Do you know what a dream is?

I asked myself the same question once. I remember having an interesting dream and after I woke up the next morning I went straight to the public library grabbing all the books I could find to look up for what that dream I had the previous night probably meant. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty stupid dream and all I ended up doing was waste an entire Sunday afternoon I could have spent in a more productive ways. I still remember how fine the weather was back then. Oh, how I regret doing that thing I did! But what can I do? Though it was entirely my fault for being too caught up at the moment I was still just a kid back then.

Well, what's the use regretting it now? It's not like the past will ever come back. Nothing's going to happen even if you keep brooding about it.

Looking back, I've always been once a huge fan of heroes from mangas and anime series who have super powers with interesting backgrounds all the while fighting against aliens, demons, magical beings and evil organizations. I used admire how these said heroes used to battle against great odds and striving forward all for the sake of realizing their dreams. Only now that I've grown up do I realize that these characters are in truth just a bunch of really stupid, stubborn people who are detached from reality. The only thing that they've got going for them was their good looks and how they always get the cute heroine in the end.

I guess it's been a long time already since that point when I've stopped watching those TV UFO specials and psychics who claim that they can read people's minds and predict the future. If these claims were true then I guess interpreting what my dream meant would be a piece of cake for them. Of course you need to have money if you're going to avail of their services and money was something I didn't have back then. The me today however wouldn't even dare spend a single yen on these supernatural crap. And don't argue with me about horoscopes. I only read them from time to time and that was just because they're always part of the Comics page in the newspaper. Just to be safe, I would like to point out that it was my aunt who pays for the newspaper subscription so my earlier statement still stands.

Aliens. Demons. Magical beings. Super powers. They can't be real. I can't recall when it was that I stopped being a believer but perhaps that's a sign that I've matured. Although the thought of living in a sci-fi world was kinda interesting, one must face the fact that reality didn't operate that way.

The world is ruled over by the laws of physics. This was the cruel truth that my science teacher planted deeply into my brain back in junior high school.

Considering how much of nature's rules we understand today, we can now clearly explain things and phenomena that back in the time of the Joumon Era people attributed as the work of spirits, demons and other supernatural deity. Consequently, many of the everyday task we find to be common today would be regarded as magic and miracles in those times. Should people from that period were to see a refrigerator, a microwave oven or a rice cooker in action they would definitely drop their mouths wide in awe or their eye might sparkle in curiosity or they would scream out in fright or run as far away as they can just like how the natives of a pacific island once scrambled away, took unto their boats and paddled to the nearby islands after a European explorer demonstrated how to fire a gun. If we were to see those said things at work our reaction would be, "What gives?" Because we understand how a refrigerator, a microwave oven or a rice cooker operates and because they are a part of almost every household that these things have lost their 'magic' and so we simply come to cast them as boring and mundane and not pay much attention to them.

To put bluntly, the reality those people have and the reality that we live in today are quite different. However, reality, according to some scholar, is that which holds true even after we stop believing them to be true. Then there was the idiot who said that since in a dream our senses perceive things as something real then it might not be possible to differentiate dreams and reality apart and as a consequence of that, the world that we find ourselves living in could really be just a dream. Should that be the case, just how much worth do dreams have in reality?

Wait a minute. It seems that I've gone out of topic here. Anyway, let me share with you what I've learned from my research.

According to my English dictionary, a dream was said to be the experience of envisioned images, sounds, or other sensations during sleep and throughout history humans have attempted countless times to seek after their meaning. It has been described as either being the mind's response to emotional expectations not realized during the time when the person was awake, a manifestation of a person's inner desires, visions of the future, or even messages from the gods or some other supernatural deity.

Why I brought up this talk about dreams, you ask, because right now I'm experiencing one. Sorry Mr. Descartes but I would have to disagree with you. Let me describe it to you in detail.

Yes, it's true that right now I am standing at the middle of a familiar place. In fact this is the parking lot where I park my trusty old bike every time I go to the mall near the station. It's also true that the scene currently before my eyes was vivid and life-like, unlike those foggy or abstract images one usually sees when dreaming. The feel of the pavement beneath my shoes, the soft breeze ruffling my black gakuran, and the bicycle haphazardly lying there just outside the shed on the west end of the parking lot all looked so real it feels as though I am really awake.

