It was one of the most lucid dreams Miwa has ever had in quite some time. But it was also one of the most unsettling. It wasn't a nightmare because those remained trapped in her head where they belong. This was a premonition --something was coming soon and she wished it wreaked havoc ~ at least then, it was PRESENT and fixable. But this... this was of an insidious nature that would more supplant itself and poison -an implosion than explosion... After tiring of analogies, she was quite certain that she could detect it when it arrived but was unsure (if it could be stopped...) if others would believe her about it or not. ...Most likely not ~ she tried not to let that thought depress her too much. After all, it was the day after she helped Anahita retrieve her car. She surmised that Anahita was in her room studying just as Miwa was in her own room... sleeping... eh, studying by osmosis was the experiment. She liked trying new things every once in a while. She sighs, gets up goes through the motion of getting ready to study in hopes that she will study. Self-discipline! Or some such. Yet...she could not focus. She rooted through her closet until she found her dream notebook. She kept it hidden ~by habit. It was rather helpful, however which was most likely why she never stopped [writing in it]. Her late mother encouraged it of her since she was the one to hand down that trait ~ that ability of clairvoyance(*) granted, she was no where as amazing as her mother, but that didn't mean she didn't try... She just couldn't always be bothered to focus on anything that wasn't of interest to her in the immediate present... This sense of foreboding woke her up enough that she acquired focus ~ self-disciplining rather quickly. She felt this was something not to be ignored... at any rate ~ she began writing before she forgot anything:
She was in a room with two other people she's never seen before in her life. Either they're ignoring her or don't notice her but the two began discussing something (she couldn't recall the details) she was positive she shouldn't be hearing. The one... person...(she couldn't actually see clearly enough to identify features other than hair) with purple black hair kept grandly motioning around her, indicating this building (What is this building?) And the other person with Dark brown hair glanced around nervously each time the other one did that. It seemed like Dark Brown was indicating the urgency of discretion and haste ~ someone or thing was approaching but Purple-Black appeared to make the case that this very place belonged to That one. Then Purple-Black begins tidying up the room. Now that she wasn't engrossed on them, she gathers that the room seemed to be cultivating wildlife. [Abandoned. It's an abandoned building. Miwa's more awake self physically slaps her forehead]. Purple-Black had been trying to make it more...presentable? And appealing to Dark Brown. But Dark Brown would have none of it. Splice forward to a different section of dream that piggybacked on the first one to seem like it was one and the same: Dark Brown was alone in yet a different room. He was searching for something...
Oddly enough, that's when she woke up. But that sense of foreboding lingered with her. She felt that if she could just find Dark Brown in real life, they could...stand a chance? Against what? Anyway. Everyone and their moms have dark brown hair.
She reluctantly sat at her desk and took out her notes. Most of the material was familiar. She felt she'd have no trouble remembering those... but the one class that demanded detail would most likely be her undoing. So she tried concentrating on that first... And was doing [surprisingly] well. Her notes and textbooks for that class was a wall of color. There were no negative spaces. She made a face and poured over the material. After re-reading and making more associations she understood better and felt that that too wouldn't give her as much trouble as she initially dreaded. Some details more than others still eluded her but there was still time. She became so engrossed in studying she didn't realize what time it was until her stomach roared at her. And even then she still didn't realize what time it was even after looking at the clock thrice. So what was she going to eat? She ran out of food but she didn't (and still doesn't) feel like going on a grocery run. She'll have to go out to eat...but she didn't really have a taste for the choices the town offered. Not that she had any option -unless she wanted to starve or beg for scraps from dorm mates.
