I had a dream once when I was around eight or nine years old that has not escaped my memory. In my dream, I am running from a tiger through tall grasses. It must have been in India. I cannot see anything before me but grass, nothing above be but grass; and when I look behind, there is the tiger, running on the path my legs have made through the grass. The chase lasts a while–I am sometimes a fast runner in my dreams–and eventually I reach the shore of some beach. The sand is dark, wet and very cold on my bare feet, and the water looks black. There is mist rising, ecumulating into heavy cloads that block out the sun. Is there a sun? To my left is a cliff of black rock blocking the rest of the beach from my view, with precipitation running down its sharp edges like it is bleeding. To my right, a vague forboding swamp which I suspect is a breeding ground for leeches. I only step toward the unsettled water ahead of me when I hear the approaching crashes of the tiger. I somehow miss the presence of the bright grass behind me, hiding me from the black water and gray sky and my own ghost-white skin. The breath inside me is cold. Though the predator approaches, I don’t go into the water; I know there is a drop-off just a few meters out. I sink my toes in the sand, frozen with terror and cold. I don’t know where to go. Suddenly and gracefully, a large mass of something rises beneath the inky water, causing the thick skin to rise like a bubble of slime. A dark green, somewhat scaly back pierces through and a large “V” forms as it comes to me. A sea-monster, I know; nothing else could be expected. As it emerges, I am met by a mouthful of teeth, open wide from the great fish that looks like the ones that live in deep oceans that lure their pray with a light above their heads. The gaping mouth waits. Somehow, I am not scared. Only the tiger scares me, and it has now emerged from the grass and is pacing on the sand behind me. I don’t know why it seems like so much time has passed since I myself emerged from the grass. Now I am faced with death both before me and behind with no where to run, but I am suddenly and simultaneously aware that this is a dream. I cannot wake myself up; at eight or nine I have not yet mastered that art. I can only return to reality through death in the dream world. That makes things easier–knowing I must die. I am energized knowing there is escape. Choosing the less painful end, I plunge myself headlong into the gaping mouth of the waiting sea monster. I am immediately ungulfed in blackness for only a moment, swallowed in the inky aloneness. I cannot breath in the transition from sleep to wakefullness. My body hurts and there is a terror in my stomach. The transition lasts only a few seconds and then I find myself awake in my own bed. I am left with a strange feeling like I have done something wrong. I knew I was dreaming, didn’t I? I would not have chosen self-destruction if I had thought it was real, right? I would have stayed, I was certain, and bravely faced being gored to death by the vicious cat. All the same, I could not help feeling as though I had just played the coward, dream though it was. I want someday for that tiger to return to my dreams. I am older now, and I think I am ready to face him. How culpible are you for the choices you make in your dreams? I still don’t know.
Dreams are peculiar concepts. Strange-tasting food for deep thought–hard to swallow…I hope you enjoyed my crazy dream! If you did, please follow my blog for more creative writing!
Thank you for reading 🙂