When I was younger, I think around early high school years, I had a very realistic nightmare.
I woke up in hell, or a hellish landscape and what I perceived in the dream to be hell. It would not look out of place in some dystopian movie about the end of the world. I was sitting on a pile of rubble next to a steel beam. There were cracks in the ground all around me. Flames would lick up out of them every so often or a gust of hot air would send embers flying. Wherever I looked there was fire. My hair and clothing stuck to me with sweat. My vision was hazy from the heat, but one thing was very clear. There was a dog coming towards me. A Rottweiler to be precise. It walked over to me with a dooming calmness but its head was low to the ground. It was growling at me, frothing with rage.
I don't remember exactly who I started praying to, but I think I just about prayed to every God I knew of. I remember the dog started laughing at me and then spoke.
"You can escape this time, but when you die there will be no angels to guide you. Only me. And no God or Jesus will be able to save you."
After that I woke up.
Of all the crazy recurring dreams I've had, this was not one of them. For that I'm grateful, and until I had to think of something creepy to write about for October, I largely forget this dream.
But there are times when I'm trying to get to sleep and I'm all alone, or when a relative has passed and I'm staring at their casket while the preacher tries to soothe us with a sermon, or sometimes when I wonder about what awaits us after death that sometimes my mind will wander back to the Rottweiler. Back to my dream of what I'm sure was hell. It is then that I struggle harder to sleep. It is then that I listen more closely to the words of a God I don't worship, and it is then that I sometimes wish there is nothing after death.