So she left the dorm and headed to the bus stop where she patiently waited for the bus. She brought her big purse with her so she could carry her dream notebook around [or bring back any left overs] ~ there was something more that she knew she should be writing. She figured a change of scenery and some relaxing would aid in the process of recalling the third segment of her elusive dream. The bus finally arrives and she boards, swipes her transit card and takes a seat. Instead of leaving on the third stop -which was the main street of the town -she would go farther ~the eighth stop which seemed to be more a side road. She discovered it once when she was on a 'random-stop mode' and was [ecstatic] because there are nothing but restaurants lining both sides of the street. She never understood how any of those restaurants remained open since there were so many and two... it's a side road. There aren't very many potential customers even when you counted the college students and their visiting parents. She wasn't aware of any advertisements for these restaurants or the location...but then again, she never looked in the local papers...but she still found it odd they didn't try harder to advertise at the college. That aside, she walked down the street and entered a restaurant rather decisively considering she didn't know what she felt like eating --and occupied a table.
Anahita was studying in her room. But she couldn’t concentrate. While she was elated about getting her car back, she couldn’t help but wonder about Feral Eyes. She began doubting everything that happened up until the point her car was stolen. Was she specifically targeted? What did Feral Eyes need her car for? Nothing that was inside her car was taken; car radio was not removed, CDs weren't missing neither was her pepper spray which she kept in her glove compartment. To her knowledge, her car was still in working order and it wasn't outwardly damaged… She didn't think she was special to warrant that kind of attention –neither did she want to continue to think about it, giving herself a false sense of specialness that this happened to her based on herself… she most likely was simply a convenient victim to 'borrow' from since it was returned… right? No need trying to divine some intention. But… crazily enough she caught a fleeting thought: what if Feral Eyes simply followed her because this place was important and having found this place needed a more convenient transportation… which again, she was sure she locked the doors as she always did… but reviewing the security footage, she remembered that it indeed looked as though Feral Eyes had spare keys to her car…?! She hastily rose from her desk and searched her secret hiding place for her spare keys. They were… still there.
Properly driven crazy, she dashed towards Miwa's room. She wanted to pound the door but thought better of it, so politely knocked instead: "Miwa? Are you there?"
No response. She tried one more time. Hearing nothing she thought, "Great. Now what? Maybe she went out to town. Exam week always stimulates cabin fever… stimulates… not a word I would normally use…eh. Anyway, I won't be able to find her. Oh right… [she takes out her phone and messages Miwa. If she didn't respond then she'd call.]"
Hey Miwa! Are you studying? Wanna grab something to eat?
She tried to wait patiently for a response… she decided maybe ten minutes is the maximum she'll wait… she didn't want to be by herself today –she was hoping that Miwa would be up for company.
As soon as ten minutes passed she called Miwa. Alas but only to get dumped into voicemail. No problem, she pressed redial after waiting one minute [maybe] and waited… and waited…
"Oh! Sorry ~ my phone was on vibrate. I didn't hear it."
"That's ok! Hey, are you busy?"
"I'm not on campus, if that's what you mean…"
"Yeah… that's why I called… but if you're already doing something…"
"I'm at A Taste of Earth…"
"Um, yeah. I finished studying because my hunger couldn't handle that kind of torture any longer… also, you were busy… so I just left."
Knowing her hunger took precedence over all else, she concluded Miwa wasn't lying or trying to avoid her so she wasn't upset. But she really wanted company because she needed to sort out why Feral Eyes bothered her so much and Miwa was the only one who knew about it –she couldn't really talk to anyone else because she would have to explain everything and hear them explaining away her misgivings.
"Can I come join? I don't want to be by myself today… [she finished lamely, hoping Miwa would catch the direct hint]."
"Um… I don't know where this is, so you should just take the bus to stop number eight. Just walk all the way down the street, third restaurant from the end –you can't miss it."
"Ok! I'll be right there!"
