squid's Dream Journal

These are particularly interesting / coherent dreams that I wrote a lot about or drew stuff for, so I can highlight them better and avoid cluttering up the regular log. (Some of these are edited versions of my submissions to Bogleech's Nightmare Menagerie.)

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AI Director

Date: 2022-09-04

Setup is a time loop murder mystery video game. The main character is a young woman, who tries to solve an acquaintance's murder while experiencing the same day over and over. (The dream was from the perspective of said MC, even though there was a separate person playing the video game and controlling her from outside the game universe. From MC's perspective, the player was giving her guidance or suggestions or something like that.)

The game has an extremely robust AI system; the NPCs' lives during each loop are all fully simulated, and they react to MC's actions in each loop in dynamic and unique ways. MC has to track these NPCs down and interview them repeatedly, to get a better picture of the victim's life and who might have wanted her dead. The gameplay is fun, but the writing is kind of strange. All of the important NPCs are men, for some reason. It's unclear why MC is even involved in the plot, since she barely knows the victim, and her motivations aren't established at all.

After a few loops, one NPC begins to stand out to the player - a bearded man who seems to hate the victim, and has really complex AI behaviour that doesn't seem to depend on her actions. The player suspects that he's also looping through the story somehow and trying to hinder MC's investigations, and moves to confront him.

The game goes into a loading screen as a new loop starts. The loading screen tip is read out loud by the bearded man - then he continues talking and explains the strange events that have occurred so far: The game's AI director, who controls all the NPCs, fell in love with the MC. But since she was just a background character under his own control, he couldn't meaningfully interact with her. So he restructured the entire game to set her up as the main character, putting her under the player's control so she would act independently of him. The bearded man is merely a mouthpiece/pawn that the AI director had leaned on a little too much, leading to his suspicious behaviour.

The "murder" and "time loop" were both concocted by this AI director, to force the MC to interact with the NPCs he controls. In fact, the player was never meant to solve the murder - the AI director had planned to string them along with bits of backstory and red herrings for as long as he could, to maximize his time with the MC. But since the player had learned too much, the game had to stop. MC remains stuck in the loading screen, horrified, as she realizes there's nothing she can do to oppose the AI director.

Wild Onion Soups

dream illustration; click to expand

Date: 2022-08-24

I was a guest in a fancy mansion. While waiting [for dinner to be served?], I wandered into the kitchen and picked up an aluminum can, roughly reproduced above.

It was squat and had a blue and white gradient label wrapped around it, more like a can of preserved fruit than soup. The label read "Wild Onion Soups" above a picture of some raw onions, and in the bottom right was a small warning reading "CAUTION: POISONOUS. DO NOT CONSUME". It also had [a red logo in the top left, which was hilarious in some way?] and an expiration date on the back (it was still good).

I was immediately convinced that this was the funniest object I'd ever seen in my life, and desperately tried to wake up and write this down in my dream journal so I could tell all my friends about this incredible soup. This sent me into a loop of ~5 false awakenings before I actually opened my eyes for real and wrote this down. Honestly I don't even know if this is all that notable, but I'm fulfilling the prophecy, I guess.

Balloon Ghost

dream illustration; click to expand

MC was a kid who was friends with something called a "balloon ghost", which had gotten into their house after possessing the family car's airbag. The ghost was a perfectly tangible 10-year-old boy, but everything except the front half of his head and neck was invisible, so if he didn't wear any clothes he would look like a floating mask. The visible parts were completely bleach-white, including the skin and hair. His eye sockets were empty voids and his only actual eye was where his mouth should be.

The ghost could, at will, make a person's eyeballs roll backwards into their head and out of their mouth, which would kill them instantly. MC thought this was extremely cool, and the ghost mostly did this in order to show off to them.

The plot of the dream was initially about MC disguising the ghost as a human friend so their parents would let him go on a road trip with them. Later it turned into a zombie apocalypse where the ghost helped MC survive by killing zombies.

Decapitation Monsters

I was playing a "decapitation-themed" monster collecting video game. I only remember a couple of monsters, though.

One was a stereotypical black and white milk cow, but instead of a real head it had a cow head-shaped glass jar full of milk, attached to the neck by the lid. The cow appeared in a cutesy farming town area, vaguely reminiscent of Animal Crossing. It would wander around the town, examining any real cow it came across. If it saw a cow that didn't produce milk, or a human NPC being affectionate toward any animal but a milk-producing cow, it would fly into a rage and slowly shuffle toward the NPC in question while an incredible sense of foreboding built in the back of my head. Then the NPC would be gone, and the mayor character would quietly hire a new NPC to replace them.

The other monster was a humanoid figure that appeared to be woven out of squishy, bright red fibers like arteries. It was very intricate and detailed, but it had no head; instead, its neck just ended in a bundle of frayed fibers. [I don't remember the context, but I wrote "had to pretend it was a regular human and nothing was wrong until it left" in my old dream journal under this monster's description.]

A Perfectly Normal Octopus

dream illustration; click to expand

I was part of a video game adventuring party, and we were journeying into an underwater theatre to retrieve a treasure. I found a treasure chest behind the stage and opened it, but instead of treasure, there was an alligator head inside with a comically smug expression [and tentacles?].

