Dream of: 18 March 2000 "Bobcat"

I felt inspired. The idea for a story which I should write had come to me. I was uncertain whether the idea would become a short story or a full novel. But I was certain I could and should write the story, and that this story might become the first of many which I would write.

The basic idea of the story was very simple: it was about a woman who had lived her entire life on one city block, and who hadn't once ventured outside this tiny area. Now, however, for the first time in her life, she had decided to leave her narrow confines and journey out into the world.

Although the story seemed simple on the surface, I envisioned many complexities. I imagined the block would be in a densely populated area of a large city. I thought Chicago might be a possibility, but I finally concluded the city had to be New York. To write the story, I would need to visualize and familiarize myself with every building, just as the woman, after so many years, would have done. I began trying to see the buildings in my mind, mostly Victorian period frames homes. But I would also have to have businesses on the block. I even imagined that a military garrison might be located on the block, and that the woman might have met some military men. An Amtrak station could be on the block, and the woman could have met people at the station. What about the woman's education? She needed to be college educated, but I didn't think I could fit an entire college into a city block. She would probably tend to be shown taking correspondence courses.

I still hadn't determined the age of the woman when she decided to leave the city block, but I imagined she would be 40-60 years old. I still hadn't determined my viewpoint when I wrote the story. At first I thought I would simply write the story in the third person, as if I were telling the tale about the woman. But suddenly I had another idea, that seemed perfect – I would write the story in the first person, from the viewpoint of the woman, as if she were telling her own story. The woman would be so happy and grateful that she was finally leaving the block. I could suddenly see her writing the first words of the story, "Oh, Lord, you've made me so happy."

These words seemed perfect. They struck home. I immediately saw that they embodied two concepts about which I had lately been pondering, God and happiness.

As I continued thinking, it occurred to me that I had been dreaming, that I hadn't actually been inspired to write a story, but that I had simply had a dream about doing so. A dream might be even better, because I could simply write the dream instead of having to write an entire story. Either way, I still felt good about what I had experienced.

Snapping out of my reverie, I looked around me and realized I was standing in the garden behind the House in Patriot. The ground was all brown, as if recently plowed, with nothing growing in it. My pet Dalmatian Picasso was with me, and we were about 50 meters from the back of the House.

Suddenly I noticed that Picasso had found some other animals. I was immediately alarmed because the animals looked like gray wolves, and I was afraid the wolves might attack Picasso. But when I looked closer at the animals, I saw that they were actually coyotes, four of them. Still, I was worried, because if the pack attacked Picasso, he could be seriously injured or killed. They might even attack me.

Suddenly from amidst the coyotes, another animal appeared, and raced right toward me. It looked like a gray cat, only about twice as big, and suddenly I realized it was a bobcat. I had heard that bobcats had been spotted in this area, but I had never seen one, and I had never lent credence to the reports. But now there was no doubt.

Before I could react the animal pounced on me. I held out my right hand and the animal grabbed me. It wrapped its legs around my arm and dug in its nails. It seemed as if I might be wearing a glove, because the animal's teeth and claws only barely scratched me.

With the bobcat hanging on, I began running toward the back of the House, screaming, "Help! Help!" As I drew closer, I could see my uncle Ronald sitting inside, looking out at me. He had an amazed look on his face, as if he didn't know what to think or do. But he didn't appear to be moving to help me.

I was becoming desperate. I looked back toward Picasso and saw that the coyotes had surrounded him. I needed to go back and help him. But I had to do something about this bobcat. Suddenly I saw a solution. I lowered my right hand to the ground so that the bobcat's neck was just under my arm, and I began pressing down on the bobcat's neck with my arm. I could feel the bobcat gasping, loosing strength, dying under my arm. I had never strangled anything like this, and I didn't like doing it. But I had to get this bobcat off me if I were going to be able to save Picasso from the coyotes.

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