Dreaming like Randolph Carter

I had this dream for the second time last night.  It was a bit more vague than the first, but the general imagery and sensations were there.  I believe it’s quite telling…


It is a charnel swamp, a bog built out of death.  The blood and bile run in thick currents knee deep, the “vegetation” nothing more than meat.  Bushes of gristle, vines of intestines, trees of bone – these things and more obstructed my passage through this slaughterland.  It was an absurdist blend of overgrown greenhouse and over-enthusiastic butcher shop.  Nothing appeared too far decayed yet, as if the entire environment had been mutilated into existence only hours ago and then held in stasis.

Above me, the sky was burning.  There was no moon or sun present, only rolling fields of liquid fire as far as my eyes could see.  The stratosphere aflame, it provided a dull orange glow to the ground below, everything shimmering and wet.  Here and there, thin clouds of soot raced past, low and insubstantial.

I continued to wade through the gore, this red reality.  I can recall feeling somewhat placid, neither disturbed nor comforted by these sights.  I don’t remember what I wore or for how long I traveled, and perhaps these things were irrelevant.  However, I eventually saw something akin to an island of viscera in the distance.

Drawing closer, I saw this mound was built with the corpses of babies, their flesh sewn and nailed together.  I don’t believe they were human infants, though… their dead eyes still squirmed with a living darkness.  This animated tar-like substance undulated and swayed in a subtle pattern deep in those tiny sockets.

There, sitting on the apex, was some type of throne.  I still can’t properly describe the material or style, nor can I attempt to describe the entity that sat upon it.  Occasionally, I found it humanoid, most often I did not.  I think it may have been composed of that same living darkness, that “deeper black” that I speak of in my fiction, but sharper and more defined.  I have the precise recollection that this abomination was the current king of this realm.

I remember… this monstrosity and I, we gazed at each other for a moment before speaking.  When we spoke, we spoke as equals.  I somehow understood that it acknowledged me as a peer.  I can recall that placid sensation remained, a casual feeling, perhaps closer to boredom or even slight irritation.  I can’t determine what we talked about, but I know the thing gestured off into the distance, and I had a bizarre but distinct feeling wash over me.  It was reminiscent of those time when you can’t find your car keys after having just sat them down, or when a needed word is right on the tip of your tongue.

And that was it.


I believe the first time I had the dream, I may have actually started walking off in the direction indicated by my abhorrent host.  I’m not sure.  I know I awoke before leaving its presence the second time.

I can easily explain away certain elements of the dream.  I had already written a scene with a similar brutal landscape for the novella I’m working on, and I’ve already incorporated portions of this dream into a new part of the fiction.  This “Deeper Black” is a concept I’ve played with in almost all of my horror and paranormal fantasy work.  The entity is undoubtedly from reading far too much Lovecraft.

No, the visuals are meaningless to me, simply window-dressings.  The sensations are what fascinate me, this nonchalant acceptance combined with faint annoyance.  While this is my general state in everyday life, I’m terribly interested on the how’s and why’s this would translate so clearly into such a atrocious dreamscape.  And, of course, I would very much like to discover where I was supposedly journeying off next to.

Once, I used to dream on par with Lovecraft’s great reoccurring character, Randolph Carter.  Various medications stole much of that from me, most of my dreams now either utterly mundane (going to the store to get lunchmeat) or a jumbled sensory-salad of images, sounds and concepts that would make Salvador Dali weep.  The majority of people would find such a dream like I’ve described above horrific, a nightmare to be banished.  I find it hopeful, something to return to.

And if I’m lucky, perhaps, I’ll be able to get my bearings back in the slaughterlands and travel even farther…




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