Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Blind Tiger Dream

I live in an orphanage. This is not uncommon for me in dreams, and, contrary to the stereotypical idea of an orphanage, I’m pretty well-cared for. We’re even going to have a huge Halloween feast. And there’s a ton of beautiful food set out on a table in the middle of a room with lace curtains and huge windows which look out into the autumn forest beyond the lawn. It’d dark outside, and the waning moon is just a sliver in the sky, framed by a ring of fog that makes the light travel in an eerie manner.

Before the feast begins, I hear word that a psychopathic killer from the nearby mental ward has escaped into the woods outside. I know exactly who it is, as I killed him once in a dream I had many months ago. He is the only person I’ve ever felt the need to kill out of spite, and I know that I my friends are in danger.

Sure enough, a note appears on the foggy window outside my sister’s room: “The game is on. You’re next.”

We call the police. They don’t take the message seriously. So we take matters into our own hands: Mary and I gear up and prepare to fight for our lives, but a friend steps in to help. Tyler is armed with brass knuckles, and inspires one of Mary’s friends to join the gang, as well. I am, as usual, armed with nothing but a hardwood staff fashioned from a broomstick I’ve found in a closet. Weapons are not encouraged in the orphanage for obvious reasons, so we must be creative.

With that, I grab a bit of food from the feast table, abandoned by the others who have gone to hide in their rooms, and we trudge off into the fog-heavy woods.

The path is lined with gravel, which crunches in the cold air beneath our feet. The moon casts a silvery glow which turns orange when it filters through the fall leaves of the trees overhead. I feel chilly, but there is a warmth in my chest borne of anticipation and a readiness to fight. I want to end this man; and this time, I want to do it right. But I don’t want to kill him –I merely want to leave him unable to harm any more of the people I care for.

The problem is, this man is no normal man. He is a shape shifter, and can make himself appear crippled when he is not, frail when he is strong, and old when he is in fact quite young. I underestimated him when he murdered my friend Grizzly Bear; I thought I’d killed him by driving an ice pick through his tear duct, but I guess I was wrong. This time, I would mangle him far worse. He wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone once I was through with him.

Tyler, walking slightly ahead of me, suddenly stopped and held his arm out to keep me from taking another step forward. There was something ahead of us on the trail, laying in a heap beneath a clearing in the treetops so that the moon shone down on it to reveal fur, and stripes, and heavy body that appeared lifeless.

I pushed Tyler aside and walked toward the motionless tiger. Everyone else remained a fair distance behind, apparently safe with the idea of fighting a murderer, but not okay with the idea of fighting a wild animal which appeared dead to begin with.

I leaned down to see the big cat’s face, and with a sudden growl, it lifted its head and started directly at me with two blind eyes.

Before I could move, it lunged past me and leapt at Tyler, but I lifted the broomstick over my head and brought it crashing down onto the big cat’s spine. It let out a snarl and fall limp at my feet.

I was about to let out a sigh of relief, when another, bigger tiger lunged at us from the hillside to our left. I faced him with the broomstick at the ready, and felt his warm breath reach me, even from several feet away. The swatted, testing my reflexes, and I blocked his massive paw with my staff. I told him in my mind, “I don’t want to fight you. I didn’t want to fight your friend. We’re not here for you; we’re here for a man-killer.”

And the tiger lowered his head as I relaxed my grip on the broomstick. He walked past me to nudge his blind comrade, and, much to my surprise, the blind tiger lifted himself off the ground and walked away with the other, seemingly unharmed aside from a mild limp. He paused just for a moment to look back at me with his big blind eyes, and they glowed pale blue in the moonlight. I was glad that I hadn’t killed him.

Further into the forest, we encountered an old man. I thought, for a moment, it might have been the killer, so I questioned him and threatened him. But he was not the snide, sarcastic, defensive old man our target disguised himself as. On the contrary, this old man was most helpful: He told us that there was an old RV abandoned in the woods not far from there we were headed. He’d seen a light on in there, which he’d never seen before the murderer’s escape. We followed this lead deeper into the forest, and soon found the RV the old man had been talking about.