Miwa sighs. She supposed she did the right thing. At least it gave her more time to choose –she had no idea what she wanted to eat and the options actually all seemed pretty appetizing. She apologized to the waitress that she was waiting for a friend –but the waitress just waved her hand and told her that it was alright, there really was no rush. As punishment, she would order for Anahita for making her wait longer when she was dying of starvation… perhaps not entirely true, but close enough. The dream notebook she brought and had placed in front of her stared back at her. Truly trying to concentrate tried whatever remaining energy she had left. So she gave up forcing herself to remember anything. Slowly other details from the first two dreams trickled in until it poured out overflowing her previous note-ings. Briefly, she feared she would run out of pages ~but her fears were unfounded as she ceased with three pages left. It occupied enough of her time although it felt like ages before Anahita arrived [all of only twenty minutes 'late'] breathless and apologetic. Miwa felt herself glaring even as she attempted to smi…grimace. It was almost a snarl but since she scaled it back… rather was weary ~ it became a grimace. She was unsuccessful in salvaging Part Three from the dregs of her grey matter. All she could do now was order and eat.
"Uh… did you order yet?" Anahita nervously asked.
"Ah… ok, so what are you going to choose?"
Miwa just pointed at two of the items on the menu.
"Have you been here before? Is it good?" She [hoped] to get something, anything out of her if only to feel a little less guilty…
Silence. She was granted only a single shrug to her questions.
"Ok, so you have a right to be angry ~ I'm really sorry! I was just scared." There. She admitted it out loud. She really was terrified about why she was so terrified ~ fear is indeed an irrational entity. She didn’t want to rationalize it; only to understand it. But all she could gather was where it came from. She couldn’t figure out how to overcome if she'd never encounter Feral Eyes again. Just exactly what was it an embodiment of? What made her even consider 'embodiment of'? It didn’t matter. Just being with Miwa somewhat allayed her fears. She would endure all of Miwa's wrath ~ she just needed someone with her. But what came next wasn't wrath. It was barely audible so she almost missed it but she saw Miwa's death glare soften considerably. In fact she could even describe it as an expression of empathy.
"It's about Feral Eyes, isn't it? Things aren't going to get worse."
"That's right. It's not. At least not visibly or enough to upset people. But that's what's dangerous about ideas. What we think we become. And if that thought isn't immediately destructive we convince ourselves it's ok and share with others to validate that path of least resistance. As long as people have desires It's not going to be eradicated. But we can slow it down. Cliché out of the way: When enough people have hope and faith in something bigger than themselves it can be 'slowed down' –cliché over, again. But it needs consistency and most want to think their duty to do good is a onetime thing. This is the insidious LIE that we've ALL accepted. It is a more effective deception than 'nothing can be done' because with the former ~it's middle of the spectrum and with the latter being on the negative end it's easier to address at least."
"It must not make much sense why I'm being preachy, but the nature of this problem has everything to do with path of least resistance than any polar opposing sides. This is not simply a human problem –there are no solutions we have to 'cure' the problem –again we can only slow it down. This is why I'm here. I'm here because I couldn't concentrate at the campus. I needed a change of scenery to make sense of my revelation. Also, because you made me wait for you, I'll order for us."
"I… well, ok, I did call you knowing that if you were out trying to eat I shouldn't bother you. I accept that. But revelation? Whoa… what was it about?"
Miwa showed Anahita the dream notebook and explained what she thought it meant but added that her perspective was welcome. The third segment was incurring her ire for its elusive nature. Maybe tonight she'll have that as a recurring dream but if not then it would bother her to her death that something [she could feel was] vital went missing. … Went missing or stolen…?!
"Hey! Dream snatchers are real! I've just decided this."
Anahita wasn't going to argue. She knew nothing about spiritual matters ~ she didn’t judge it harshly, she was just never inclined to give her input on it. She was curious about this conclusion, however, and her puzzled expression prompted an explanation.
"My dreams were sewn together, one after the other, markedly different and distinctly singularly themed but for the third. Usually over time [unless it was vivid but even then…] details would fade away upon awakening. And this happened with the first two but the third went entirely missing. I can't even recall the emotions or feelings it evoked when I try to reflect on it. The first two did and the more I think about those the clearer they became ~ as you could see I was able to add details. But I only knew that there was a third not what it was. And since it was about Feral Eyes I bet he [she or it] erased it. Not even stole but outright ERASED! What is it to remove my memory or premonition?! I KNOW it was Feral Eyes because as you can see up until that point [indicates in dream notebook] it was about Feral Eyes without Feral Eyes actually being in it. But as soon as, and I'm certain in my speculation, it appears in my dream I have no memory of it whatsoever! It would be disturbing, disconcerting, frightening ~all and every synonym in the book ~ if it weren't violating and infuriating as [expletive deleted]!"
