May 2008

Mr. Sanders Calling

Thereís that rare moment when youíre about to fall asleep where reality and the murky depths of the subconscious overlap. Itís a weird place for just about everyone I imagine, but I often find it quite a disturbing place to be.

When I was a kid I suffered from night terrors. These arenít just garden variety nightmares and while a lot of people throw around the term, most people are lucky enough to never actually experience the real thing.

Iíll never understand how it is fashionable to suffer from an illness or condition of any sort, but anytime the subject of night terrors comes up, it seems that itís a bandwagon that most people simply canít resist jumping on to.

Imagine having the worst nightmare that you can. Now make it as real as everything that is around you while you read this. Now overlay that with ďnormalĒ reality and not only do you have a hard driving terror that is as real as anything you ever experience, but you also have the real world as you have come to know it fighting for the dominant influence.

And by the way you canít wake up, even though youíre half awake.

The only thing that you can do is try and ride it out and wait for it to subside.

Not only is it a generally a deeply terrifying thing for the person experiencing the night terror, but itís also a disturbing thing for anyone who happens to be around to see it. From what Iíve been told itís essentially the same thing as being locked in a room with a paranoid schizophrenic without any sort of heavy duty sedative at hand with which to defend oneself if needed.

Why do I mention this?

Well I also get what I have come to call mini night terrors. They usually happen just before I fall asleep or as Iím falling asleep. Iím still awake and cogent, but my brain decides that I should start the dreaming process a little early.

The net result of this is I end up having what I can only describe as the strangest visuals popping into my head just as Iím about to nod off. It happens at least once a week and if I have a pen and paper nearby I usually write them down.

It turns out that as I have mentioned in previous Reprisals, my subconscious it a very strange place, definitely left best at the sub levels.

A couple of nights ago after driving from the coast home I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to come when an image popped into my head.

It was a grizzly bear in a clearing on a beautiful summerís day. He was sitting in the middle of the clearing vacantly with an expression that spoke to the fact that he was clearly staring off at something only he could see. I donít know if bears have the ability to have a thousand yard stare, but if they do, this bear definitely had one, and it was a doozy.

He was an older bear. Again, adding to the list of things that I about grizzly bears, I donít know what the average lifespan of a grizzly bear is, but I do know that they are an endangered species, so regardless of the length of their life, the events surrounding their movements to and from this mortal coil are definitely to be noted.

His fur was deep and rich and thick, but haggard and somewhat matted around his back and joints. The colouring up the fur was a dark brown around his chest and legs, but the colour faded as it moved higher up his back to a light blonde with only the remaining hints of brown. The fur on his nose was much shorter and thinner and had the same blonde highlights right up until his eyes.

Surrounding his eyes were two dark patches of fur that only emphasized his sullen eyes. From the depth of those eyes as well as the shadows that moved through them while he continued his unblinking stare, it was easy to see that he had clearly seen his fair amount of both life and death in his time.

He was a massive animal. His sheer size spoke volumes to his undeniable authority in whatever immediate area he was in. This was an animal that clearly had no immediate concerns other than what was occupying his mind at that moment in the cleaning.

He stared off at whatever memories he was reliving and as he did this he calmly and slowly reached to his left. From the forest floor he picked up a double-barreled shotgun and with the highest amount of calm put it up against his jaw.

Still staring off into the distance, he pulled the trigger and the shotgun belched flame and with a total absence of sound sent its payload of angry little lead bees through the fur and flesh and bone of the bear.

When the bear had pulled the trigger of the shotgun it was not at all his primary focus, his eyes ever fixed on the distance. As such the shotgun was not at all aimed with any amount of care and fired at a somewhat odd angle to his head. The swarm of angry little lead bees did not immediately kill the bear, as they most likely would have been happiest doing. Instead, the little lead bees severed the bearís entire lower jaw and spread a vapor of blood, bone and tissue through the air that rose off to his side in a bright red cloud.

The bear fell on his side, his enormous weight bringing him hard enough to the ground that as the remaining shredded tatters of his upper jaw slammed into the ground he bounced once before his head finally settled on the dusty earth. The misty red cloud began to settle on the bear and the ground, giving the clearing a warm glow.

Throughout this whole rather traumatic series of events, the bears eyes had remained fixed on his memories, never moving away from them.

But as the light faded from his eyes, as light does when life leaves a body as anyone who has seen death knows, they seemed to smile.

And I have no idea why.

you know where to find me.

Nate@natepike.com