Damnable Dreams

[li]I don’t remember the last time I slept without seeing His face. His grinning, leering visage; twisted with a degree of cheerfulness that has no right to exist beneath this moonish light. I awake staring into my own reflection in his enormous, shiny brass buttons. Sometimes I think I’m in danger of falling straight into them.

I see him in the streets now, too. He has too many fingers. Even floating atop my own personal sea of laudanum, I see him. The laudanum does nothing now. I spend as much time surrounded by mirrors, tigers and smoke as I do Londoners.

How’s a gentleman to sleep without awaking in the asylum? How’s one to sleep at all?

I have no more friends who will listen to my fears.

He has too many fingers.


Don’t greet him on the street. Don’t acknowledge him as you pass by. Don’t set fire to your mirror. Don’t drink any more laudanum, the stuff is poison. Stay away from the Forgotten Quarter until you sleep a night uninterrupted.

My condolences for your predicament. The nightmares fade in time, but sometimes not even time is fast enough.

There are a few trinkets out there that can keep you resting easy. Nothing is more calming than keeping a fish. Nightly viewings of their graceful swimming will dull the nightmares a little. And if you have the candlelight to spare, just staying in bed can help.

For those days when you need to be out and about, I know of a jeweler who makes a most fetching walking stick. They’re in demand, so she’s frightfully busy. But I’m sure the opportunity will arise where you’ll encounter her. She will require a few favours before you can get the cane, but it will be worth your while.

And try to keep memories of light close at hand. I’ve heard they make more bearable nightmares.

It also helps, of course, to maximize the opportunities to keep the bad dreams away. For example, my little friends the Urchins, when welcoming back one of their own from the Widow’s clutches, are simply too jolly not to give one a cheery feeling come bedtime. Keeping with one equipment of a high watchful caliber also assists in gaining appointments with a certain Doctor Schlomo.

And of course, there’s always the '68. Besides the somewhat doubtful trade of Mr. Wines, there’s also some rare bottles stashed away in the Feast at Summerset University.

I had the same problem in my early days in London. Laudanum and goldfish can patch the problem but they won’t do you a lot of good if, like me, you can’t help but stare in to the abyss. Your best bet is to try to measure the rate at which you lose your mind and counter the effects with time in bed (which is a tad unreliable and requires you to be a bit battered up but it’s your best bet when working on your own). When your up against the wall though sometimes it’s best to just bite the bullet and lose your mind for a little while. Mirror marching is better if you can spare the memories.

Also, if you have access to the Labyrinth of Tigers, Gawping at a certain Hyaena is a repeatable way to trade insanity for infirmity which is much more easily treated.

If one is both poor and determined to avoid the Mirror Marches, hot wine is available at the Carnival, if one doesn’t mind scandal. The destitute may even steal tickets rather than pay for them. Myself, I whiled away my nightmares reading books at the University and coincidentally collected a lot of primordial screams as a side effect.

I used to kick the Merry Gentleman in the shins, but it only made my dreams worse. Now I just ignore him and it seems to help.

Fish and canes keep madness chains
but will not stop flood water.
You’ll lose your head if you stay in bed
and Laudanum leads to slaughter.
There’s no strategy du jour, just one cure
to give your Nightmares their end.
Find insight, then spend the night
confessing to a friend.
The wise, the kind, the sanest minds
know this all too well.
Don’t try to hedge, Thomas Dredge
or I’ll see you at the Hotel.

You could also, you know, talk to someone… Most of us are happy to hear your woes.