Last night, I dreamed I was crossing a vast desert. I was with about twenty young people and we were all dressed in drab khaki t-shirts and pants. There was one truck and on the back of it was one barrel of water. We had to walk because only four people could fit in the truck, which idled along next to us. The barrel of water was about one quarter full, we were only half-way finished with our trek, and already we were so thirsty it was painful.
Night fell and the wind began to howl in the distance. Terrified of a sandstorm, we crammed as many people as we could into the truck and into its bed. The unlucky huddled beneath it. We had no blankets, no tarps, no protection. The wind hissed closer and closer and, exhausted, I fell asleep.
When I woke, it was to cast my eyes on a beautiful forest. Sun dappled down from between the needles of California redwoods. From the bows of the redwoods hung Spanish moss. I sat up to see a large river, blue as the Mediterranean sea winding its way through the forest. There was a formation of blue rocks a little way up the river and the angry white foam which spewed up around it was the only interruption to the utter peacefulness of this mighty river. Back in the trees, away from the clearing where my comrades and I slept, thick heads of lettuce, chard, and cabbage grew as tall as my waist.
Others began to wake and look in awe around them at this strange forest. A thin, blonde girl sprang up from the lawn and dove directly into the water, eager to soothe the long days of heat and sunburn.
My comrades argued about how on earth we had ended up here and why the truck was left behind. “I don’t care,” I said, “I’m going to drink and drink and drink.”
I got up and walked into the river until I was submersed to my knees. The water was warm and crystal clear. I dipped my hands into it and drew the water toward my mouth, only to find that it was mud. Again and again, I tried but the water always turned to mud in my hands.
A scream caught my attention. My comrades pointed past me, so I turned to see the blonde swimming by the rocks. Above the rocks, an enormous crocodile, larger than any real beast swam toward her. We screamed at her as the crocodile slithered up the rocks to sun himself. She could not see him for the sun in her eyes, but she swam back to the banks of the river all the same and crocodile did not move.
Once it too swam away, I edged back toward the river and sat at the water line, starring longingly at the water that looked so pure but turned to mud in my hands. A huge nugget of gold lay to my left. Enchanted, I picked it up but it quickly transformed into a regular, blue rock, so I dropped it. Then, I saw that on the sandy bank, beneath no more than four inches of water were thousands of perfect almonds and cashews. I bent and pulled them out of the water and they turned to miniature pumpkins in my hands. Surprised that they did not turn into something worse, I laid them on the lawn where they immediately rotted into a black liquid.
Incredibly disheartened, I glanced up to see the blonde about to eat a leaf of lettuce from the giant plants just up the slope. I screamed that they might be dangerous, that everything here was rotted, warped, or was cursed and she might be poisoned. She brought the leaf closer to her mouth…
Then the dog jumped on my bed and woke me. Is that a heck of a dream or what? Was it some sort of unconscious allegory? All that glitters is not gold? All things are tarnished by human touch? I, personally, am insecure about ruining things? I don’t know, but that forest was one creepy Stephen King type of place.