I had a bad, bad dream last night. It was about someone I love. I'll call him Guy.
I was in a house in a semi-rural western mountainous area with the Engineer and Guy. The neighbor was over. We heard her dog start barking like a maniac. We looked out the kitchen window just as the dog started shrieking. He was being killed by four grizzly bears, a big sow and her three almost grown cubs.
We turned from the window in helpless horror.
When the dog's cries stopped, her horse started screaming. The Engineer and Guy ran from the room. I stood paralyzed for a moment before I realized they might be planning something stupid. I ran after them.
They were on the front porch trying to scare the grizzlies away by squirting them with the garden hose.
At first the bears looked puzzled, but then one of them started moving towards the house.
"Get in, get in, get in!" I shouted, "Grizzlies are fast, get in the house!"
The Engineer came in. I continued to shout at Guy.
He turned and came through the open screen door. He looked me right in the eyes, then he grasped the knob of the wooden door and pulled it shut while he was still on the outside.
I snatched the door open and stared through the slowly closing screen door as Guy stepped off the porch and walked deliberately towards the grizzlies. His back was straight and his strides were sure.
"Get in, get in, get in!" I screamed.
He stood between the bears and looked at them like he had looked at me, then he spread his arms and tilted his chin up to look at the sky.
I screamed myself awake just as the biggest bear rose to her hind legs and swung a sledgehammer paw to decapitate Guy.
I've been crying off and on all day because Guy is in a bad space in real life and there's nothing I can do to help him out of it. This dream was too real, too possible. I don't know what to do other than accept that he has to make his own life choices. I hope he knows I love him, though. And that I'm not the only one who does.
Writing this doesn't seem to have exorcised the demon. It's still gnawing on my heart.