Traveling across the void to search for doors can be a bit mundane at times. Caden Mistral was a man who didn’t like too many surprises. He established a routine and stuck to it for the most part. When he traveled through different dreams, he wanted to check on the few he cared about. He had well-kempt short brown hair and thick square glasses that framed his matching brown eyes. He looked towards the scene before him, relaxing on a small table outside a cafe.
Dreams often occurred in a place someone has been to before.
Caden had definitely been in this same streetside cafe. He had sat in this exact spot with his best friend Tashi. He was drinking the same iced tea and eating the same quesadilla that he ordered before. The only thing that was strikingly different was the absence of Tashi in the seat in front of him.
That didn’t mean Tashi was not present.
Tashi was right in front of him, strutting down the streets, winking at the girls as he passed. Caden’s cheeks were dusted pink and he looked down, hiding his face.
Tashi didn’t have any pants on.
The girls giggled as they watched the tall man walk down the streets without a care in the world. He was whistling to himself a tune as he merrily sauntered about.
Why, Tashi? Why? Caden had groaned.
This is your dumbest dream yet.
Caden was horrified at the thought of seeing his best friend later when he was awake.
His wish would soon be granted as his vision faded only to be restored once again, but this time he lied awake. His phone’s alarm blared and his dogs licked his cheeks. He contemplated getting up, horrified that he saw his best friend’s best friend. He felt like he violated some unwritten code somewhere.
The alarm was getting annoying.
He turned to his phone and turned his alarm off. The two chihuahuas playfully barked at him.
“Alright, alright.” He groaned. “I’m awake.”
He stretched and yawned, preparing himself for the morning. The clock read 5:32 AM.
The smell of garlic, oil, and meat cooking permeates the kitchen. Now in a green knitted sweater, Caden cooked breakfast for two people, a hot cup of mocha beside him. A simple brown record player played loud enough a relaxing aged jazz tune. A sleepy yawn signaled the arrival of his housemate, Tashi. Caden stiffened, remembering Tashi’s dream.
“Julian,” He called nonchalantly. The black-haired man, Tashi, didn’t seem bothered that he was called by his middle name.
“Susan.” Tashi retorted.
“Darn it.” Caden visibly cringed.
“Haha,” Tashi went to the coffee maker, making himself a pot of coffee. “You know normal people say shit, fuck, or maybe damn. Damn is a pretty nice start.”
“What time did you sleep?” Caden sighed, crossing his arms as he let the sausages cook.
“3:30? I don’t know.” Tashi yawned again. “Isn’t it too early for you to be grilling me, mom?”
“It’s 8. We have a class at 10.” Caden replied. “I already finished my morning workout.”
“Congrats.” Tashi shrugged, bringing his mug of coffee to the counter beside Caden. “I was watching a stream late last night.”
“How much money did you throw at her then?”
“Excuse me.” Tashi sipped from his coffee. “Don’t immediately assume I throw money to any streamer I watch.”
“Five hundred.” Tashi avoided the other man’s judging gaze.
“Do you want me to charge rent?” Caden commented.
“Nooooo. It’s just for this week.” Tashi pleaded. “You know how much I like Leilaps.”
“I don’t know who that is,” Caden replied.
“You don’t know who anyone is.” Tashi rolled his eyes.
“Go shower already.” Caden nagged. “Breakfast is almost done.”
“It’s your turn to go to the grocery tomorrow!” Caden yelled.
It was the same every morning every day. It was always the two of them, Caden and Tashi. Caden had his routine wired into his brain while Tashi...
Tashi did stuff.
After breakfast, Tashi was tasked to wash the dishes while Caden got ready. He slipped on a collared dress shirt and a knitted sweater to top. He placed some food on the dogs’ food bowl and freshwater. There wasn’t anything extraordinary with his routine, rather he prided himself in the normalcy.
