I opened my eyes to find myself standing in a barren wasteland of ice and snow. The sun was in the process of rising but at the same time did not appear to be making any progress. The ground shifted almost imperceptibly under my feet.
I don’t know how I knew, whether through some unnatural ability or the actual sense of the globe spinning, but it occurred to me that I was standing at geographical north. Where I half expected to see a red and white striped pole, there was only an old Inuit woman sitting atop a mound of ice and snow.
The old woman was wearing a long Caribou parka. The hood, fringed with wolf fur, was pushed back exposing silver hair tied tight against her head and a weathered face like old leather. I couldn’t see her eyes, only the creases where they should have been. Below her flat nose was a broad smile of amusement and welcome. I waved to the old woman, not able to find any words to suit the situation. She didn’t respond, but continued to sit with her hands in her lap, smiling at me.
It was at that point that my attention was drawn to slow movement in my peripheral. I turned to my left to see a Polar Bear approaching. He paused as I faced him and let out a low, guttural snarl. His head was low to the ground, staring me down with deep black orbs. His long fur glowed with a yellow and orange halo in the light of the rising sun. He was a monster, easily twice my height if he had stood next to me.
Somehow I kept control over my bowels as he resumed his slow pace towards me. I began moving in the opposite direction, circling the old Inuit woman. I broke into a sprint. So did the bear.
“Six o’clock! Five o’clock! Four o’clock!” the old Inuit woman cackled. “Run time traveler!”
I kept running in circles, the bear close behind. His shadow would envelope me and then abate. Again and again. Round and round. The Inuit woman laughed like it was the best thing she’d seen in years. Her fur slippers kicked against the ice in glee. She was laughing so hard at one point that she began to cough and convulse, almost tumbling off of her perch.
Five days into the past my legs were burning. Massive paws pounded the ice behind me, closer with every step. I could feel hot breath on the back of my neck. Suddenly there was a sharp pain on my right side, and I was lying in the dark on the simulated hardwood of my bedroom floor. Nearly out of breath, I crawled back into bed and tried to calm my racing heart as the sights and sounds of the terrifying dream echoed in my mind.