It Was All a Bad, Bad, Bad Dream

The fiction continues.

***

I wake up in my bed. Everything feels normal enough. Too bad that was just a dream. It figures that, even in my dreams, I can never make it with Jaycelyn. Ah well.

I get up, and I immediately notice that there’s no power in my house. My clock radio is dead, so I get up and fruitlessly try flicking on the light, turning on my computer, charging my phone, nothing. “Power’s out, huh?” I yell down the stairs. No answer from my roommates. What? I look out the window.

I see a landscape that certainly isn’t Toronto. It’s lush and green. There are huge, huge trees with trunks triple my height, all bearing huge leaves that I could probably use as a blanket due to their size. I hear some squawking and see a toucan flying by. I’ve never seen one up close! I want to snap a picture but I remember my phone is dead.

No matter. I see this every day. I suddenly remember that I had enough money to build a house in the middle of a rainforest, at least in a part that had already been deforested so I didn’t have to worry about displacing animals. A couple of my good friends moved in with me.

Electricity is a little spotty, but I survive.

No, wait… don’t I… I rub my head for a moment. Never mind.

I go through my closet and try to find my best gear for the current climate. I throw on pair of khaki pants and a matching-coloured shirt, and then throw a poncho over that. I know rainforests have fairly unpredictable weather patterns. So while it looks sunny now, it very well could get worse later.

In my backpack I pack a machete, some water, some non-perishable food and a map. I take out the map at the last moment because, for some reason, I can’t read the language. Was it English? No idea.

I head out the door and immediately realize I’ve stepped into mud. It must have rained last night. I sigh and move on. I need to go and gather some fruit, since our house is low on it right now. I remember that there’s a tree full of dragonfruit about a fifteen-minute walk from my house, so I walk along the path, trying to be as alert as possible should anything go wrong.

I hear a shriek, and I immediately hang on tightly to my backpack straps. I recognize the sound. A great furry-faced howler monkey jumps out of a tree. I stay as still as possible, hoping to not enrage it. It hangs on a branch for a moment before leaping to a tree past me. I breathe a sigh of relief as I continue along.

Off in the distance, I see a tree far taller than the rest. It’s like comparing Mount Everest to Mount Kilimanjaro. And then I see something. By the tree, I see a swish of red cloth going behind the giant tree. It was just like the red cloth in the dream I had! Only I can see a little more of it. It seems to be part of a robe. In other words, this isn’t just a random bit of cloth. There might be an actual person here.

I run as fast as I can, but once I’m within earshot of the tree. I hear a rustling. I slow down, knowing that the robed figure must have heard me coming and ran off. This is seriously messing me up right now. How could something I saw in my dream have appeared in the real world?

I decide that I have more pressing things to worry about. I move on, knowing that I’m not too far from the dragonfruit tree now. The rest of my walk contains no surprises, and I’m able to quickly shimmy up the tree and lop off from branches heavy with fruit with the help of my machete. I wonder when I learned to climb so well? Maybe I’ve always been a natural and just never knew it.

Once I’m down the tree, I’m about to head back home when I hear a click-click sound. I know what that is. Immediately I drop my basket and put my hands up. “Please, don’t hurt me. Take whatever you want,” I say. Then I hear laughter. Familiar laughter.

“Wow, dude, I can’t believe how paranoid you’re getting all of a sudden,” comes a voice out of the bushes. Out walks Ben. I want to punch him in the face.

“Ben, you scared the shit out of me!” I say, “I’ve already had to fend off a howler monkey, you know.”

“Ooh, a howler monkey, eh? Come on, man, do you know what I’ve had to deal with today? I was fishing in the lake, and I nearly got all my catches eaten by a goddamn jaguar! Do you know how terrifying jaguars are.”

“Since when is there a lake here?” I ask. Ben ignores my question and goes on.

“So then, just as the jaguar finally skulks off, I think I’m in the clear. Then a bird swoops down and steals my basket. So there go all my fish.” Ben shakes his head. “I tried shooting it but I missed every time. Why do I even carry this thing?” He took out the gun’s magazine and then stuck the gun in his pocket.

“Where are Nathan and Spencer?” I ask.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe to the spring. We need some more fresh water, after all,” Ben replies.

I nod. I decide to chance one more question. “Does anyone else live here?”

Ben looks confused. “Other than the four of us? I think I’d know if someone else lived here.”

“Or maybe you wouldn’t. What if someone is really good at hiding or something? I mean, this is a big rainforest after all.”

“Well, I guess,” Ben says. “But I still think I’d know, somehow.” I decide against asking about it any further. This is getting me nowhere. I really wish I knew more about Red Robes, though. I don’t normally see people in my dreams before I meet them in real life.

Then I hear another click-click. I freeze in place, as does Ben.

“Nathan? Spencer?” Ben says. “You better not be fucking around with us right now!”

“Silence,” says a soft and low voice. In a matter of seconds, I hear several explosive bang sounds. I look in horror at Ben, whose body is now riddled with bullets. He collapses onto the ground. I want to cry out, but if I do, I know I’ll be riddled with bullets too.

But then, as if God is sending me a gift, I hear a roar as the biggest jaguar I’ve ever seen leaps out of the bushes. I turn around and see Ben’s killer, dressed in all black. His face becomes one of surprise, and he fires a bullet at the huge, hulking cat. The jaguar takes the bullet to one of its legs, but it doesn’t seem fazed.

I realize this is my chance to run. There’s no helping Ben now. I run as quickly as I can, with massive surges of adrenaline propelling me forward to my house. I get there so fast it’s as though I blacked out for several minutes. I immediately lock the door.

“Nathan? Spencer? Are you here?” I hear nothing in response. But then I hear a banging on the door. It’s not the sound of one who wants to be let in, it’s the sound of someone breaking in. I bolt up the stairs, run into my room and squish myself into my closet.

I hear the noise get louder downstairs, and then I finally hear the door breaking down. I cower in the darkness, knowing that this silent assailant could get me at any moment.

And then I wake up.

DREAM HINTS #2:

  • Brief moment of confusion as to where Tyler lives
  • Physical impossibility of a lake existing near a rainforest
  • “Red Robes”

CONNECTIONS:

  • Tyler’s friend Ben a recurring character
  • Presence of “Red Robes” a little troubling
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