Parallel, Part 1

Behold, perusers of the internet! A story, for your enjoyment!

This is the short story I’ve been working on. It needs polishing, but here’s what I’ve got after a couple days’ work. I’ll probably revisit it, refine the story, and perhaps extend it into a book after I’m done with the book I’m working on. (You know, the one with the Psychics.)

I hope you enjoy the first part!

Hello. My name is Olivia Green. This is the story of how the world almost ended.

            Well, that was rather melodramatic, wasn’t it?

            We don’t know if the world was actually going to end, but here’s how it started:

            My Mom, Dad, little sister Lucy, and I were headed to New York to visit my brother and have a look at all the tourist attractions.

            I was staring out the window, bored out of my mind. And suddenly, I saw it!

            You know when you see someone driving the same model car as you, and you jokingly say, ‘Oh, look! There’s us,’? Well, driving alongside us, on the single lane road, it really was us! 

            And there I—or rather, Other Me—was, staring out of the window back at me. Our eyes widened in perfect unison.

            “Dad! Pull over, now!” I cried.

            Dad hit the brakes and pulled to the side of the road. “What? What is it? Are you hurt?”

            I didn’t take the time to reply—I unbuckled and got out of the car.

            As I had suspected, Other Me had ordered her Dad to pull over as well. We now approached each other cautiously.

            We were a foot away from each other when we stopped—there was a huge crack in the ground between us. I was fairly certain it wasn’t there before. We looked each other up and down—there was no doubt about it; we were the same person.

            “Okay, what’s going on here?” again, in perfect unison. Smaller cracks spread out from the large one. We looked at it in alarm.

            I pointed at myself and made a talking motion with my hand. Other me nodded.  I took a deep breath to calm my racing heart.

            “Please tell me your name’s not Olivia Green,” I said.

            She paled. “I’m afraid it is. Do you have any idea what’s going on?”

            I shook my head. I heard car doors slam. I saw Other Me’s mom coming towards us and heard my Mom behind me.

            “Honey?” they said in unison. “What are you doing?”

            We turned around.

            “Wait, can’t you see her?” I asked, pointing at other me. My mom looked at me, concerned.

            “Olivia, what are you talking about? There’s no one there.”

            I turned around, and saw other me frantically pointing at me and saying, “But she’s right there! I swear, mom, another version of me is right–”

            And, before my eyes, they vanished. The car, the people, all traces of Other Me and her family were gone.

            Except for the crack.

            I turned to my Mom. “But-but Mom, they were right there…” I doubled over. My head suddenly felt like it was being split open with an axe.

          Mom looked pale. She grabbed my arm. “We’re a half-hour from the next town. We’re taking you to the ER.”

            The ER yielded nothing. They told my Mom that I was fine; no fever, normal vitals. Healthy. Mom wouldn’t hear it.

            We went home, and she found me a Shrink. I went to him for a week before he told my Mom I seemed to be just fine. He chalked up my episode to a bout of “overactive imagination.”

            Mom decided to buy it; but I knew what I had seen. There was another set of my family; Other Me had seen it too.

            I just had to figure out why it happened.      

*****

            Months passed, and I didn’t see Other Me in all that time. I spent time in the library, reading up on different cases of hallucination, Science Fiction novels, and Physics textbooks. I found nothing like what I’d experienced; I suspected that Other Me and her family were from an Alternate Reality, and they had bled through to our reality, and perhaps vice-versa. But I had no way to be sure.

            I was beginning to suspect that, perhaps, my imagination had just gone overboard.

*****

            I was lying on my bed, poring over a section in a science textbook about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, when I heard a yelp. One that sounded distinctly like my yelp. My head jerked up.

            She was back! There was Other Me, on a bed just like mine, in a room just like mine.  I sat up straighter. She was already ramrod.

            The light bulbs in our identical lamps exploded.

            “You again!” I cried, pointing a finger. A headache was already starting to blossom behind my eyes.

            Her bottom lipped curved downwards and she rubbed her forehead. “I could say the same about you.”

            That was when I noticed something about her voice that I hadn’t noticed before…she had a British accent. I saw her eyes widen as she noticed the difference between our voices, too.

            “Um…are you…British?” I asked, feeling foolish.

            “You mean you aren’t?” She asked disbelievingly.

            I shook my head. “No. I’m American.” She looked at me quizzically. “Like…the United States of America?”

            “This is bonkers,” Other Me breathed.

