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32 years ago
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Gruesome Layers of a Face...

I remember my most frightening terror dream from childhood. It was definitely the most frightening dream I've ever had and it remains etched in my memory with perfect clarity.
I was wandering a dirt road, through a medieval city. The sky was blood red and filled with billowing black smoke. I was surrounded by bustle in the street. People walking fast and guiding carts led by horses.
Somehow, my hand got trapped under the wheel of one of the carts and I felt an excruciating pain as my thumb was crushed. Once the cart had rolled by, I retrieved my hand to see the damage. My thumb was a stump of pulpy mash; completely mangled. I started to panic, but I didn't have time to seek help. As soon as I turned back to the road, I saw a dark figure approaching on a tall horse. I was taken, led down the road, to a gathering of people; an angry mob. They were lit by the light of their fiery torches and in the center of the ring was a man. He was chubby and pasty, covered in sweat and dirt.
He was unmoving and emotionless, hands bound behind his back. I was led to stand directly in front of him, my face only a foot away from his. A figure approached - an executioner. He was also shirtless, in a dark leather hood and wielding an enormous and razor-sharp ax.
I was made to watch - unable to look away - as the man in front of me was killed by the man with the ax. But it was a strange sort of execution. His head was not removed. Instead, the ax would pass over his face and shave away a layer of about an inch thick with each pass. With my face only inches from his, I observed as this man was deconstructed one layer at a time.
It was gruesome and horrifying. I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time and to this day have no idea what such imagery could have symbolized. The thumb is a direct reference to an instance where I slammed my thumb in a sliding glass door hard enough to lose the nail. That was my most scary injury from my childhood at the time and I can understand how the experience would have reverberated into my dreams. But the horror of the man being cut away layer by layer... I can only interpret as a reference to the depth of layers of a person being torn away. But I really have no clue why I was focused on this theme, or why it would have interpreted in my dream as such a gruesome event.

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