Lost Among Serpents and other Reptiles

A bizarre merger of odd dreams into a nightmare

A young woman from Australia, who worked for my company years ago, was visiting. We were in someone else’s house. I remember windows looking down on a street below. And I remember strange stairs leading up to an area of the house where I was staying; each step was split in two, so that each tread of each step was at two different levels.

Someone, I don’t know who, was missing and we could not reach them. The young woman and two or three guys (I knew who they were, but do not recall) wanted to go somewhere, but needed the other guy who they could not reach. I agreed to let them use my car to try to find where he might be. They were in a hurry and I needed to get something out of the trunk. I threw my winter coat in the trunk for a moment so I could look for whatever I was seeking, but forgot it.

They drove away and just as a heavy snow began failing. Interspersed within the snow were balls of hail. I heard peels of thunder and flashes of lightning. I decided to walk home; I thought I wasn’t far and I needed to get there so I could prepare to go pick up paintings at Garvin Woodland Gardens. I started off and got completely lost in an enormous high-rise complex. I knew the complex was part of a university connected to several large businesses. Anyone in this area must be rich, I remembered thinking; they were part of what some would call “the upper crust.” The business people around me had a demeanor that said they were rich, rich, rich and they were proud of it. I went through various office building doors that led me to more areas in which I knew I did not belong.

I walked outside one of the buildings into a large, grassy area. It suddenly occurred to me that I could use my phone to see where I was. Just as I pulled it out and opened the map app, a guy rushed past me, chasing after a snack slithering along the ground (there were a lot of snakes visible on this stretch of open ground, full of green grass). He started tormenting the snake he was chasing, using one of the sticks that snake hunters use to snag their prey. This snake was a rattle snake, I could  tell by the tiny couple of rattles at the end of its tail. Suddenly, the snake struck at him and got him. He started screaming “it got me,” and pried it off, using his stick, which he waved around with the snake writhing at the end. This commotion riled up an alligator that was in a shallow pond nearby; it came at me, fast. I tried to kick at it, but it got hold of the bottom of my shoe and started shaking it. Someone else came up to try to help me, but just as he tried to put something on top of the alligator, the alligator released its grip. I thought it was going to lunge at me, so I jumped down on it with my elbow on the top of its upper jaw and pushed with all my might down on it, locking its mouth shut. I was expressing fear, frustration, appreciation all at once. That’s when I woke up. My wife started shaking me at the same time; I guess I was making noise.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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