Illustration for article titled Pretty In Pleiades

I bought a Subaru SVX and the nightmares finally ended. My nights were restful, free of my demons. But it wasn’t just nightmares I had lost. I had lost my dreams, too. I would awaken in the morning, shake my cup of coffee gently from side to side while listening to coworkers tell me about their dreams. There was no dark narrative for me to unfold, no dream for me to follow, no long-buried ambition or secret love that would come to my confused mind during its rest.

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I told my buddy about it while I was busy wrenching on the SVX, and he suggested that I start keeping a dream journal. Maybe the act of remembering it for a task would make me remember my dreams, he thought. I figured it was worth a shot, so I kept a little notebook next to the bed.

But still, when I awoke, there was nothing to write in the notebook. I began to worry about it. Eventually the worry became worse, graduating into paranoid insomnia. One night, I simply got up and walked from my bed, downstairs, into the garage, where the SVX awaited. Its dome light was on. That’s weird, I thought, because I am pretty sure I fixed that dicky door switch. I opened the door to re-shut it, and then decided against my better instincts to get in for a late night drive.

The LCD gauges quivered with anticipation, but their response rate seemed slow today. Some kind of electrical fault, perhaps, related to the dome light? Up until this point, the most eerie thing the SVX had done is be a 20 year old Subaru with no interior rattles. I drove through a winding series of forested roads, heading for the cabin I often used for a dramatic photographic backdrop in used-car ads.

That’s weird, I thought. There used to be stars here.

I parked on the edge of the cliff, lit only by the moon and the xenon-retrofit headlights of the SVX. I sat on the front bumper, for a long time, chilled in the still night air. The sky was completely, resolutely black, with nothing in the firmament but the full moon, looming larger than I ever thought possible.

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I got back into the SVX and kept driving, faster this time. I had to get away from whatever was doing this. I thought, foolishly, that the cabin was involved. It was a creepy old derelict outhouse of a place, the sill plates rotten and the floor joists starting to sag under the decades of off-kilter load and ravenous carpenter ants. I hummed along to the sound of the six-cylinder racing to redline as I attacked apex after apex on the winding cliffside road on the way home.

It was then that I saw it. A deer, in the headlights. I came to a stark stop, the four-piston front binders and street-grade semislicks fighting my attempts to compensate for the road crown. I could smell tire and brake pad, and put my emergency lights on to warn anyone approaching on this abandoned backroad at this time of night.

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The buck didn’t move. I guess you could say it stopped there.

I locked eyes with it, and it stared back, reaching into my subconscious, a primal fear of nature, the dark. Something beyond the both of us was controlling us on this night, meant for us to meet like this.

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As soon as it had appeared, the strange deer bellowed and disappeared into the low mist.

When I arrived home, it seemed as if only minutes had passed. I dreamed that night, and every night since, but the dreams were about rev limiters, antilag and twin-supercharged Detroit Diesels. The strange obsessions of a madman, I thought.

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