This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Monday, 22 October 2012


These two dreams are from a few years in the past.

I'm against the death penalty, since well before I dreamt these two, but I wasn't always. I was pro-death penalty before I realised circa 2004 that the only actual capital crime was being poor.

Years after having these two dreams, I'm still suffering the backwash from them, and I'm almost certain I've had more execution dreams in the meantime which I have chosen not to remember. I'm airing them to try and exorcise them.

Dream No 1:

I dreamt I was executed by having my head chopped off. I don’t mean I was about to be executed or sentenced to be executed. I mean I was executed.

I have no memory of my crime, if there was a crime, or of sentence being imposed, but here is what happened…

I was in a room – the execution room – that looked just like the room in the Saddam Hussein cellphone video (it even had the cellphone video granular appearance, only the dominant shades were reddish, not green), except there was no noose. Instead there was some kind of leather pad on a stand, and I was made to kneel before it and my head was bent forward so my neck was stretched over it. I don’t know if there was a guillotine, but I rather think I was to be decapitated by the old method of the executioner’s axe. I don’t remember being scared. I don’t recall any emotions on my own part, in fact. I felt the hands stretching my neck; I heard the noises of people moving around me; and then I felt a blow on the back of my neck, very distinctly, like a slap. That was the end of the dream, of course – I defy anyone to sleep past his or her own execution.

But then – I guess – I fell asleep almost instantly again and this time I dreamt I had gone somewhere, far away, to another town, with the dogs, and I had put them in some kind of makeshift kennel. I’d gone looking around for some booking office where I could find tickets for the journey home (I was rather anxious to get them back, and anxious to be back myself). While looking around cigarette stalls and grocer’s stores for a booking hall, and being misdirected by everyone, I was shown – somehow or other – my own skull and severed vertebral column, lying on white cloth in a display case. I remember my own emotions that time, looking at my polished brown skull and the thin bones of my vertebrae – a sort of calm sorrow compounded with a feeling that was "You need not have used an axe to cut such thin bones; they’re as delicate as a chicken’s."

And then I woke up for good.

Obviously, this was not the best dream I have ever had.

Dream No 2:

I was strapped on a gurney and readied for execution.

I have no idea what my crime was, and no idea if I’d committed any crime at all, but I knew perfectly well that I was about to die by lethal injection.

(I’d read up on lethal injection, of course, as part of my usual researches into topics in which I have any interest, and I knew what to expect … although, personally, I’d rather be executed by firing squad, if the time comes.)

So I was lying on my back, a strapped arm stretched out, feeling needles being stuck in it and watching, through a long pane of glass, the witnesses (I really have never seen the point of having witnesses in an American execution. What the hell is it supposed to be, an execution or retribution? They used to charge admission to public hangings!) watching me from a rather brightly lit room. I especially remember one of them, a white man in a blue suit with a thick white moustache, who was watching me intently. I have no idea who he was.

Someone – presumably a doctor – was explaining to me what would happen, in what sequence the drugs would be injected and what would happen to my body, its reactions as it died. Only in one detail did his description differ from the actual. He said I would probably become incoherent and begin making shrill noises. I remember this very well.

They injected my arm. I felt liquid pour into my vein. The room dimmed, spun, and went dark.

At this point I separated from my physical body. Oh, I knew it was happening. I could feel myself get up and walk away, but my body remained on the gurney. It wasn’t that I’d died – I was still very alive, I knew, but I also knew that very shortly I was going to be dead. I no longer saw my surroundings, the execution room and the voyeurs behind the window. I was back in my own home, walking through the empty rooms, empty of furniture, empty of everything but memories. The afternoon sun shone, I remember, golden through a dusty window. I wondered where my dogs were, and I desperately wanted them to come to me and jump up and lick me goodbye. I needed a farewell kiss. I wondered if I had begun making the noises yet, and I wondered at precisely what point I would begin to die. What would happen when I finally died, would I even feel it?

I woke at that point. This was – again – not the best dream ever, although I will probably turn it into a short story soon enough.

I wonder why it is that my death figures so often in my dreams, and in such disturbing ways.

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