I dreamt of climbing mountains with friends. The rocks were steep and the views spectacular, but I was uncomfortable and felt like I was going to fall. Suddenly I looked down into a crevasse and there was a woman there, obviously in distress. She was bleeding. I tried to tell everyone she must have fallen, she was bleeding from internal injuries. I watched the pool of blood grow and we looked down on her and could do nothing, we couldn't reach her. A man came up and told us there was a knife accident, that he had stabbed her in the stomach. We sat at the edge, looking down 100 feet and she lay there and bled and died, and I couldn't do anything.
I dreamt a friend called, a dear friend. He was crying and his voice was all wrong. He said he was glad I was there for the interview, because it was really upsetting him and he'd broken the door and hurt the gerbils. But I wasn't there, and I couldn't help from so far away. I couldn't do anything.
The worst of these nightmares was many years ago. I was held in a concrete basement, eyes propped open, bound to a chair. For hours I was held and forced to watch a film reel of the horrific murder of dozens of people, one after another, and I knew that it was my fault, I had caused it, I had done nothing and they were dead and it was all mine. That was more than 20 years ago and it is still vivid enough to bring tears to my eyes.
I saw a therapist after that one. She excused my poor psyche and told me these dreams were about my sense of responsibility. I don't remember anything else she told me about them. All I know is sometimes I wake up feeling like I have failed someone, that I could have, should have done better. And I carry that feeling with me through my days and nights, even when I don't have those dreams.