Between 60 and 75 percent of adults have recurrent dreams. One theme that recurs in my dreams is having a basement infested with the undead.
The first time I had such a dream, maybe a few years ago, I dreamed that my house sat upon an old labyrthinth of winding tunnels consisting of concrete walls set on an earthen floor. I love exploring new spaces, including buildings, so naturally I wanted to explore these passages. If I wandered too far from the main area, however, I would be approached by shambling zombies. I would pull out a pistol and shoot a few, then retreat from the basement.
In that first dream, I think I had to enter a specific area before the zombies showed up, but in later dreams, in which the tunnels were more like sprawling, unfinished basements with half-built walls of two-by-fours and drywall, I didn't have to go very far from the stairway landing before attracting the undead. The results were always the same: I went down to explore the basement, zombies showed up, I'd shoot a few, then flee the basement. The zombies never climbed the stairs.
This morning I had another one of these dreams. In this dream we were rennovating our house. Because of the rennovations I somehow expected that the zombie-generating phenomenon would be disrupted. I also had a new Smith & Wesson pistol I wanted to try out.
As I made my way down the stairs, which initially were a wide spiral staircase, I slipped down a few steps and ended up with both my legs stuck between steps. In a panic I called for my wife, but by the time she reached me I had managed to pull myself up.
Seeing that I was headed for the basement with my gun drawn, my wife stepped out onto the next floor down and put on a DVD to drown out the expected sounds of gunfire, then she went back to the next floor up to resume her task of sanding mudded drywall.
Being momentarily stuck helpless had rattled my nerves, so I gave the slide of my gun a pull to make sure I had a round chambered. Apparently I had already done so, as an unspent round was ejected. I picked up the round from the floor and pocketed it before continuing down the stairs, which were then a switchback rectangle instead of spiraling.
The final staircase was exposed to an open area, with a large room to the left. As soon as I reached the landing, the undead entered that room and began to approach me. The first one was dressed like an early 20th Century European adolescent immigrant, with pale skin and blackened circles around his eyes. Not far behind him was a pale woman with dark hair.
I warned them to stay back or I'd shoot, but they didn't even slow their approach. I then fired at the first apparition. I couldn't see any sign of my shots having affected him, so I immediately ran back up the stairs. It looked like I was being followed up at least the first flight as I turned to fire back a few times. I discharged at least half a dozen rounds.
Then I woke up, hot, and my heart was racing.