In his dreams, Evan can see everything. He can see what has been and what would be. He can perceive the entire world, each instance weaving into the next, years peeling away like the pages of a book. His dreams are a kaleidoscope of moments, people, and places that always connect to him somehow, always repeating, becoming more vivid and clear as the apparitions echo in the eternity of the dreamstate.
This dream in particular is a reverie that Evan has not yet dreamt before. A hazy vision of a woman in white drifts in front of him. Her eyes seem to shimmer blue, she reaches out to him, hurt seeping from her aura like water. There’s a blazing inferno, gunshots are fired, a deep seated cold fills his imagination. Evan shivers. Then he realizes she hadn’t been reaching for him at all, but for a bouquet of lilies. Evan waits for more, his brows furrowed, pupils dashing back and forth under his eyelids, but nothing more comes. Slowly the vision of the woman in white fades into blackness. Evan breaths deeply, still shaking from the surreal cold that had washed over him. He waits.
“Johnathan!” Reality always hits harder than any dream Evan could have, “Yo, it’s nine and they are going to kick a nigger out if you don’t scramble.” Evan can’t help but smile. To describe a pale, sixteen year old freckled scrap of a person as a ‘nigger’ was only too far fetched to be anything but funny. His bunkmate is also sixteen, and the two couldn’t be more different. While Evan was calm and collected, his bunkmate (who Evan honestly couldn’t remember the name of) was trigger happy and excitable. Evan pulls his long fiery hair off his face, and looks at the end of his bed for his sweater. It’s time to go.
Evan usually chose pseudonyms when staying at hostels, or youth shelters. It helped him remain anonymous, and unattached. Evan found it very hard to become attached with the sort of secrets that passed through his subconscious. Once dressed, Evan reaches into his satchel for his journal. He stares at it for a moment. In a life as unusual as his, some aspects of the astonishment become normal. The dream he had just encountered was not that. There was something about the dream, how it had made him feel, that made it different from the others. He jots a few quick notes, and tries to press it out of his mind. That was an encounter that he may experience years from now, there was no point in lingering for too long on something so fresh. Evan reflects through the previous entries. Something in his gut tells him that there was an appointment that he needed to make today without exception. There. It was a dream that he knew very well; Avi.
Evan shuffles down Davie street, his oblong backpack rocking back and forth on his shoulders. Every so often he blows his overgrown bangs out of his face, and looks at his watch. He is going to be late.
Once he reaches the main stretch along English Bay Evan pauses. He only takes a moment to breath in the beauty of the ocean before him. Something about the water calmed him immensely. Freighters bob in the water like little toy ships, and sunlight glints across the bay making Evan squint. He steps onto the beach littered with driftwood. This part of the dream only ever takes a moment, but sometimes dreams shrink long periods of waiting. Evan sits down on the nearest log. He lifts his head into the breeze, and looks side to side. There is no Avi in sight. He watches Mrs. Tannen wander by in her walker, looking frantically in every direction and she shuttles along. Unfortunately he can’t tell her he will find Avi any moment now, any alluding his power to others was a mistake. Mrs. Tannen will just have to be patient. He sit, pondering the ocean, the vastness of it. Such a thought gave Evan tender rest, and he watched the small waves curl at the sand like little rolls of carpet rolling themselves out.
Evan shifts his weight onto his feet and slides down the driftwood onto the sand. He reaches down to take off his shoes, but then stops himself. There may not be any time. It’s in this splinter of a second that movement catches Evan’s gaze. There she is, running down the beach, her leash still trailing feebly behind her. Her tongue is flapping up and down with her pace, and she seems to be racing straight towards Evan. This is how it is in the dream. Evan reaches out, and waits for the Sheltie to run past him. When she does, he grabs onto the leash, and wraps it around his wrist a few times. “Gotcha” he says quietly to himself. Avi is pulled quickly to a stop, she looks around in wonder at Evan, and then pouts. The fun chase-me game was over once again. Evan gets to his feet, and leads Avi up onto the paved walkway in Mrs. Tannen’s wake. It only takes a few minutes to catch up to the woman. Evan steps out in front of her, and smiles wide.
