Last night I slept fitfully. At least I think I did. I cannot tell how many times I woke up, or if I even woke up at all, as each time I woke I found myself still in a dream, and each time I fell back to sleep, the dream continued. Except it wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare.
The setting was a familiar one. We were at the park down the street from my home, taking a walk around the lake. Only it was not light, fun, and carefree as our walks there usually are. Everything was dark. The water, the sky, and shadows so dark you couldn’t see through them. I had a feeling of great urgency; something bad was going to happen. I began to rush Aaron and the kids; we need to get out of here. Next thing I knew everything else faded and tigers, lions, and other wild animals were hunting me. All chasing me. Threatening to take my life. Slowly. Painfully. I ran, but as in most of my nightmares, my legs were of lead and would not carry me fast enough to get away.
Before I was caught I awoke. Only, I awoke to find myself in the exact same setting. Walking around the lake. It was still dark and eerie, but no beasts were to be seen. I wasn’t fooled. I knew the dream was for a reason, I knew it was a sign of something terrible to come. I warned my family, I warned anyone around. I panicked, I screamed, I begged for any and all to follow. They told me to relax, don’t worry. It was just a bad dream. Can they not see the dark sky? Can they not see the waters, the shadows that seem to swallow all that is near them? I thought to myself, still convinced something was coming, not sure why I was the only one who could see it. Sure enough, it was but a few moments before I saw it not 50 yards away… A mother grizzly. With her cub. She was angry; she gnashed her teeth and threw her front paws up so high she’d have towered over a giant. Her sharp claws promising destruction over anything they’d come in contact with. Her cub, which was the size of an adult black bear, simply moseyed about, as though he were completely unaware of the violence at hand. For some reason I took note of these things before running, screaming, gathering any I could, yelling to flee. I frightened the people, but they did not follow me. It took me a moment to realize it, but the bear was after me.
Again I awoke. Or maybe I didn’t. Again I dozed back to sleep. Or maybe I didn’t. Either way, the dream continued. For the third time, I found myself in the same place. Everything the same, but no grizzly. No cub. I knew it was real, I knew they were out there. I asked some people fishing, Aren’t you afraid of the bear? Shouldn’t we stay away from here? It hasn’t been that long. It’s sure to be back soon. They told me my fears were irrational. They told me to relax. The bear was gone; there was nothing to fear. It was as though they completely forgot the terror that had just occurred. Out of sight. Out of mind. I was confused. Angry. Terrified. Why was I the only one concerned? It started to occur to me that perhaps the bear was gone for good. But something else was out there. Something much, much worse. It was then that I realized I had never woken but in my dream. My nightmare. And I didn’t know how to get out.
I don’t remember much else but the continued blur of panicked feelings of being hunted as monster after monster threatened me. I finally awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning. Afraid to go back to sleep. Afraid of the darkness. The beasts were unseen, but they were still there. I could feel them.