I was standing by the bay in the dark. Mom and Dad and my little sister Sissy were still sleeping in the tent. I could hear a few insects buzzing and waves gurgling and splashing on the sand. Fuzzy Buddy, my little, gray dog, and I began walking along the beach. I could feel the cold sand with my toes.
As we walked along, I felt colder and colder. The insects quit buzzing and the waves became louder. They began to roar and crash the beach, the black water rolling up toward me. Fuzzy Buddy dashed back and forth barking, shrill snapping barks. All I could see in the night was dark, and I couldn't run. When I tried to get away the ground stuck to my feet like thick, sticky glue.
I tried to break away, but pull as I might, I was stuck. I hollered to warn everyone, but the crashing, roaring ocean drowned out my voice. I couldn't hear Fuzzy Buddy anymore, and I couldn't reach him, either.
I felt frantic. I was helpless. A tidal wave was getting closer and a noise bellowed out of the blackness. I could feel something reaching out of the wave like a giant hand grabbing at us. I couldn't help Fuzzy Buddy, and I couldn't get away. When I looked, I could see bodies of dying people curled up in the wave, each skeleton a claw bending toward us. The claw plucked Fuzzy Buddy off the beach, pulling him away. I screamed for my dog, but my voice came out like a gurgle. I tried to turn away; I couldn't watch Fuzzy Buddy caught in that horrible tidal wave, but I couldn't move my head. The wave reared back and started toward me again. I knew whatever was coming after me was too dangerous for me to handle, so at the last minute, I closed my eyes. . .
Everything was dark. I could hear a thumping, like a boat engine. The noise came from my pounding heart, and as I lay there, the room seemed to get lighter. Fuzzy Buddy was curled up at the foot of my bed, sleeping soundly, thank goodness. What a relief, my dog was like part of me.
That horrible dream that seemed so real had scared me to death. I thought I must've eaten something bad. I felt too scared to close my eyes again so I switched on the bedside light and my radio and grabbed a book.
The next thing I knew, I woke up with a start. Another dream? I couldn't remember anything. I just had a horrible, dangerous choking feeling. I couldn't move. My neck felt paralyzed, my legs rubbery like a flat basketball. Then, I gasped for breath and began to feel more like myself.
I put Fuzzy Buddy under the covers and pulled them up to my chin. We had found Fuzz when he was a tiny puppy and he and I were best buddies. Fuzzy was a mix of miniature breeds, we never knew what kind, and his hair stuck out all over. He tickled me. I lay there feeling like I was being watched, but I didn't know by what.
I fell back to sleep and soon my alarm 'beep, beeped' me awake. I felt worn out; my night had had too many interruptions. At least it was Friday.
At breakfast Dad said, "You look tired this morning, BB. Did you stay up all night working on that report?"
"No, I finished about eleven. What does it mean when you dream a wall of water gets you?"
"You didn't turn off your shower tight enough," Dad said, smiling.
"I don't think that's it," I said.
"It's too bad you can't figure out all your dreams," Mom said. "I can't remember mine most of the time."
"I wish I knew what that one meant. It was awful. Water everywhere and I couldn't get away."
"BB had to go to the bathroom." Sissy giggled. Sissy was only in first grade.
I glared at her; she poked her tongue out at me. Sometimes she was such a pain, and since I was thirteen, I was stuck with her. I had promised to sit with Sissy that night while Mom and Dad went out for dinner and a movie.
I thought about my bad dream a lot of times that day and each time I shuddered. I couldn't shake the spooky feeling I'd had when the horrible claw reached out of the water and took Fuzzy Buddy and when it came after me. I had to find out about that scary dream.
Somehow I managed to drift through my first classes without getting sent to D Hall. I know I wasn't paying attention to the teachers; I was thinking about ocean waves and dying people.
Fourth period, right after lunch, I had science class. We were talking about weather.
"I dreamed about a tidal wave last night," I volunteered. "What do you think it means?"
"The dream wasn't funny," I said.
Mrs. Braun said, "I'm sure it wasn't. But what does that have to do with this class?"
"A tidal wave is weather."
"We're talking about clouds, not oceans, Bret."
"Yeah, BB," Jeff said as he poked me with his finger.
