Dreams are a strange thing. A cluster of images that shows up in your brain when you sleep, a story that your mind creates based on what you see and hear or at least that is what we think. Dreams were studied from the dawn of time by scientists, philosophers, and mystics but none of them was ever able to explain with certainty why we dream and why does our mind show us those images. What do they mean – if they even mean anything. Why sometimes we can’t distinguish dreams from reality and how do we know that we had a dream when we wake up but we can’t remember it no matter what we do. Why do we have nightmares? Why sometimes dreaming is better than being awake? Why do some people claim to see the future in dreams and some only ever see a pink dog riding a unicorn with three eyes. Too many questions and not enough answers to a topic that only gets more complicated the closer you look at it. And as people when things get progressively more complicated we shrug and satisfy ourselves with an easy and not quite educated answer for the sake of our simple human brains. Because why bother we are just dreaming, after all, it’s not reality.
Or at least that’s what Nellie was thought to believe for most of her life. When she woke up from a nightmare as a child she ran to her mother just to hear “It’s just a dream, it’s not real”, when she woke up from a particularly nice dream she regrated it was not real and when the dreams were simply too bizarre she just shrugged them off. In her adult life, she got used to having dreams on the daily basis, and sometimes she envied those who claimed that they never remembered or had any dreams in the first place. Nellies dreams were emotionally draining, they weren’t simple and nice like the one’s she had as a child, they were complexed, confusing and sometimes felt too real for her own comfort. She tried getting rid of them somehow, she couldn’t take waking up emotionally exhausted by something that wasn’t real. So she started thinking that maybe it was her subconscious trying to tell her something, that there was an underlying trauma hidden somewhere in her mind that once examined would leave her to be finally well-rested after a night of sleep. So she went to therapy, needless to say it helped but not with the thing that she wanted help with in the first place, then she went and did a full sleep study, got some medication but again nothing has changed. Nellie was at the end of her rope, and that’s what brought her to the door of a local ‘witch’. Or at least that’s what the woman called herself on the website ‘Althea – witch, tarot reader, medium and dream interpreter. Find out what the divine is trying to tell you for only 9.99’. Nellie sighed staring at the sign on the door, it looked cheap and less than professional but she was willing to do anything at this point so she knocked and waited for someone to let her in.
When the door opened she saw a girl around her own age, she had short purple hair and wore a vest covered with patches, she smiled warmly.
“Hello. How can I help you?” she asked
“Hi, I umm… I’m here to see Mrs Althea, I have an appointment my name is Nellie Watson” Nellie responded.
“Oh yes, please come in!” the girl said stepping away from the door to let her in. The place looked just as she expected, crowded with shiny rocks, tarot decks, books and knickknacks from different religions and cultures. It smelled of candle wax and incense, and the light was so dim Nellie could barely see where she was walking, so she waited for the girl who let her in to guide her further into the shop. “Fallow me, I’ll take you to the reading room” Nellie simply nodded and followed her looking around. The place looked strangely familiar and made her feel calm and safe. She could not quite place it so she just continued looking around until they reached a doorway covered with a red satin curtain. The purple-haired girl tugged the fabric to the side revealing a small room illuminated only by candles, occupied by a table and two chairs that looked ancient but still in good shape. Nellie took a careful step into the room clutching the strap of her bag a little tighter. “Make yourself comfortable, Mrs Althea should join you in a second” the girl concluded and then left Nellie alone in the room. Taking a deep breath she sat on the chair and waited, contemplating her own sanity and if right after this she should schedule another appointment with her therapist. She didn’t wait long, she heard the rustle of fabric behind her and the soft footsteps approaching the table. Not daring to turn around she waited for the ‘witch’ to sit down in the chair opposite to her and when the older woman finally came into view Nellie gasped, her eyes going wide with recognition.
In her dreams everything changed but three things always stayed the same, she always wore a grey dress in the dream, she always had to take care of some kind of catastrophic event and she always saw three of the same people watching her from afar. And one of them was the woman who currently sat in front of her. The woman or Althea looked to be about forty years old, she had a full head of curly black hair, had blue piercing eyes and a beauty mark in the middle of her forehead. Althea smiled apparently satisfied with Nellie's reaction.
“Hello Nellie, long time no see. I’ve missed you” The witch said, her voice smooth as velvet. Nel shook her head in disbelief, clutching her bag ready to run out of the room at any moment.
“What the hell is happening?” she asked “I know you! I see you in my dreams but… but that’s impossible. Am I dreaming right now?” Her ramble and the ton of questions was stopped by Althea who reached for her hand over the table.
“Breath Star seed, just breathe” Nellie should have ripped her hand away from the woman and just run but she did not instead she just followed the breath pattern of the witch in front of her. After she calmed down a bit she asked again this time calmer.
“What the hell is going on?”
“So, you don’t remember anything?” Altheas sighed.
“Remember what exactly?”
“I guess we’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way,” the witch said letting go of Nellie's hand and looking over her shoulder she shouted, “Xavier can you come here for a second?”
“Can you stop speaking in riddles?” asked Nellie frustration seeping from her entire being “And who the hell is Xavier?” The fabric that covered the door rustled again and this time Nellie looked behind her eager to find any sort of answers to her questions. As soon as she meets the brown eyes of the man that walked in the memories of past lives, centuries of magic and myth came flooding back into her soul. She felt the air being knocked out of her lungs and then everything went dark.
Nellie woke up on a sofa she saw when she first walked into the witches shop that morning, she saw three faces looming over her but this time she recognized them and fully remembered who she was. Siting up with a groan she rubbed her forehead.
“We really need to figure out a better way to do this. Each century it’s more painful than the last time” She said and her friends laughed.
“It would hurt less if you were less stubborn,” Said the purple-haired girl which she now recognized to be Miriam – her best friend since the day they were created. Nellie flipped her off.
“The purple looks good on you by the way,” she said right after, Miriam laughed. “Why am I always the last one to awaken?”
“Because you need to see my beautiful face to remember” Xavier crouched next to her, a shit-eating grin spreading across his beautiful features. Gods she missed her soulmate. “Hello my love”
“Hi” Nellie whispered back placing her hand on the man’s cheek but the romantic moment was broken by Althea's laugh.
“Come on love birds we have a lot to catch up on,” she said “The world won’t save itself”