            I felt my eyes widen as a possible conclusion occurred to me. “Wait—you know the thirteen colonies, that separated from England in 1776?”

            Her brow furrowed, and she had to think for a moment, but eventually she nodded.

            “Well, in your version, did the thirteen colonies…lose?”

            She shook her head, trying to make sense of what she was hearing. “From what you’re saying, it sounds like you’re talking of the Colonies’ Rebellion. The dates seem to match up. But we—England—stopped it almost before it started.”

            “But, in  my version…we won. It was called the Revolutionary War. We separated from England, and now we’re the United States of America. We have fifty states, a President…we’re a country.” My eyebrows pinched together. I looked up and saw that Other Me’s were, too.

            “Well, in the version where the Colonies’ Rebellion failed, my version, we came in and Colonized the rest of your ‘United States.’ We have about the same number of Colonies as you do states, but we’re all British. And proud of it.”

            I began to nod slowly. “So…that must be what it is? We’re in Alternate Realities from one another; mine where the Rebellion succeeded, and yours where it failed.”

            “That sounds–”

            Other Me was fading. I couldn’t hear her any more, and the mirror image of my room was disappearing. Soon, she was gone all together.

            I slumped against the wall. So, part of the mystery was solved—two Alternate Realities were somehow merging, and that’s why I was seeing Other Me.

            The only question left, now, was why the Realities were merging. And how could we stop it?

*****

            I threw myself at Peter.  Seven years my senior, Peter was getting ready to graduate College with a Major in Physics. My big brother enveloped me in a bear hug.

            “Hey!” He chortled. “You miss me?” He scooped Lucy up with a free arm and squished her to his side as well.

            “Of course,” I grinned. “Who wouldn’t miss such a big ol’ jerk like you?” We both knew I was joking. Peter had never, and probably would never, hurt a fly.

            He tousled my hair and tickled Lucy. “That’s me. Jerky-big-brother extraordinaire.” He turned away from us and hugged each of our parents.

            I felt the smile slide off of my face. “Hey, Peter? I want to talk to you.”

            He quirked an eyebrow, but followed me up to my room anyway.

            I poked my head out and looked up and down the hallway before shutting my door and wedging a chair under the knob.

            “Well, you’re being secretive,” Peter observed, sitting on the edge of my bed. “What was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

            I took a breath. “Are…what…what do you know about Alternate Realities?”

            Both of Peter’s eyebrows shot up so high, they nearly blended in with his hair. “Oh! Well, in theory, every time a decision is made, the decision you do make happens in your dimension, and time progresses as ‘normal.’ But, for every other possible decision, a new reality is made where that decision is made, thus tweaking the development in that dimension as time progresses. This proceeds on in that fashion, for each dimension, until you have an infinite number of realities, always multiplying as decisions are made. Of course, depending on the magnitude of the decision, the differences in the realities vary in magnitude.” He glanced at me. “Are you getting any of this?”

            I nodded, brow furrowed. “Yeah, I think so. Basically, there’s a different dimension for every possible answer to a decision?”

            He shrugged. “Yeah, that’s the gist of it, I suppose. Why’d you ask, anyway?”

            I swallowed dryly. “Oh, no reason. You know me, just curious.” I smiled what I hoped was an easy smile. I’m a terrible liar.

             Peter’s eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to say something…

            “Dinner!” Mom called from downstairs. I swallowed a sigh of relief. We tromped down the stairs and ate.

*****

            Two days passed, with me researching more into the science of Alternate Dimensions and avoiding Peter every time he looked like he wanted to ask me a question. I was lying outside in the hammock the next time I saw Other Me.

           I saw her first, this time; she was sitting over on the patio, but I was seeing a mirror patio. I called over to her.

            “Hey! Um…Olivia! I think we should talk.” Her head jerked up and I walked over and  sat on the grass in front of the patio.

            “So, we’ve concluded that we live in Alternate Realities from each other, yes?” She asked.

            A small fissure spread in the patio between us. We glanced down at it briefly.

            I nodded. “I’ve spoken to Peter; you have a Peter, right? Older brother, in college? Majoring in Physics?”

            Other Me shook her head. “I’ve got an older brother Peter, but he’s majoring in Language Arts.”

            I nodded. That was Peter’s second choice for a major, so it made sense. “Well, my Peter explained Alternate Realities to me more. He says that a new one is created for every possible solution to a decision. So, for us, it must be a decision one side made in the Revolutionary War that was different for one of us, so now it’s different.”

            “Makes sense. But why are we…colliding?”

