I Woke in Fright

a record of dreams and nightmares

by Bec Fary

Those dreams where it’s imperative you do something, but you’re in quicksand and everything moves so slow. Your limbs are pushing so hard, but they wo’t move. It’s like your body is disconnected from your will, your mind. 

I dreamt I was at work, in the middle of a busy restaurant. Everything was the same as waking life, but stretched at the same time – extended and long. I don’t remember how I got there, but I ended up in a back room. I had to change my clothes, I guess I must have finished my shift. I was naked, surrounded by black and white clothes. I knew I needed to get dressed, but I was so confused. I didn’t know which clothes to wear or how to put them on. At one point I wrapped myself in a long piece of fabric so I could leave the room. I knew someone would find me, naked, if I didn’t get dressed quickly. I was so confused and embarrassed, but I didn’t know how to get myself out of them. I lay on the floor.

Suddenly it was light and I was surrounded by  pillows. I remembered closing my eyes the night before, and then it was 8am. A man was sleeping in a large bed. It was my boss, and I realised I’d fallen asleep on the floor of his bedroom. He woke up, and I was so embarrassed and apologetic. But he said it was okay, that it happens all the time. I left quickly, and later in the dream I found a receipt in my pocket. It said $10 was going to be deducted from my paycheck. It was very formal, as if there was a system in place for this sort of thing.  

soda salesman

by Bec Fary

I heard the cat meowing at the bedroom door this morning, but in my dream it was a person knocking. I remember dreaming of fruits and bright colours. 

He came into the room, got into bed and kissed me. 

“You want me to just be a travelling salesman, selling soda?” 

As soon as I said it out loud I realised I was awake, not dreaming anymore, and he didn’t know anything about the fruit or the colours. And I instantly forgot the rest of the dream. 

by Bec Fary

Waking up in someone else’s house, there’s that slight moment of panic when you realise you’re in an unfamiliar environment. As you acclimatise, often waking up next to friends, a common thread of conversation is dream-exchange.

Bleary-eyed late on Sunday morning, here’s one of the dreams I was privy to:

I don’t normally remember my dreams but this one was so vivid: I got a call from the hospital: “You have to come in and do some tests.” So I went in, and as soon as I arrived back home I got another call and was told I had to come back straight away. They said I just needed more tests. Back in the hospital, I was wearing a gown and sitting in a wheelchair. Someone started drawing lines on my head. I started freaking out that I had a brain tumour or something. Then a maintenance guy put a piece of wood up to my head and started drilling into it. Then I noticed a nurse was sitting underneath me, beside the wheelchair. She had a wrench around my wrist and looked like she was trying to loosen my arm. I made an excuse to leave and went to hide in the bathroom. My mum arrived and started screaming and finding out what was going on. Turns out when I’d broken my wrist it hadn’t set properly so they decided to break it again to reset it in a cast. Their way of doing that was to distract me with the loud noises of drilling into the wood on my head, and while that was happening they’d break my arm without me noticing. That was when I lost my shit, I was so mad at them. 

Little Nemo in Slumberland, by Winsor McCay

by Bec Fary


“Whoopeee! But I was scared! I’m glad I was just dreaming!” 

You’re not going to die, I told myself, you’re dreaming.

by Bec Fary

I felt like someone was trying to speak to me in this dream. There was a very distinctive voice, a deep man’s voice with crisp enunciation, saying something directly to me. Although I knew he was speaking to me, and saying something important, I couldn’t hear him. There was some sense of fate or destiny tied with this voice, like maybe he was my soulmate, but I also felt some sort of risk or danger.

As often happens when I sleep during the day or at odd times of the night, I was aware of my dream before I was fully asleep. This time, it felt like he was speaking to me from my dreams, and I wouldn’t hear him until I slept. I was torn; I knew I wouldn’t hear him til I was asleep, but if he said something in my dreams I knew I wouldn’t remember the message when I woke.

I slept. I remember him standing, waiting, under a lamp post. I don’t remember what he told me.

I woke multiple times after convoluted dreams about work, stress and a smiling, wrinkled and surprising face. When I fell asleep again, maybe for the third time, I was alone, dreaming but very much my waking self. I remember watching a documentary and thinking I wanted to tweet about it.

Suddenly I was in a shallow swimming pool attached to the side of a tall, glassy building. It was nighttime, or maybe just inside a very large, dark room. Everything was blue-black, and I could still hear the voices from the documentary echoing through the space. At that point I realised it wasn’t real. I wanted to dive into a deeper pool but thought maybe it was too far away.

