Cyra wasn’t sure of many things in their life.
The concept of airplanes kept them up at night; the idea of calling someone millions of miles away always got them to stop and contemplate in the middle of coffee shops. Asides from that, there were a couple of things that Cyra knew were certain, such as the fact that pineapple did belong on pizza, gender was unworthy of their title, and that lovey-dovey anything was not their thing.
At least, that was something Cyra was sure about.
Their friends would sometimes come to them about all their dreams of happily ever after, sometimes with an A-list celebrity, and sometimes with Becky from math class. No matter the ever-growing barriers from reality, they all seemed to fit the same mold. Cyra had never felt anything for anyone beyond a friendly bond, so having romantic fantasies just wasn’t for them.
So why did they keep seeing the same woman in their dreams?
Nothing was ever predictable within a dream, but she was always present. In the background, a passing face or the main stage, Cyra had her face memorized. There were precisely 23 freckles on her face, eyes brown with a slight sparkle of green, black hair with a single strand of purple, and a vibrating tattoo of a butterfly under her left ear. Over the years since she started showing up in Cyra’s dreams, they started sketching her out to see if anyone know her. One of Cyra’s new colleagues pointed out how weird it was to know the look of someone without ever meeting or seeing them.
“That’s a pretty hot chick, I’d fantasize about her as well.”
Fantasize? They hardly felt like fantizations.
Cyra was at least 95% sure that fantizations included something desirable or pleasurable. It wasn’t that the mystery woman wasn’t attractive—Cyra didn’t need to be attracted to her to admit it—but she died in every single dream.
Cyra was pretty sure that woman dying was not a kink they had.
Falling, being crushed, beheaded, shot, or being shredded to basically nothing. The scene never felt like a nightmare to Cyra, but each time she died, Cyra sprung up with a deep desire to puke their entire guts out with the sick scent of death, hiding someone within their confused brain during the first couple of dreams. After a couple of months, the scariest aspect was that her death became less horrifying and just expected.
Cyra sat around many familiar faces as the group of old college friends chatted at one of the tables in some semi fancy restaurant one of them had found on Google. The food had weird names, and the drinks were expensive, but Cyra didn’t care about the dent that was about to form in their wallet. Halfway through the dinner, one of Cyra’s older friends poked their shoulders and pointed towards the bar.
“Doesn’t that woman look like the one from your drawings? The resemblance is uncanny.”
Cyra turned towards the bar, and there she was in all her glory. Her hair had a purple streak, arranged in curls that cascaded down her back. Without saying a word back to their friends, Cyra rose from the table and stood towards the bar. Approaching the lone woman, Cyra could see the butterfly tattoo hanging just below her left ear. The purple engraved into her skin matching the skin-tight purple cocktail dress she wore.
“May I sit here?” Cyra asked, pulling her out of a staring contest with her phone screen. Her eyes shined the slight sparkle of green in the ocean of brown. Cyra lost themselves in the freckles, exactly 23 on her face. It didn’t feel real, like she wasn’t supposed to exist, feeling like they just met a fairy or Santa Clause.
“Are you going to buy me a drink?” She asked, placing her phone down and resting her head in her hand. “My glass is looking a little empty.” Cyra gulped, never being caught in a situation like this before, and wasn’t sure if that fact was insulting or not. Nonetheless, they waved the bartender over and asked for a refill and a drink of their own.
“Just to be up front, I’m, uh, I am asexual and aromatic, so no attraction here,” Cyra shuddered under the intense glare of the woman. “I didn’t want to lead you on. I’m Cyra.” Sticking a hand out, the woman slowly joined the shake, face twisting with confusion.
“Asteria, nice to meet you then,” Asteria mumbled before taking a swig of the drink the bartender brought over. “If your not over here to flirt with me, then what do you want? A bar is hardly the place to make friends.”
“I know this might sound weird but I’ve seen you before.” Cyra pulled out a sketch they made a couple weeks prior, hoping that they weren’t giving off serial killer vibes. “For years, you have been showing up in my dreams and I just had to meet you.”
“Dreams? Are you sure this isn’t just apart of some crappy pickup line?” She grabbed the sketch and went silent, bringing it closer to her face to inspect. “You drew this before meeting me?” Asteria finally asked, looking Cyra up and down. “Are you some kind of psychic? I don’t believe in that crap and I’m not gonna pay for your bullshit service.”
“I’m really not selling anything, and I’m not a psychic!” Cyra flexed their wrist and fingers, attempting to relieve some tension. “You have been in all of my dreams for years, and each time you die. I don’t understand anything about the supernatural or psychics but I can’t help but think that it means something. Is it alright if we just talk?”
Asteria turned back to her glass and stared at it before letting out a sign. “I guess there isn’t any harm in that. I was just about to leave anyways, already losing my buzz. You could join me for a walk to the park close by to get some burgers from the vendor, if I’m not getting laid I might as well get some good food.”
Cyra nodded, and the two of them were heading out of the restaurant. Their outfits both clashed between a beautiful cocktail dress to a pair of jeans with a flannel, but Cyra could hardly care when they were finally meeting with the woman from their dreams. It was nice to finally have a name for her face. Asteria seemed to flip her bad mood instantly and was merrily chatty about when she got her butterfly tattoo.
Cyra was listening enthusiastically while they were walking through the crosswalk when Cyra heard it. A simple flash of light as the moment became still. With arms and feet that moved on their own, Cyra pushed Asteria out of the way before it all went black.