Dream: August 9th, 2009
I am seated in the spacious sun room of a rest home. The room appears to serve as the cafeteria for the residents of this establishment. One of the walls is painted a light mint-green, the others, like the ceiling, are painted white. Long banquet tables comprised of thick, heavily shellacked wood are lined up in perfect rows, flanked on either side by benches. There are roughly a dozen or so residents seated at these tables. Others mill about the room, picking up magazines from a tree rack and flicking through them. Some of the residents appear to be speaking to one another, but they project no voices.
I'm stationed at one of the tables farthest from the archways through which staff and residents pass. This wall is made entirely of glass and overlooks a grassy slope. It is a bright day, but thick clouds persistently pass across the sun, throwing weird night-dark shadows into the sun room. With me are my friends and fellow authors Simon Strantzas, D.F. Lewis, Gary Fry, Michael Kelly, and two or three other unidentified dream folk. We are all too young to be in this rest home and are doing our best to remain inconspicuous. Simon has a small notepad flipped open on the table before him. We are all keenly observing a couple that is seated at the opposite end of the sun room.
The male of this couple is seated against the mint-green wall. He is hunched toward a cathedral radio whose dials are lighted. Like the voices of the residents in this dream world, the radio emits only silence. The man is dressed in a three-piece suit, charcoal-grey. He is bespectacled and is kneading a pipe with his lips. This man also appears too young to be in a rest home.
The man is Robert Aickman.
Standing behind him is a woman with short black hair. She is stunningly beautiful. She wears a beret, a turtleneck sweater with an ornate brooch pinned just above her right breast, and a pencil skirt. I do not recognize her.
On par with the oddity of seeing Aickman and this mysterious woman is the fact that they both appear in black-and-white, whereas the rest of the characters of this dream, and its environment, are all vividly in colour.
We study Simon's notes. Apparently Robert Aickman is awaiting a transmission entitled Woman in Black by Rebecca Hill. At first I think this refers to the novel The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, but I somehow know this is not the case. It is in fact an entirely different broadcast, and not one of fiction. Robert Aickman and his lady friend are waiting to hear from the dead.
Just then Robert leans in closer. The lights on the radio flicker. The woman, as though fulfilling her role in some strange ritual, raises a black stole from beneath the bench and drapes it across Robert's shoulders. The transmission seems to be coming through...
I wake up.
What this dreams "means" matters little to me. Its true worth is the pleasure I experienced being in the company of an author I so admire, with friends whose enthusiasm equalled mine, and that we were all on the cusp of something miraculous.
Even now I can't help but feel that if I'd simply stood up and walked over to Aickman's table, he might have opened his mouth to speak to me.
And I believe I would have heard what he had to say.