My consciousness comes back to me and I'm the only passenger of a glass bottom boat. The same one, I notice, that we almost didn't make it back in years ago. The weather is the same as that day: dark, dismal, and daunting. The waves are murky and spray salt water over the edge of the boat, blurring my vision. The boat operator stares blankly ahead – I can't see his face – and we push on into nothingness.
Then, suddenly, a serpent-like body is arcing before us, slowly rising from the water and returning back to it without revealing an end. I can see each and every slimy black scale as it appears and then vanishes from sight, and feel my stomach twisting and pulling in nine different directions. I turn my head and see what should be the tail rise finally from the water and stare on in horror as a head appears, snarling and ugly and awful. Its tail-head glares at me as it seemingly sinks backwards back into the ocean.
"Go!" I order the operator. "Go back!" but it's too late. The monster has surrounded the boat with its massive body and I can't tell where its head is.
The faceless man turns the boat and we motor on – much too slowly – towards the shore.
"Faster!" I tell him, but he doesn't answer. I look over my shoulder and see the terrible face of the creature as it shoots towards me, gliding through the water with determination – hundreds of teeth ready to strike.
Closer, closer it gets to us in our struggle back to the shore, and dear God we're almost there. Fear grips me tight and I'm paralyzed, paralyzed watching the monster.
The boat touches ground and crashes deep into the sand, throwing me far onto the shore. I claw at the ground to regain my footing and don't look back. I know if I look back it'll be there, ready to strike. I can feel it still there behind me, watching me. I don't feel as if I've been saved. I don't feel safe yet.
I wake up. Images of other monsters in other lakes filter through my mind and I'm reminded that this dream isn't an original.
Yet somehow this one felt different. This one was different. I stumble and fumble around for my light switch and find it unusual that the clarity of the beast's face is still so fresh in my mind.
I know this dream was unique because when the room fills with blinding light I'm still shaking, petrified. I know that this dream was special because, hiding deep within my warm covers, hugging my teddy bear, I still feel like I'm stranded out in the open water, waiting for the unknown to rise up and finally take me.