This is taken from my comic fantasy novel Court of Dreams, and is at the back end of a sort of dream vision... thing.
The dream faded into blackness, but it felt more like an interval than a conclusion. A drumming sounded, like the low thrum of a heartbeat, pulsing through Thomas with every note. Thomas didn’t care. He was too busy feeling a bit cheated that this vision seemed to have stolen its dialogue from a soap opera somewhere, while at the same time trying to make sense of the things he’d just seen.
Questions milled around in his head. Had that been his… father? Had it really been his mother? She’d looked so young, so happy, so sad, all at once. Was he going to have to sit through a whole season’s worth of episodes before he woke up? Why hadn’t she told him? The words lined themselves up in his consciousness like lead weights, until they were all he could think about. Thomas was still thinking it when something beside him cleared its throat.
Pushing the questions away for a moment, Thomas turned to see a huge, hairy creature that managed to look like some unholy combination of a lion and a rabbit, floppy eared and button nosed, but with lion’s paws, and very definitely lion’s teeth. It looked like the sort of thing that might evolve if the carrots started fighting back.
‘What is it?’ Thomas demanded.
‘Well, I was wondering if we could get on with this?’
‘Get on with what?’
‘Well, it’s your basic shamanic type dream vision, isn’t it?’ the beast thing explained. ‘First you have your vision, and then you undergo a sort of rebirth thing.’
‘And how does that work?’ Thomas asked carefully.
‘Well, you see, first we’re supposed to have this big fight, all symbolic of the struggle of man against his darker nature, like. Then I eat you, strip off all your skin and spit out your bones.’
‘To symbolise getting rid of the old life?’ Thomas guessed.
‘Well, that too, but mostly ‘cause I like it. And after that you’re reborn.’ The thing twitched its nose. ‘So, are you ready?’
Thomas looked up at the thing where it waited patiently, hunger evident in every movement of its slavering jaws. Less so in the floppy ears, but definitely in the slavering.
‘Let me just get this straight. I’ve just had a dream vision of what I assume is my biological father leaving my mother pregnant with me, and you’re asking if I’m ready to be eaten by… what are you, anyway?’
‘They call me the Eater. Look, are you ready or not?’
Thomas looked around at the blackness again.
The thing’s muscles bunched, getting ready to pounce. Its claws extended, its mouth opened hungrily. Without even thinking about it, Thomas waved a hand at the Eater. There was a loud pop as the space where the beast had been came to be occupied by a perfectly normal sized hamster. It paused for a moment, before running over and trying to nibble on his shoe. Thomas ignored it.