Anahita sat there, musing thoughtfully over the tirade. It made sense. She guessed. Even though it didn’t happen to her, and she wasn’t sure how things like that worked, she'd be furious too if something erased her thoughts as well. The food had arrived by then and Miwa was angrily wolfing down everything ~ It looked rather comical… to any stranger but the gravity of the situation led Anahita to believe she wouldn’t be laughing or finding many things amusing for some time to come. She lets out a depressed sigh and pokes her food with her fork. She didn’t feel hungry but she tried eating anyway.
"So… what do you have in mind?" Anahita asks.
"I have in mind to eat the rest of your meal. Then Imma tell you what I'm going to do. … Yeah, no, I'm stalling for thinking time here… Ok, ok, I got it. I'm fairly certain I'm going to help Dark Brown Hair. It seems like he's actually the one going into the lion's den so to say… Who uses that expression these days?! [She admonishes herself. It gains a small smile] Anyway, I have to figure out where the den is first, though…"
"I'll go with, [Anahita auto responds] and I think the details you added will help me research the building location."
"It's unlikely well… actually you're magical when it comes to research. Allow me to rephrase: I'm detail challenged when it comes to explaining but I can still visualize it. It has old but expensive looking décor and a dining area. If this is a themed hotel?... No… more like an inn… It seems rather gargantuan! An upscale establishment… In my second dream it's the same building but it feels… different… changed… like sweat blood and tears. I feel despair fear and broken spirits. Nothing like the first dream where the spirits are more content and leisurely..."
Anahita took furious notes. Miwa didn’t recall seeing her take out anything so was impressed with the speed and diligence. She offered her dream notebook as reference but Anahita declined ~ she had written all she needed to know. Anahita was feeling much better now that there was a plan. It was purposeful even if vague and now that she had a specific task to do she could sort out her fears more systematically.
The door to the café opened and they both unconsciously turned to look… well Anahita had to turn, Miwa was able to directly look. It was simply some teenager and his parents. They were most likely college shopping. Ah, those were the days. The parents either didn’t know or ignored Miwa's and Anahita's glance but the teenager noticed. He looked back with… malice? Anahita spun to face Miwa. Miwa's composed gaze never broke from his –it was so calm and strong… deliberate… determined. Those few seconds lasted an eternity. When Anahita was certain their cosmic scrutinization of each other was over she hissed,
"What was that?? That wasn't Feral Eyes was it?" She was confused because she couldn't quite remember… in fact didn't know what Feral Eyes looked like. That teenager… similar demeanor but no Hazel eyes…
Still tranquil… and different somehow, Miwa replies, "Only a small manifestation of itself. He's a messenger whether he realizes it or not ~ wanted to be one or… accepted being conscripted as a vessel."
"What do you mean?"
"That he may not realize exactly who/what he's a messenger for. When there's a certain level of evil and willingness to do evil, Feral Eyes has more control and free reign. We have to at every point in our lives make conscious decisions or else our lackadaisical non actions will be the first step of our downfall while pride cements us on that trend. Having said that, I will contend he's weak in mind. His intentions aligned with Feral Eyes so whatever suggestion Feral Eyes gave he already believed it to be his own so he's going to do it."
"[How do you know?] …Do what?" Anahita asked, wide eyed.
"[Gasps in realization] He's the one to secure Feral Eyes' base of operation... In my dream I assumed it was a woman… but… maybe she exists and has a different purpose…? Anyway, I'm certain he'll get Feral Eyes a permanent physical location."
"Can we stop him??"
