Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Vivid Dream by Eleanor Stem


Princess in the Woods
When I was young, probably nine or ten, I had a wild dream that spooks me to this day. It was winter, and dark outside. We lived in this small house I want to call a dacha (a country house or cottage in Russia). It had two rooms: a larger common area with a hearth, table and chairs, and a sleeping chamber, much smaller. The sleeping area was a series of platforms tacked to the wall, one above the other almost to the ceiling. We kids slept on the higher platforms, the adults on the lower.

No adults were at home. I must have been the eldest, and was in charge of some other children. 

A fierce storm raged outside. It had come up quickly, and did not give me time to close the shutters. I would have to go outside, but I was afraid I’d get lost in the driving snow that pricked your skin like needles.

The winter had dragged on for weeks, one storm after the other. Food was scarce. Wolves that normally howled at night, started doing it in the daytime. As the winter progressed they became more aggressive. Horses, dogs, and sheep were vulnerable. Wolves attacked people in their sleighs. They'd run up from behind, pull people off, and devour them on the icy road.

Tonight, with the adults gone, the shutters that slammed in the winds, the wolves became reckless, crazed in their hunger. They smashed in the windows of the front room. I pulled the children into the sleeping chamber and shut the door. Wolves surrounded the little house, ten or twenty, piled against the outside windows, growling, snapping their teeth.

Man attacked by wolves
Those inside slammed against the bedchamber door. In a panic, everyone screaming, we climbed from one sleeping shelf to the next, higher, toward the ceiling.

The windows burst with wolves. The door latch broke. Wolves jumped up against our climb to the higher sleeping levels. They were relentless, would not go away. Their fur brushed against my legs. They spewed vile odors from their snapping jaws, wild with bloodlust. We huddled together on the top shelf nearest the ceiling while the wolves snarled and fought each other. They climbed over themselves in an attempt to reach us, their eyes flashing with hunger. 

I awoke, filled with terror, shaking, and glad I was where I was, not in a small Russian cottage during a terrible winter. Needless to say, I’ve never liked really big dogs, like German Shepherds. I’d walk a mile out of the way to avoid one.

Do dreams have meaning? Where did this vivid scene come from? I was young, innocent. After years of thinking about this, I believe it was a memory from a past life, a memory that bled into this life. A not-so-good past life.

Scary Moment
I want to thank Wikicommons Public Domain for these pictures. 

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