Last night I dreamed that I killed a guy in a knife fight. I didn't just dream that I had done this in some nebulous past. I dreamed the actual fight in all its gory detail. What I didn't dream is why we were fighting in the first place. That is, I don't know why the guy I killed was fighting me. I was fighting him for my life.
You need to know that I never dream stuff like this. I don't as a rule have scary dreams, or violent ones, and if ever I dream something that seems like it's going to tip the scale in that direction, I wake up before anything serious happens. Not last night.
My opponent was relentless. He cut me several times. I cut him back. Neither of us was doing a lot of damage, but the intent was obvious. At some point my mind-set changed from merely trying to stay alive to a joyful determination to end the guy's life. I quit looking for opportunities to escape and started looking for openings in his defenses.
We were both dancing around. Our moves were punctuated by stabbing thrusts and whirling slashes. Blood was evident, but not quite flowing. I had cuts on my arms and shoulders, and one on my right side. I tried to slice his neck open, but missed. He tried the same move on me.
By this time in the fight, I knew how he moved. I took a chance. I was not afraid...either to fail or succeed. I grabbed his right wrist with my left hand as his blade flashed forward and stepped inside his swing. I got right up in his face where I could smell his spittle and his determination. I shoved my knife up under his rib cage and into his heart. He went down like a sack of potatoes.
That was the end of the dream. Short on philosophy and long on action...pretty much the exact opposite of me.
The most disturbing thing about it was that it wasn't very disturbing. I wasn't shocked or unnerved by my capacity for violence, nor did I have any remorse over the dead guy. I really had no feelings whatsoever beyond the understandable relief that it had been him rather than me and that things had turned out much better than I could have imagined beforehand.
I think it may have been the first dramatic dream I ever had from which I couldn't draw a lesson. If you know me, you know I like a good lesson. With no known motive for the dead guy's attack and no obvious reason for my response other that self preservation, there's not much about anything to be gleaned from this dream. A guy wanted to kill me. I don't know why. I killed him instead, drawing on resources I didn't know I had. End of story.
The only thing that makes this dream make sense to me is if the dead guy, the guy who was trying to kill me for no apparent reason, was cancer. Now that sumbitch I could stab without compunction.