Not the university my waking state self went to. The university I attended while awake was not peppered with hallways going nowhere, closets you have to crawl through to get to class, people locking you in rooms filled with old wood and flowers and cut glass until you learned what they required. The one in my nightmares is all those things and more.
A professor squatting below the line of the image projector interrupts me in a darkened lecture hall. We go out to the terrace. Old stone, beautiful carving, dying plants. Fall semester in the university in my mind. We smoke clove cigarettes as he tries to talk me into an affair he assures me his wife won’t mind.
I can still smell the distinctive smoke.
As I always do in my university dreams, I refuse. Once again, he looks sad, baby face face crumpled. Once again he goes strange and growls like a werewolf of the daytime. He chases me back into the building, through a closet, past a hallway I had long before learned was a dead end, down an escalator and out the door.
I run into the next building. Looking for a place to hide. Not the first door inside. It has a board meeting to discuss the execution of poorly behaved students. Please God, don’t let them see me. I would be the next one on the block. Next to a door that opened on a wall. Trying not to scream.
Finally! I find a door that opens into a meeting room with a long, shining walnut conference table far longer than I am tall. It is the kind of room where the air does not move. Molecules do not move. To move yourself is an intrusion, an insult. I stand like a statue and can not move. Even my brain slows, and I can no longer worry.
The man with the dark curls comes in. He is immune to the frozen nature of the room. When he gestures for me to sit in a padded Regency chair, I find I can. Then he starts to ask me questions. So many questions. I know I will never be able to answer them all. I suddenly recognize the man. He is from the board meeting. I will be next on the axeman’s block. He will ask me to forgive him for what he is about to do. I start to scream.
I woke in fits and starts. Eyes refused to open at first. Cats have been scattered by my screams. One thing is different. I wonder how I can use this university nightmare in my writing.