May 17th, 2005


Dream of rats

Last week I had a dream that had me wake up in the middle of the night and made me cling to ristin for support. It started off with me reading a trashy furry comic, probably in Furrlough. It had a typical heroine; big boobs, big ears, cervine. She was stalking a huge hulking malevolent rat with a knife. Ristin does not normally accept that rats can be evil but I assured him this one was. As is not typical in these sort of stories, she was stabbed and lay bleeding on the floor. Then, as happens in dreams, the perspective changed and this evil rat was not safely esconsed in a comic but free in our world. I could see him hunched over in a corner, glaring at me. He was in his element, complete darkness, but somehow I could see him and I was paralysed with fear. Ristin got out of bed and blindly stumbled towards him. I wanted to warn him but nothing would come out. The rat lashed out and stabbed him in the chest. As Ristin fell the rat stalked towards me. At last I found my voice and shouted "no-no-no!" in a despairing wail. This is when I woke and I needed Ristin to comfort me.

Although I called the rat evil, I later realised where he came from. I've been reading Rats: A Year with New York's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan on nicodemusrat's recommendation and it had a disturbing scene in which rat control officers were drawing blood from the hearts of live (unconscious) rats to check for infectious diseases. Although they kept upping the dosage of anaesthetic (enough to kill a cat, they said) some of these rats just didn't want to stay down. One struggled as he was being bled so they put him on the filthy floor and one of them stood on its tail to keep it still. I quote from the book:
Dan was not trembling but he did seem as if he were in shock. "I'm using my foot," he said, speaking in the present tense, as if watching a replay, "but the rat still gets up and pulls himself away." Dan was really shaking his head now. In fact, he was no longer telling me to keep rats in perspective. "Rats are incredible, they really are," he said. "I mean, there aren't many animals that can bleed like that and that can take it."
Needless to say, they let that rat go on its way. I now understood why the rat in the dream glared at me so malevolently and would stab people in the heart. It was not evil; merely enraged and seeking revenge. We should be glad that rats do not have a vengeful spirit in them.
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