Upon a lake the fellow and his dog play fetch beneath the Weeping Willow. As though choreography, time flows smoothly on as the wind blows through the fellow's hair and the waves lap against the dog's paws. Noticing the sunset just begin to reflect over the surface of the lake, the fellow and his dog decide then is a good time to break and return to camp. Once returned they share a rib-eye right off the grill before finishing up in the kitchen. Both satiated and cheerful, together they plan out their next day. At sunrise they will settle fetch and then follow up with birdwatching in the woods. As they both eagerly await for the Audubon app to download, the fellow can't resist but point out the moon and stars. There is something captivating about lying beneath this starry sky, he muses to his canine companion just before returning inside to flip the switch and call it a night.
Although well-read in the subject, the fellow had never taken off for more than the weekend and so the woods remained no more than as he had read about it in his nature guides. In spite of his avid interest in nature, the other campers remarked on how there were aspects about this individual which perplexed them. Such as how he would refuse to accompany them on their trips to museums or menageries, explaining how he felt that the very concepts of domestication and nature in captivity were abhorrent to him. Furthermore, being the hands-on-learner that he was, he would go on further to explain how camping out was simply enough of a learning experience for him. Just like his husky, which would always accompany him while camping, this domesticated fellow still had a wild side despite his fuzzy appearance. As he was the type of camper always asking for a close shave, he found it irresistible to abandon their dinner leftovers on the grill. As the ranger would later explain: When it comes to camping, you will find there are those who can play with fire…and those merely meant to tell scary stories. Needless to say, this fellow was the latter camper.
Besides the opportunity to tell a tale, there is a sense of intrigue associated with exploring the unknown. Just as meeting a stranger in the woods is a novel experience, so was every one of this fellow's camping adventures. Unexpected yet exciting, he would relay the story over and over to his canine companion on the way home. However there comes a time when every camper must come to realize that the woods is best not taken in jest, lest one find their self unable to return to tell of their test. As this fellow had no ears for anybody other than himself, he could only hope to awaken to the truth in his sleep. But, while a dream typically delivers its hidden message by dropping its subject into a deeply personal and familiar setting, this fellow's would do none-other than drop him deep into the unknown…for one who believed they knew so much, yet knew so little, would need to find their self lost in the woods time and time again.
Although a heavy sleeper, he wakes unknowingly in a nightmare. Contemplating what might have awakened him, indignantly he voices his opinion to his canine companion, imploring as to whether it lies wide awake as well. Upon receiving no reply to his complaint, he warily leans over the foot of the bed, only to discover that there is no one there to listen! After deliberating for some time, he gets up to perform some undercover investigating. Hoping to remain covert, he switches the lights off and heads downstairs. However, upon having to recover at the bottom step, he regrets his decision and switches them back on. Just as his vision adjusts, he discovers the kitchen raided and the door left ajar. Apprehensive, he argues with himself for quite some time, before being forced to confess that he might be to blame after all upon seeing the latch left undone. Admitting he might have to take things outside, upon exiting the cabin he discovers his companion remains nowhere to be found. Then, as though the mysterious canine had intended to leave its owner alone to wander off into the woods all along, he gets lost in the woods.
Despite how he might later tell the tale, the fellow never gives up hope of a reunion with his companion. Amidst the storm he seeks shelter beneath an ancient tree. However as the storm drifts overhead, it struggles to free itself from amongst the winding boughs of the tree and forces the canopy to rain upon him. His spirits put out, he finds himself left with no other choice but to seek shelter once again. But upon settling beneath another tree, the storm sends forth lightning and sets the overhead canopy on fire. More afraid of catching a cold than catching aflame, he then removes the canister of alcoholic tincture from around his neck and pours it upon the flames. But his attempt to douse them backfires as they merely lick up the liquor and further ignite. With wild disbelief he can only watch as the tree becomes fully engulfed by the electric blue aura. At this time, the fellow wonders whether the woods is playing a prank on him. Betrayed by its bark, even the nearby birch seems to be peeling with laughter. Only wanting in on the joke, the fellow then decides to wait out the storm in its company, accepting asylum beneath its branches.
