I’ve had one night terror and it’s forever burnt into the fabric of my memory.
The dream started (or at least this is where my memory kicks in) with me, my father, my step mum and my fathers neighbours walking across what I guess you’d describe as an ice plate in what looks like the arctic circle. It’s freezing and none of us are prepared for what’s about to happen.
The ice begins to splinter and crack. As we start to run my step mum stumbles and falls through the splitting ice. I immediately jump in after her as she sinks struggling to catch a breath in the freezing dark, bottomless water. I pull her upwards and as we break the surface my dad is in a small cage (I can only describe as a small cage you’d dive with sharks in). His cage is too heavy and the thin ice shatters under the weight bursting water and chunks of ice into the air. The cage along with my father plummets towards the ocean floor.
I dive down watching as my father and the cage sink until they hit the bottom. The cage stays upright and my fathers eyes are fixed on me as I swim down to him. He shakes the cage violently trying to free himself, but the door stays fixed shut. Bubbles start coming out of his mouth. He’s running out of air quickly. With my arms wrapped around the front of the cage and my feet pressed against the sides I manage to pull a gap big enough for my father to fit through. He scrambles free and races for the surface. I try to follow but I’m stuck watching no longer part of this but just a voyeur. He gets about half way to the surface and his swimming is becoming erratic and he stops, convulsing and doubling over. Unable to swim, his eyes are closed tight and a pained grimace is on his face as his neck stretches out and the last bubbles of air escape his mouth. He gasps for air that will never come. My father stops moving, and I can’t reach him. I wake up cold, sweating and screaming into my dark empty room.
2 weeks after this night terror my father died of cancer. The cage that had dragged him to the bottom of life for 5 years.