For as long as I can remember, I’ve had some really messed up dreams. I don’t know exactly what started them all, but I speculate the originated in life experiences that terrified me as a child and tragedy which lead to a fascination in horror and death. My father was murdered less than a month after my fourth birthday and honestly, I cannot remember a single unhappy or scary moment before that.

My mother and I lived in an old apartment after his death and as far as I can tell since he died, I can only recall perhaps one or two places I lived that weren’t haunted. While I don’t remember it very well, my mother recalls that in one of the apartments we lived in, she would come home from work every day to find the attic door open and the light in it turned on. She called the police a few times but they could never find a single thing to indicate that anyone had ever entered the apartment. The door just seemed to open and the light turn on when nobody was home.

Another apartment that we lived in had an experience that chilled me to the bone, or at least I think it did. I don’t really remember the incident, though, from the terrifying account that’s been explained to me, I probably blocked it from memory. As the story goes, I was about four years old and it was the middle of the night. My mother was sleeping, and I had been asleep when my mother went to bed. Yet for some unknown reason, I was up walking through the apartment in the middle of the night. When I got to the staircase, I looked up to the top and saw a man standing there. A bearded fisherman to be specific. I looked up at him and he looked down at me and I screamed bloody murder. My mother was awakened and came rushing to me. She of course saw nothing, but what I described to her and later my grandmother freaked them out. I apparently described to a T the fisherman who used to live in that apartment and died before we moved in.

Hauntings and ghosts weren’t the only things that scared the hell out of me as a little kid. One thing that scared me was Catch, a game my uncles used to play. The rules were simple.  One of them would pick me up and throw me at the other one, often when it wasn’t expected and preceded by the words, “think fast” or “catch!” One particular moment that sticks out in my mind was coming out of a store with my mother, grandmother, and two uncles. I remember walking slightly ahead of everyone and all of a sudden being lifted up and carried very quickly. The next thing I heard were the words, “Go long!” It was a game of catch, and my uncles were upping the ante.

He was running at full speed with me in his arms, my other uncle running far ahead of him. The next thing I knew, I was airborne, screaming in terror and seeing a car pass underneath me. I was caught. And then thrown over another car. And another. I think at one point they were trying to see how many cars they could throw me over at once. I don’t know for sure, but I think they might have thrown me over at least two at a time. To this day I hate flying and I think this is the reason why. They threw me many times, much to the terror of me and my mother, yet never once did they drop me. I suppose I should be grateful for that.

Have you ever met an adult that’s afraid of mirrors? I am. Well, not completely. Only when it’s night and my imagination is working overtime. I was spending the night at my grandparent’s house and my grandfather was watching the remake of The Fly starring the majestic Jeff Goldblum. There’s a scene in the movie where the woman rips off Jeff’s chin and he starts turning into the fly.  His skin starts ripping open and you see The Fly coming out of his body.  It’s all kind of amusing today, but terrifying as a small child with a fantastic imagination.

My grandfather had called me in by saying, “Hey, Brad. Do you want to see him turn into The Fly?” I did. It sounded cool and so I went in to watch. And then I saw her rip his chin off and that scared the hell out of me. Imagine, if you will, what must have gone through my mind at the time. It’s like, “Holy shit! I just saw a dude’s chin get ripped off and now he’s bursting out of his own body.” This is at a time when I still believed in monsters so I immediately made the mental transition that this thing is out there and it’s probably going to get me. I started crying and ran out of the room, around the corner, and up the stairs. I didn’t even turn the light on I was so terrified. I just sat there in the dark on the staircase scared out of my wits.

My grandmother being the compassionate woman that she was called me to another room where I wouldn’t have to see or hear the television. It took some convincing, but eventually, I decided to go to her, but terror had other ideas. You see, in that house, my grandparents had some horrible placement of mirrors around their house that just conveniently reflected each other and one of those mirrors was on the wall at the bottom of the staircase. And the television’s screen was conveniently reflected from another room, around the corner, and right to the bottom of the staircase. No less than three or four mirrors could’ve made that happen, and they did in all it’s terrifying glory. The moment I took a step down, there it was, The Fly still bursting out of Jeff Goldblum, the television quite loud so I could hear the woman screaming in terror and the horrible sounds that The Fly made. I lost it. I screamed and cried harder than I did before and buried my face in the stairs. And that is why I’m afraid of mirrors.

Sometime later, my mother had remarried. Somehow, I ended up with the biggest bedroom in the house, but I wasn’t about to complain. One night, I woke up lying on my side, face to the wall. Despite waking up in the middle of the night, I was feeling pretty happy. I rolled over onto my back and was about to close my eyes when out of the corner, I could see a strange glow. I rolled my head to the direction of the light and became paralyzed with fear. What I saw in my room were what appeared to be skeletons of dinosaurs fighting.  Stegosaurus, t-rex, and brontosaurus. Or at least that’s the closest I could relate them to at the time. Features seemed off somehow but I couldn’t quite place what it was. I just lie there watching in fear. Then they stopped. The brontosaurus looks in my direction, then away before suddenly whipping its head back at me. The skull flew off the body and landed on my legs.  I felt it land with a heavy, yet soft, thump, and between my shins. Shortly after, I must have lost consciousness because I don’t remember anything after that.

The 1980s were a great time to grow up as a child. We had great cartoons that spanned just about every genre you could think of. And they were all so creative too. You couldn’t find a cartoon that wouldn’t stimulate your imagination. GI-Joe, Transformers, Silverhawks, M.A.S.K., He-Man, Thundercats, and countless others. But in terms of feeding my budding growth with horror, one cartoon, in particular, stood out. That show was The Inhumanoids. They were these giant monsters who lived under the city and they all had demonic and scary traits. One, in particular, was a giant skeleton monster named D’Compose who would capture people and place them in his rib cage which would cause them to decompose. These kinds of cartoons wouldn’t fly today. Even for its time, the show was quite graphic with gruesome deaths and dismemberments. You would watch the flesh rot off living people or worse, all in a Sunday morning children’s cartoon. As scary as the show was, it was very engaging because of its serialized story. As such, I had to have the action figures and the figures of the monsters were huge. I used to play with Tendril, a large green monster, and pit him against my GI-Joes, but when I was done, I would put him in the closet of another room so he couldn’t get me. Despite my precautions, that didn’t stop me from believing that the real Meltar was under my bed waiting to drag me under. He was the leader of the Inhumanoids and could reach into is mouth and pull out a ball of fire to throw at you. His demonic appearance made him the scariest of them all. Whenever I needed access to or from my bed, I would always leap on or off to that my feet would never be close enough for him to grab.

It was events such as these that contributed to my overactive imagination. That imagination and fascination with horror extend deep into dreamland. And so, it is my pleasure to add these stories to taradiddlesoup.com. Though I don’t recall my dreams in the morning as often as I used to, I would like to share some of the ones I do recall here. These tales will probably end abruptly without any real conclusion as waking up will do that to a dream. It is of my desire to present to you my dreams as accurately as possible, and I hope you enjoy them.

Her True Form – A dream about friendship, sex, betrayal, and a dragon.