You’re not going to die, I told myself, you’re dreaming. So I breathed in hard, maybe too hard, as I went underwater and I choked, jolted awake. I clearly remember my lungs filling with the cool water.

I woke into another darkened space, this time a dream classroom. I was standing in front of the teacher, who was congratulating me on a lucid dream. I desperately wanted to write about the dream, but couldn’t find a place to sit. Trying to get out of the spotlight, I walked around, but saw all the other students were crowded into small rooms with locked doors.

I became aware of the pressing need to wake up. You’re just napping, I told myself, time to wake up and write about that dream.

And that just about brings us up to now.

dreamsmoke to a dreamsoundtrack

by Bec Fary

I woke with a song in my head, something jazzy. It was from the final scene in my dream, which played out like a film.

I’d been at an internship, everyone seated at desks with computers in a greyish room. I’d been given a special project to work on, which made me nervous. I was so stressed I ended up jittery, walking around the office and taking breaks to a white, shiny mall next door to the internship office.

I guess it was the end of the day then and my ‘boss’ came in the room. She told me I hadn’t done the job right, I was chastised. She told everyone in the office we’d have to stay late until the job was fixed. Suddenly there were more people in the room than before, it became very crowded.

People were sitting on the ground, some stood against the wall. From the back of the room, a small voice, a new girl who had just started, had a solution to whatever problem I’d created.

Later in the dream, everyone was outside. I think we were near the beach, the ground was sandy and there was dried grass and bushes scattered around. Everyone who’d been in the office was now sitting cross-legged in a big circle. The circle was dispersed, though, everyone forming smaller groups and disconnected conversations.

The ‘boss’ was running a workshop as part of the internship. I saw a girl sitting close to her start to roll a joint. The ‘boss’ turned around and started showing the girl how to roll it properly.

I said something to the guy sitting next to me. He said he’d show me how to roll a better one, and asked me to close my eyes. I felt a girl’s hands covering my face and I couldn’t see anything.

The guy put something in my mouth, it felt liked dried tobacco but I knew it was a roach. Then he pulled it out and kissed me slowly, gently and platonically. I opened my eyes and he was looking at me smiling, like he knew something I didn’t.

I saw the people across from us smoking their joint, and next thing I knew we were holding what looked like a giant cigar. We started smoking and it was heavy and fragrant.

I don’t know what happened next but we ended up watching someone run away. It was sunset and the pink sky was bright and the person running was in shadow. Then the song started playing, and I remember thinking it was strange because it felt like a film soundtrack, and we were laughing and happy.

“When I awoke, I desperately wanted to fall asleep again.”

by Bec Fary

From guest-dreamer Hayley Tantau:

Last night I dreamt I was homeless. It seemed like reality, or like the games I used to play when I was young and I would create a barrier around myself with cushions. I was sitting on a corner outside a bank on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne and it was freezing. It was dawn, it was grey, and it started to drizzle. Every time a man walked past, I feared for my life, for my space. This is how those horror stories you read about begin. And every time a homeless person walked past, we shared a moment of compassion or camaraderie and I’m pretty sure one of the homeless guys gave me money.

I was curled up in my little nest of blankets in a big city that was already awake.

I had two cups in front of me, both full of silver coins. I’m not sure what I had done to acquire the money, nor do I know how long I had been sitting there, shivering under the tartan blankets.

Two young homeless boys approached me and tried to steal one of the cups, despite our eyes meeting. I watched as they conspired to rob me. One of the boys just stood there in front of me holding the cup, ready to run, and I told them to put the cup down. The boy complied. They were lost boys. I couldn’t see their future as grown ups. I decided to give them one of the plastic cups full of silver because, despite myself appearing poorer than the boys in the dream, fragments of my real life had kicked in and I told them that they were worse off than me. 6:30am was imminent. The lost boys deserved some of the money too.

The dream then shifted to a warm room where the young, wealthy girl I babysit was wearing my old Gorman clothes and I was trying to hide the fact that she was wearing my hand-me-downs. I’m not sure why she was wearing my oversized hand-me-downs, nor did she need them.

All of a sudden I was back outside the bank on Elizabeth Street, covered in blankets, shivering. People continued to pass by.

When I awoke, I desperately wanted to fall asleep again.

It was one of those rare occurrences where you desperately want to resume sleep so you can find out how the dream ends.

