Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Return of the Nightmare Deer

September 2nd I posted a blog about a nightmare I had about a twisted and disfigured deer that I tried killing multiple times to no avail. It ended by just laying on the floor screaming and growling at me. This seemed to be the aftermath of an all-out drinkfest the previous weekend that resulted in me blacking out, drunk dialing people I respect, spending too much money, and just falling into the abyss that my life was in 3 years ago. I felt guilty and this was apparantley something in my subconscious. It used to be rather normal for me to drink until blackout status 3 or 4 times a week. However, I haven't been drinking liquor lately and by switching exclusively to beer and only drinking once a week during college football I was happy to be blackout free for the past 2 months. But last Saturday I regret to inform you that I found my limit in beer and suffered similar guilt-ridden feelings that resulted in the return of the deer on Sunday night. This blog also involves 4 dogs from my past that represented different parts of my life and I'm sure there is some symbolism there too.

Here's how the dream played out this time around. I was at my parents house in Williamston right behind the Middle School. I had 4 dogs with me. Cinder and Tiber who belonged to my parents, and Woody and Sammy who belonged to the neighbors I grew up next to in Byron when I was a child.
Sammy was the strangest dog within the dream. He was actually a dog I feared from the age of 3 to 6 or so in real life. He only stood about 18 inches off the ground and he was a mangy white and black mutt. However he made up for his small stature by being extremely mean. Everytime I needed to go down to the lake I had to walk past Sammy's house and everyday he'd growl and come at me full tilt nipping. I was too young at the age of 3 to 6 to just stand up to him so I'd always run away and sneak past him later. He was actually the only thing in the world I was afraid of at a young age. However, when I was 7 or so I began standing up to him and just ignoring him and he'd stop dead in his tracks if I didn't run away. It even got to the point were I could bend down, scratch his throat and he stopped barking at me soon after. I was probably about 12 when Sammy finally died, He was about 17 years old I would guess.
Woody was also a dog that belonged to those same neighbors. He was a purebred Golden Retreiver. He was my favorite wrestling buddy when I was growing up at the age of 8 to 11. He was much more rambunctious and active than the dog my parents had at the time. We would wrestle for hours in my backyard and during the emmergence of Street Fighter II he was great to have a around for pulling off karate moves while I was pretending. Woody had a screw loose in his brain though. For some reason everytime he got out when my other neighbors had their dogs outside he would run right at them and attack them. He gave one of them severe nerve damage, and almost killed the other. After being threatened by lawsuits my neighbors had no choice but to give Woody away to some people on a farm and he was never seen again. Sometimes I wonder if was given to a farm or euthanized. It may have just been a story to keep me from crying because I loved that dog more than the owners did.
Tiber was my favorite dog we ever owned. We got her in the summer of 1992, I was 12 at the time. She was a yellow lab with a dark reddish-gold coat. She had the coolest personality of any dog I've known. She didn't care what you thought of her and she knew she was superior to everyone. She was smart, cunning, and extremely agile. She was also a klepto and she made a habit of stealing all the neighborhood children's hats, shoes, food, etc. Tiber was recently put down this past February at the age of 15. It was a pretty hard pill for me to swallow because she had been the dog that always slept in my room and favored me to anyone else throughout my middle school and high school years.
Cinder is the only dog listed that is still alive, I was 21 when my parents got her but I'm still very close with her because I still lived with them when she was a puppy and I moved back into their house for 3 years between '04-'07. She is a black lab that is very loving toward her family but she is shy around strangers and won't hesitate to growl at other dogs that come up to her. She's about 8 now and she has been recently diagnosed with cancer this past Spring.
There, that's the backstory on the cast of characters. So anyway...I was taking them all for a walk behind the middle school in Williamston. None of them were on their leashes, I was letting them run free as I usually do with dogs. Tiber, Cinder, and Woody were all running up ahead sniffing the ground, being dogs, and peeing on stuff. But Sammy was hanging behind with me. Everytime I looked at Sammy he looked different. Sometimes he looked like the mangy little bastard I remember, other times he looked much more beutiful. His coat would turn different colors, his facial features would change and strangest of all, he was talking to me with the voice of David Letterman. We weren't talking about anything in particular just making small talk. Then after trotting up to the treeline of the woods that bordered the middle school soccer field, all the dogs returned to me and just sat there staring into my eyes. I asked them what was wrong but they just sat there and stared at me.
