


The male presenter laughs… I like how he ends his text with a LOL. John 51, from Leicestershire… Adding a lol like he’s over it now but in fact he’s quietly rocking in the corner with tears running down his face…

I feel the weight of a second concrete slab being added to my chest… A cold sweat creeping in… Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! I remember my first bedroom in lurid detail… I remember still being awake past 9… Frozen in terror, trying to stop myself from breathing, trying to hide tell tale signs that I was there… The OSSES were bad enough but what my fevered imagination brought with them was worse… The headless horsemen, the grim reaper… The screaming souls… The spectres… The ghostly grabbing hands seeking to steal you away… Blimey! My own personal hell and now 45 years on, now I find out that John was there too…

I think to myself Jesus! What the fuck was wrong with parents in the 70’s… Get to bed! Sweet dreams, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite… Oh and hurry up before the OSSES get you… I wondered how I ever slept at all… Oh that’s right, I didn’t… Nights were a time of not moving and being soaked in your own cold sweat… Slipping into sleep, a sleep that was no escape… That’s where other monsters chased you…Where you ran until your heart was fit to burst but you never left the spot you were sinking in… Where giant alligators trapped you on the top of buildings… Or bulls blocked your way and snorted great clouds of steam from their nostrils as they pawed at the ground, preparing to gore your guts out and wear them on their horns…

Then one night, exhausted by alternating wakeful dread and dreaming terrors… I found myself on top of that high building again… The alligator growing bigger and bigger… Enough! I seized his front legs and hurled him over the edge… He clawed at the wall and climbed his way back up… Even bigger and now angry… I met his fiery eyes and knew it was do or die… I took a swan dive… Felt air rush past me… Falling… Falling… FALLING… Words called out… If you die in your dreams, you never wake up… UP! UPWARDS! no longer falling… I’d learnt how to fly… The dreams stopped after that.

12 thoughts on “Night Mares

  1. Yessssss. Excellent ride of a story. Now I may know where nightmares come from. And, when the street lights blink blink blink start to go out, here they come. Better get to bed. 🙂 Yes. Parents. Mentors and Tormentors since the dawn of time, especially in the 70s.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, they won’t kill me for sure. If they do that, then they can no longer try make me afraid. They kinda kill their fun when they take their fun away. Checkmate bogeys. You got some serious limits. Your Heliosphere ain’t really that big. Mine isn’t, though pick on someone your own size. Lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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