I split the difference on today’s dream, gang. I had a really unsettling one that I decided would throw this Dream Diary feature all out of whack if I shared it this early, and I also have one from when I was about eight years old that’s only a little weird and spooky.

Here’s a nightmare from the middle ground.

It’s the end of the world. Most of Earth is deserted, dead. I remember seeing cars parked in — or maybe wrecks littering? — the field in a football stadium. Now I am on a ruined city street: looters sporadically pierce the silence, both alone and in small groups. Scott is with me, and I’m furious that these scavengers are all that’s left of humanity.

We come upon a man breaking the window of an electronics store. He’s going to steal a television, even though there hasn’t been signal in months. I try to get in front of him as he pushes past me, to clothesline him, but I’m weak, powerless. I can’t lift my arms. I can’t open my eyes fully.

The scene changes. I’ve been unconscious, and now wake. Have I been kidnapped? I lie diagonal on the floor of some white box apartment. In the room, there juts the lip of an extended windowsill, coming out of the wall, more than a couple feet wide. Reclining on this lip is a girl who looks a little like Linda Blair from The Exorcist, in the same white nightdress, about the same age. She hisses at me, open-mouthed, like a cat. I cannot stand up or move. I blink to look away, to will myself out of this room.

The scene doesn’t change. I’m still lying on the carpeted floor. In a far corner now, I see light dancing — a TV on, perhaps a small fire in the room. Then I notice the girl has changed. Now she is this shrieking, white-haired thing with pinhole eyes and the wrinkles and complexion of a bleached, dried apple doll. She stares and stares, mouth agape. I force myself awake.