Then I heard a sound coming from the woods, it was the sound of a little girl crying and begging for help deep into the forrest. I tried to see into it, but "I couldn't see anything for the trees" which may have been a metaphor. Because I realized that is one of my personality traits earlier that night via a phonecall. I was terrified. I thought that some violent criminal may have been in there raping a girl at gunpoint or that maybe a girl was trapped by a bear. Either way, I was petrified with fear for a long time. Whatever it was I knew wasn't good. The dogs continued to stare at me, and I continued to debate whether I should go into the woods and face my fear or walk the other way back to the house and to safety. After a few minutes passed I knew that if a girl was found dead in the woods later in the week, I'd never forgive myself for turning a blindeye when I could have saved her. The dogs I had with me gave me the strength and confidence to finally make up my mind to enter the woods.
The trees and vegatation were thicker in the woods than they usually are in there, in fact it wasn't even the same woods at all. It felt more like a jungle with the prospect of unknown danger around every tree and twisitng trail. I had the dogs walk ahead of me for safety reasons I also wanted them to find where the location of the girl screaming . Sammy was in the lead, followed by Woody. Tiber and Cinder hung back a little with me. I saw a long sharp stick that I picked up to use as a weapon on the rapist I was confident I'd find.
We came to a large downward slope, looking down, there was a large patch of shubbery, trees, and vines surrounded by nothing but fallen leaves and it seemed there was a trail that went around in a circle around the patch of shubbery. There I saw what was making the terrible screams. It was huge grey deer the size of a moose trapped in the shubbery and vines and fighting to get out. I approached the deer to help it, and Sammy and Woody began running towards it barking Cinder and Tiber followed soon after. The deer became even more startled and broke through the vines and took off and ran out of sight. At this point I turned around and looked back on top of the hill that we walked down and there stood another deer just as massive with twisted antlers that came to menacing points. The deer charged toward me grunting and screaming, I had no mobility, I couldn't move my feet and I just leaned slightly to the left as it ran right past me and down to the right side of the looping trail were Tiber and Cinder were. The deer put its head down to gore my dogs as it ran the circle. I screamed out and cried for my poor dogs. Somehow the deer didn't make contact with them, or it went right through them. Either way my dogs were unharmed. The deer then circled around the loop and ran at me again, once more missing contact with me. Then it stood atop the hill and bellowed through the woods before turning around and running the other direction.
I was so happy that the deer hadn't hurt my dogs, I felt a such a feeling of relief it made me cry. I realized I didn't care what the deer did to me as long as it didn't hurt the dogs. I rounded the dogs up and we began to walk through a clearing in the woods to get get to the road that would take us home. Woody and Cinder wanted to go back the way we had come. Tiber wanted to go the way I was going. Sammy stood in one place as we walked. Soon Cinder and Woody came with me and Tiber. But Sammy just stood there. By the time we got to the road I called for him. He said "I can't believe we just saw the Grandfather Deer." I let the other dogs walk ahead and waited for Sammy to catch up to see what he meant by "Grandfather Deer". When he finally caught up with me his coat was a beautiful multi-colored fleece and he had the head of a purebred pitbull with a huge smile on his face. Before he could explain anything to me about the Grandfather Deer I woke up. I was pissed that I didn't hear what he had to say.
Why did the deer threaten me and my dogs with violence then let us be? Why would the deer charge us when we were trying to help his trapped brother? Why would my earliest memory of fear (Sammy) be a voice of reason in my dream, and why the shape- shifting? Why did the deer have the voice of a human child? Did the dogs represent loyalty or friends perhaps? I'll leave that stuff up to interpretation. I guess I'm just baffled as to why the last two times I've felt guilt-stricken about overdrinking I dream about deer.

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