The rest of the party immediately identified it as an octopus, and warned me to be cautious because octopuses are always carrying guns. They backed up to a safe distance, lit some bombs, and threw it at the "octopus"; it just sat there and let the bombs fall in its mouth.

When the bombs exploded, the octopus transformed. Its new form was translucent purple with a dull yellow glow, kind of like Malamar's color scheme. It had the general shape of a quadrupedal mammal though definitely with more than four legs; I don't remember the exact arrangement, but some of them didn't reach all the way down to the ground, and all of them just tapered to a point instead of ending in feet. It had a long neck and no tail. Although the rest of its body was unpleasantly rubbery and lumpy, its head was perfectly spherical, with a jagged cartoony mouth and two little cones like cat ears sitting on top.

It did at this point produce a gun and start shooting at us (I have no idea how it operated the weapon without any hands; the dream was unclear on that point). We fought it for a while, then someone threw a bomb into its mouth and decapitated it with the explosion. Later on the severed head (which could now talk) turned into an optional party member you could pick up and carry with you.


I was in a shopping mall when a bunch of robbers with guns marched in and took everyone hostage. A few birds and small animals were perched on the shelves, but nobody paid them any mind. I needed to go to the bathroom, so I asked one of the robbers if I could leave the room; he begrudgingly agreed, but said he would go into the bathroom with me to make sure I didn't try to escape.

When the robber opened the bathroom door, on the other side was a huge opulent room done up in white and gold tile, where most of the floor space was taken up by a rectangular swimming pool. There were no stalls or toilets, but there was a shower area off to the side of the pool where I could relieve myself. Since the robber didn't want to watch me take my pants off and there weren't any windows I could escape from anyway, he let me go into the room alone and told me to make it quick.

For some reason I decided to jump into the pool fully clothed. When I opened my eyes underwater, there was a [manatee? walrus?] in front of me that definitely wasn't there before. I surfaced, and now the entire room was filled to the brim with animals - elephants and monkeys and macaws lined the edges of the pool, all watching me intently. A mermaid girl in a shimmery blue dress swam up to me from somewhere in the pool, took my hand, and said a single word: "run."

I climbed out of the pool and sprinted for the door. The room had changed into a long corridor with the door on the far end, still lined with animals on both sides, watching as I passed. I went through the door and was outside, instead of being back in the mall with the robbers.

I looked back to see that the mermaid was still holding my hand, but now she was a human with normal legs. She handed me something, and then I woke up to my phone buzzing in my hand in real life.

Red Salt

MC was a kid who lived in a small village that had been rebuilt after an unspecified apocalyptic event. Their mom was an explorer who was often away with some other adults from the town on long organized trips to a place called Redtown to gather "red salt", a substance that was extremely important to the village for unspecified reasons. One of MC's friends got them a little jar of red salt, which turned out to be a translucent dark red material with the consistency of molasses. When their mom caught them playing with it, she was furious and took it away, telling them it was dangerous.

MC managed to get on a train to Redtown with a bunch of other village kids. The train was something from before the apocalyptic event that had been restored to working order, and as it ran the windows turned into screens and played a promotional video about Redtown, showing it as this idyllic farming town with rolling fields of wheat.

Once the train arrived, the windows went back to normal, and on the other side was a train station full of shriveled, mummy-like corpses, sitting or sprawled across the benches, all of them oozing red salt from every orifice. Dream logic told me that the adults had been coming here to harvest red salt from these corpses, using a method to stimulate salt production that would basically make a corpse explode into a flood of the stuff. The reason each trip took so long even though Redtown was pretty close to the village was that they then had to contain the flood, or it would threaten to creep into the village and drown it too.

Unfortunately dream-me didn't appreciate how cool this reveal was, and the dream meandered on to other unrelated stuff from there.

Hospital Worm

I was working as an intern at a hospital. Along with a doctor and another intern, I had to go into a hallway maze in the depths of the hospital. The place looked a lot like the plank maze from Awful Hospital except the walls were lined with lockers, and occasionally doors to unused, dusty rooms. The doctor walked ahead of us and told us there was a monster around, but as long as we were careful we could avoid it.

As they walked past one locker in particular, it bumped open and... I'm honestly not sure what happened at this point but next thing I knew both the doctor and the other intern were just gone, and in front of me was this green plush worm about one and a half times as long as I was tall, which I got the impression had eaten the two of them somehow. Both of its ends were tapered to a point and a rough seam ran down its body, like someone had slapped two pieces of fabric together to make a novelty green bean plush. It floated in the air and writhed like a wacky inflatable tube man or a 3D model stuck in a wall, and this motion somehow propelled it away from me as it escaped into the maze.

Instead of being scared or uncertain like I probably would have in real life, I was immediately filled with a righteous fury and sprinted after the worm. I suddenly knew that the worm could control the layout of the maze, and if I let it out of my sight I would never find it again. The worm knew it too, and tried to steer me into a darker, deeper part of the maze, but I whipped out my phone flashlight and kept running. Eventually I managed to grab the worm and ran for the exit. It continued to writhe and shift the maze in my arms, but by running toward the brighter areas where it had less control, I made it back out into the hospital proper.

As soon as the first person from outside the maze laid eyes on the worm it exploded into rainbow cotton stuffing. A nurse came over to congratulate me on my excellent work, saying that the stuffing was actually the two people who had been eaten, but now that I'd gotten them out of the maze they would recover soon.

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