Dragged by a Nightmare

Once there was a man who had seven wives and countless horses. He rode his horses hard and did not care for them at all. The weaker the horse was the more whipping it received. He drove strong horses to their breaking point and then broke them more for breaking at all. He replaced them so quickly that many a horse collapsed only to watch him ride away on another. He always blamed the horse whenever he took a wrong turn and cursed a horse whenever it strayed. All his horses seemed disloyal and mean to him for he could not really see how they reacted to him, rather he only saw how they acted towards him and how he felt he had to react to them. When they flinched, he hit them even harder for thinking bad of him.

He remembers when he was a kid – maybe it was a dream, he could not be sure since it was so long ago – he wandered off into the jagged mountains one moonless night. And he lost control of his dark horse who threatened to buck him off the perilously steep trail. His little hands could barely clutch on. At one point he dangled from the mane over a cliff. The smell of the horse’s anger made him feel so powerless. His dad had died around that time but he could not remember that specific day at all or even how it happened. He was told his dad died in those same mountains. But he could not remember it nor if he was there to witness it.

And on his deathbed, his seven wives gathered around and were about to even feel sorry for a dying person when he told them he had no regrets at all except for the nightmare he would never share with anyone. And so they tied him up and let his horses pull and drag him to pieces over the jagged mountains after all they had suffered from him.

23 thoughts on “Dragged by a Nightmare”

  1. Only in fiction can things became so central, so tethering. Or perhaps, only in fiction are we distant enough from the muddlings and threshings of the emotive self that we can observe the nexus of a being. What makes someone that someone.
    I think that, if we were privy to the point whence our actual self radiates, it would be a haunting experience, something that would punctuate another shift, another trauma. Perhaps there wouldn’t be enough horses to drag that misery. So, we pretend, I find. It’s good to pretend.

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    1. Yes! I like the idea of a rhizome of punctures. And yet…maybe there is no point of an actual self as well! Perhaps, the memory that we think of as a source or even cling to is a construction itself. Maybe a screen memory altogether? Since the most impactful events may not be remembered with any high degree of exactitude. At least, that is how I’ve experienced trauma at the extremity where reality becomes fiction and so on.

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      1. Well, memory, to me, is a recreation of figments of emotion to varying degrees of limpidness. The more emotive a memory, the more muddled and disfigured it becomes.
        I can’t centralise my trauma unless I do a reverse associative motion, where I start on my behaviors and connect them to navel of what was a traumatic experience, or a traumatic period of my being.
        But it’s always a fictional recreation, something informed by how the existence of that reproduced thing makes sense in regards to our present recollective selves. The purpose of recollection, when it comes to memory, almost always alters what is being recollected.

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      2. Besides, memories are not, nor ever were, the thing remembered. So maybe even the word recollected is quite misleading. And that always leaves me dangling away from any hard reality, trauma or not. Not to mention, the nature of trauma isn’t necessarily a one time thing. It can be so repetitive that weeks or even years later it might be lost to memory altogether without any clues to trace back to it (if there is anything to trace back to). Only a black hole into which time got sucked in remains and one is left without a chunk of the past to construct. But perhaps, nothing ever is lost only hidden or substituted.

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      3. “Every action of scrawling begins with fossicking old dusts in search of eventful shapes, harnessing memory as a mass of particles brought alight; cold fountains dance, pellucid, in a constellation of footfalls, and a blond-featured priest halts the litany, displaying the grimace of revolt, placing a tome of interrogations over the a vine-perfused lectern, passing his tongue over the thumb, and falling silent; indolence befalls substance. Every memory is a phantom of sensation, a tender ogive of contingency launched to annihilate the fabrication of a transmissible instinct, remembering drops of oil distilled from silence and density, a black orb siphoning air, zest, faces, skins — the page is famished, and tinted of ghost.”
        It’s from a prosaic fragment from September of last year. I used to write a lot about memory and the centrality of trauma back then, especially since I was just leaving a really traumatic period of my life.
        I wish we had started reading one another sooner, my dude!

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      4. Me too! That is quite a distillation of living memory in relation to the limitations of language my friend! And we are left with something transmuted by the very act. And we return to disentangle it only to find ourselves grasping at tendrils clinging to an inviolate substance.

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  2. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking story. I had some harsh and hurtful experiences when I was younger. These experiences have been following me since then. I consider them a lesson and a part of my life. I would never want them to turn into destructive power, such as hatred and prejudice. There’s always a choice. A great read!

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    1. Sorry to hear that, yet it sounds like you have a good perspective on it. That struggle against destructive power is my definition of strength. This story is slightly about the father I had to grow up with and the attitude of violence I had to break from and reject. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

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      1. It’s a complex subject that deserves a deeper discussion than a few lines. I understand the pain and struggles. I do. Sending good thoughts and best wishes. Take care.

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  3. A view into the way people carry on hurts and pains from their past, either in the things we do or the way we respond to things that occur.
    Being that we live in an action/reaction based world it’s up to us to change course in our own actions and reactions.

    Good story, very haunting and mind catching

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