i am riding in the car, along a road that could be any highway of any roadtrip my family has ever taken. it is dusk, and we are looking at things along the road. we saw shadows and tried to determine what made them. there are shadows of deer and other cars and trees and all sorts of things. then, randomly, there is a rainbow, at dusk! but it seems to be neon lights, even though it is a 'natural' rainbow.

suddenly, we are walking instead of driving, and my parents are different people, and i have two young siblings instead of the teenaged brother i really have. and we have a large dog of indeterminate breed, but i think part wolfhound part mastiff. our clothes are different--more oldfashioned somehow. but we are still looking at shadows.

suddenly there is a movement and a shadow. and we identify it as a mountain lion that just attacked a rabbit. we think 'wow' for a moment. then realize the implication. because it's a lion that's been menacing our livestock, and the surrounding families animals too.

we all lie down. it comes up, sniffs us. it looks to be raising a paw full of very sharp claws. but our dog threatens it, and the lion walks off. we are safe for the moment, but this cat cannot stay. it's a menace to all our livestock. so my father organizes a hunt. all the farmers bring their dogs, to the farm where it last killed. most are beagles and coonhounds. a few sheepdogs of different breeds. and quite a few mutts. but our dog is the largest, and most familiar with the lion, having met it before. he leads the pack. (dad is reluctant to relase him, he's a valuable dog, but there's no way the beast can be brought to bay by the other dogs, really. i insist, and he's let go.)

the yelps of the coursing hounds can be heard as they pick up the trace and vanish from sight. we hear them rise and fall as they get closer and further away. suddenly they are close again. and suddenly they are wellnigh on top of us. they, in fact, chase the cat into the barn. actually, the pack split in two, and half chase the lion. the other half are on the heels of a stag.

the barn is huge. cavernous and far too big for a real barn. the stag is chased into a pen where pigs usually are kept. the dogs bring him down slowly. the lion runs for the back of the barn. he inflicts much damage on many dogs. he too is eventaully killed, with the help of a human and a knife.

dogs are sorted out. many are bleeding, some seriously. but four are missing. two beagles, a sheepdog, and... our dog. a flash of intuition leads me back deep in the barn where i find one beagle--lost in the tangles of woodpiles and cobwebs. he is limping slightly, but OK. a second trip reveals the sheepdog, hurt more badly. with a good vet he may recover. but the other beagle and our dog are still missing. (the beagle will later show up at his home.)

there is a speech of the heroics of our dog and how he gave his life for his family. and it was probably true. he saved us from the lion that first time, and seemed to have a personal grudge against the beast when he set out to hunt it. but he was too brave and good a dog to leave be. we had to look for him. and so all the neighbors setout to help us look, to see if he was wounded somewhere along the hunt.

~my alarm clock went off at this point. the dog remained unfound and presumed dead, as an unpleasant buzz took the place of thisdream.~