I often have vivid dreams, and frequently ones that sound terrifying in description, but so far, they have mostly not terrified me, especially while I was in them. The ones that have actually bothered me are thankfully few and far between. I have also never experienced smell in my dreams.
I think it is more reasonable to consider dreams a way that our minds process memories and feelings, than deep signifiers of inner, unknown, turmoil full of portents which must be interpreted with books and websites which link various apparent symbols with meanings which do not often readily follow from what the symbols actually are.
Is there a trauma in your recent past you may be grappling with? Or are you undergoing one of the major life stressors (move, new job, unemployment, new relationship, death in family, etc)?