As he waited for his best friend to get ready, he checked the fireplace. On top were a line of photos and one in the middle was of an old woman who smiled gently towards the camera. She was the same old woman that held a younger version of himself in his room’s photo frame. He smiled softly, picked the picture up, and kissed the frame.
“I’m heading off to school now, Ma.”
Tashi was behind him nodding to the frame.
“We’ll take care Ma!” He spoke to the frame.
The two friends nodded at each other and headed out. As they exchanged small talk, Caden actively looked upwards. Tashi raised a brow, noticing Caden’s discomfort.
“Is there something on my forehead?” He questioned.
“No.” Caden shifted his gaze forward.
“Then why have you been staring at my forehead?” Tashi grumbled.
Because I saw you swinging your thing in your dream, Caden replied in his head. He ought not to say.
“You have a pimple.” Caden lied instead.
Later on that night, Caden plops back into bed, sighing deeply. The day passed by pretty fast. It felt like the days were starting to blend together. The two dogs jumped on his chest immediately, wagging their tails excitedly. The white and black chihuahua barked at him excitedly.
“Yes, Bruce.” He called as he pets the little dog. The other one also barked, craving attention. “You too, Daisy.”
He plopped his head back down, staring at the ceiling while petting the two.
“Where am I going to go, tonight?”
His question would be soon answered once he slumbered. He blinked as soon as his vision faded. He opened his eyes back in the void, the same doors hovering around him. He looked to his right, and there was the door he had seen a couple of months ago. The same hunting dog plush hung at the door.
He looked at the small pile of things in front of him. They were small trinkets he got from various dreams, dreams he wanted to remember. He wordlessly grabbed a small ball of green yarn attached to a small sweater. He set it back down on the pile of things and stood.
“Alright. Where to, today?” He asked no one in particular. He looked at a door he labeled Tashi Aster. He shook his head. He looked around more, floating now. He passed by different doors.
He came across another labeled one. Cassiopea Aster.
It was Tashi’s sister.
He thought for a moment. Then looked down at the door with the dog plush hanging on it. It was as if it was asking him, why? Why not me?
He shifted his gaze back at Cassiopea’s door.
He entered the door.
As he crossed the threshold, the door disappeared behind him. He was in Tashi’s childhood home. He walked around, reminiscing at the rooms happily. He looked at the living room where he and Tashi would play games all day. He chuckled.
His relaxed demeanor changed when he heard noises in the kitchen. It was the kind of noise he didn’t want to hear in any dream. Said noises in particular included heavy breathing and the sound of skin slapping on skin. His ears turned red.
I’m going to be stuck here for the entire night, he thought sadly. He turned to look if he could try hiding upstairs.
He groaned. What the frick is wrong with your family Tashi? Do you all dream of being naked in some way or another?
“I’ve al- always had a crush on you, Caden!”
He hid his face in his hands, sighing at the familiar sound of Tashi’s sister.
The next morning Caden felt more tired than usual. He felt his face heat up from the dream last night. He had to hide in the stairs as he heard the girl moan his name, again and again
What was worse for him was that he saw his dream self carry the girl he considered to be his sister across the threshold, still connected. He wretched at the fact that he saw himself, well, a better-looking version of himself doing unspeakable things (not unspeakable but stuff he’d rather not say out loud) to the kid he grew up with.
His phone rang. He raised a brow. He saw the name.
Caden dropped his phone.
He groaned. He wasn’t sure if there was a higher being involved but
Could he at least have given me a normal superpower?
Flying? Strength? Invisibility?
Caden thought dream walking was particularly annoying.
“What is it Cassi?” He tried to hide the stress in his voice.
“Good morning, Caden!” The other end was of the familiar voice he heard last night. He cringed at the sound of his name. “Tell Tashi I need to call him quick. Mom also wants to ask if you guys want to visit this weekend.”
“I’ll ask him. You sound pretty energetic this morning.” Caden said awkwardly.
“I had a great dream last night!”
The next night, he stared at the door with the dog plush hanging on it.
You want me to go in?
I’m going in!
He turned the knob.