However, there was a very pretty – no, a very beautiful girl standing right behind me. In my estimate I think she's somewhere near my age, probably a junior high schooler. This assumption was based solely on face value. Her hair was so long it reached all the way to her ankle and she wore some strange clothes I have never seen before. Perhaps it was the latest in fashion.

She had both her hands placed over my shoulders and was, in actuality, hiding herself behind my back. Fear was written across her face, radiating a look which gives any man who saw it the desire to protect her even if they didn't know her. That's exactly what I am doing right now – trying to be the knight in shining armor that protects the damsel in distress. That damsel whom I've never known and have never met until now.

Was this my desire? My unfulfilled expectation? That would be strange since I personally am not desperate in having a girlfriend at this time nor do I feel any tinge of jealousy towards couples going out on dates holding hands and looking all lovey-dovey while walking down the streets. I am completely satisfied with my life being a single first year senior high school student right now and I have enough school work to keep me occupied thank you very much.

Going back, the scenario above would have been fine if not for one minor problem. I was feeling just as afraid as the girl was. Please don't call me a hopeless coward. You'll soon see why further on.

I'm sure you've watched those funky anime shows about heroes fighting against evil monsters ripped out from hell or from space or from God knows where coming to earth to wreck havoc and prey upon the human race. That's what I'm standing face to face with right now. And no, this isn't like the monsters in those old Kamen Rider series were you could easily see that the monsters were just the stuntmen wearing some stupid monster costumes whose zippers were clearly exposed when a shot was taken from behind. I'm talking about Hollywood-class monsters here. The monster before me looked like a cross between a humanoid and a bat. Or was it a pterodactyl?

Honestly, I couldn't care less about appearances. Why? Because right now I'm in serious mortal danger since the monster was focusing its huge, round, black eyes right at me with a fountain of drool flowing down from its half-opened mouth. The rows of sharp, saw-like teeth were really frightening. If it were just the girl then I could say that this was a very good dream but adding a monster like this into the fray makes this into a full-fledged nightmare!

I was silently saying my prayers while the man-bat monster was about to leap right at me. Maybe this was a premonition or a message from the gods saying that my time is coming. Being eaten by a monster sure is a unique way to die and I am pretty sure it would be really painful as well. Too bad I still have a lot of things that I want to do. Maybe after this I would be lingering on as a ghost. Hmm, I wonder who I should go haunt first.

The monster finally made its move and in the next few seconds everything should be over. I was about ready to accept my fate when something completely unexpected happened. A spear came raining down from out of nowhere and skewered the monster right in the head!

The monster was twitching on the ground screaming a high-pitched cry in pain. The death cry was so loud it was making my ears hurt. It didn't take long before silence fell across the sparsely occupied parking lot. The wails had stopped completely. The monster had finally met its end.

I looked at the person who saved my neck. Falling from above, that person landed right in between myself and the monster a fraction of a second after the bladed tip of the spear plunged itself into the humanoid bat's skull. This person was wearing the sailor fuku and short skirt used by the girls' in my high school. Next to her stood a tall and well-built man in western plate armor you often see in books and museums making him look just like one those fancy medieval knights. Like the girl he too came from out of nowhere. Damn! My role as the knight in shining armor was already taken away from me! How sad…

Also, just like that knight, the schoolgirl's back was facing towards me so I couldn't quite make out exactly what she looked like. Though to make up for it there was this certain feeling of familiarity I had with her which helped easing up the tension a bit. And finally, based from the small glimpse of her face that I've seen so far, I can say that she was quite cute.

I know this was like a scene from those sappy, effects-filled good versus evil action-thrillers, heck it could even be the opening scene for a romance comedy. And judging from what I've just seen off this mystery schoolgirl, I could say that it was very likely that I would fall in love with her.

Unfortunately, the events in dreams are often impossible or unlikely to occur in physical reality and served me just fine.

After making sure that monster was dead, the girl pulled off her spear from the carcass then turned around to face me. One look at her face revealed my savior's identity to me and along with it all that romantic build-up I was talking about earlier was flown off the window, blown by the wind and headed straight into oblivion.

Perhaps this really was a premonition, or perhaps not. But in the days that followed I saw my reality flipped over right before my very eyes. Just what kind of mess have I found myself into?