When I opened my eyes, I was sweating profusely in the most freezing Bangalore winter night ever. A heaving chest and a pounding heart were too much for my fragile self to handle.
I lay still.

The dream was still vivid. And yet, parts of it were vague and forgotten already.
What stood out was the gigantic snake. Or the octopus. Or whatever it was, with its slimy, long tentacles and hood of a large cobra. Worse, I shuddered to remember, the creature was my friend – or it became, in the course of the dream, in the part I forgot.

When Ray appeared, the creature raised its ugly head. I gave a low warning sound to say, he is family. It settled down. A huge, strong, ugly beast doing my bidding at the slightest command! It evoked a strange mix of emotions.

Ray inadvertently stepped on one of the creature’s tentacles that was lying around. It gave a low moan and looked up. I calmed it down with a wave of the hand. It was amazing how well it responded to me.

What in the world was the matter with Ray? He was stepping on its tentacles again, this time on purpose.

“No,” I said, alarmed. Why was he doing it?

As I watched in horror, trying at the same time to calm the slowly rising beast, Ray kicked it and beat it with his hands. I could see the conflict in the creature’s eyes as it struggled to decide between its better sense to fight the attacker and its innate desire to respect my command.

“No! No!” I could hear myself screaming, frightened, confused, dismayed.

Ray was not paying any heed to me. He, as usual, was trying to show how fearless he is! A display of foolishness that one would expect from a teenager; at his age? But then, I have seen him do it before, countless number of times.

Ray would not stop. He was challenging the beast. I imagine his intention was to tame it, doesn’t he realise it is already quite tame? I took a step back, trembling and frightened, as the beast’s eyes glowed with suppressed rage, its survival instinct finally prevailing; it shuddered and rose to its full height, its hood open, split tongue sneaking out. Ray stood still below it, realisation slowly dawning in his eyes that he had just awakened a killer from its slumber.

The head recoiled, poised for the kill. Nothing could stop it now.

My whole system quivering in terror, I snapped awake.

Exercise done for my creative writing workshop on a terrifying experience, memory or fear.