The Shadow Over Ian’s Mouth
You know that dream where you lose all your teeth?
For me, it’s a recurring dream. I had it last night, in fact.
I was treading water in the ocean completely naked, and something brushed past my toes. A boneless, clammy thing. It was waiting for me to sink. It wanted something from me.
I floundered; I couldn’t breathe. I opened my mouth and inhaled water. Then it extended slimy appendages down my throat and yanked out my teeth.
When I awoke from the dream, I immediately felt around inside my mouth.
That’s when I realized I had no nails.
Anonychia is a condition where you’re born without nails on your hands and/or feet. In this story, a Lovecraftian horror from Ian’s dreams is the cause of his anonychia. It’s a classic bait-and-switch: he thought it wanted his teeth, but really it was after his nails.
The title is a really bad pun on a classic H. P. Lovecraft story, The Shadow over Innsmouth. If you haven’t read it (and really, you should!), it involves a race of half-human, half-amphibian monsters called the Deep Ones. I like to think that the thing in my story might be one of these nasty fellows, but who’s to say for sure?
On the subject of dreaming, I don’t really have recurring dreams. I do dream about zombies at least once a month, but it’s a different dream each time. I’ve been told that dreams about losing your teeth are somewhat common, but I’ve never had one. Maybe we have such good dental care nowadays that this once-common nightmare is going the way of the dinosaurs.
That is, it’s slowly turning into birds.
Do you ever have recurring dreams? Have you ever dreamed about losing your teeth, or your nails, for that matter?