This winter, during the excitement and fun of hibernation season, we discovered a small animal had taken shelter in our attic. It had pulled up insulation to create a nest of sorts and had dragged food and disgusting clumps of leaves and branches (one assumes to make the place more homey, since it didn’t appear that it was part of the nest). It wasn’t there when we discovered it, but it seemed like it had been gone awhile so my dad assumed it was hibernating.
How’d it get there? It chewed through an old vent screen. My dad took off the screen, leaving a gaping hole, thinking, “I have months to replace this.” But he’s lazier than I am, so it goes without saying that there’s still a gaping hole, now that animals have come up from their burrows.
I had forgotten about this, and then about a month ago I had a really weird, vivid dream that an animal had gotten into my room and was on my bed, a la the “gift” Tom Hagen leaves for Jack Woltz. Except alive. It woke me up and was so vivid still that I leaped from my bed, ran out of the bedroom, slammed the door, and I swear I heard it chasing me. After a few seconds of waking up, I realized how stupid and irrational this was, so I went back into my room. No animals, living or dead, anywhere. Big surprise.
The next morning, my mom announced, “I heard an animal crawling around in the attic last night.” Huh. Is it possible that I heard the scratching and clawing, as well, and this is what caused such a vivid dream? I didn’t know…
…until I had a very similar vivid, creepy dream of animals crawling around and had the same involuntary reaction upon waking. This time, at least, I didn’t think I heard anything chasing me. I went back into my room; obviously, nothing there. I didn’t hear any scratching or crawling, though. That’s the weird thing—I’ve never heard it while I’m awake, yet I have these dreams.
The next morning, my mom said the same thing: “That animal’s back. We really need to do something about the screen.”
So since I’ve never had these dreams on any other night in my entire life, is it safe to conclude that the animal crawling around in the attic is causing my subconscious undue agony? It’s a well-known fact that I hate and fear all living creatures, including (especially?) humans, so it’s pretty reasonable to assume my subconscious would interpret the mild scratching of a squirrel or raccoon as a murderous, demonic animal that wants me as dead as possible.
But that sorta sucks, because I like sleeping.