Out of Luck.

There are days when everything changes. Something irreversible happens and the world will never be the same again. Some of these events are global. Some are personal but the world will be forever different.

There may be many of these days in our lives; days that we wish that we could be on the other side of. Theses moments are written in time – never to be forgotten. In these days we wish we could just move with what remains of our lives. We wish we could regain that lost innocence, if only for a moment.

Sometimes, we are just out of luck.

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2. Kate.

Tones of purple and blue, spinning and spinning, on and on as the vehicle made its way through the winding ally. We pulled through the empty streets, weaving our way towards our destination and into the depths of the unknown. Armed and ready, my two colleagues and I powered on in silence – not daring to guess what lay ahead of us, waiting in the darkness and waiting to strike.

Sometimes it was hard being the only woman on our team but in times like this, I was more than glad. There was no room for drama in this job; too much already depended on us without adding more stress to the matter. Too many times before had this ended in destruction; too many times before had lives been lost as a result of our actions.

As we drew to a steady halt, Jason froze at the wheel. We all knew that actions had consequences but he was responsible for whatever happened next and the lives that we had sworn to protect rested on his shoulders. He was our leader and we would follow his into the battlefield.

I took a deep breath before opening the door and stepping out into cool air of the night. My two teammates mirrored my actions, spilling out of our van with the necessary equipment firmly in our grasp. I gripped onto the cold steel and waited for fate to show her hand.

“Which way?” Damien called out, turning to face me as Jason locked the car.

I swallowed back my fear as I gazed down at the device that was firmly secured in my palm.

“The readings are stable.”

“Then lead the way.” As my gaze met with Damien’s, he let his lips form a smile but I didn’t miss the way that his hand tightened around his medical kit. We had followed this process so many times before but the outcome was never the same. The multiverse held endless possibilities and we were merely along for the ride. The universe was in control and we were merely pawns in the greater game. We couldn’t do much to change the bigger, but we tried.

Because if we didn’t, who would?

As the three of us inched around the corner, we were greeted by the familiar ice that hung in the air before an encounter. I listened to the familiar hum of silence as the tear finally crept into my vision. Gazing into the fabric of infinite possibility, I couldn’t help but admire the wash of colours which lit up the night.

Tears in the multiverse were strangely beautiful.

With our guns still pointed at the ground, we advanced as one, as a unit and as our universes first line of defence. Our team was simply made up of a doctor, a soldier and a technician but that was enough to face whatever the multiverse had to offer.

We’d received a warning as our equipment picked up the energy fluctuation and almost immediately, we flew into action without a moment of delay. Clearing out the neighbourhood had been a logistical nightmare but as always, we had issued the usual ‘gas leak’ story and had coordinated with the council to get the residents to ‘safety’.  

Sometimes, in the quieter moment, I couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling of knowledge – the felling of watching the world live on in ignorance. I knew a secret that would change the world forever. I wasn’t afraid to admit that I enjoyed my job but I hated the devastation that came hand in hand with my work. Some days would be filled with loss but each life saved was a victory and each day was another chance at success.  Maybe that was selfish and maybe that was wrong, but I loved every moment of our victory.

The clouds let out a muted rumble as rain began to drip down from above, catching the moonlight and shattering on impact with the pavement. I stole a glance at the machine in my palm before calling out to my teammates with urgency in my words and excitement rushing through my veins.

“Something is coming through.”

My teammates nodded back at me.

Bracing ourselves for the worst, our weapons were loaded as our eyes remained fixed on the streak of purple which sliced through the darkness of the night.  It was merely a line, growing and growing by the second into something more dangerous.

“Not long now…” I murmured, flexing my trigger finger in preparation for the events that were simply waiting to play out. I knew better than to underestimate whatever came through the rifts; too much hung in the balance and one mistake could topple the world as we knew it. Adrenaline raced through my blood as fear cleared my mind – sharpening my senses and preparing me for the challenges that lay ahead of me.

Who knew what this night would bring?

The Universe was cruel. The Universe was kind.

And sometimes, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

The gateway seemed to widen by the second. I took a step backwards as the corners continue to push outwards – into the darkness of the night. The tear was around my height when the figure began to appear on the other side of the tear.

A black silhouette broke through the ripples of colour as I let a breath slip from my lips. The shape, although somewhat distorted, seemed humanoid which was always a good start.  So far, I hadn’t met an extra-terrestrial being but I had no doubt that one day, I would. The multiverse housed infinite parallel universes and each was filled with possibility that none of us could begin to comprehend. And that was my life; searching for forbidden knowledge and protecting my world for harm.

The light began to increase.

More and more.

