Lions in the Home .....

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young woman is haunted by nightmares of predatory animals. Nothing can stop them ...

Submitted: December 18, 2009

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Submitted: December 18, 2009

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Jennifer heard the heavy panting and knew that she had to get out of the room as fast as possible. She couldn't see the animal, but the subdued growling told her that this would be a large feline of some sort. The sound came from the area in front of the three windows and she suddenly remembered that she hadn't closed the middle one. It came as a shock to her that she herself might have let in her assailant - and assailed she would be if she didn't get out - whatever the creature was. A pungent smell hit her nostrils and she realized that the animal by now was very close to her hiding place behind the couch. In the same moment she felt the paw on her thigh she rolled, lying full length on the floor, to the door. Somehow she got out and even succeeded in closing the door behind her. This narrow escape led to a roar of disappointment from the other side of the closed door - and then she awoke, drained mentally with fright and soaked in sweat.
Slowly she sat up in bed, looking down at herself and her sweat-soaked nightie.
- Nothing to see today, she thought, heaving a sigh of relief. Then she caught sight of a small rip in the thin fabric. - Oh no, she thought, not that ...
As she sat staring at the rift the door opened and her mother came into the room.
"Good morning, darling?" she said. "Did you sleep well?"
Jennifer looked at her with dark, worried eyes which spoke volumes about nightly horrors.
"Oh dear, you ought to go and see doctor Rita so that you can get something to sleep on. It's too bad that you should have all these nightmares. What was it this time?"
Jennifer told her about the growling, the reek and the big paw.
"How strange," her mother said, "why should you dream of this kind of dangers? You've never ever met a lion or tiger outside of documentaries and the Zoo. Now they seem to inhabit your home at night. Very strange."
Jennifer agreed, it really was strange that these animals should appear in her sitting-room, bath-room, kitchen or study every night. The only place she hadn't met them was in her bedroom and still that was where she dreamt of them. Once she had fallen asleep on the couch in the sitting-room and then she had met something that looked like a cheetah in the kitchen, but not the room where she in reality was.
"OK," she said, "enough is enough so I shall go and see my doctor although I don't expect much to come from it. What could she do except giving me some medicine to make me sleep?"
Her mother didn't answer, but she looked at her with very worried eyes. All this seemed so weird to her as she, as far as she knew, had never had a nightmare in all her life.

That same day Jennifer went to see her doctor who actually was her cousin, Rita. She told her about the strange occurrences and she also mentioned the rifts and tears she had noticed in her nighties.
"I've bought so many new ones," she said, "and somehow they too get torn."
"I hope you realize that you do it to yourself," Rita said in a stern voice.
"No, but I knew you would say something like that," Jennifer said in a teasing voice. "You always do ..."
"Well, being a doctor I have to keep my sanity ..."
"And I've lost mine?"
"No-no-no, but haven't you eaten right before going to sleep? Or what about watching Animal Planet of Discovery at a late hour?"
"None of that," Jennifer said. "I never watch any animal programs out of fear for having those dreams. However, they come anyway and now it's each night."
Rita sat still for at while, then she said: "OK, there are no simple explanation to this phenomenon, but lately the technique of "Imagery rehearsal" has become popular, maybe you should try that out ..."
"Is it any good?"
"It has been of help to many people, but I think it shall be difficult to get started on a treatment right away. Perhaps in 4-6 month or so ..."
"That long? Then I must have something to sleep on as I really need my sleep."
"Yes, even though I don't like it, you shall have something, and then I shall see to it that you may start on the "Imagery rehearsal" as soon as possible."
"Thanks," Jennifer said, "but what are nightmares?"
"We don't really know, but there are a lot of theories about them. Some say that they come from stress or post-traumatic experiences, but you're not stressed, are you?"
"No," Jennifer said, "I'm not. Neither overworked, depressed or anything like that, but I'm p..... off at this nightly show of claws and fangs from nowhere."
"Well, take a pill or two and phone me next week."
As Jennifer left she felt hopeful. Rita was a good doctor and also a good cousin. She would find a way to stop this nonsense. Then she came to think of those tears and rifts in her nighties and she got annoyed at the idea that she had made them herself. She suddenly felt the large paw on her thigh once more and saw the rift as if both were happening at that very moment.

Before going to sleep she took one pill and when she woke up in the morning she felt relieved: No big animals, no fear and no hazardous escapes, only a restful sleep all night. However, when she removed her nightie she saw a new rift and beneath it there was a fresh, but small wound. She stared at both in disbelief, but then she decided that she must have torn it in her sleep as well as hurting herself.
For a week she slept like a log every night, but woke up to new damages to her clothes and to herself. She decided not to tell Rita about these mishaps, but instead stress the fact that she didn't have those scary dreams anymore. The exact same night she once more felt the presence of the big felines and smelled the reek of carnivores. She found it OK to start on a dose of two pills instead of one and for some weeks she didn't experience those nocturnal meetings with predatory cats.
- So that's the answer to the problem, she thought. More and more pills, even though I ordinarily never take any. She hated the idea of having to discuss the matter with Rita once more so she decided to make some experiences on her own: She had a couple of nice, rich sandwiches right before bedtime after having watched Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic for some hours and she didn't take any pills.
Soon she felt the presence of the big feline, but this time she seemed to be in the middle of the pride of several animals. Claws and fangs to all sides of her, growlings and roarings as well as the strong smell of carnivores told her that her fear of not being able to steer her dreams had come true. As one of the lions (or whatever it was) brushed by her she felt its fur strike sparks against her thin nightie. It let out a roar right into her face and she fled out the room. This time she was followed by the animal who was right behind her when she woke up in the early hours. Her nightie was torn and she had something which looked like clawmarks on her legs.
That day she phoned Rita and asked her about the "Imagery Rehearsal"-program. However, now her cousin wasn't too optimistic about the treatment anymore. She told her that there had been a disappointment in this method, but that if she wanted to give it a try she would back her up and help her out.
Jennifer thanked her, but she didn't commit herself to anything. "I shall think it over once more," she said, "but if you say it's no good then I shall most probably not try it out."
The same night she found herself lying on the sun-drenched ground in the pride of the lions. She felt jaws close on her legs and arms, claws tearing her chest and throat right before her mother woke her up, very worried at her high-pitched screams.
"Oh dear, I thought you had stopped those nightmares with the medicine ...." she said.
Jennifer didn't answer, all she was able to do was to sit up, bury her tear-drenched face in her hands and cry and cry and cry. Then she caught sight of her totally torn nightie and her bloodied legs and arms. She let out a scream, jumped out of bed and ran to the windows. Without any hesitation, and before her mother could stop her, she flung herself out the middle one.

Some months later one of the new owners of the flat, Katherine, had a strange dream of snakes. A big snake was lying on top of her chest, its tongue spilling in its mouth. When she woke up her husband, James, consoled her and they had a loving talk about nightmares that ended up in passionate love-making. However, when Katherine had another dream of snakes the night after James couldn't help being a bit annoyed. After all he had to sleep well to perform well in his job as a teacher.
Night after night, Katherine dreamt om snakes. When she one night was visited by a 6 metre long King Cobra that was the end of the marriage. They had a vehement fight and she moved out of the flat - never to dream of snakes again.
However that same night James had a most vivid dream of sharks. Somehow he had been transported to an underwater-world of ferocious predators with jaws like nothing else in the world. As he stared into the cold eyes of the sharks he felt a fear that went like a spear up his spine .....

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