The pun then being done, the storm soon subsides and allows the fellow to continue on with his quest. At this point he is no longer so self-assured and he admits he is lost. Still, his determination to reunite with his canine companion shifts him into high gear and fuels him further on. After driving on for quite some time with no clue as to where he should be headed, to his relief he sights another refugee off in the distance and promptly detours to ask for directions. But, just as the stranger's silhouette comes into view, a red warning light flickers on in his mind. However in his eagerness he further accelerates, paying it no more mind than the bucks which resort to diving out of his way while he is on the road. Suddenly to his surprise the stranger issues a honk, as though warning him to drive out of its way, instead. Mistaking its horn as mere acknowledgment, the fellow then finds himself charged by the moose. Afraid of being charged with a hit-and-run, the moose drives away from the scene of the crime.
As it turns out, in order to aid this fellow in escaping from this nightmare, it would be necessary to solve the mystery of his raided cabin. A Dream Detective nonetheless, it fell on me to take on his case and solve this mystery. However, lest I be falsely implicated upon stepping onto the crime scene alone, I would need to comprehend the culprit on my own. From the beginning of the dream, I remained undercover of the woods and so stood witness to the entire crime. Once the fellow had fallen into deep sleep, it was then that the culprit finally emerged to carry out its mission and settle its unfinished business. The dinner left upon the grill was not enough, the culprit wasted no time in taking advantage of the cabin's undone latch to finish none other than what had been left undone in the past. Then, having tasted the pleasures of mankind left it less than satisfied and so it commenced to raid the kitchen. But all of a sudden, having realized it had woke the fellow upstairs, the culprit had no other choice but to flee into the woods and relieve itself of its dirty deed. All the while I had remained out of view but at this time began to trail in close pursuit. Although I would conclude the chase and apprehend the culprit, I would return to discover the fellow was gone. Left without any further clue as to what to do, I had no other choice but to resort to releasing the culprit back into the woods to find its owner.
By the time he finally reaches the lake it is night. Still seeing stars from his run-in with the moose, the fellow now takes a moment to catch his breath. As he takes a long-awaited drink and cools down, he anticipates taking a dip with his canine companion in these waters once more. Peering across the surface of the lake, he spots the Weeping Willow they had played fetch under. He then can't help but wistfully reflect back to the start of his journey and look forward to settling their game once and for all. However off in the woods he notices the moose and the moment is lost for he can't help but lose it upon remembering their earlier affair. Just as the moose sidles over to his side for a drink, who comes to save him other than his canine companion? As his assailant is driven back into the woods, the fellow can finally allow himself to smile--what a tale! But then he can't help but frown. Although it only right that they reunite, it is like two long-lost twins meeting for the first time, their reunion is just too difficult for anybody to believe!
Now reunited, the fellow can patiently trails his companion as it begins to smell their way back to camp. Every dog has its day, the fellow declares proudly into the woods. Just as he says this his companion finishes sniffing about and settles on its favorite tree.
In time they come to pass the Weeping Willow, and the fellow then realizes now is an appropriate time to conclude their day's journey and takes this opportunity to recite a poem:
The sapling grew tall and proud until the sky threatened to uproot it by its very branches.
Thus the sapling wept growing up, afraid of becoming torn from its roots.
Although grown wizened and wise
To this day the Weeping Willow still reaches towards its Mother Earth.
Suddenly struck by a revelation, he shares it with his companion:
I have just come to realize that my tale is similar to the Weeping Willow's for I, too, had grown much too proud and needed to root myself. All this time I needed to realize there were some things I could accomplish alone and this journey has made me all the wiser. Can you truly comprehend all that you have done by bringing me back home?
His companion sneezes, but assures him not to worry so much about it, because it can still smell their way back.
Shortly thereafter they return to their cabin. Despite all the excitement over their newest tale, all the fellow can manage to do is make his way to bed. As he falls into a deep sleep he looks forward to settling their game of fetch once he awakes.
He falls asleep only to wake up to what is real. In the morning he will discover his real companion resting at the foot of his bed, its imaginary counterpart having returned with me to the Menagerie before it could fade away with the rest of the dream. To this day, it uses its nose to sleuth the natural artefacts which we bring from your world. Its classification: Gemini