Sure enough, there was a light on.

I was about to advance toward it and bash down the door, but a sound from the treeline behind me made me turn around. The killer, now disguised as a middle-aged businessman in a gray suit jacket which and been torn and tattered by the woods, was standing behind me, looking somewhat confused. He saw me and froze for a split second, giving me the opportunity to charge at him. But he pulled out a series of small pointed wooden dowels from within his suit jacket and grinned. He held up the strange little weapons for me to see before throwing one at me, knocking the broomstick staff cleanly out of my hands. I looked around for a solid stick instead, but there were none that were sturdy enough. I found one that seemed to be strangest, and lunged at the man, hitting him across the chest with the stick.

But the stick merely bent and snapped. However, it was enough force to cause the murder to lose focus for a moment, and I grabbed both his hands so that he could no throw any more of the strange wooden dowels at me. I grabbed one, and, just as I had with the ice pick months beforehand, I stabbed the pointed end into the inside corner of his left eye. He laughed as I did it, and this angered me, so I took a stab at his throat to make him silent. But the stick would not penetrate his skin, so Tyler stepped in and decked him hard upside the head with his brass knuckles. The man fell back with a grin on his face, blood seeping slowly from the corner of his eye.

I retrieved my broomstick and hit the man hard across both knees so that he could not walk, and we left him there in the woods, hoping that the tigers would find him before the cops did.

Back at the orphanage, the fanfare over the psychopathic murderer’s escape had died down. We told no one of what we had done or where we had been. We merely joined the feast and then went our own ways, but a short while later, I noticed an old beat-up RV in the parking lot…

Wasting no time, I called the police and told them once again that we had a problem. They laughed and said there was no way the murder could have survived in the woods; the RV outside was probably someone visiting the orphanage, and was nothing to get concerned over.

But I recognized the RV. It was, without a doubt, the killer’s, and I was not about to let him sit out there and taunt me.

However, before I could do anything about the situation, I awoke to the sound of my alarm, and as soon as I opened my eyes, I could feel the pain from my migraine wash over me. There was no way I’d be able to make it through class. I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep.

The dream had changed.

I was now standing beside a creek at the Oregon Country Fair, except it was not summertime, and the people gathered around me were not peaceful hippies. This seemed to be more like a renaissance festival, and I was somehow coerced into fighting with my broomstick staff against some of the best fencers out there. But, true to form, I never lose a fight in my dreams, so even though it was tiring and painful, and I had no idea what I was doing, I beat up everyone who dared to fight me. When it was over, I didn’t claim my trophy; I wandered off to be alone by the creek for a while.

But the creek had changed to a river, which widened into an ocean. I’ve dreamed of this ocean before; it looks like the ocean in Cayman, except that the coastline is not flat and sandy; it is rocky and jagged like the Oregon coast, and dotted with tiny islands connected by a network of sandbars which one can walk across barefoot, though they appear to be sitting in deep ocean water.

At a point in the coastline, there is a cove which hides the very top of an old mansion with a lighthouse perched atop the roof. I walked over to this mansion to find that it was abandoned, and let myself in through a broken window. Everything within is beautifully decorated with deep red velvety colors and dark hardwood floors. There are boxes of personal belongings stacked all over the place, and a wood stove fireplace in one corner. Outside, overlooking the coast, is a hammock made from the same deep red velvet that accents the rest of the room.

I hear a thud come from the lighthouse portion of the house.

Upon investigation, I discover that the stairs leading up to the top of the light house also lead down into the depths of the house. This is where the thudding sounds are coming from. Curious, I follow the sounds into a basement full of more boxes, and sense the presence of someone familiar here.

Amid the boxes, in the dark room, I can eventually make out the outline of a man in a suit jacket. He is swinging from a rope around his neck, and each time he swings back, his boots strike an empty box behind him, producing a thudding sound. He appears dead, but I know better than to believe this. Instead, I tell myself that I have dealt with him enough for one day, and bring myself to a state of wakefulness, though I know that the pain from my migraine will probably be worse than the pain I may experience if I allowed the dream to continue. It’s time to take some meds anyhow.

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