One rainy afternoon, I woke up after taking a nap and discovered that I had transformed into a reindeer that was being hunted against a real alpha predator. I was running too fast through a marshy and muddy section of the woods when I slid straight down a 10-foot cliff to the ponds edge. That’s when another predator emerged. This beast was huge; easily 800 pounds and full feet across, with a huge tail and what seemed like 10,000 razor sharp teeth. And there was no denying it; her eyes were completely locked on me. I was to be her afternoon snack.
But the alligator didn’t come straight to me, at least not at first. I can still remember that it had rained early that day as well because the embankment was pure mud and there was no way to climb it. So I couldn’t go up, and I wasn’t going to try circle around the massive creature; there were far too many limbs and dead tree branches in the way. So all I could do was stand there. Every nerve in my body was telling me to scream, to run, to do something to save my dear life. Yet, I was completely frozen with terror. I knew for sure that I was about to die and there was nothing I could do to change my fate.
I can still feel the warm water around my ankles and smell the pungent stench of the mud. Every detail of what happened, every minute of time that elapsed. I vividly remember what I was feeling in those dark moments. It will never go away. When the alligator finally got tired of watching me, she shot out of that water like a canon. It was unbelievable how so much mass could seemingly defy physics and get airborne, yet there she was pulling towards my body in a blink of an eye.
The predator came from the far side of the pond at incredible speeds without the slightest hesitation. Only one thing saved my life. The fallen tree branches that just happened to be in the water. When the gators belly hit a sharp edged log, she almost immediately came to a stop, retreated a few feet and then lunged at me again. But by then it was too late. I heard an explosion directly above my head. It was a complete stranger carrying a wicked 12 gauge shotgun.
I say wicked because it shot out the fire for at least three feet, and he lit that gator up with every last shell in the magazine. The sound was really deafening. BOOM! BOOM!. Up to date, I still think the sound scared the gator more than the ammunition hitting her did. How did the stranger find me in time? To this day, I still call it divine intervention.
The savior was a neighbor from a different housing development who took his dogs out to run through the woods in the late afternoons. Evidentially, his German shepherd saw me fall and brought his owner straight to me, and the older folk always carried his shotgun in case of finding a rattlesnake. To cut a long story short, this was a just but a dream within another dream. I was woken up by a colleague who banged the door as he walked out of the office after he realized that I was deep asleep.