"We need to find Dark Brown Hair. Feral Eyes seems to have this special aversion to him for some odd reason… anyway… I think our only lead of finding Dark Brown Hair is through him…"
"But HOW?! What he knows, Feral Eyes knows!"
"Well…ok, perhaps crediting the enemy with greater ability than warranted but we should assume that until we actually know otherwise. We can perhaps find Dark Brown Hair once we locate the inn…"
"Right! Geez this is all too stressful…"
"You want any dessert?"
"HOW can you think about dessert at a time like this?"
"Every 'time like this' is a good time for dessert." You could just see the hearts flowing out of that very statement. Anahita rolls her eyes and nods. Yes, something sweet could possibly help her… it's not as though she ate much, so she really did just need something on her stomach –something to sustain her until later.
"Oh yeah and…you're paying for lunch."
Side eyes were the order of the day. Of course she would have to foot the bill. Anahita sighs but nods in a 'yeah, yeah' manner; goes to the owners and pays.
It was like an out of body experience, he felt himself compelled to stare at some woman ~probably a college student by the looks of it… and also because they were near a college… it was a steady and calm look –he didn’t feel threatened by it but her friend freaked out when she saw him. Was there something wrong with his face? He felt suddenly very self conscious and embarrassed and wished he didn’t choose on a whim to eat there. The college students plus his parents and himself were the only patrons… but that was good considering the street was dead. No people, no hustle or bustle… he was told that it was exam week but what about locals or tourists? This place reminded him of his own town. It needed life ~ it had all the right trappings of being successful!! But… success is spelled P E O P L E and without people the life line of the city is simply a cadaver. Something within him stirred and he kept wondering at it. It happened with more frequency now ~ He felt like a stranger to his own body: it would reject him whenever he thought about the abandoned inn and the outsider. He was to afraid to tell his parents –they won't believe him… But what if his mother did? Yet what could she do? Maybe she could help him… but no. He wouldn’t see her again… well maybe if he attended that college…? But she might be graduating…? He began to feel sick ~ feverish.
"Mom…? I… am going to go outside… I need… air."
Immediately concerned she gently but firmly held his arms and guided him out. He tried to see if she was watching but he blacked out.
Miwa watched him being led out as he collapsed.
"He's becoming aware."
"Of what? How do you know?"
"You couldn’t see him but he was battling something ~~ and passed out. He's being escorted out –don't look –but it's a start. Feral Eyes seems pretty adamant about using him. Maybe he knows something which is why he [she it] won't leave him alone. Those eyes challenging and aggressive flashed at me at the moment of his collapse ~ they weren't his eyes. This is how I'm certain that that youth is a key…We have to be careful in dealing with him even as himself because if Feral Eyes is part of him, whatever he knows Feral Eyes will know also –of this now I'm more certain."
"Should we stay? Should we leave?"
"…I think we should leave. I've seen all I needed to, here." So they left a tip and rose to leave. But the father [who remained in the restaurant] moved towards them, a bit hesitantly because he realizes he's approaching two women as a man, even if a family man, but he continued on and asked,
"Sorry to bother you ladies, but my son is considering some colleges. Do you go to that college near here and if so ~ what would you say are its strengths and weaknesses? I mean if you're busy you don't have to answer… I don't mean to put you on the spot…"
Anahita giggles nervously and looks to Miwa for how to respond. She was unsure why she needed to defer every decision to Miwa and the look Miwa returned confirmed her self admonition. So she replies,
"Well, for me, it's a great school but it's a little out of the way… I don't know what your son thinks is fun…if he likes partying this isn't exactly the place… Oh! Not that he should look for a party school!!..." The father laughs,
"It's alright ~ he'll be an adult and can decide that himself… well, you['re] right to infer 'maybe not' because I'll be paying for it." They all laugh.
"I think it's the perfect fit for him. It's exactly the place he's looking for." They both look at Miwa perplexed for different reasons, of course. Perhaps because of the conviction of her words the father accepted that, thanked them and went outside to attend to his son. They left as well without looking back.