Alexandra-Maria Toth
NIGHT TERRORS
2021

for Barbara Hainz

Vienna, 19th of May
moonlight falls heavily on my wooden floor, both revealing and transforming everything around and above me; various objects, from the chair to the closet, are changed by this white night light, so that they seem to lose their substance and become creations of my mind; a book, a plant or whatever has been used that day or another, and got lost in my room is given a quality of strangeness, that cannot be assigned logically; this is “neutral territory” – As the Novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne describes it; “somewhere between the real world and fairly-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other”; a dream is coming.

Vienna, 20th of May
a corpse lingers quietly in the corner of my bedroom to trouble me until the sun arises; a beloved person, once a father, now dead, hovers over my body and stares at me; I am strangely calm – yet slightly uncomfortable; somewhere far away, I sense a child being pushed playfully on a black swing, whilst a woman is knocking out an old and ugly rug in anger; none of this is real; although we lately found a grave in the basement of my house and installed an old carpet rod in a bright exhibition space; peace does not last long in nightmares made real.

Vienna, 21st of May
there is a shadow captured in the milky white and although I can hardly see it, I most certainly sense the uncanny, of which I have always been drawn to; as a teenager I have been calling his name three times in front of my bathroom mirror – just out of curiosity and to prove myself boldness, but he never appeared; days later, I started my sleep with horror; one two, Freddy is coming for you, three, four, better lock your door, five, six, grab your crucifix, seven eight, ya better stay awake; the sound of a voice in a dream I cannot place; a cold dew covered my forehead and each part of my body became convulsed; twisting and screaming; my heart was beating in sorrow; I wanted to stay awake so badly, but had to find myself in a forceful sleep terror; the next morning, I had forgotten all about it.

Vienna, 22nd of May
in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, Lockwood dreams about breaking a window to reach a tree branch, only to realise, that he is holding a small child’s hand; the horror continues with a most melancholy voice sobbing: “Let me in – Let me in”; he wakes up feeling confused and disoriented; this is what real nightmares are woven from – not to know what lies deep inside your true self; some dreams stalk me for some dread or painful purpose I do not yet comprehend; nine, ten – never sleep again.

Vienna, 23rd of May
enter freely of your own will and leave some of the darkness you bring, for I am not afraid and can handle being encaged in endless dreams; honestly, I kinda dig it.

accompanied by
Nightmare on Elm street, Nathaniel Hawthrone (The scarlet letter), Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights).