Often, I'm a lucid dreamer. Lately, however, I've had dreams where I've been aware of the dream nature, but unable to influence the dream or to wake up from it.

The recurring motif is a black cat - more of a very small, very thin (almost emaciated) panther - that is slowly gnawing off my right hand. In some dreams, I'm surrounded by people - in the first, we were playing Trivial Pursuit. In others, I'm alone, headed somewhere. Sometimes I can shake it off for a moment; other times, it has its claws too deeply in my arm.

It starts at the space between the thumb and pointer. Though I swear that it pauses to savor those first bites, it eventually picks up speed, tearing and gulping, almost unhinged and careless. It does not make a sound. Nor do I. I only try to shake it off, for as long as I'm able, before my arm gets heavy, before it stops to look at me, coldly, as if it could stare me into acceptance.

Or worse, as if to let me know acceptance or struggle matter not a bit.


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