The reason that I knew was because I've had this same dream ever since I turned 18.
Its always been the same, the setting never changing even slightly since the first time I've experienced it.
I stood amidst a seemingly endless plane, the color surrounding me just like a star-less night sky.
Nothing and no one else could be seen where I stood.
I turned my body to the right, as I did every time I had this dream, spotting the one other thing that was always here with me.
Laying atop a boulder that stood nearly as high as I did, was a wolf.
One could barely tell from the rise and fall of its sleek copper brown fur that it wasn't dead.
In all other aspects, it seemed like it was.
It was always like this.
Motionless, unresponsive, and completely silent.
In all my experience of having this dream, it's never once moved, never even opened its eyes.
It just laid there.
I've tried many things over the years. Talking to it, questioning it, even screaming at it just to get some sort of reaction from it.
I even once went as far as to hoist myself up onto that rock and nudge it.
Every single time, I've gotten nothing in response.
In all honesty, it was starting to get frustrating.
I've read countless books on dream interpretation and even visited the old man on the opposite side of the village who claimed to be a master at it for some kind of answer as to why this was happening to me.
Three years later, and I'm still just as clueless.
Maybe even more so.
I crossed my arms and glared up at the wolf.
At this point, all I associated with this dream was that it was going to be morning by the time I wake up.
But the time varied from dream to dream of when that moment was.
I huffed out a sigh, wanting that moment to come more than ever right now.
My dad and I had plans for today since it was officially the first day of spring, and the passionate ecologist inside him needed to investigate the new flora and fauna that it brought to the forest outskirts of our village
I for one was excited to go with him and found a bit of humor that the only thing stopping me was a fauna only local to my dreams.
Begrudgingly, I started towards it, thinking maybe if I mess with it enough that I'll wake up.
However, my intentions quickly changed, my entire body going deathly still when for the first time in my life, its eyes opened.
That fact surprised me more than what I saw within them.
Where I was expecting normal pupils and iris, was instead a bright gold color filling in the entirety of its eyes.
I stared, still standing completely motionless as an odd sense of fear ran through me.
Now that it was awake, I wasn't sure what could come from it next.
It had never done this, so I didn't know what to begin to expect.
But the rational part of my mind was reasonably becoming scared that this wild carnivore was now awake and unpredictable
Dream or not, I don't think anyone wants to experience being possibly attacked by a wolf.
Especially one as large as that one was.
The wolf didn't move for a moment, just watched.
I thought that it might be looking at me, but given the lack of irises, it was really hard to tell for sure.
I nearly jumped as it quickly lifted and turned its head, staring off into the distance to its right.
My eyes followed where it was looking, not seeing anything different from before.
Still, it continued staring, not even blinking.
Its nose twitched the slightest bit and its ears stood straight up, searching for something that I apparently couldn't see.
My confusion lingered as I tried to unravel what was happening.
If I'm being completely honest, I was curious as to what could make the wolf that laid dormant for so long finally act.
I felt an odd tension build as the seconds passed with nothing happening.
That tension burst into a tightness in my chest the second the wolf let out a high pitched whine, eyes still locked with the distance.
I could almost feel the agony in that simple sound.
I turned to face the wolf again but only came face to face with a blinding light.
My arms immediately lifted to block my eyes from it, my eyes eventually just closing on their own.
I opened my eyes with a deep inhale, being partially relieved at the familiar sight of my room.
Laying there for a moment, I felt my heart racing in my chest, that same feeling of dread still tight in my chest.
I pushed myself up slowly, squinting from the subtle sunlight that the round window behind my bed let in.
Rubbing lightly at my chest, I took a moment to ground myself.
Okay... that was new... definitely new.
Still, the fact that my heart hadn't calmed down urged me to the thought that it might have meant something.
I quickly shook that thought from my head, honestly just wanting to get on with today's events.
Plus it'll probably be another 3 years of that repededly until that wolf decides to do something else again.
With that settling in my mind, I rose myself from my bed.
It was still moderately early, but I had a feeling that my dad was already awake and getting ready for today's escapade.
This was the day we both looked forward to every year.
