A mask may hide its owner yet it is still crafted in their likeness. Leila Bridge’s schedule revolved around a lot of things. Most of it revolved around her computer. It was a miracle that she didn’t need eyeglasses yet. The girl sat in a well-padded computer chair. She was looking at one of the three monitors that illuminated the dim room. A knock on her door signaled that it was time for her to eat dinner.
“Coming!” She called, as she stretched and got up. Sitting on a chair for hours didn’t do wonders for her back. A large dog trailed behind her as she made her way towards her dining room. Her best friend, Noah, was texting on his phone. He was sitting on one of the dining chairs, a large paper bag in front of him.
“Look who came out of the cave.” He remarked not removing his gaze from the screen.
“Fried chicken?” She ignored his remark, fishing through the paper bag. She set out the food containers and utensils. She hummed as she did, just happy to have food. “What do you want to drink? I got iced tea.”
The two ate their meal while making idle chatter. Leila liked this small feeling of comfort between the two of them.
“Don’t push yourself too much.” Noah had remarked, wearing his cap on top of his shaved head. "Sleep early today." She hummed in agreement and yawned.
“Fine.” She waved as Noah left her front door, allowing herself to be alone once again. The man lived near her, always remembering to check on her. She didn’t mind being alone, however.
She didn’t mind, right?
Soon she will dream once more.
Leila liked her dreams. It was the realm she had the most control over. She entered her dream curiously. Today, she was on top of a mountain that she remembered climbing with her parents. Mount Jumbo, she remembered smiling. The grass was soft against her bare feet. She snapped her fingers and a glass of wine appeared in her hand. She took a sip, relishing the beautiful sight before her.
Today, she didn't feel the need to change much in her dream anymore.
"You're blocking the view." A male voice called to her. She raised a brow, glaring at the person behind her. He was a fairly tall medium built man. He had well-kempt short brown hair and was wearing a green sweater. His brown eyes were framed by thick-rimmed glasses. She tried snapping her fingers.
But he was still there.
“Excuse me?” She said. “This is my dream.”
A lucid dreamer? He thought. He was holding up a phone, taking a picture.
“Don’t take my photo.” She warned.
“That was an accident.” He started deleting the picture when she started furiously snapping her fingers. “What are you doing?”
“For some reason, I can’t get rid of you.“
“Why would you think you can get rid of me?” He paused and then had a spark of brilliance confirming his earlier suspicions. “You’re a lucid dreamer, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Now, can you explain to me why you’re here?” Her brows furrowed.
He thought back to the hunting dog hanging on the door. He felt more confused as to why he was here. Is it because this woman is a lucid dreamer? He pondered.
“I can visit people’s dreams. Just checking this place out.” He replied casually. “I can’t leave once I enter a dream, so you’re stuck with me for the rest of the night.”
Leila paused. She didn’t really know what to say. After all, they were both inside a dream. Was anything possible in a dream? Was this guy an actual person? Or was she dreaming of this man? She felt weary about the guy.
“Okay dream guy,” She started, sizing him up. “What’s your name?”
“Tashi,” Caden lied, unfazed. She nodded slowly.
“My name is Leila.” She introduced herself. She looked around. “Well, this is my dream.”
“The view is beautiful.” Caden looked onwards, looking at the sea of clouds. A calm breeze blew over them. “Where is this?”
“It’s Mt. Jumbo.” She replied, snapping her fingers and offering him a glass of wine.
“You know you can’t poison me in a dream.” He replied, taking the glass.
“I didn’t poison it.”
There was a sense of freedom meeting a stranger in a dream. The pinkish and orangish hue of the sky made the clouds look like it was lost in a dreamy ocean. Both of them, however, seemed very wary of each other.
“You’re the first lucid dreamer I’ve met,” Caden confessed. “What do you usually do to change your dreams?”
“I do a lot of things,” Leila replied.
A moment of silence erupted between the two.
“You know people would usually go on to say why,” Caden commented once again.
“They would,” Leila replied.
Another moment of silence.
“And I thought I was fun at parties.” Caden broke the silence once more. Leila grunted and sighed.
“Normally, I relax by myself when I dream.” She replied. “I like being alone.”
“Hey, I like your dream. It’s pretty chill.” He commented. “Nobody’s naked or being stupid. Pretty sure I hit the jackpot.”
She raised a brow on this.
“What kind of weird shit did you see?”
“My best friend’s thing.” He trailed off. “Absolutely mortifying.”
“Thing?” She scoffed. “Just call it a dick.”
“Nope.” He replied. “Also found out my best friend’s sister thinks I have a ten pack.”
Leila coughed, laughing a bit. “She dreamt about you?”
“Yeah, and in her dream, we were doing the do.”
“Fucking.” Leila eyed him.
“Yes, that.” He replied.
“Sounds like the girl has a crush on you.” She commented.
“The kid is 16. Hormones. Plus she’s practically my sister.” He replied. “I’m 23.”
“Wow.” Leila took a sip from the wine. “Well, when I was at that age I had a crush on my best friend’s older brother.”
“I’m sure that guy wouldn’t want to see your crude fantasies either.” Caden replied.
“I’d be mortified if he saw any of my dreams of him,” Leila replied, relaxing a bit.
“Ah, mutual shame.” Caden stretched. “Best conversation starter.”
Leila scoffed, laughing a bit. Caden gazed upon the clouds a bit, stealing glances at Leila. She was a fairly average-built girl. She had long dark brown hair and big bright green eyes. She had a bit of a puff to her cheeks and she had light dewy brown skin. She had a feel to her. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. He looked on to the sea, spotting a hunting dog amidst the clouds.
“Did you see that?” He pointed to the clouds. Leila furrowed her brows.
I’ve already gone this far. He thought.
He breathed in and started bracing himself. Soon he sprinted and leapt towards the clouds. Leila’s heart skipped a beat, scared. She watched the form of the man fall through the wisps of white.
“Hell!” She cursed.
Through the ever-expansive warm sky, Caden fell with a rush of wind. He breathed the cold in, relishing in its powerful hug. A couple of moments later he saw another figure dive into the clouds. He assumed it to be the only person in this dreamscape. He looked around.
No dog anywhere.
She screamed as she fell fast.
“Why’d you jump in too?!” He yelled.
“I don’t know! I thought you were going to die!” She screamed.
The air gushed around them as they passed by cloud after cloud. Soon, a hint of green showed in their visions.
“You have nothing to be afraid of!” He yelled. “It’s your dream!”
The harsh current of air stopped and they started floating. Leila started breathing in and out slowly, calming her racing heart down.