• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 08
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Murder Betwixt Parallel Universes

“So?” Alba scratched her nose in that certain spot that was always itchy.
    “I didn’t love the last one,” Sashi scoffed and tucked a loose curl of blonde behind her ear. “Those people were just, I’m sure, really strange. Always holding their bodies so erect all the time.” She complained, “It’s so much easier to just lean.”
    “I know.” Alba sighed; Sashi was always, “I’m sure.” She said so a lot.
    “Obscene, really.”
    Alba nodded, scrolling through comments. “There’s one in Section 33 we haven’t tried. It’s supposed to be similar. You know, but different.”
    “But shades?” Sashi pursed her lips, holding her shades tight in her fist. She hated wearing them.
    Alba insisted, “Always.”
    They went clubbing at Parallels almost every Saturday night. It meant they never hit the same scene twice. Anonymity and coolness, but on a quantum level.
    “But no Brian this time,” said Alba. She was sick and tired of Sashi hunting down her ex in every possible universe no less, forever hopping into bed with him for the singular purpose of breaking his heart.
    Sashi begged Alba with dark glossy eyes, her diamond-shaped irises full and tilted.
    Alba frowned. “I mean it, Sashi. No Brian.” She spliced her hand through the air like a sickle. Enough.
    Sashi sensed the finality and decided to yield, for now.
    They put on their shades and took the escalator down to the platform, using their personal devices to recalibrate their cells to the Parallel. It took only seconds.
    “Stop. Sashi, stop,” Alba whispered harshly and tugged on Sashi’s arm. “It’s us. Just there.” She stepped behind a large, broad column and pulled Sashi with her.


Murder Betwixt Parallel Universes

     A few steps away, another Alba and Sashi stood and waited.
    An approaching train squealed and rattled through a distant curve. The tunnel filled with light. The steadiness of the click-clacking didn’t relent. This wasn’t its stop.
    “We should go back. They’re probably going to the same club,” Alba suggested.
    Before Sashi could answer, Alternate Sashi stepped forward, shoving hard against the back of Alternate Alba. The train stopped then, but too late.
    Alba was hyperventilating. I’m dead now, she thought. The words spiraled through her, rattled and squealed.
    Passengers deboarded the train, muddled about aimless and upset. Some were crying.
    Alternate Sashi claimed it had all been a terrible accident, but the pilot had seen everything.
    “We leave, now,” hissed Sashi. She felt sick to her stomach. Her alternate self was restrained. People called her a murderer.
    Sashi and Alba recalibrated to their default, home. They stepped away from the column, gravitating to where there had just been a murder.
    “I can’t understand,” Sashi whispered. “How could any version of me do that to-?”
    Alba shook her head, her mouth a hard line. Her cheeks blanched white, nostrils flared, mind awash. Balance.
    The approaching train squealed and rattled, steady.
    Alba waited for the light in the tunnel. She took a hard step and pushed, harder.
   The train made an unscheduled stop.