Stacie awoke suddenly that morning. Her leg felt odd, almost tingly? She massaged it curiously and pushed the covers off of herself to reach for her journal. She had been cataloging her dreams in the journal for the past several months. The messages from the psychics had begun to pour in and she was organizing the results before reviewing them to their fullest extent. The last three letters were due later that week, which meant that she could invite Beca over to help with research. So far, she had the envelopes organized by date of arrival, and alphabet.
The brunette scrawled a note on the corner of the page, the words ‘Hunger Games’ were written in big bold letters. A curious development that she was particularly interested in. She hadn’t read or watched a single Hunger Games source in months, but the dreams kept occurring in a continuous fashion. She had gotten married to the mysterious blonde girl in the dream, the woman had brilliant green eyes and wonderfully pouty lips, but for the life of her, Stacie couldn’t remember the name.
Stacie started in surprise and tossed her book onto her bedside table. She quickly grabbed a shirt and some shorts to throw on before making her way to the door of her home where Beca stood, clutching her laptop bag. “Hey!” Stacie greeted her friend. Beca waved sheepishly before shuffling in. Stacie shut the door behind her and turned to watch the shorter brunette move through her apartment.
“Alright, you said you wanted to do more background research today?” Beca sighed.
“Yeah, I’ve pulled up Descartes’ Theory of Ideas and some articles on parallel universes. I want you to google red thread legends and reincarnation testimonies;” Stacie rattled off idly.
“And, this helps how?” Beca inquired.
All good experiments need good background research Beca;” Stacie replied. The leggy brunette grabbed her laptop and began to read the articles she had opened the previous day. “Stacie, I still don’t know how this is a proper experiment, doesn’t it need to be repeatable or something. I know you’re the science nerd here, but I at least remember Ms. Samuels telling us that much in ninth grade.”
“Ms. Samuels sucked, she was so boring,” Stacie scoffed.
“Stacie, focus, how is this repeatable?”
“Anyone can pay a psychic to draw a picture, anyone can do it, and anyone can look up these articles. If a large enough percentage hold in common features, then there might be some substance to the prophecy.”
“Stacie, you paid a janky medium $35 for a reading, it’s not like you went to the Oracle of Delphi;” Beca ridiculed.
“Beca, can you please just read, I have to know okay? The dreams are getting worse. I see her every night, and the plot is getting more and more intricate.”
“Maybe this is the Universe’s way of telling you to take up writing, why does it have to be a be all end all love of your life?”
“Beca, just read!” Stacie snapped. The taller brunette reached an arm over and gripped the top of her friend’s head, turning it with force towards the glowing laptop monitor. “Read, and stop asking questions. Let me just research before we look at experiment results.”
“Fine, I’m just saying, it’s not like we can forcefully repeat the mystery dream portion of your experiment.”
The two girls pored over various articles for several hours before Beca left for work, leaving Stacie curled up on her floor with a pouch of caprisun. If Stacie was being fair, Beca had a point. The first part of the experiment wasn’t repeatable. She couldn’t very well induce a soulmate dream in the next person, she could put them to sleep but what they dreamt about was up to that person’s brain.
Stacie let out a disgruntled groan and shut her laptop loudly, fingers tapped impatiently on the top for a moment before she placed the computer on the nearest table and walked out of the room. Wandering down the hall, she entered her bedroom and grabbed the journal she had kept. There were multiple stories sprinkled throughout. Some stories seemed to carry on, night to night, while others appeared randomly, breaking up the consistent stream of violence that her latest dream plots provided. Stacie really hoped that the Hunger Games plot was wrapped up, now that she had gotten married to the mysterious blonde.
If she ever saw a lizard man again, she was going to scream.
The last drawings arrived in manila envelopes three days later, as expected. Stacie quickly sorted them and called Beca, excited to get the other girl’s assistance.
“Why am I here again?” Beca groaned, Stacie had pulled the brunette out of a nap by knocking on the DJ’s door until Beca gave in.
“You need to help me sort facial features,” Stacie answered.
“Stacie, you’re facing blind. I’ll be doing all the work, can’t you get CR on this?”
“CR has a date with Denise today,” Stacie shrugged.
