(For some context, read my previous entry about my mother.)
So last night I dream I have fallen into a lake from a paddlewheeled ferry.
I tread water as I watch the lights of the ferry move farther & farther away. I'm not sure if I jumped overboard or was pushed. In any case, I am certain the boat isn't stopping for me.
Looking around, I see another glow in the middle distance and start swimming towards it.
The waters of the lake are warm and calm, but I'm somehow aware of things moving through the depths beneath me. I have to focus to keep from panicking as I swim.
As I get closer to the glow, I see that I'm swimming to a small island. It's just yards across, a little patch of grass sticking a few feet up from the surrounding lake. On it sits a wrought-iron bench with an electric lantern hanging over it. And someone is sitting on the bench, staring right at me.
Of course, it's my mother sitting there waiting for me. She begins laughing and clapping her hands as I step out of the water. Magically, I'm completely dry as I do so, and by the time I get to where she is sitting, I'm wearing the same white outfit as my mother. It's made of soft linen and looks like something a monk might wear. The grass feels soft and cool under my bare feet.
"I told you," my mother says. "I told I'd be here."
"Yes, you did," I say. "But how can I be sure you're you?"
My mother shakes her head at this.
"None of my enemies are strong enough to impersonate me," she tells me. "I would know it if they try."
I sit next to my mother on the bench. As we look out over the dark surface of the lake, I can see the ferry as a far-off, fading point of light. My mother pats me on the shoulder.
"You know why you're here, don't you?" she asks.
"All I know is I'm dreaming," I say.
My mother points to the glittering speck of the ferry.
"That boat was taking you somewhere you thought you wanted to go," she says. "But I could tell it wasn't right for you."
"Where was it going?" I ask.
"I don't know," my mother says, waving her hand. "I just knew you wouldn't belong there."
I turn to her.
"So, you made me fall off the boat," I say.
My mother cracks up at this, clapping her hands and nodding.
"It was so easy!" she exclaims. "You're so clumsy. And you're not always alert like I tell you to be."
This is when I hear a noise behind us. I turn to see that there's a bridge attached to this little island, a wooden walking bridge that stretches into the distance, and I can only assume that it goes all the way to the shore of the lake.
What I hear are footsteps. Something is running towards us on the bridge, which is shaking slightly. Whatever is coming, it sounds big and fast, stomping its way towards us, and I think I hear growling.
"You have to go now," my mother says as she stands up. She cracks her knuckles and does some quick knee-bends.
Then she looks at me.
"Get up!" she exclaims. "Time to go!"
"Where do we go?" I ask. The thing on the bridge is close enough now to almost see. It's definitely large, running on two legs, and snarling.
My mother gives me a little shove towards the water.
"I'm not going anywhere," she says. "But you need to leave."
Then she begins walking towards the bridge. I start to follow, but my mother stops and turns towards me. I'm terrified, but she just looks annoyed.
"I guess it's good you didn't leave yet," she says as she pulls a little pouch out of the front pocket of her outfit and hands it to me. "I forgot to give you this."
I open the pouch and look inside. Inside are a toothbrush, a pen, a pocketknife, a large, transparent marble, and a small vial of urine-colored liquid that looks like it has grains of sand floating in it.
"What's all this for?" I ask.
"We don't have time," my mother replies, taking the pouch out of my hand, cinching it closed, tying it shut, and then wrapping its cord around my wrist. "Just don't lose this, okay? You're going to need it."
The thing on the bridge, still running, gives a long howl that almost makes me wet myself. After a glance at it, my mother gives me another look of complete irritation. I can't tell if she's peeved at me or the thing that's howling.
"Now, you leave," she says. "Start swimming. I'll find you later."
"But what about...that thing?" I ask.
"It's not here for you," my mother tells me. "If you stay, you'll just get in my way."
"Where do I go?" I ask.
"That's up to you," my mother says. "Choose a way, then go. But do it now."
The thing is now standing at the end of the bridge, looking for all the world like a giant movie werewolf with long arms that end in knife-like claws. Its growling has subsided, but as it stands there, it keeps swinging its arms around, as if warming up for a fight.
My mother starts walking towards the thing, again reaching into her pocket, this time pulling out a sparkler and a lighter. She lights the sparkler as she walks, and when it begins spitting out sparks, my mother starts waving it around in big circles. The smoke from the sparkler billows out so thickly that soon I can't see her or anything else on the island.
"Go, JJ!" I hear her yell.
I presume the next words are directed towards the beast.
"YOU!" my mother shouts. "Why are you always following me! Why do you always bother me! Everywhere I go, you show up. Why?"
As I step back into the waters of the lake, I hear my mother continuing her tirade, and I hear the beast start to whimper and whine. When I get about waist-deep, I realize my outfit has disappeared and I'm naked, with only my mother's pouch tied around my wrist.
I start swimming away from the island, conscious as ever of things moving through the depths beneath me.