I wanted to know what happens to me.


vodka & soda

by Bec Fary

That funny dream-state when you wake up and go back to sleep, those dreams in the in-between-hours are the most vivid for me, often about waking up, morning rituals and real people and events. In this one, I was already thinking about my morning coffee…

Taste was a stronger dream-sensation than usual. I’d been camping in the woods with people I didn’t recognise, but I knew them well. I was sitting at a table and food was scattered everywhere. It was morning, everyone was getting ready to go home, and it felt like the end of a weekend of partying.

Two men were sitting across from me and one handed me a cup of black coffee. There was something else in the cup and the coffee tasted strange. The two men laughed when I poured milk in.

They asked me what was wrong with the coffee, so I tasted it again. I realised there was rice floating in the coffee, and it tasted of soy sauce. One of the men told me he’d eaten sushi out of the cup earlier. I was disappointed, but kept drinking the coffee anyway.

The man said when he’d worked in am office, he used to put dessert in people’s coffee cups.

‘That would be the best coffee ever!’ I yelled, desperately, because I really meant it and for some reason I wanted everyone to hear (I think at this point there were multiple conversations going on, I felt self-conscious). Then I realised my boyfriend was sitting next to me, nodding, and I was so happy he agreed with me.

But I felt so guilty, too, because earlier in the dream I’d kissed someone. A grey-haired man in an athletics shirt had been running around, part of a contest or game that everyone was playing.

I remember the colours distinctly, everything was greyscale but with accents of red. I can’t remember the details but some people were in red shirts and everyone else was grey (the grey-haired man had red stripes on his clothes), and there was a kissing/sex competition. I don’t remember the ‘rules’ of the game, but I know I’d been desperately chasing the grey-haired man, because his clothes were a different colour to mine.

I knew the man didn’t want to follow through with this game, but he kissed me anyway, and I knew he cared for me or at least wanted to protect me.

That next morning, everyone was calm and happy. I remember watching people standing on the edge of a raised wooden platform. It made me nervous, I thought they might fall and it was around 100 metres to the ground. Until they jumped, held hands for a slow descent, and landed calmly. It seemed so normal to them, and I wanted to try, but I knew I didn’t have whatever they had and would end up with broken legs.

Other people started following the jumpers’ example, but now each time they jumped they would bounce back up, landing on another raised platform sitting opposite. At one point someone jumped with a giant soda bottle under their arm (although the bottle was bigger than the person), and when they hit the ground the bottle fizzed and sprayed soda into the trees.

The next person to jump had another bottle under their arm as they clambered over people, climbing to the platform. It was a huge vodka bottle, and the red label radiating through the greyscale woods. People started cheering for the vodka, but when this person hit the ground the bottle didn’t bounce, it thudded and I realised it was a glass bottle. It didn’t break, instead rolling through the woods and the man started yelling, chasing after it.


by Bec Fary

I dreamt about waking up and making coffee. The kitchen was very clean and organised, but also chaotic. We were staying in someone else’s house, maybe housesitting, and I didn’t know where anything was. I was juggling two coffee machines, trying to use parts from both but they wouldn’t fit together. Half were small, half were bigger and some were covered in coffee grinds.

My mum arrived and I was shocked. I started washing the coffee grinds away, and wanted to clean everything.

I think I woke briefly and fell asleep again. I was somewhere else, in a different house. Everything was blue.

Everything I dreamt last night was vivid and colourful. In this segment of the dream, I held a large, thick poster with tiny cartoon characters on it. I think the characters were moving, running away from my finger as I followed them on the page.

The poster was a dark, dusty blue, with white lettering in the centre spelling


I was trying to pin it above the bed.

Later in the same dream, I was waiting for two people, or maybe just watching them. A young man and an older woman were at a hat stand, gathering their jackets and bags. I got the feeling I was watching them intensely, but invisibly. They were unaware.

In their clothes and scarves, there were accents of the brightest royal blue. As the people moved, they revealed more bright blue accents in their jacket linings. The scene in front of me was evolving and explosive. I was transfixed by the colour.

I had an overpowering desire to record the scene. I wanted to take a photo, though part of me knew I wouldn’t be able to do the colours justice. I didn’t have my camera, but couldn’t leave to get it for fear of looking away. I was paralysed by the conflicting desire of wanting to capture something while it changed, escaping vision.

by Bec Fary

I was at work, at an old job at a cafe run by a married couple. It was Valentine’s Day, or maybe their anniversary, and for some reason it was my job to make a gift to commemorate it.

I baked some biscuits, with lemon curd in between them (I clearly remember layering them with care).

On the packaging, I wrote that it was encouraging “to see two people work so hard together and truly be in love”. My message was scrawled on the packaging, and wouldn’t fit, so I ended up writing the message on the walls.

I awoke in a jumble of letters.