Last night I dreamt that I lived next door to the devil himself. Not a red horned creature with a pitchfork but Satan in human form, an attractive enough fellow who wouldn't have stood out any any way, except that he was Satan with evil powers and a league of demons to do his bidding. We lived in a duplex next door to him. Our front porch and basement stairway paralleled his. He had it out for me. Constantly sending bugs, whispering threats in my ears. At first I thought I was going crazy. But then one day as we entered our homes, I looked over my should and saw his eyes and I knew then who he was. Terrified, I told a friend I was living next door to Satan himself. She didn't believe me. She thought I had lost my mind.
At this point, he began to send his minions after me. They looked normal enough. One even looked a bit like Gerard Butler. They haunted and hunted me. I went to the church to work, doors opened on their own, the phone rang only to be answered with silence or the hum of a hoard of flies. I began to worry that perhaps I had lost my mind.
Then one day a little girl ran past my house with the Gerard Butler clone chasing her. I put out my hand and she hid behind me. The minion and I stood face to face, peering into each other's eyes until my neighbor's door slammed against the porch wall as it opened. As my head flashed to Satan's face, the minion disappeared. The girl was gone too.
I had been trapped. Lured in and now Satan was calling me to his basement. But I ran into our house, began packing our things. The duplex crumbled around me. Try as I might, I could not get away. Everywhere I went, he or one of his minions was there, watching, waiting.
Dreams and nightmares rarely feel as wonderful or terrifying in the daylight as they do in the dark of night. I can still feel that suffocating fear and frustration.
Sometimes we struggle to understand our dreams and nightmares. We wrestle with them so we can understand what our psyche longs to tell us, to get out in the open. There is no wrestling, no struggle. I know precisely what my psyche longs to tell me.
She tells me that I am not crazy. That the small man who was previously my neighbor still haunts my family. While he is man and not demon he continues to haunt us. He's altered my eldest's confidence in herself, made her afraid of how she appears to others. My youngest cried as she confessed how afraid she had been--afraid that he would kidnap her eldest sister, afraid that she would "do suicide." My middle daughter desperately misses her friends, feels lost and alone in a new place. I am still angry that no one in power believed or thought it wise to protect my children and the others who came forward to describe his taunts and harassment. Our lives crumbled as we stood against him.
We left but we have not completely escaped. We will wake up and find ourselves free. One day it will be like a bad dream we long ago left behind for the light of day.