If you wonder what this is about, see my last post on Weird Dreams. What I’m doing right now is writing out my Weird Dreams (which I previously tweeted about) as full-length entries. This feature won’t show up regularly on this blog at all, but I do plan to work on it continuously.
Doing Weird Dream #93 first is completely against chronological order, but I felt like #93 for some reason when I first decided to experiment with writing dreams as stories. I did keep everything in accordance to the outline I wrote in my dream journal though, so I hesitate to call it “fictional.” The only things I change are names, and I add details only if my memory of the scene is too hazy and the details feel intuitively right.
Weird Dream #93: “A talking bear chased me around the forest trying to persuade me to let him eat me.”
Date: December 4, 2018.
^ The above is what I tweeted out the morning of and will be known as “Side A,” while the longer and truer version will be Side B.
Weird Dream #93: Side B
Dr. Hawkins’ final verdict was that I should spend more time in nature. “Take walks!” he said. He talked about the healing effects nature had on the body and how he and a friend of his periodically took hour-long walks in the forest in the afternoon. “Shinrinyoku,” as the Japanese called it. He preached with the passionate conviction of a Victorian hailing their monarch, and by the end of the talk, I was kind of convinced of the whole thing. I, too, shall take walks!
Finding a forest after that consultation was easy enough. Come to think of it, there was a lush and idyllic-looking pine forest right beside my childhood friend’s house. Strange that I had forgotten all about it. It occurred to me that Byby had told me all about it when we were little, and might even have taken me there once or twice. Grappling after hazy memories of Hansel and Gretel days, I entered the forest, not at all bothered by the dissonant echoes of present-day Byby’s sales representative voice in my head, professionally introducing the natural surroundings to me as I passed by each unapparent landmark.
By the time I realized that I was a ways off any trail, both the childhood reveries and Byby’s voice had vapourized. The trees around me weren’t the sharp and pencil-like ones I was used to, but curvier, bushier shapes that almost distorted upon scrutiny. Dirt-crusted boulders obscured the forest floor where there were no trees, and the terrain itself was separated into different layers of altitude. The ground I found myself on was moderately elevated; it led to a blunt cliff that overlooked a lower layer of forest floor, and beyond that was higher ground lined with rocks. A large wooden sign tucked between those rocks, which bore small letters printed in what looked like English and Japanese, was the only mark that civilization had left in this part of the forest.
I leaned as far as I could over the pitfall to read it, but all I could see was the heading: “Primitive Forest: Haruki Murakami Walked Here.” Well, wasn’t that neat. A writer who was relatively unfamiliar to me but for whom I had lots of respect had been here, probably to walk himself out of a writing block. But wasn’t it dangerous for a man who’s basically a national treasure of Japan to wander alone in the Canadian wild, where there might be bears out and about? Bear: “kuma.” “Murakami eaten by a kuma.” “Murakami-san wa kuma ni taberareta.” I invented likely headlines.
Something shifted somewhere among the woods. “Kuma,” I thought immediately. And I was right. A black bear that seemed no larger than myself showed itself from behind a twisted tree, mere meters from me. What could my next move be? The bear still felt like a part of a distant backdrop at the point, like a zoo animal that I could turn away from take a selfie with. There was only a vague notion that I had to get away from it. I pondered about making a grand leap across the pit to the other side by grabbing ahold of the edges of the large sign. As the bear began picking up its slow saunter in my direction, I took my bold leap and managed to cling onto the sign with both hands, leaving my body dangling temptingly for the bear who was left behind. A little too temptingly, as I couldn’t stop my legs from swinging in the air like the tail of a fish caught by a hook. It gauged my actions calmly, but I could almost see a predatory fire igniting beneath its glossy furriness.
He could jump, climb, and run faster than I ever could. Panic and self-blame dawned on me: the move had been flamboyantly stupid. If I leaped off the sign, I shouldn’t suffer too much from the fall – it was all soft peat. Then I could run, run, all the way…to where? To one of those blue toilet stalls that people set up on campgrounds, betting on that it exists? The bear would probably catch me before then. Into the bushy depths of the forest’s bottom-most layer? Wouldn’t I endanger myself further? No, that must be the best way to go. In an episode of National Geographics, the predator always gives up when rabbits jump into a bush… Perhaps I can toss out the red plastic object I just happen to have in my pocket while I do that, to distract him. Bears probably don’t play catch and that might trigger him more? Could he track my scent?
I made the plunge anyways. As soon as I did that, the bear was after me. I sprinted across the clearing on auto-pilot while visions of past bear assaults hijacked my mind. A blonde woman, red T-shirt. Chased by the same bear, torn to bits in the same forest valley, remnants of flesh and clothing slathered onto a boulder as the beast moved on in brutal satisfaction. I raced past the fateful boulder. Another young woman, a brunette solo jogger, limping across the clearing in wounded exhaustion. She wasn’t going to make it either.
Past a series of twisted pines, a stone building emerged in the distance. Do you think you can make it? Did you see the two before you properly… I didn’t care for the voice calling after me as I dashed for the goal. The bear was on all fours now. A final image of the bear smashing the brunette’s head against the stone wall with a flashing paw overcame me. I was in the building now, apparently a public washroom for campers. The disability stall in the women’s washroom looked the most stable, so I darted into it while I still had the advantage of a few seconds. I couldn’t lock the door though – the bear’s claws reached through the cracks for me. Up, and down, up, and down. He was prying the door open while flexing his coal-black nails in a demonstration of power. You know you can’t escape me. Come out already. He was saying all those things, but I’m not sure he ever used language. He laughed a soundless but spine-chilling laugh.
“No I won’t…” I gritted my teeth and pushed against the door with my whole body’s force. The entire frame of the door was throbbing.
Just open up and come out.
Potential Sources: remembering that I haven’t been to my family doctor’s despite his request; reading something about Murakami in Japanese that my boyfriend wrote for class; Twitter video involving a man trying to reach a statue (?) by jumping and falling down.
This was the first of several dreams that involved wild animals or a chase of sorts. In fact, it inspired a “sequel,” in which I entered another similar forest, this time armed with an umbrella and with my brother and boyfriend for company. Fear of the bear had always been there throughout though. Thankfully, I awoke before it had the chance to emerge.
So that was that. I still have far to go in terms of remembering how to draw and learning how to write! I know people don’t really follow stories on blogs – and that’s perfectly fine with me – but for those who read this, thanks for your interest! Weird Dreams is a compilation project and not a continuous series, so drop by once, twice, as many times as you feel like. Feedback is always welcomed.
Was it surprising how little Side A captured the story? Does anyone else dream about being chased (by a wild animal)?