“Hey, is this your dog?” An innocent enough question, although to an outsider she didn’t seem to be searching for a pet.
“Avi!” Mrs. Tannen’s shouts out, overjoyed to be reunited. She reaches her frail arm out to grab onto the leash as Evan holds it out to her. “Thank you so much,” she says to Evan, “I’ve been chasing her all morning. She’s a wicked little girl- but I still love her.”
“Not a problem,” Evan says, beginning to back away from elderly woman.
“No wait, that was so kind. Here, can I pay you something? I’m ever so grateful,” she feebly reaches for her purse which is hanging over the side of her walker. Evan shakes his head, but its too late. She hands him a twenty dollar bill, her long fingers crushing the bill as it passes in the air to Evan’s hand.
“Thank you.” He pauses. “Can I walk you home?” Evan asks, feeling guilty. Money was not something Evan required to do what he did.
“I can’t refuse such a gentleman,” Mrs. Tannen says, and Evan takes Avi’s leash from her. The walk to her apartment is only a few blocks away, and they inch towards the building slowly.
Evan doesn’t notice the pair of eyes following him. She stands with her arms crossed, her eyebrows in a definitive frown. She waits. Once they reach the apartment, Evan ties Avi’s leash onto Mrs. Tannen’s walker, and gives here a pet goodbye. ‘Until next time’ he thinks to himself, thankful for Mrs. Tannen’s wonderfully forgetful memory. He waits until she is inside the building, hikes his backpack more firmly onto his shoulders, and then begins to walk away. It is now that he notices a slender girl his age glaring at him from only a few meters away. Her skin is honey brown, and her hair is short around her face. Her eyes pierce him like daggers.
“What do you think you're doing?” she nearly shouts, quickly closing the short distance between them. Evan gapes at her like a fish, why was this beautiful girl shouting at him? And furthermore, why didn’t he foresee this coming? She grabs at his shirt and gives it a little shake. “Hello? Ginger? I asked you a god damned question. Did you steal her wallet?”
“What? Why would I do that?” Evan says, pulling his arm back. “I was just helping her. She had lost her dog, and she’s not very mobile.”
“I saw her give you money, and then you were playing around with her purse. Don’t lie to me.”
“I’m not lying. You’ve got the wrong guy!” Evan says. “I was just tying the dog leash to her walker, that’s all. So the dog didn’t run away again. Do you know her?” The girl frowns at him. Evan reaches into his pocket and pulls out the twenty dollar bill the woman had given him. “Look, this is what she gave me.” The girl reaches out to snatch the twenty from Evan, her intent to count it to make sure it was indeed only twenty dollars and not the contents of the poor elderly woman’s purse. As she reaches, her bare hand touches his. In that moment, for Evan, everything sweeps into another aspect entirely.
It isn’t in an instant. The world around him fades, a dark vignette slowly tightening on his reality until the world he previously saw around him does not exist at all. It is not without sensation either. His skin is crawling with the sensation of slowly getting hotter as his vision of reality dims, until the impression of the heat is unbearable. Unable to move, unable to scream, Evan burns into the nothingness.
