When I was about four or five years old, I had a very scary dream. Although it does not seem as scary today, the dream was so frightful that I still remember it. In the dream, I find myself alone when I wake up from a nap. I go outside to look for my mom, dad, or friends. A five-year-old wandering out of the house, yes, that is me. The neighborhood is empty. The sky is very bright and warm, and the ground is tan and dirty. Looking back today, I recognize it had a desert look. There is a very large mound of dirt at the edge of our property.
I wander down the street looking for people, but nobody is around. Suddenly, I hear pounding foot steps coming towards me and a loud roar. I don’t see the beast, but I turn and run as fast as I can to get back home. I can feel it getting closer to me, the vibrations of the footsteps shaking the ground. As I near the mound of dirt, I realize I won’t make it back to the house before I am eaten. I remember I dug a large cavity in the mound of dirt, large enough to play in. I feel the warm breath blowing on my back. I sprint to the cave opening on the opposite side of the mound. I turn quickly and enter the hollowed mound. The space inside is less than twice my size. I push myself as far away from the opening as possible. The massive body of what looks like a dinosaur blocks the entrance and darkens the room. I can see its dark, scaly skin pass by the door, gradually revealing a long slender tail. With my back against the opposite wall, I feel a chill on my lower back; and then a gentle tickle with something brushing against my back. My face goes pale as I remember a small hole in the wall. I jump away from the wall and see the tail of the monster brushing across the hole. I scream and wake from the dream.
I woke up scared to death of the dinosaur in my dream. I ran to my mom and dad’s bedroom. My dad and I retreated to the bathroom; I suspect he chose the bathroom because we could have the light on without keeping my mom and sister awake. We sat in there for what seemed like an hour or more. He told me stories about his nightmares, and talked about dreams. The recurring dream would haunt me for a year or more, and the first few times I needed my dad to protect me from them. As I grew up, I learned to sit in quiet and recognize nightmares as fiction.