Written by Jonathan Wojcik


Guest Art by Luxidoptera!


Posted by Everbound Venvel:
"The dream begins in small, round room in a castle tower. The room is strewn with all manners of furniture and crates, and the walls and floor are made out of the typical grey blocks of stone. I'm a bodiless third-person camera POV, and dream logic dictates that I'm about to witness some sort of "final battle".

My view snaps to a monster that, for God only knows what reason, I instantly recognize as "Peppermint Squeezy". Peppermint Squeezy, in retrospect, has a body plan vaguely reminiscent of an octopus, but he totally is not an octopus. He is roughly the size of a large retriever dog. His entire body is a gross overripe eggplant color with an oily brown and green sheen. It appears to be covered in smooth chitin, like a beetle's forewings, but Peppermint Squeezy has no breaks in the armor over any of his joints. His armor just flexes with the rest of his body. He has a wedge-shaped head somewhere between a hornet's and a cat's; large compound eyes the same color as the rest of him wrap around the sides of his head, and his mouth opens like a cat's and has the sharp teeth, rough tongue, and pink interior to match. He has no true ears or antennae, just triangular nubbins where a cat's ears would be. Peppermint Squeezy's head is attached to an upright torso shaped like a hornet's body, but there are no wings or legs attached to the thorax. The abdomen flares down and out into a pentagonal "skirt", the "hems" of which are perfectly straight and even. At each of the skirt's five corners there is a long crab-like leg which terminates in a sharp point.

Peppermint Squeezy's "final battle" begins with him skittering around the circumference of the room at a breakneck pace, trying to avoid the furniture and crates. As he runs he fires little orange chevron-shaped lasers from his mouth; these shoot out in random directions and speed along the ground. After a few laps Peppermint Squeezy swerves too close to a large crate, and his opponent shows himself.

Peppermint Squeezy's enemy is a middle-aged, scruffy, balding white man with burly limbs and a large beer belly. His name is Jim. Jim is wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, and brown leather loafers. Jim views Peppermint Squeezy as a horrible demon king and is out to kill the little monster with his bare hands.

Lurching out from beneath the large crate, Jim grabs onto Peppermint Squeezy and attempts to crush the monster's thin torso in his fists. The monster panics, slashing at Jim's arms with his fangs before finally landing a solid bite on the man's shoulder. Peppermint Squeezy escapes as Jim howls in pain, and begins running laps around the room again. Within a few seconds, Jim is in hot pursuit.

Jim soon catches up to Peppermint Squeezy and knocks the monster into a large table. Stunned, Peppermint Squeezy can't fight back as Jim, frothing like a rabid beast, rips off one of Peppermint Squeezy's forelegs. The wall behind the table collapses, sending both combatants tumbling into the courtyard below.

Peppermint Squeezy quickly adapts to having only four legs by warping his lower body into a rectangular table-like configuration. He can move much faster like this, and gallops towards the castle gates. Jim gives chase, but he has no chance of keeping up with Peppermint Squeezy's new quadrupedal form. I wake up.

I really hope Peppermint Squeezy got away from Jim forever."

I hope so, too! I immediately picture Jim as Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and I don't know what Carl did to get into this mess, but I'm sure P. Squeezy deserves it the least.


Posted by Vic Minch:
"there was one dream I had a couple years ago where it took place inside of a tower in a black void. the tower just kept going up endlessly, never stopping. the only creatures inhabiting this place were these faceless white-suited women. i don't even remember if they had skin, or if their faces were just more void. The dream just kept looping until i jumped into the void.

Its the only dream i've had in years thats truly scared me."

Very short and very simple, but a pretty striking combination of details! A place that goes on forever until you leap to your doom is a pretty terrifying already, and its silent, faceless inhabitants are all the scarier for the fact that they don't actually do anything, harmful or otherwise.

Posted by Lukas Reimer:
"Another disturbing dream concerns what I call the "Bridal Sow." It's a very bizarre creature, a potbellied pig standing stiffly and artificially on its hind legs, and moves in awkward, dance-like motion in circles without going anywhere. Most unnerving of all, however, was that its head was covered by a white bridal veil, preventing its face from being visible, and the way the veil fit over the head it appeared there was no way there was an actual pig head under there. The Sow was in a dream where a Steve-Irwin type Aussie nature show guy was filming his show in a small, cubical, room with the walls so white they almost glowed, and absolutely nothing in it except a simple wooden chair and the Bridal Sow, meandering about in its mechanical, herky-jerky manner. The dream took place from the perspective of the camera, and the naturalist's demeanor seemed very nervous. He was clearly trying to maintain a cool and excited appearance, but he was sweating, fumbling with his hands, and stuttering, and the whole atmosphere seemed very wrong. He looked into the camera and said "T-today I'm g-gonna teach you h-how to s-s-skin a cat!" I still have no idea what that meant. He approached the Bridal Sow, and then there was an immense sense of crushing dread as the sow began to dance faster and faster. Loud didgeridoos play, and bizarre humming noises blare in my ears as everything starts to collapse into a crescendo of nonsense, nausea, and confusion. I woke up, sweating and terrified."

WHY do I feel like this is one of the scariest submitted this year. Everything about it, the visual in my head of this upright pig dancing and dancing, the ridiculous sound effects, the unexplained fear of the "TV host," I feel like I can fully imagine the sense of dream-dread as the whole scene escalates in madness and finally reaches that classic, infuriatingly open ending that makes so many nightmares all the more memorable. The point at which you awaken really is the cherry on top of any creepy dream, made more interesting than a classic story narrative for the particular set of mysteries left hanging by that crucial moment.

Horse Family

Posted by Xionahri:
"I wouldn't call it a nightmare, but it contained a pretty weird critter you guys might like.

When I was younger, I had occasionally dreams about horse people. Basically, like you would imagine a Furry horse, but unlike most furries they had normal horse-hooves instead of hands.

In one dream, I was at a house with a whole family of these horse people. But one of them stood out. They looked molten. They didn't seem to have fur, but instead a dark chocolate-brown skin shining like plastic. No mane or long tail fur either. Their face lacked any features but a mouth, which was always open (to be fair, since they didn't have nostrils, they might've need to keep it open to breathe). Becuase they were kinda molten-looking, you could see some of the inside of their mouth through holes on the side of their face. Really odd-ooking fella.

But they were just as friendly as the other horse people. And they seemed to have the ability to tell the furture or something. Nearly everything they said sounded mythical, but at the same time making sense. Don't remember what exactly, since it was long ago. But I'll never forget melty horse person. May they still tell fortunes to people who need them."

I like that the monsters this round are generally harmless, ranging from just an ominous presence to outright friendly; beings like the faceless women that feel more threatening than they logically should, but also beings like the horse family who feel a lot LESS scary than logic should dictate.

The Librarian

This last one is actually from one of the artist's own dreams, though without much story; this tall, ankh-headed entity simply oversaw an extravagant, multi-level library and politely but silently encouraged visitors to browse the old books. This dream also came with a powerful sense of deja vu, which I experience a lot in my own dreams - a certainty that I've had the same dream many times before, even though I never actually have. I like the idea of this speechless, friendly giant, apparently fifteen feet tall, running a library accessible only by dreamers - who just might typically forget the whole experience.

Actually, if we were to start giving the Nightmare Menagerie more of a "universe" or "canon," what if many people have encountered the same beings and the same places...but usually, a dream entity or environment is actually remembered by only one human at a time? Maybe we've all been to this library, but we don't know it, because only a single person is able to retain the memory in the waking world.