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Belle of the Ball

Dreamed 2006/5/02 by Bonnie

My friends Mark and Hugh and I were wandering around an old red light district like in New Orleans, with cobblestone streets, old brick buildings with wooden shutters, and peddlers on the corners hawking their seedy wares--not really pornographic enough to be lewd. We reached our communal home and were approached by a film crew who asked us if we wanted to participate in a "Haunted Night Sleepover" reality show. The prize was a brand new house! I jumped at the thought, but I was wary about what we'd be facing. Unlike so many of these 'disbeliever-screamers' who plague these shows with their mindless chatter and crocodile tears once they hear a bump in the darkness, I have seen and felt ghosts before. They are real, and when you invite a haunting, you never know what you'll get.

The Haunted Night was to take place in Knotts Berry Farm, or an amusement park much like it. Mark was to sleep in a field where some bloody battle took place, Hugh was to sleep in the mechanical room where all the rides are operated from, and I was to sleep in the Roaring Twenties Pavilion. I had to clean the pavilion first as part of the deal; it hadn't been open in years. Once resplendent, it was now a maze of dark narrow corridors and rooms with faded and torn red velvet drapes and historic photos dangling crookedly from the walls.

We were supposed to prepare for the night by getting our provisions together and meditating to generate a protective shield over us. But when the camera panned to the boys, they had lit a huge bonfire and were dancing around like drunken goons, as if this were Burning Man.

And then we had to go. They put us on the back of a flatbed truck, to take us to the haunted site. As the truck drove off, my viewpoint held back--I watched us head into the sunset, three lone silhouettes. It had begun. I, for one, was not ready.

When I arrived at the Pavilion, Hugh was already there cleaning the bathroom, a stark white room with a long row of toilet stalls. I was grateful Hugh had done this part of the cleaning, and I think he rather enjoyed doing it, being close to all these men. I knew then, as if in a vision, that in the Roaring 20s the Pavilion had been the fraternity house for an order of men called The Dandies, elegant men with their hair slicked back, in fine tuxedos and shiny black patent-leather shoes.

I checked the stalls one by one and started to sense ghosts behind the doors. Some of the toilets spat up and gurgled. I expected it, and said to the air "Calm down, we're just trying to clean things up a bit and make your home nicer."

I explored the musty rooms and found one girl's room, painted in pink, with a plastic doll house broken in half. It reminded me why I was there--to win a house of my own. I heard "them" whispering and felt them moving about ever so slowly. The hair on my neck stood up and I rushed out to the main lobby to breathe. It was not even dark yet. It was going to be a long night.

Mark and a couple others came in then and we hugged. He was headed out to the battlefield but seemed unconcerned. Hugh was already on his way to the mechanics' room. I told them that this place really was haunted and that I was being followed already. I began meditating/praying for protection and decided to sleep in the conservatory-looking lobby where I could see outside and others could see me. I did not want to go back through the red velvet drapes dripping with golden tassels. But I noticed a change: though initially tattered and faded, now they looked bright, new and rich-looking. I guess I was "drawn" back in, for I found myself in the humidor lounge, wiping the tables and bussing away ashtrays and drinking glasses that had magically appeared with bourbon-stained ice still melting in the glass. I thanked "them" for being so patient with us. They seemed to joke tenderly with me. I was shown back to the pink girl's room I had found before. To my surprise it too looked new: clean curtains billowed, the bed was made with fresh linens, the dollhouse was fixed, and fresh flowers waited for me. I lay down in the bed and was almost lulled to sleep, but I thought better of it and decided to leave the room before I could not find my way "back" anymore. Back in space or time? I didn't know. But I felt much easier in the Pavilion now, more normal. I wandered into the kitchen and saw that it was still old and run down. "Their" voices sounded more normal and conversational now. They told me a story about the beautiful woman that used to live here... and she was me.

"You were spoken for, but fell in love with another man--"

"--one of the Dandies here--"

"--or perhaps several of them."

I washed dishes, trying to focus on the task to keep from being freaked out, reminding myself to just be calm. They were in the kitchen with me. Then I heard a strikingly familiar voice, and as if suddenly frozen in time and then re-animated, I slowly turned my head over my left shoulder to look behind me. As I turned, my face and hair subtly morphed into "her"--my former self. I had a kewpie-doll face, kohl-rimmed eyes, red lipstick, pin-waved blonde hair in a bob at my chin and a beaded choker around my throat.

I sashayed into the humidor lounge again where old-timey music was playing on the Victrola and though I professed not to know how to dance, soon I was wildly doing the Charleston, jerking around like a rag-doll puppet, my long pearl necklace flying. I started throwing back shots of bourbon and laughing, dancing, singing cabaret style. They called me Belle--my nickname was "Belle of the Ball". I remembered now--I had been locally famous, a cabaret starlet who lived and performed at the Pavilion. It was true, I'd had affairs with many of the Dandies. They were all there, all my loves, I could see them clearly now, some sitting, some standing, some twirling me about. Wild dancing turned into bodies draping on each other and steamy kissing...

The next thing I knew I was lying naked on the banquette while tuxedoed Dandies swarmed over my body, kissing me, licking me, fucking me. It was pure heaven, and soon I was orgasming again and again.

I wondered what the cameras were filming... could they see "them" too? Or were they filming only me, dancing by myself in the silent dusty dark, writhing alone on the banquette?

But to me, back in time, the music and their loving roared on over me, through me... until at last it faded slowly, like a freight train rumbling into the distance.

The morning light warmed my body and slowly woke me up... But I was still groggy; the music hadn't quite faded to silence. I wondered if I was dead, for I knew "they" were tempted to keep me with them forever, to have their precious Belle back. But the good of the order decided against taking me before my time. They had set me free to win my house. Belle had always dreamed of a home of her own, but never achieved it before she died--hence the dollhouse in her room.

The Dandies whispered, 'Good bye, love" and "We'll miss you" as the white noise of the morning washed in... and washed them out. The film crew was arriving.

And I woke up, wanting more.

EDITOR'S NOTES

And is it me, or do all these settings seem just slightly symbolic?

--Chris Wayan

Source: Iris Alroy's surreal dream site, http://www.irisalroy.com/dreams.



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