“You’d better come now,” they say, in oddly stereophonic unison. Refusing to believe they are addressing me, I cling to sleep and return to my dream.
I’m waist deep in lake water, casting for trout. The only sounds I hear are the occasional crow’s caw and the ‘zzzzz’ of my reel as the line plays out. Through the still, clear water I watch the fish follow my lure almost to the end of my rod. But they won’t bite. I cast again.
“You’d better come now,” they say again, heavier on the reverb this time. I feel a hand on my shoulder and roll away.
“I’m fishing,” I murmur. “I’ll get to you later.” Again I slip into my dream.
I’m lying on the shore, my rod abandoned a few feet away, watching reflected sunlight glimmer in the trees above. Somewhere across the lake, a loon calls out. The leaves begin to dance as the heat of the afternoon yields to a cool evening breeze. Then I hear it, the unmistakable splash of a jumping trout. “Damn,” I say. “Now you’re hungry. You always want to eat when I’d rather sleep.”
I feel an urgent shaking of the bed. “You’d better come, now! We’re hungry, Mom.” I swing my legs over the side of the bed and sigh heavily, grimacing at these two strange, little fishes. From the day they were born, always hungry when I’d rather sleep.
Mom? Are they talking to me?
I wake with a gasp and struggle to get my bearings. My stomach lurches at the sudden sensation of falling as the hammock swings. Settling back, I turn my head toward the sound of Kerry digging up spent daisies across the yard.
“I had the nightmare again,” I call out.
She nods but doesn’t look up. “You know,” she says, pushing the shovel into the earth with her foot, “others would call it a lovely dream.”
“It scares the hell out of me every time. What do you think that means?” I ask.
Wiping sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm, Kerry straightens and turns to face me. “I think,” she says, “it means whatever you want it to mean.”
Looking skyward, I ponder a cloud as it skitters across the sky, unwittingly borne by some indiscernible wind.
“I think,” I say, “I’d rather go fishing.”