            I shrugged. “I’m not sure. None of my research says anything about why two dimensions would collide. I think I’ll talk to Peter about it…but he’s acting weird. I don’t know how to approach him again without him getting more suspicious.”

            “Well, we don’t really have a choice, do we? We need to figure this out. So we can fix it.”

            I nodded. She was annoying me, just a bit; I didn’t need her to state the obvious. But she was right. She was also starting to fade again. “Okay, I’ll ask him. You research Alternate Realities, too! See you probably soon…” I trailed off. She was gone again.

            Time to go face Peter.

*****

            I knocked on the doorframe to his room. He looked up. “Hey-o. What’s up?”

            “The sky,” I answered, plopping down cross-legged next to his bed.

            “Ha-ha. Now what’s really up?”

            “So, you know when I asked you about Alternate Dimensions?”

            He paused. “Yeah … ”

            “Well, what if, hypothetically, two dimensions collided and started to bleed through to each other. Like, for instance, someone started seeing themselves in an Alternate Dimension? How would that happen? Hypothetically.”

            His eyes narrowed. “Why are you interested, again?”

            “It’s for…um…my homework! Over spring break. Science class. We were each assigned something to research.” I shrugged.

            He seemed to buy it. “Oh! Alright. Well, first of all, two dimensions colliding would cause massive damage to one or all of the dimensions involved. Second, I don’t see many solutions to your hypothetical problem…maybe if something from one of the dimensions punched through to the other, so there were two of that object on one side and none on the other. That seems to me to be the most probable answer. The question, then, how it got there…it could be caused by a ripple in space-time, but, again, we don’t know how that would happen. There are experiments being worked on that could, possibly, cause such a thing–” He looked over at me. “Sorry. I’m rambling.”

            “That’s fine. But how would you, in that supposed situation, fix it? Make the dimensions stop blending?”

            “I suppose you’d have to get the right object back into its own dimension. Then the rift should fix itself, since everything would be returned to ‘normal.’”

            “Huh. Thanks! This’ll be great on my…report!” I grinned and bounded back out of the room, Peter’s eyes like laser beams on my back.

            I nearly ran headlong into Other Me. “Whoa!” I exclaimed. “Where’d you come from?” She quirked her eyebrow at me. “Never mind. Let’s go to my…our room.”

            We went through to my room. Other Me  sat at the desk; whether hers or mine, I couldn’t tell. Everything was double.

            She toyed with a pencil that had rolled across the desk. The pencil cup had broken upon her sitting down. “So? Have you talked to your Peter yet?”

            “Yeah. He says that the most likely reason for this to be happening is something punched through from one of our dimensions to the other. So we just need to find what it is.”

            Other Me rested her chin in her hand. “It’s probably something with sentimental value to us, since we’re the ones this is happening to.”

            I nodded. “Probably. So let’s look through our houses first; looking for two of something, or things that are missing.”

            “Okay, sounds good.”

            “Olivia! Lucy! Come down here, please!” Mom called from downstairs. I sighed.

            “Don’t move. I’ll be back in a minute,” I said as I left the room.  Other Me nodded as she doodled.

            I galloped down the stairs. Lucy came charging down the stairs behind me. She looked at me with a puzzled expression.

            “I just saw you in your room, Olivia,” She said. “How’d you get down here so fast?”

            I laughed nervously. “You just didn’t notice me pass you on the stairs.” We turned into the living room.

            “Girls, take your laundry up to your rooms and put it away,” Mom gestured to the stacks of laundry she had just finished folding. I scooped up my pile with some difficulty, as everything was still double, and charged back up to my room. I slammed the door behind me.

            “They can see you,” I gasped at Other Me.

            She nodded. “I know. Your Lucy stuck her head in to tell me your Mom wanted me. I told her I’d be there in a moment.”

            “Well, that’s rather problematic, since we can’t control when or where we see each other.”

            Other Me looked at me quizzically. “But…it seems that I always end up in your dimension. So, I think it would be safe to say that something punched through from my dimension to yours. It would make sense, because now my dimensions bleeding through to yours, trying to get it back.”

            “Yeah…that does make sense! So I’ll look for two of something, and you look to see if anything’s missing!” I nodded slowly, a grin spreading across my face.

            “Oh! I’m fading again. Good b–”

            I hardly noticed the headache this time. I was getting used to it.

Well! Look at me, ending the first part on a cliffhanger! You can follow the blog, like this post, and comment, but if you don’t want to that’s cool too.


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