Happy Birthday: A Night Terror

I needed to sleep before going back to work. If I was lucky I would get four hours. At some point I did fall asleep. I woke up two hours later, sweating. Mouth dry. The nightmare was fresh in my mind. I knew I needed to write it down before it disappeared from my memory the way unforgettable dreams are always forgotten.

I was inside a bar with my old childhood friend, Danny, and my date — a mysterious red head. She was beautiful with long, curly, fiery red hair, a pale complexion and green eyes. She wore a black skirt and black leather coat.

We were about to leave the bar. She said she needed to use the restroom. We told her we would wait right outside.

When we stepped outside, Dan and I were on the sidewalk on the street where we grew up. We were right in front of the old Charmante house, but when I looked back all I could see was a wall of mist in front of the house. I said, “I really like this girl.”redhead_by_mehakamadda

“About her,” he said. “I told her this already –that you really liked her? And she said, ‘If he wants to keep me he’s going to have to do a whole lot more for me than he has done so far.'”
I didn’t ask, but I knew it meant money –that she wanted me to spend more money on her. I have the feeling it was a second or third date. “I have to work tonight,” I told Danny. “If I can get the night off, want to hang out?”

“Yeah, sure,” he said.

She came out of the mist, and walked toward us as I was calling into work.

Danny started walking south down the street toward his house. The red head was between us. Closer to me, maybe a house a way. She had stopped walking. I had my phone to my ear, and held up a finger to her –telling her to give me a minute.

Danny was a shadow of a man standing in front of his old driveway.

It was my mother-in-law who answered the phone. All she said was, “Happy Birthday, Phil!”

I pulled my phone away from my ear to see if some how I had misdialed.

The screen was blank. I said, “Hey, Mom! Did you call me?”

Down the street the mist spread. It was like a billowy blanket across anything and everything. A blue light behind it. I could barely make out Danny, or the woman.

I remember thinking, where is she –my mother-in-law.

She answered on the phone. “I’m in heaven.”

It was all she said. She sounded happy. It was like she waited for me to get it.

download (1)Happy Birthday, Phil. I’m in Heaven.

I looked up just in time to see the mist. I fell to the ground. Everything went dark.

“I miss, you, Mom. I miss, you. I want to come to heaven. I want to be in heaven.” The words were hard to say. My lips could barely move. I suspect I was actually saying them outloud (talking in my sleep). I knew I was dying. I was close to death.

And when I died. There was no bright light.

There was just darkness. And when I realized this, I woke up.


I feel like my mother-in-law had met the mist first. Maybe only moments before the mist reached the rest of us. She was in heaven –taking calls. Welcoming people home.

My call reached her. She was excited.

Happy Birthday –a new beginning? Was I not getting one?

Only when I died, there was darkness. Not the light I felt like I should have seen.

I do not know what happened to Danny, or the red head. There are so many ways I can interpret their presence in my dream. Probably far too personal to detail in a public blog.

I can’t say what the dream meant for sure. But I welcome comments on what YOU think it meant.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the new novella, Extinction and Damn the Dead 

About the author

5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday: A Night Terror”

  1. This is a classic stress/ anxiety dream-while it may seem frightening; like a nightmare, the difference is that the anxiety dream presents with both a problem and a solution, whereas the nightmare, well-it just scares the bejesus out of you….in other words-you’re on your own bud-hope the zombie misses you!
    Several things are happening during this dream-you are one of the fortunate people that is able to self-dialogue; on the flip side, your mind is either too busy or you are consciously procrastinating enough that your brain is talking to you when it feels it has enough of your attention ( in this case while you are sleeping). Your brain “talks” to you in pictures by searching your psyche for things that have specific meaning to you-e.g.-your friend Danny and your mother-in-law represent comfort-I would imagine that when they appear in your dream your heart rate and/or blood pressure were elevated and your brain was trying to calm you down. Color in a dream is quiet significant -the RED hair could symbolize what is STOPPING you from accomplishing something you feel is important; GREEN eyes could symbolize that you feel that you already know the solution to your problem-or, how to make it a GO. I would say the mist is a jumbled mind-so many thoughts about so many things (again your brain talking to you thru pictures). All in all I would say you may feel that you have not accomplished all that you had hoped for by this time in your life ( birthday)-you are mulling over a change ( the GO) and you are apprehensive about your decision ( the comfort symbols) oh, and it revolves around $$$ – viola! Please stop at the receptionist on your way out -I’d like to see you back in 3 weeks – or sooner if you feel it necessary. We do not validate parking,

    1. What an amazing interpretation! Could very well be on to something. I feel like Charlie Brown. You have the Psych kiosk, and the $.05 shingle displayed. I will pay you in full!

  2. It’s obvious, Phil, you know that I love Jesus and you used to also. It’s not too late to get back to the Lord. How exciting that He is still trying to get your attention. Love you, honey!

  3. Nothing is scarier than being alone and I think the red head is the woman out there you’re supposed to meet. The “mist” is all the baggage you put in the way of being happy. I’m thinking this may have been triggered by the build up to Pat’s wedding yesterday possibly even more so because as you said your man working proxy is in federal prison. Your mother in law may harken back to a time when you had one. You might not need to necessarily aim to get married again but maybe you’re just being pulled to finding that special someone again, despite your overnight job and your worry that it would detract from time spent with your kids.

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