Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Monster

It was no ordinary dream. Me--in ragged clothes, shackled on a wooden sailing ship. Dirty, sweaty, smelling the salty sea air and fish. My captors--huge, dark, filthy. I never saw their faces as they opened the trap door and shoved me into the hull of the craft. Only large hands that grabbed, pawed, poked and prodded. I fell into the dark room, landing solidly on my back, in the rough, dry hay scattered about on the hard, wooden floor. I moaned in pain at the collision of wood and bone. The door above me was shutting, sealing off all light. Blackness. I couldn't see two inches in front of my face. But I could hear something. Groaning. Grumbling. No...growling. Like the gutteral moan a lion makes before it's about to feed. And it grew closer, louder. I could feel the beast's hot breath on my neck. I swung violently. Flailing aimlessly in the dark hoping one of my strikes would land. But my arms met no resistance. Then the beast grabbed me. I could feel its claws sinking into my flesh like penetrating hooks. Digging deep into muscle and bone. If I was going to survive, I'd have to kill it. We wrestled as I fought back the snapping of its jaws. My eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness but still not enough to see the beast. Was it a panther? My only glimpse was of two ghostly eyes--and only for a second as we tossed each other on the floor. Finally, I got both hands around my attacker's neck. And squeezed. And squeezed. With violence I squeezed. I could feel the larnyx crushing under my thumbs. I could feel life leaving the beast. I refused to let go. I refused to let up. I would keep squeezing until my fingers and thumbs met. It was over. Panting, gasping for a lung full of air, I collapsed to my knees. And my eyes continued to weed out the darkness. The form of my attacker was starting to take shape. It was no lion. No panther. No animal. The monster was... me. It's a bizarre thing to see your body, lifeless. Even if it's in a dream. And to know that it was your own hands that choked the life out of you. For as long as I can remember, I have had vivid dreams. Scary dreams. Awful, terrible dreams. I have been chased by massive bears, alligators and untold monsters. But never has the monster been me. Never have I had to wrestle myself for life. For fear of death. But I am fully aware that this is exactly what's going on in my life right now. I am the monster I fear the most. I am the one who holds me captive and forces me into the dark places. I specialize in self-destruction. I don't expect anyone to understand these things. Perhaps I write this for me and not anyone else. Sometimes it's best to just say it, write it...whatever. So that I can begin to confront it head-on. This was no ordinary dream. It was a wake-up call.