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The Portal

What if there were more than one of you

Carin absentmindedly scratched Rubbish behind his ears while the tourist images of Israel scrolled slowly across her tablet screen. Her best friend asked her to join her on a trip, but Carin was unsure, Maddy had cancer, but Carin just got a new job and was broke and don’t know what to do.

Suddenly Rubbish’s head snapped up, his ears upright like two antennas. He startled her, and she grabbed for the tablet that flew from her hand. Rubbish stared at the doorway to the living room alerted by something. Carin felt her heart thumping in her chest, looking around the room for a weapon, all the break-ins the past few weeks had her on edge.

Then she noticed the strange sound and the blue glow coming from her lounge. She froze, she doesn’t know what it was or what she must do. Breathing heavily, she got up and moved cautiously to the doorway to see a strange glowing doorway in the middle of her living room, with her cat standing in front of the doorway ready to leap through. Carin dove to catch him as he leapt through the doorway, almost with a smile on his face.

Her heart pounded, she could barely breathe. Then without further thought, she ran and jump. No plan, no extensive research, no weighing of options, just the protection she felt for a small animal. She might have no life, but he was all she had.

Intense cold folded around her; her heart pounded so intensely that she thought it was going to burst out of her body. She stumbled through the opposite entrance of the doorway, falling to one knee, catching herself with one hand. There was green grass under her hand, normal looking green grass. She was too afraid to move, too afraid to look up to found out where she was.

She stood up, shoulders squared, fighter stance, the absurdly familiar scene in front of her made her burst out laughing. It was her backyard, her swimming pool, her green grass, but it was also not. This backyard was impeccably kept, grass with no weeds, a blue sparkling swimming pool, not a black cesspool because the pump was not working. Carin kept on laughing, laughter she could not stop.

The strange man on the lawn smiled, his red hair caught the rays of the sun. He looked at her lovingly, something familiar in his eyes.

“I probably need to explain some things before she arrives.”

The fear took hold of Carin again. “Listen, I have no idea where I am, who you are, I just want to wake up from this dream.” She gave one or two steps back and looked around her for a way out.

He looked to the back door and sighed, “Here they are. I had hoped to explain more, please don’t freak out. I do not need for you to get one of your panic attacks now.”

Carin needed to get out of here. Two women appeared in the door, although the one would have caught her eye any day on the street, it was the older woman who kept her from her mad dash.

She saw herself, tall, with short dark hair, no glasses, no extra weight, androgynous good looks, with strength and confidence in her stride. The woman she was always in her mind, not the fat blob, with no confidence, glasses, no makeup, and stringy grey hair.

“What the… Kyra!” her doppelganger turned to the red-haired woman with a deep frown.

“Listen, I don’t know what is going on here or where I am, but I just want to go back to my couch, my normal life and cuddle with my cat.” She looked around frantically. “Where is my cat, if you did something to my cat!” her voice almost a scream.

The man smiled, then he shimmered and the next moment Rubbish sat before her, he shimmered again, and the man stood there.

“My name is Avalon, I am a shapeshifter, and well, you know me as Rubbish.”

Carin felt light-headed, one moment she was in her house, contemplating an adventure, and the next she threw every caution overboard for something that made no sense.

Kyra walked forward, she looked strange at Carin, as if she wanted to say something, but then thought better of it. “We don’t have much time, the alternate worlds are misaligned, and your little stunt with sharp knives and sleeping pills have brought us to the brink of disaster.”

Carin looked at the woman in front of her, and she hated her. Her breathing became haggard; she couldn’t focus, her hands were trembling badly, her brain struggling to form words. All that she could come up with, “I hate you!” and even that sounded without strength. It was if something broke in Carin, she did not think, she just surged forward as if she wanted to put her hands around the woman’s throat and squeeze until the woman could not utter any more words.

He caught her and pulled her into his arms, Carin struggled against him, She could not break free from Avalon’s arms and then she did not want to anymore. Her knees buckled and the tears ran silently down her cheeks, the pain of all her failings too much.

“What do you need from me?” the words were softly spoken, a deadness in Carin’s voice. “What can I do, there you have the other me, who is a much more accomplished person than I am. Why don’t you just stick with her and leave me the hell alone, you have even stolen my cat from me!”

“Carin," Kyra said. “Please, we… I messed up ten years ago, we all have to be in our places of destiny for the universes to stay in sync. When my brother and I were born as guides, I wanted to stay in this place with magic, and fairies and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, not go to your dreary world. My brother, my dearest brother, he went into my place… To you,” she looked down.

“On the worlds with no magic, the guide needs to bond with the focus. Unfortunately, my brother was not able to bond with you since he is male. You needed a female guide, and I... I wanted to chase fairies,” Kyra looked down in embarrassment.

The other Carin stepped forward, “Look, Kyra has been messed up after your suicide attempt, she blamed herself. All the focuses in the multiverse need to be strong, and…”

“And I am weak, the weak link…” It was as if even the last bit of fight in Carin left her as well, she was even a failure at what she was supposedly born for.

“No, I needed to be there, I was your guide, I needed to…” Kyra broke down, she fell to her knees in front of Carin and grabbed her hands. “Please forgive me, I….” Their combined tears fall on their locked hands, and a strange white light seems to flow into both of them.

“What, what was that?” Carin whispered.

“Our bond, your real bond with your real guide,” Kyra smiled through the tears.


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