“Wasn’t that her excuse last week?” Beca grumbled.
“She has date night every week on the same day, it just so happens that it's also my night off during the week. So you’ll survive.”
Beca let out a pitiful whine but settled down into an empty chair, ready to work. Stacie had divided the envelopes, all five hundred of them, into two separate piles. One for her, and one for Beca. They were supposed to sort them by similar features, ethnicity, gender, eye color, nose type, freckles or no freckles, chin dimple, hair color, etc. There would also be pile differentiations between drawings with color, and drawings without color.
It wasn’t the hardest work ever once Stacie got into a rhythm, she wasn’t assessing the entire face for familiarity at that point, but for distinct features. She was vaguely disappointed to see so many men mixed in, she wasn’t opposed to sleeping with men, but they definitely weren’t the girl in her dream.
A separate pile of predictions was made for letters without images. The readings suggested names and suggestions of where Stacie was likely to meet the mystery girl. The pair had switched to the letters once they grew tired of all the drawings. Now they simply skimmed through the letters to check the gender. Any that mentioned women, Stacie kept. All those that mentioned men, were tossed in a pile on a chair.
“This one says Brayan?” Beca scoffed. Beca handed Stacie the letter with a chuckle.
“Brayan, Doctor, Virgo, and oh no…” Stacie continued to read over the letter, amusement only growing. “He’ll visit your mom, Stacie;” Beca teased.
“Nope, absolutely not;” Stacie grimaced and tossed the letter onto the men’s pile. “What about this one?” Stacie took the next piece of paper handed to her by Beca. On the page was a woman with long blonde hair and pouty lips. Green eyes shone back at her from the page as an image appeared in Stacie’s head.
White dress, bouquet, a sandy beach with Beca standing beside the blonde. Denise on Stacie’s left. Soft words and a warm moment as the sun slowly dipped below the water’s edge, shattering into a million lights on the ocean surface.
That’s her. Stacie flipped the page over to read the words, “Alison, Alicia, Andrea, Anna, Ashley Aria, Ariana, Aubrey, Audrey. Older than you. Green eyes. Worrier, perfectionist, all work and no play. 3 years.”
Stacie excitedly grabbed a magnet from the box she had prepared and placed the page on the fridge. Her first recognizable reading. “That’s her?” Beca observed. The girl peered at the image critically, lips pursed. “I have to admit, she’s hot.”
“I know, right?” Stacie grinned.
“So, I’m guessing you want me to look for similar drawings?” Beca guessed.
“Just keep sorting, for now, we can check the closest pile later. Was there anything else in the envelope you found it in?”
Beca turned around to check. Stacie heard the sound of the envelope tearing and the unfurling of more paper. “Yeah, it’s another girl.” Beca passed the taller brunette the page, confusion evident in her expression. “She’s a redhead?” Beca exclaimed. Stacie took the new drawing and stared at it in surprise. The ginger had brilliant blue eyes and a megawatt smile, she was gorgeous as well, but Stacie knew the blonde was the one in her dreams. Suddenly, a memory returned.
Beca sat beside a beaming redhead, hands clasped, both girls looked at each other as though they meant the world to one another.
“I think this one is for you,” Stacie mumbled. She handed the drawing back to Beca who took it with further befuddlement. “I’ve never seen this girl in my life;” Beca stated, she tried to hand Stacie back the drawing but the girl wouldn’t take it.
“She’s your soulmate, you can put her on the freezer door. Congrats Beca, you’re our second test subject!”
“I’ve seen her in my dreams, she’s always with you. You’re very happy together,” Stacie grinned. “You’re absolutely adorable together.”
“I don’t even know this person, Stacie. How can I be happy with someone that I’ve never met?”
“You will, I’m sure of it. If I meet the blonde, I’m sure you and red will be introduced.”
“You’re making about as much sense as Fat Amy, Stace;” Beca griped.
Stacie shrugged and ignored her friend’s protests in favor of pulling out her computer once more. “I need to send an email in your name for your soulmate now, we have our second trial.”
“Stacie, with what money?” Beca argued.
“Don’t worry about it,” Stacie flashed a wink in Beca’s direction and began typing.