Have you ever had a dream so real that it feels like you’re re-living your past? Have those memories hit you at an age as young as two years old? Do you seem to relive them even almost 30 years later?
As an adult, this chapter may not seem horrifying. I admit. This particular dream or memory itself is not all that scary. But you need this chapter to understand later nightmares to come. Moreover, I feel the best place to start, is at the beginning.
This chapter isn’t really a dream or nightmare so much as it is a memory. A memory of which I have no proof. It’s a memory I have carried all my life.
It all began with motherhood. I can’t remember if I had lost my own cubs. I only remember being a very large black cat. Having found two infant cubs of my own species and race in need of a new mother. So, I did what any new mother in need of children would do. I adopted those twin cubs. Twins who had yet to open their eyes.
When I slept in this life, I met with ethereal beings.
You know those pieces of black scratch paper? Where if you use a wooden tool you can make rainbow drawings?
The world of these beings was pitch black. Though much like that paper, the beings were outlined by rainbow-like colors. As if someone had scratched pictures of lions, elephants, birds, hyenas, etc. onto that rainbow paper. These beings seemed to only mirror the animals of the continent of Africa. Though I don’t know why.
On one particular night, my cubs and I had gone too long without food. As I slept these ethereal beings, which I will call the council, held a raucous meeting. They had circled round me. As if I was on trial. Arguments had broken out over whether I should go looking for food. Hunting was dangerous enough. Food was scarce. And strange creatures made life in general far more difficult. Far more dangerous.
I remember sitting quietly. Awaiting the sentencing. What their decision would be. It seemed that their word was law. Unfortunately, that law could mean a family of three starving to death.
Silence filled this strange, dark realm. It seemed the council had reached a decision.
Hunting, though we desperately needed food, was out of the question. If I choose to hunt upon waking. The consequences were sure to be disastrous. Unbeknownst to the council, I had already made my choice. I would not make my cubs starve.
Though their eyes were now open they still required milk to survive. Upon waking I called out for a trustworthy friend. A member of the council appeared. I can only guess they were on my side. For they promised to watch over my cubs as I left to look for some much-needed food.
They warned me. I might not make it back but gave me a blessing in hopes that it might protect us some. They knew that waiting for the danger to pass would surely mean death by starvation for all of us.
I stepped out of the cave we were staying in. A dusty looking rock face sat behind me. I turned and somehow pushed medium sized rocks toward the cave entrance. An effort to hide my cubs. I bid them goodbye. The younger or smaller of the two cubs asked me if we would see each other again. They seemed to know what I did not. I comforted the cubs the best I could. Then set off to find food.
I remember pacing to the valley below the rock face where our cave was hidden. That’s where I stopped. I looked back at the cave, longing to be with my cubs again. I could see them peering over the rocks. A bight blue sky clashed against the brown cliffs.
Instinct and hunger took over from there. I begrudgingly turned away and began my hunt.
I don’t know how I got there. The cliffs were off in the distance. Though it was patchy, the grass was tall, and trees scattered among the area.
The grass rustled behind me. A twig snapped. Fear gripped me. I turned to see what made the noise, and I froze.
A man stood behind me. A double-barreled shotgun aimed at my being. He was dark skinned with a medium sized black afro of tightly curled hair. He was lean, his face covered in a thin layer of facial hair. He wore black combat boots and a khaki like a uniform. With a matching hat. There was malevolence in his eyes.
Rooted in my spot, I stared down the barrel of the gun. Then turned to run. A loud, deafening noise sounded. My world went black. I found myself flying over the rock face where the cave was.
My world turned to darkness once more. I knew in my heart, in some way, I had fallen from grace. I can only assume it was the grace of some higher being or power.
A bright blue light spanned above me. A tunnel-like hole in a pitch-black space. It came closer and closer, brighter and brighter.
Sunlight drifted above me, in a clear blue sky. Green trees swayed gently in a breeze. It seemed to be a warm spring day. “Miracle!” A girls voice called out. Small human hands laid on fur. Long brown, black, and white fur. “Miracle!” The girl's voice called again. The fur left my new hands, taking the shape of a dog.
He ran to the light brown-haired girl who kept calling the dog's name. Then the dog ran back to me.
"Must have been a dream," I thought to myself.
That was all my two or three-year-old self could do to justify the whole ordeal.
Twenty years later. I went to go visit with some family members. When a small 8-week-old kitten climbed up my leg.
I looked down. Big green happy eyes stared up at me. As if they were saying “I know you! We’re family!” I picked up the kitten. We bonded immediately.
A year later I adopted him. And learned he was born with separation anxiety. He cries when the family leaves the house.
I can only guess this kitten was in that past life or dream, one of those two cubs. Though it took two lifetimes, and many years of patience. We found each other at last. Living in safe, loving bliss.
Could that dream have been a memory instead?
I leave that for you to decide.