Tuning In

“See!? There she is!” Neal pointed at a woman at the top right corner of the screen, almost out of frame. She watched Neal’s dream self play violin for a packed concert hall. She pulled a small black notepad from the inside pocket of her navy blue business coat to take notes. “She’s the same in every other dream I’ve checked. Always watching me and taking notes.”

“And you’ve never seen her before? Maybe you’re crushing on her and don’t even know it?” Leslie, Neal’s assistant, offered. Neal shook his head.

“I’m 47, I don’t get crushes anymore. There has to be a reason she’s in there.” Their meeting was interrupted by a knock at the open door. Neal and Leslie found the same woman from the video standing in the doorway. The same navy blue coat and dark slacks. The same short, dirty-blonde hair that reminded Neal of the color of golden-brown sand. Leslie fell off her chair in surprise but managed to stand up again with Neal’s help. After the short ruckus, with both of them standing, Neal spoke up.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Mr. Smith?” She asked with a smile. Neal nodded then she continued. “I’d like to talk to you about your dreams,” she said, then glanced at Leslie. “Alone, please.”

“No problem!” Leslie was quick to speak up as she headed toward the door. “I”ll go make sure no one interrupts you.” In her mind, she knew Neal would fill her in on everything later. The stranger stepped in as Leslie walked out, then she shut the door. Neal stood from his desk and gestured at the chair in front of it.

“What can you tell me about my dreams, Ms…..,” he trailed off and let her fill in her name.

“You can call me Oasis,” she said and offered her left hand. Neal accepted the handshake; he noticed a small hourglass tattooed on her wrist with the number 14 on it. After the greeting, they both sat down. Neal straightened his back and gave Oasis his attention.

“Well, Oasis, can you tell me why you’re in my dreams?” She smiled and a slight giggle escaped her lips.

“Can you tell me why you are?” she asked.

“They’re mine!” Neal said. “Of course I’m in them,… but you’re not denying that you are,” he added. Oasis shook her head.

“Your first assumption is already wrong,” she said. “They’re not yours.”

“Of course they’re mine! Who else’s would they be?” Oasis tilted her head and took a moment to think.

“Is cable-TV still a thing here? Have you all moved on to streaming services yet?” She asked. Neal blinked at the subject change but decided to humor her with an answer.

“Uh.. yeah? We have both.” She nodded.

“So imagine you’re streaming a TV show. Would you call that show ‘Yours’?” she asked. “Do you have ownership of that show just because you’re streaming it into your home?”

“No, of course not.”

“There you go, your dreams aren’t yours. You’re just streaming them, and it seems you’ve found a way to record that stream.”

“Streaming from where?” Neal asked. He believed her, though he did not know why. Somehow he felt a deep trust for her inside his soul somewhere. He was willing to accept everything she said at face value.

“Other versions of you in alternate universes,” she said.

“What?” Neal asked. He believed her, but he did not understand.

“Dreams don’t come from your subconscious. They’re created when your soul connects to itself in another universe. You get glimpses, and sometimes control of another you.”

“Where do you fit in?”

“In this instance, I’m your caseworker. It’s my job to monitor your progress and take notes as you live your lives. I tune in on the same frequency where dreams take place; that’s why you see me in the dreams you record.”

“This.. whoa… this is huge!  Who do you work for?! Do you work for God? Is he real??!” The questions started pouring out of Neal’s mouth. Oasis smiled and shook her head.

“There’s a lot we’re okay with people knowing,” she said. “Unfortunately, there is also a lot that we are not okay with people knowing. This was that. Good luck in your next life.”

Neal stood from his chair and backed away from Oasis with a bit of panic. “LESLIE!” He called out.

“She won’t hear you, time is completely stopped outside this room,” Oasis said. “

“Stay back!” Neal shouted. “You can’t kill me. I won’t tell anyone! I promise!”

“I can’t kill you?” Oasis asked as a grin spread across her face. “I did the moment we shook hands.”

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