A few nights ago I experienced a dream in which I was describing a recurring nightmare that consisted of me running through a house, opening door after door, each one promising to lead me outside but only opening onto another part of the house, another hallway, another stairwell, another landing or vestibule, each passageway shorter and smaller than the last, until I came to a door with a bright yellow doorjamb and daylight spilling in from outside, but as I pushed on it the door refused to open more than inch or two, and with that refusal a bolt of terror went through me and I woke up.
Some bad dreams dissolve within a few minutes, even if you're riding a wave of panic into consciousness, but this one left me with a sticky film of anxiety that I knew would be with me all day (I was right about that - it wasn't until six in the evening, as a cab took me down a rain-drenched Broad Street to a meeting of condominium board members, that I felt it finally lift). What I found odd was that the nightmare I was describing is not my actual recurring nightmare, which also takes place in an endless house but does not involve attempts at escape.
Instead I often find myself in a room somewhere around the attic, a room with a small door that leads to a small empty room, and as I open that door and inspect the emptiness a horror comes over me with such strength that my nightmare persists even after I awake, as if whatever was in that room has hitched a ride with me. Shadows throb, shapes shift and every object is infused with my terror, as if the dream has turned me inside out and I'm waking into my my own mind.
Anyway. Enjoy your day.