This seemed to be Part 2 of a dream that I’d dreamed the night before, but couldn’t recall. I was on a road trip that may or may not have been a TV show. It was allegedly around the UK, but we were just driving down FM 359. I was the driver. The car had an all-electronic display, with a map of where you were underlying all of the –ometers. I changed the readout from MPH to KPH and it took it a minute or two to recalibrate everything. The dashboard was just a spinning circle, kind of like when you’re waiting for Windows to do something, only it had road signs and traffic lights spinning in a vortex. My husband was in the passenger seat, Rebecca, from my writing group, and my brother-in-law, Matt were in the back. Sometimes Helen, my sister-in-law, was there, and sometimes she wasn’t. The dash-map started showing hilly terrain as we entered Pattison, and I thought “This thing is horribly inaccurate!” However, there was a road construction project on 359, and there were huge piles of sand and gravel just off the roadway. Matt said we should stop and walk the bens, but I assumed he was joking, so I kept driving.
We took the FM 1458 fork at Dead Man’s Curve. IRL, there was a little gas station/market just around the bend in the road when I was growing up, because I used to ride my horse there from time to time to buy a Coke and a Moon Pie or a Chick-O-Stick. In the dream, this place was an antebellum house that had been converted into a hotel. I had the double wrap-around verandahs on the ground and second floors, and New Orleans-style wrought iron railings. The clapboard house was painted white, and the trim and shutters were a very dark, nearly black, blue. The place was very dusty – no one had lived there for a very long time.
My friend Naomi, whom I can imagine seeing on a BBC program, met us at the front door and let us in. She was some official historian, but I’m not sure if it was county, state, or national level. She told us that prior to the Civil War, there was a family living in the house, and they had four sons. They raised cattle and cotton, and were not wealthy, but far from poor. When the war broke out, two of the sons fought for the Union, and two for the Confederacy. After Lee’s surrender, the patriarch committed suicide in the house, and the mother and two crippled Confederate veterans were forced to leave their home. No one knew what had happened to the Union veterans, but it was assumed they’d been killed in the war.
A man from Massachusetts had bought the property and converted it into a hotel, but he died of a heart attack before the renovations were completed. Some of his relatives, one of whom was a school teacher, took over the property. The teacher was killed in a horse and buggy accident, and small fires plagued the construction project. The hotel finally opened, but many guests fled in the middle of the night, claiming that they saw the face of a bearded man with wild eyes in the mirrors, or that the blankets were pulled off of them while they slept. The unsuccessful hotel had a string of owners, but had stood empty for the last 50 years.
I went to the bathroom. The facilities had been modernized, with indoor plumbing, but the antique claw-footed tub was an original. When I first walked in, it appeared to be full of water. I looked into the tub, and there was a man at the bottom of it, brown eyes open, and blood swirling out into the water from a gash on his head. When I looked again, the tub was dry and empty. The lights flickered, and thunder rumbled in the distance. When I went back into the kitchen, I could hear the sound of rain, so I looked out the window. Floodwaters swirled around the house, and corpse of a man, wet black hair plastered against his head, bright blue eyes staring right at me, floated by. When I blinked and looked again, the water was gone. I asked Naomi if the two men who had drowned were cousins. She seemed surprised I knew about them. She said they were unrelated. One man, the uncle of the four brothers, had slipped in the bathtub, hit his head and drowned before the Civil war. The other man was one of the hotel owners in the early 1900s who had been trying to secure his livestock during a flood and been swept away himself.
Naomi left, and we decided to go get something to eat. There was a little Cajun restaurant in town, so we went there. The only thing they had that I could eat was beignets and strawberries.
We came back and started getting settled for the night. I think that part of the reason for the hotel’s spectacular failure was that instead of rooms, it had early hospital style wards. Rebecca and I chose one and Andrew and Matt took the other. Helen wasn’t there for the night, but she had gone to dinner with us. We had brought sleeping bags, which we rolled out on the least dusty beds, and we settled in to try and get some sleep. It rained during the night, and thunder shook the house, but nothing worse happened.
When we got up, I had bought a multi-pack of head scarves, and I was trying to put one on, turban style, but I couldn’t find the directions. I could find instructions on how to tie 2 scarves together to make an apron with pockets. It seemed that the pack of scarves was a very important artifact from the previous day’s trip, but I don’t know if I just can’t recall that dream, or if the previous day was only referenced in the current dream, and I hadn’t actually dreamed it at all.