I dream of predators more often than I dream of anything else. Recurring dreams, too; not just once or twice. Consistently, repeatedly, repetitively. My dreams like to remind me that no matter how far I think I've come there's still a small child inside me that is afraid of the monster under the bed.
No matter how many years I've trained myself to use that damn baseball bat.
Wolves show up a lot; so do coyotes. The predators change but the game remains the same: save the innocent. Sacrifice myself if I must, but the innocent ones are the ones whom I must protect at all times.
Freud would be bored with my dreams, they're so obvious. When I was younger and we moved from New Hampshire to Southern California we didn't know that we were supposed to bring our five cats in at night, that coyotes would come down into our backyards and snatch our furry little family members away. We learned the hard way as cat after cat disappeared, and I still dream at night that whole droves of coyotes are making their way down our old backyard slope and there's my cat, my orange cat Motley, who was the first to die, and he's scared and I'm trying to get him into the house as the coyotes are closing in. I can never move fast enough to get him inside, but thankfully, mercifully, sometimes I wake up before the coyotes get to him.
Last night in my dreams we were trying to decorate the house for Christmas, but a huge pack of wolves surrounded our house as a circle and attacked anyone who tried to put up any decorations. I clamped down a wolf's jaws as it struggled while someone hung Christmas lights off the roof and it snapped at me in vain as the red and green lights reflected in its hungry yellow eyes.
You have to admit, it's kinda funny.
He shows up more than anyone else, though. I know this game well; I've had this dream over 20 times. It's a house, sometimes one I've lived in, sometimes not. Friends and family are scattered all over, their bodies still warm in a pool of their own blood. I was unable to protect them. He moves through the house with a gun, always a gun because I do not like guns and no one is bulletproof anyways. There's one last person I have a chance to save, and she is scared and hiding and it is my responsibility to make sure she lives and that she's okay.
I find her, my mother, hiding under a staircase or in the back closet of a room, and I hold her and tell her it's going to be okay, and then he arrives and guns her down in front of me and I have failed. I wake up and life goes on and I try to eat breakfast and shake off the heaviness and I call my mother just to hear her voice and I have holes in my shoes so that I can pay to tell my therapist what I already know, what I will never be ready to hear, that there will always be those wounds inside no matter how much I dress them up as sardonic barbs or clever machines. There is only so much I can heal but my dreams will not change their relentless march through my head.
What dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause.
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