Then as the darkness had enclosed around him, a spot of bright light appears in the middle of his sight. It grows bigger and bigger, widening to fill his visage. The unbearable sensation is gone; replaced with a soothing coolness. Still unable to move, Evan watches as images swarm around him. They are so vivid, so fast, he can barely conceive them. A few he catches. A young girl rushes past, smiling, light haired and familiar. A woman chases after the child, she turns to him; her eyes shimmering blue. Then a different vision. This one is slow, deliberate. A woman cradles the girl with short hair tightly, and kisses her on the forehead. The girl sobs hysterically while the woman strokes her hair, trying to soothe her, but she seems unconsolable. It changes again. The girl is tight in embrace, slowly kissing, stroking. Evan stares in disbelief as he sees a flash of his own bright red hair, his body tangled in hers. Once more the vision shifts. The girl with short hair is younger. Much younger. She sits curled in a ball, a dirty sweater wrapped around her like a blanket. Her hair is much longer, flat against her scalp, drenched by a rain that Evan cannot feel himself, but can perceive through the vision. Tears stand out amongst the raindrops, and her body shudders. Evan reaches out with non-existent limbs to the little girl, to hold her, protect her from the rain, but the image of her is slowly beginning to fade, and the sensation of burning begins again to prickle at Evan’s skin. The vision turns black, and then his true reality begins to slowly come forth, his skin cooling, the consciousness of his body returning to him. He flexes his fingers, and finds that his eyes are closed. He opens his eyelids to the brightness of the day that was around him. He squeezes his eyes shut once more, and finds that his body is prone, he rolls to his side and feels the contents of his stomach rise up to his throat. The sickness tastes bitter and acidic, but he welcomes the truthfulness of the sensations. he wipes his mouth, and then opens his eyes again. He pushes himself upwards, and tries to stand, he feels hands on him, helping him. He looks around. Her hands are on his shoulders, gripped tightly. She stares at him, her mouth wide in awe.
“Are you ok?!” she says slowly. “Your eyes rolled into the back of your head and then you just dropped! Holy shit, no way, no way,” she starts to repeat herself over and over.
“No way what? What just happened?” Evan backs away from her, releasing himself from her grip. “Who are you?”
“I just- I can’t believe it. I mean, for fucks sake your white! How could you have it too…” she says, and then shakes her head. “I’m Teagan.”
“I’m Evan,” he says, still too shocked to offer a fake name. He asks her slowly, “how could I have what?” Teagan looks around her, and then down at Evan’s pile of sickness.
“We should really get out of here, you just made a huge scene.” Surely enough people were beginning to gather around them. “Come on, just come with me,” Teagan says, and reaches out to grab his hand, but thinks twice, and instead grabs onto his shirt and pulls at him. Evan follows her, too traumatized to do anything else. They walk for a few blocks away from the water, Evan’s backpack feels like a boulder on his shoulders. Teagan lets go of his shirt, but still leads their pace. Evan reflects on the vision as they walk, realizing in that moment that yes, that had been a vision, just like his dreams. Why did he see the woman with the blue eyes again? Did Teagan know her? Maybe it wasn’t a vision at all. The part where he had seen himself making love to Teagan seemed unreal, improbable. She was his age, yes, but she was stunning. Not near within the league of scrawny, psychotic redheads. No. Maybe he had had a seizure, maybe this affliction was getting worse, a brain tumor perhaps?
They walk together in silence for a few more blocks, then Teagan stops. “Ok.” She says. “What just happened back there?”
“I…” Evan had not ever described his visions to another person. He couldn’t find the words to begin.
“You saw something didn’t you?” Evan nodded, and Teagan continued. There was an air of excitement in her voice “Damn, just like Ironmade Man. I knew it. The moment you dropped I knew it, but how…”
“Just like who? Are you telling me this happens to other people?” Evan can’t help but raise his voice, he thought he was the only one. He’d done his research, there was no proven fact of another human being who had visions like his. Sure there were psychics, ESP, telepathy. Were those proven though? Not with any scientific backing.
“Lower your voice!” Teagan says, looking around them. “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying. You must come with me. I’ll introduce you to him.”
“I don’t know about this,” Evan says, this was so much, so quickly. Even for him. Teagan stands in front of him, and looks at him. She has to tilt her chin upwards slightly, he stood a good foot taller than her. Despite himself he thought again to the vision of them together. He blushes.
“Listen,” she says, seemingly desperate. “This is important. I don’t know who you are, or why I decided to look out for some crotchety old lady today, but I did. That decision is what lead me to you, and what lead to your vision, and will lead to who knows what else. You should come with me. I can show you answers. Please.”