The dream is always the same. No details ever change and the conclusion becomes more real every time.
I was told long ago that when you dream you are falling, you always wake up before splattering on the ground. Apparently the shock of seeing yourself spread across the ground like an abandoned lasagna would be too much for the human psyche to process so your mind shakes you awake before you become an observer of your own demise.
My dream is not one of falling but it is also not one I awake from before my life has concluded.
As I mentioned before, the dream is always the same. I'm walking down a sandy boardwalk. The breeze is heavy with the sensual smell of sea salt and strong coffee. My view of the beach wavers in the morning heat. Women lay in bikinis stretching, letting every part of their bodies embrace the warmth of the sun. A dog barks somewhere in the distance and children are spread out sporadically, eating ice cream and holding their mothers' hands.
As I pass one of the children, a diminutive and unthreatening little creature around the age of six or seven, she looks me directly in the eye. Her visage expresses urgency, but not enough to refrain from devouring her frozen treat. She passes me on my left side and says "Turn around mister. Turn around and go home. It is not safe here for you. The dragon-man is hungry and you are all alone. Please go home." The little girl's mother shuffles her past me as I continue down the boardwalk in confusion.
Suddenly all sign of human life fades away and I am alone in the warm breeze of the beach. I pass abandoned shops until I reach the end of the boardwalk. The grey wooden planks become buried in the finely granulated sand and point towards rocks that stretch out into the water and serve as a breaker for the Pacific waves. Low clouds hover over the rocks but I am drawn forward towards the breakers.
When I reach the rocks, I begin to climb over the obstruction but reconsider and decide to go around instead. As I reach the end of the rock wall, I realize my shoelace has become untied. As I bend down to tie my lace, an excruciating pain in my right leg radiates from my hip and immediately brings me to my knees. I fall onto my back only to discover what I had been warned of by the little girl.
A creature taller than anything human blocks the sunlight from my disabled body. It stands over me long enough to lick my blood from its lips and savor the scent of its next meal. It then dislocates it reptilian jaw wide enough to place my two feet into its dry, sandy mouth.
I scream as I slowly go into shock at the pain and realization of being eaten alive.
The dream ends and I awaken only after I experience the darkness of the monster's closed mouth.
I awoke today as I do most any other day. I rolled out of bed, trying to convince myself that this dream means nothing. It is just a byproduct of work-related stress. I showered and left my apartment feeling uneasy but glad to be awake and alive.
As I made my way to the office, I passed the corner store that sells saltwater taffy and ice cream. I got a cup of coffee next door at the café.
As I was walking out of the café, I bumped into an attractive young woman. She was walking her daughter to school.
"Excuse me" I said as I bumped the woman.
Her daughter turned around and pushed the red hair from her face.
"Turn around mister" was all the child said before I realized what it meant.
You can guess what happened next.