The DreamEli 7.0 has been having nightmares.
He doesn't want to talk about them, because they're scary. I want to know about them, though, so that it helps me understand what makes me afraid.
"How'd you sleep last night, little man?" I asked him a few minutes ago.
"TERRIBLE," he said. "I had a nightmare and couldn't go back to sleep."
"Really?" I asked. "I have nightmares sometimes, but not very often."
"What are they about?" he asked.
"Stuff happening to you guys," I said. "Like accidents. Do you dream about accidents?"
"Natural disaster accidents," he said.
"Natural disasters? What kind?"
"Volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes," he said. "One time, I dreamed that I fell into an earthquake when the ground opened up, and another time I dreamed that I fell INTO a volcano and got burned up."
"Let's see," I said. "I can promise you that there is absolutely zero chance of there ever being a volcano, earthquake, or hurricane here."
"What about a tornado?"
"A tiny, tiny chance."
"Last night, I had my scariest dream EVER," he said.
"What was it?" I asked.
"Do I have to tell you EVERYTHING?" he asked. This is his standard line when we're trying to find out about his dreams, and his eyes usually water a little when he says this.
"No, not at all," I said. "I'm just curious. I'm not seven anymore, and all I remember about my nightmares is that I dreamed about Frankenstein."
"You dreamed about FRANKENSTEIN?"
"Yes," I said. "He was about the only thing that scared me. So I'm curious about what's in your nightmares, because I can't be seven anymore. I can't go back."
"Well," he said, pausing for a moment, "I dreamed about about two men who had a duel. The first man was killed by the second man, and because he died in a duel, his spirit couldn't go into the afterlife, so he became a ghost. The ghost of the first man challenged the second man to another duel, and the ghost killed him."
"So did the first ghost go to the afterlife after he killed the man?" I asked.
"No," he said. "They were both trapped. So the second ghost turned into a monster and ATE the first ghost, and when he did, he gave an evil laugh that made me jump two feet off my bed."
I was totally shocked, because for years, I've occasionally had dreams that had a complete narrative and full dramatic structure, like stories writing themselves. They're wonderful experiences, very overwhelming at times, but it never crossed my mind that Eli would be able to do it, too.
Clearly, though, he can.