Last night's dreams were filled with fear and disturbing imagery.

1. I am among a large group of people, none of whom I really recognize. We are milling around, circling tables. It's almost as if we're eating from a giant buffet, but I don't recall seeing any food. We're just circling tables. There is a child there who I get a good look at and then have to look away. He is a freak. He's mostly normal-looking, with dark brown wispy hair and black spectacles (a little Harry Potter-ish). But his face, while structured normally, is all wrong. There are parts of skin missing around his mouth, so much that his muscle and bone underneath can be seen. I realize that this kid has a problem: He tears himself open. I can see a rough track of ripped skin and bone peeking up out of his collar, as if he's had open heart surgery and they cut him open vertically, up through the sternum, and it had just begun to heal.

But I know that he did it to himself, and I have a hard time understanding how he can do this and live — how his skin can suture itself back together after such violent splitting.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the kid reach for the wound and dig his fingers into it as if ripping off an uncomfortable Oxford shirt. He rips himself open, exposing bone and organs and collapsing there, and I have to look away. No one else seems surprised that he's chosen this moment to explore his sickness.

2. I am inside, cowering from the rain. It keeps getting heavier and heavier. Again, there are people around me I don't really recognize. We are all afraid of the rain. It is relentless.

[this is incredibly vague; I know that there was more to the dream but I've lost it]

Suddenly the windows are deluged with quick sheets of forceful water — sap sap sap! — so loud and frightening that we all cower in fear. I realize the water is coming from these little flying robots designed to terrorize people (sort of like the flying silver robots in Terminator).

[again, there's more here that involves an actual person I interacted with, but I can't remember the interaction ... just that we interacted]

I woke up to the sound of my back door closing and the sight of my neighbor — wearing a black cardigan, a white shirt, and jeans — closing it. Which, naturally, freaked me out. I had apparently forgotten to lock it before going to bed, and, over the course of the night, the door had randomly popped open. There's no telling when it did this. The scariest thing is that I left Felix out of his cage last night, so he could have easily ventured into the interior stairwell and then out the back door into the parking lot. Which would have made this week officially the worst week ever.

But he was inside my pajama pants, crumpled on the floor when I got up.

Small miracles.