I'ma tell you a little bit about my dream from last night.
I don't generally remember dreams, but this one stuck with me. It was actually really brutal. Not so graphic, fortunately, but really violent. You know how, when you're in a dream, everything seems totally plausible and the bad stuff is really bad, and when you wake up, you're still kind of in that vibe until you've had a good bowl of oatmeal or a cup of coffee? This was one of those dreams.
I remember the dream in two stages, and I don't remember many details about the first other than that a large group of Houston folks and I were making some sort of journey on foot together. I don't remember who all was there, because most of them were only there in an ensemble sense, sort of milling in the background or walking by with the occasional greeting or comment. Somehow, however, while we were camped in the middle of the country at about four in the morning, we needed something--some sort of supplies, I think, though it may have been a scouting mission--so Craig and I were elected (or volunteered, I don't remember) to go out and take care of it. It was pitch black, but there was something dangerous out there, so we had to try to stay as invisible as possible. Craig had some sort of blue-light flashlight-type device that he handed me so I could keep light on the dirt road while he drove our ATV (because that's a nice quiet way to travel). It was direly important that we not go off the road. (This was likely a Hobbit reference on the part of my subconscious) However, I couldn't get the thing to work! We were on the road and I couldn't get the bizarre little gadget to emit more than a flicker of light here or there. Usually, when we got anything, it was just enough light to see that we'd almost plunged directly off the path, and so Craig would overcompensate and we'd almost fall off. And he was yelling at me because I couldn't get enough light. And we barely made it there and back, and after we got back he took the thing out of my hands and then looked at it and said, "Oops. I didn't turn the power on for you. That's why it didn't work. Sorry."
That's about all I've got from Act I.
Act II revealed the destination of our pilgrimage: high school church camp. Apparently we were all campers, and I had the impression that we were camper-age (high school) despite the fact we were still our adult selves. Whatever. There was a swimming hole rather than a proper pool, and a huge brick wall next to the pool stretched across a field where other campers could play ultimate. I was crossing from this field back to the dormitory where I was staying on a fine sunny afternoon, but shortly before I got to the door I looked off toward the mountains (because there were mountains) and saw a huge gray wolf crossing a bridge made of a fallen tree trunk. No one else saw it, but the wolf and I made eye contact, and then it passed on. (Subconscious working WoT in there, I guess) I got to the front lobby area, which had a bunch of big windows so you could see the whole field/wall/swimming area. Suddenly Tarvis was there, and we were talking about something inane. (This was my subconscious trying to work some normalcy into the madness) As I looked out the window, I suddenly heard a lion growl just as the hindquarters of one disappeared behind the far end of the wall. I asked Tarvis if he'd just heard a lion roar, and then I overheard someone's radio say, "A lion has just escaped from the zoo!"
And this is where things get awful. I'm serious. Read ahead at your own risk.
The lion roars and slinks around the edge of the wall at the swimming hole. People begin to stir uneasily. The lion goes to the pool to drink as three MASSIVE grizzly bears follow him. One of the bears wades into the pool and just smacks this guy who is swimming. The other bears charge and start attacking. People are screaming, campers are trying to flee, the water's all red now. And these bears are just taking kids out left and right. They didn't eat anybody, they seemed just to be going for as a high of a kill count as they could manage. At one point, one of the bears ran up to a boy that was trying to escape and leaped in the air, delivering a Matrix-style reverse scissor-kick to the kid's head. Those of us who were inside the dorm just sorta watched, horrified. I remember thinking I wanted to go out and do something, but that there was really no helping anybody who was still outside. Their only chance was to make it to the buildings. (Because I somehow knew that the bears couldn't or wouldn't go in the buildings)
Kids from the swimming hole started streaming inside. The only one I knew was Hannah, who was badly shaken but otherwise fine (with someone else's blood splashed across her left cheek) I'm not sure what all happened outside, because Tarvis and I were trying to comfort Hannah, but the next time I looked out, everybody had pretty much calmed down, and somehow or other the threats of bears and lions had passed. Some campers were even outside playing a really tame version of rugby, and I remember thinking things could finally get back to normal.
Then came the horse-sized hyenas. It was at this point that I and those around me began to suspect that something abnormal was afoot.
After more carnage and panicking, everyone decided that outdoors was simply not safe. Everybody was simply going to have to stay in whatever buildings they were in until help could arrive, even if it meant staying put for a fully week. I remember being alarmed, because that meant that girls were going to have to stay overnight in the boys dormitory building. However, I decided that, in times of crises, sometimes survival meant accepting potentially awkward situations.
Now came the problem of food. A few of us had snacks, but the cafeteria was in a building that wasn't adjacent to any of the living quarters. And it was pizza night. (This was my subconscious being obsessed with pizza, I'm pretty sure) A few of the camp counselor decided it was their duty to go out and bring food back for the rest of us. We were all afraid for their safety, but we knew it was the only way. One man with a whistle around his neck made his way to the door, and we all wished him luck. A few of the women cried. He nodded solemnly, then grabbed an umbrella and stepped out through the front door.
And then Robbie woke me up.