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Western Oz Words: Strangers In The Night

Margaret Dunn recounts a disturbing dream. She then suggests that some genius might invent a device to record dreams, so that we could play them back on our television screens. "My nightly adventures might present better entertainment than some of the poor concoctions that are showing there at the present time.''

I am at the end of a visit to some friends in a large city - not a bright Australian city but an old grey city of Europe. with tall buildings, like defending walls full of windows.

Itís time to leave and I look down from this upper floor into the street below, busy with traffic and people walking. I pick up the small bag holding my few belongings and make my way downstairs. Having decided to walk to the railway station, I set off trying to find my way through the city, mostly keeping to the main thoroughfare.

I must have drifted off course and find myself in a neighbourhood which surely isnít on my way to the station. It has a run-down look with dirty windows, and sleazy doorways leading into the low buildings.

Mostly women stand around the doors, coming and going, to the bar at the street corner. I realise I have wandered into a haunt of prostitutes and brothels and try to find my way back out, when two of the women approach me. One of them, a blonde, with skinny legs and a short black skirt, smiles at me. The other is African, with a straight black wig that gives a strange look to her round, chubby face. Her costume is more exotic, a long purple skirt with a black blouse covered in beads. She smiles and takes me by the arm, her long fingers covered in cheap rings.

ďCome with us my dear, and youíll have a good time.Ē

I break away from her and hurry off in the opposite direction. Their high-pitched laughter comes jumping after me, trying to clutch at me again.

I begin walking towards the Main Street and see a group of boys coming towards me, young teenagers, very neat and tidy with clean clothes and neat haircuts. One of them veers towards me, blonde haired and grey eyed, wearing jeans and a blue checked shirt. He smiles into my face and takes hold of my arm.

Again I try to break away, but this time the grip is too firm. I glare at him and tell him to let me go. His grip became tighter and his smile is malevolent. I am in a panic now, shouting at him and trying to break his hold, but he doesnít speak - just keeps smiling.

In desperation I bend my head and sink my teeth into his fingers, tasting his clean flesh and willing him to let go.


I donít know if he loosens his hand. The dream ends there.

I lay quite still in my bed, eyes closed, wondering how I had come to be in that place. Who were all those hostile people? Who were the friends I had been staying with? There seemed no connection in my life with these characters or events. My dreams often take me to a European setting, yet I am happy and contented living in this sunny continent of the South.

To me, dreaming is one of the great mysteries of the human mind. Even in ancient times people were puzzling over these visions, trying to find meaning according to that period of human development.

I have read the various theories about dreams, particularly those of Jung; how they can arise from events we witness, memories from the past, problems in our day-to-day lives. Or they may be symbols of what lies hidden in the subconscious.

Most of the time I only retain a few fleeting images as I wake up, and these disintegrate like cobwebs as I try to keep hold of the dream.

When the whole scenario stays with me, I am sometimes in the dream with family and friends, but most of the people who travel with me in the night are completely unknown. Perhaps they are also sleepers, whose dreams converge with mine.

I have the strange thought that I might appear in someone elseís dream! Why canít some computer genius invent a device that will record our dreams and play them back on our television screens. My nightly adventures might present better entertainment than some of the poor concoctions that are showing there at the present time.

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