More and more, until I was forced to avert my gaze.  I kept my gun locked on the target, finger looped around the trigger and heart racing into the darkness of the night. I knew what happened next: the crack would open, something would fall through and then it would close - fading away into oblivion. Whatever slipped into our dimension would be stuck here – never to return back home.

As the light began to die down, I could just make out a heavy thud beneath the ringing in my ears. I looked back at the scene before me as my stomach dropped. The rift had frosted over – clouded and solidifying as it prepared to snap closed. For a moment, my gaze remained fixed on the tear in reality that led into the unknown and into the depths of the multiverse. Droplets of rain streaked down the doorway before trickling down and colliding with the floor.

It was then that I saw the figure lying on the ground.

The woman couldn’t have been older than twenty as she pulled herself upright with a loud wince. Her breathing was heavy as for a few moments, she looked back at the place that she had come from only moments before. There was no way back. I could see her chest, rising and falling in sharp movements as sobs spilled from her lips , the rain sweeping over her form.

The portal was beginning to close in on itself, shrinking in size until nothing remained. Within the space of a moment, it was gone and the woman was trapped on the wrong side of the crack.

The girls, forced herself onto her knees as she glared down the empty street, drinking the view of a world that was not her own.

“No.” Her voice was raw. “No. No. No. No. Bring me back. Bring me back! No. I have to get back.”

I bit my lip as I watched her slam her fist into the wet concrete beneath her, drawing red from her fists. Even in the darkness, I could see the shock in her eyes and the panic that coursed through her body as the moments slid by. I noted down that she was breathing heavily and that her eyes were red - as if she’d been crying - before I turned to look at Jason and Damien.

They seemed almost spellbound by the scene before them, neither making a move to try and help. She was but a strangerand was now trapped in a dimension that was not her own, with people that were not her own, on a planet that was not her own. I pitied her, I really did, but deep down, in some twisted way – I envied her.

The excitement. The attention. The stories.

Now was not the time to dwell on my own emotions and flaws. Now was the time to help a kid that was lost in the depths of the multiverse.

Taking a step forwards, Jason slowly began to make his way over to the girl. Damien and I trailed closely behind him with our eyes wide and our hearts racing away into the night.  Jason slipped his gun back into its holster as he signalled for the two of us to be ready if needed. In this job, we didn’t get second chances.

Slowly kneeling down next to the distraught figure, I could see the concern which laced the corners of his gaze. Jason was not an emotional man but even he could feel the anguish radiating off the girl.  Damien and I shared a gaze as he began to recite his usual script. Sentient beings were rare for us; usually, it was just rubbish from parallel earths that tripped our sensors. Toasters, fridges and other such junk slipped through the rifts. When we weren’t studying the inventions, we were researching the gateways and the theoretical science of the multiverse. Events on this scale were rare but we were prepared for every eventuality.

“Hey,” Jason murmured softly. The girls head snapped around as if for the first time, noticing that she was not alone. Her eyes were a deep brown colour and her skin was as pale as the moonlight whilst she shivered beneath the blanket of darkness.

“Please,” she begged, “Please help me. I have to go back. I have to go home. Please.”

And then her eyes rolled back as she slipped into the depths of unconsciousness, caught only by Jason’s arms before her head could collide with the floor.

“Shit. Damien!” He called out. “She’s bleeding.” The medic dropped his gun as he surged forwards to examine his newest patient with his medical kit firmly in hand.  Looking at her properly for the first time, I could see the blood caking the side of her forehead and the corner of her jacket. Walking towards my teammates, I stood by Damien’s side as he reached out a checked her pulse. I knew that I couldn’t do much to help but that wouldn’t stop me from trying. The boys often teased me for being the heart of the team and in truth, I had already lost enough in my lifetime. Seeing so much death had taught me the value of life. I cared, probably more than I should have but I wouldn’t let that stop me.

“-have to get her to the medical bay.” I only caught the end of Damien’s words but still couldn’t fight the worry which fluttered in the pit of my stomach. Standing at the side, I watched as Jason lifted the girl up – her head lolling against his chest. As he carried her towards our van, Damien and I trailed behind. I sent him a soft smile but as usual, he shook it off. My heart ached as once again, he ignored my existence. It was hard being unseen, just waiting for him to notice me but what else could I do? The feelings only went one way and would never be returned, no matter how hard I tried.

Pausing to pick up the fallen weapon, I stared back at the spot where the vortex had opened merely a minute before.

It was quiet now. And would be forever more.

Turning around, I hurried back to the van and climbed into the passenger’s seat as Damien sat in the back with his patient. Jason threw open the door and placed himself in the driver’s seat moments before the roar of an engine filled the stillness of the dark.

As we drove off into the night with our newest victim in tow, I couldn’t help but curse the multiverse.

This was just a normal night.

As the sun loomed over the horizon, our car shot through the empty streets of London.

Just a normal night.

 

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