Let me preface this story by mentioning that I've never been a sleepwalker. Nor have I ever woken up some place different from where I had fallen asleep. I am not even that heavy of sleeper, with the smallest of sounds waking me up. With that out of the way, what I am going to tell you will seem even more strange, I hope.
It began with a dream. I was walking down a dirt road under the light of the moon, until I came upon a pathway that lead into the tall grass that was on either side of the trail. There were random pieces of rusted metal objects scattered about; old barrels and frames of long gone cars, mostly. The setting of the dream was a bit disconcerting, but wasn't what I would say was a nightmare. It was more a sense of feeling as though I was someplace that I shouldn't have been. A sense of foreboding, you could say. I woke up before I got too far off of the path into the grass, and quickly forgot about the dream after waking up for the day.
The next night, I had the dream again. Now, I've had a lot of reoccurring dreams, so I didn't really think much of it the next day. But it is rare that I'd have the same dream two nights in a row, especially when the dream itself wasn't anything overly memorable or spectacular in any way. Though there was something a bit different about the dream this time; I walked longer down the path until I saw what looked to be the outline of an old trailer. But I couldn't really make anything out, other than feeling unsettled by the sight of it, and woke up once more.
Again, I went about my day without thinking about the dream, however I did make a joke to myself before laying down to sleep about it. I wondered if I had jinxed myself for thinking about it right before sleeping. And I guess that I probably did, but I had the same dream for the third night in a row. But this time, I got a lot closer down the path and near the old trailer. I could finally make out details. It was white in color, but had clearly been exposed to the elements for a long time. It was beat up, had a number of large dents around it, and I could see that the windows were mostly broken out. It was like someone had moved it out into the middle of nowhere and forgotten about it. But if it really was just an abandoned trailer, why did it make me feel so uncomfortable to even look at it? To even walk towards it? It was just a dream, but I wanted to turn and run away from it the closer my steps took me. I couldn't though, since it was just a dream. I woke up right before I could see much more. This was the first time that it really felt like a nightmare and my heart was racing as if I had been there.
I spent the next day avoiding anything that I thought might trigger dreams. I cut out my daily caffeine, and made sure to not eat anything spicy. I also stayed up later than I usually do in the hope that I'd be too exhausted to dream at all. Sadly, none of that worked, and I had the dream again for the fourth day in a row. I walked down the same path, around all the rusted junk, and through the tall grasses. Until I could see the trailer that I was compelled to walk towards in spite of how wrong it felt. This time, I got close enough to read some lettering that had been hanging on the front of the motor home. I was shaking in my dream, but not from any feeling of being cold. The sign read “The Horsey's Corral” and something about the name drove me into a near panic at the sight of it. I woke up with nearly the same panic as in the dream.
Now, it's weird enough to have the same dream that many nights in a row, but it's actually not even the oddest part of this story. I couldn't get the name on the trailer out of my head the entire day, and my coworkers even mentioned how awful I looked. I hadn't gotten a good night worth of sleep for days, and it showed in my appearance. I thought that if I “overloaded” my brain with other stimuli, it would help me avoid having the dream again. So I played a lot of video games, watched two movies, and read a few chapters from one of my favorite books before finally passing out sometime well into the night. It didn't help though.
I once again found myself walking down the path, into the grass, and towards the trailer. The terror was building with every foot that I put in front of the other, but I kept on going. I saw the name, and though I just wanted to run, or wake up, I kept pushing forward until I found myself at the door. Well, the door frame, that is. The door itself must have been long gone by now. The moonlight was only lighting up what was directly inside of the trailer, which looked to just be piles of garbage, broken bottles, more rusted metal objects, and a disgusting old mattress. I didn't want to be there anymore, but I couldn't force myself to wake up. Instead, I just climbed by way past all of the refuge and laid down onto the filthy mattress. It smelled as grotty as it looked, but for some reason I had to lay down on it. I wanted nothing more than to wake up. But I wish I hadn't.
The moment I was pulled from the dream and back into reality, I knew I wasn't in my bed, or even in my house. The sun was shining through a broken window down onto my face directly into my eyes forcing me to close them. I was more confused than anything, and was too worried to even move. But that's when I began to smell the mattress from my dream and realized that I was laying on it now. I just laid there, motionless, hoping that this was just another version of the dream. I wanted to wake up again, but after what felt like hours, I hadn't. It finally sunk in that I wasn't dreaming anymore and I sort of snapped out of whatever crazy feelings I had. I sat up and looked around in the light and dust, and saw exactly what I had “seen” the night before in the dream: piles of garbage, broken bottles, rusted metal objects, and the mattress.
I pulled myself up, realizing that I was wearing my pajamas, and made my way through all the mess that was blocking the door of the trailer. I was lost, confused, and dumbfounded by the fact that I was in this place. I had no clue where I was, yet had dreams about this place for days. And here I was, having to pull myself out of it. I stumbled outside, and had to shield my eyes from the sun. Carefully, I made my way down the old, rotting wood steps and towards the trail that I knew I would find. I got a few paces away from the trailer, before turning around and seeing the name. “The Horseys Corral” in stick-on, black lettering like it was in my dreams. And this time the fear I felt was very much real. I ran away as quick as I could go without shoes on until I was on the dirt road heading away from the trailer. When I reached the end of the road, I noticed that the gate blocking me in was familiar. In fact, I was only just a few hundred yards away from my house and down a path that I pass by every time I leave my street. Had I sleepwalked to some place that I knew existed but just never noticed? Or was it something else? I guess I'll never really know. I just know that I always look the other way when I pass by now.