The spring was when the wildlife around here really seemed to burst, and my father wanted to document every part of it as early as he could.
People around the country commended him and his partners for his research, although it didn't exactly bring in a profit.
In all actuality, he did it because he loved it and I respected him greatly for that.
The fact that he was already awake rang true the moment the scent of searing pork hit my nostrils.
I hurriedly changed into a leather vest and a tan pair of breaches that I had to tie around my waist with rope.
Finding a pair of pants for women was nearly impossible in this village, and I hadn't gotten around to hemming these yet so this was going to have to do.
Grabbing a small piece of twine to tie my russet brown hair back, I opened my door and headed down the stairs.
In doing so, I missed a couple strands of hair, but decited to just leave it.
The delicious smell only intensified as I finally reached the bottom and stepped into the kitchen.
There on the table already sat a plate with two of our chickens' fried eggs sitting on top, and my dad slicing up the meat he was just cutting.
He was basically wearing the exact same thing I was, save for the longer shirt underneath his vest, and an apron.
With mycompletelyunbiased opinion, he was a good-looking man for someone his age, still having a full head of hair that nearly matched my own, and a solid build that showed the many years of labor he's put in during his life.
He alone built everything in this little house, including the house, himself.
He was a highly intelligent and compassionate man, despite what the other people that live here might tell you.
They didn't quite agree with how he lived his life divulging into 'useless' research, nor how he raised a daughter to work and fend for herself.
And also know how to do many other things that girls my age never learned how to do.
Regardless we cared very little about matters like that and continued living as we pleased.
We came to the simple understanding early on that the expectation of women that this village had wasn't something either of us wanted for me.
He smiled as soon as he spotted me, his excitement about today written all over his face.
"Good to know you're as eager about this as I am," He commented, his eyes gesturing to the fact that I was already dressed through his round glasses.
"Duh," I responded, sitting down into my chair, "We've only been talking about this since last spring."
He chuckled as he walked over to me and slid the sliced meat onto my plate.
I glanced at the empty space across the table from me as I took my first bite.
"Arent you gonna eat," I questioned.
His lips formed a thin line while his eyes gave away the fact that he had been caught.
"I uh- actually woke up a few hours ago and headed out for a bit already," He said, his culpability being more than evident.
My eyes narrowed as I pursed my lips into a disappointed pout.
Actually, I expected this. He didn't sleep well when he was excited.
"But I just went to search the edges of the forest to see if I could find anything exciting for us to start with," he defended.
"And did you find anything."
A smile slowly crept onto his face.
Oh, this was going to be good.
"Lydia, my dear, I found us a wolf."
He nodded eagerly.
"But I didn't think there was a wolf pack anywhere near here," I thought aloud.
We've seen a variety of foxes and the occasional wild cat before, but never a wolf.
"That's the thing," he began excitedly, taking the seat across from me, "I don't think there is. He was alone."
"I could only assume it was male. I saw his ridiculously large pawprint in the dirt before I spotted him through the tree's and Jesus was he big! His paw print alone was nearly the size of my hand," the wonder in his eyes only grew as he rambled on about it, showing that he was most definitely excited about this find, "It looked like he still had his winter coat too, he was totally white from what I could see."
"And you think we could find it again?" I asked, his attitude admittedly rubbing off on me.
I didn't know much about wolves, but if this one was alone maybe it was just passing through.
"I hope so," He began again, " It wasn't that long ago that I spotted him, but my hope is to find him again and get to the point where I can get up close enough to tranquilize him."
My eyes widened.
It had been a while since he'd caught an animal to study, let alone a predator.
"You want to bring him back here?"
He nodded, "Of course. Just long enough to document what I need from him, although I may need to notify the people to the West if they decide they want this information," He trailed off for a minute, "But wither way, yes, that's my plan. I've never seen a wolf with that kind of stature and I want to learn all that I can."
I bit through my food as I took this all in.
He was always careful and mindful of the animals he had in his care, in fact, he made a pretty spacious cage for them within our basement to keep them moderately comfortable while he did what he needed to do.
He even made his own tranquilizers to ensure the animal's greatest safety.
But getting a predator as big as he's describing down there was a big step.