Bret. No one called me Bret except teachers and occasionally my Dad when I was in trouble for something. I'd always been Bret to friends and Will at home, until Sissy came along. William Bret Barnstormer had been a tongue tying name for her to say, so Sissy called me BB. It amazed me how quickly everyone picked that one up.
"Back to clouds," Mrs. Braun said.
I had a feeling I shouldn't have mentioned my dream. The feeling passed though, and at P.E. next period, as I was going into the showers, I asked Coach, "Do you know anything about dreams?"
"Dreaming about a big win, right?"
"Well, not exactly," I said.
"Ah, cheerleaders. Those are normal, healthy dreams," Coach said.
"You don't understand," I said. "That dream didn't seem normal at all."
"You still talking about that?" Jeff laughed at me as he went by, popping me on the butt with his towel. "You're a crazy boy."
No one seemed to offer me any help. And from their reactions, I was beginning to think no one else had dreams. I went to the school library, but I couldn't find any books about dreams listed on the microfiche.
"No, nothing about dreams," Mrs. Weston, the librarian, said. "But you know, Brad, some very famous men have studied dreams. You're in good company if you're getting into that pursuit."
'Bret not Brad,' I said to myself. "Do you know what a tidal wave, or a wall of water means?"
"Well, no, Brad, I don't. A study group's due now," she whispered. "Run along to your class."
I wished Mrs. Weston had remembered my name. More than that, I wished she'd known about my dream. At least Mrs. Weston knew people studied about dreams, but as far as helping me went, she wasn't even in the ball park.
After school I went to Little League practice. I wanted to ask someone about the dream, but no way was I going to mention it again in front of Jeff. Of course Jeff still had to tease me about my bad dream every time we passed each other when the innings changed.
"Ooh, big waves, huh?" Jeff waved his hands in my face then up over my head, laughing as he did.
Jeff's hands reminded me of the claw in the wave and I shuddered.
"You taking some of that stuff they sell on the corner, huh, BB?"
Jeff would say something like that. Any time a person acted different from him, he blamed it on drugs. But the more Jeff harassed me, the more determined I felt to get an answer about my dreams and tell him about it, or at least get an answer. Jeff didn't deserve to know.
We finished practice, then I had to go home to baby-sit Sissy.
Mom had fixed Chinese food, and Sissy and I sat in the kitchen to eat. I wanted to be anywhere but taking care of my sister. She chattered all through dinner and finally said, "Play Go Fish with me, okay?"
"Only for a little while," I said.
She smiled and ran to get her cards. I didn't like playing Go Fish with Sissy because the game was boring, and if I didn't let her win, she'd pout and whine and tell Mom I was mean, then I'd get into trouble. Sissy won eight games that night. I had no trouble at all letting her win either; all I could think about was my dream. Then Sissy took her dolls to the backyard to play in the sandbox. I stretched out on the couch with an article about my hero Michael Jordan, but I kept thinking about my dream.
I walked to the backyard and stretched out in the hammock while Sissy played in her sand pile with a little bucket. She filled the bucket and began piling sand on top of me, covering first my feet and then my body.
"Don't do that," I said. "I'm thinking." I rocked and snoozed and when I woke up, I couldn't see Sissy.
She was only six and she wasn't supposed to leave the yard alone at night. I climbed inside my favorite sycamore tree, hoping to get a glimpse of Sissy. I got taller and skinnier. My arms filled out the limbs and my head poked out the top. I felt dizzy because the ground was so far away. Then I saw a newspaper. I picked it up with my limb, er, arm. The whole front page was filled with the word ANSWER.
"I wonder what the question is?" I asked. Then I heard the siren; the police were coming. The noise got louder and louder. I knew I couldn't get away and the police would put me in jail for losing my sister. One of them grabbed my limb, rather my arm. . .
"BB, BB," Mom said as she shook me awake. "Go on up to bed now. Thanks for sitting with Sissy."
The tea kettle was whistling in the kitchen.
"Here's your magazine," Mom said.
I tried to brush sand off my clothes, but, of course, there wasn't any.
"Good night, Mom," I said. I couldn't remember much of the evening. "Is Sissy okay?"
"Fine. She's all tucked in. Was something wrong?"
I shook my head. "Another dream, I guess." I went up to bed.