“It’s pretty slow, may I take my break?” Allison Gregg asked her manager, Tobin. She leaned against the stainless steel prep-counter in the back as she asked, knowing it aggravated him. He nodded.
“Go ahead, I got the front,” he replied. An electronic chime from the door notified them that a customer arrived. Tobin walked to the front of the store to attend to the customer while Allison opened the door to the walk-in.
“Thanks! See you in 15,” Allison waved at Tobin’s back as she closed the door behind her. Tobin thought her habit was odd at first but she’d been a reliable, enthusiastic worker for almost six months. He felt she more than earned her quirks. The customer that awaited stood tall. He wore a crisp white shirt and purple vest, his golden hair could only be described as a man. It was long, wavy, and connected perfectly to his golden beard. He smiled at Tobin.
“Hi! What can I get you?” Tobin asked. The man looked Tobin up and down, then stepped back to look around the store, as if looking for something. Finally, he stepped forward and addressed Tobin.
“I’m sorry, this might sound odd. I’m looking for someone that works here. Is there someone else here?” Tobin appraised the man quickly and thought he seemed sincere.
“Sure, be right back,” he said, then walked to the back. “Hey Ally, some lion-looking dude wants to…” Tobin started talking as soon as the heavy door started to swing open, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Huh.” He walked back to the front where the man waited patiently. “I think she’s in the restroom. Her break’s over in about 10 minutes though,” he said.
“Thank you. I’ll have a seat and wait if you don’t mind,” the man said as he walked towards a nearby booth.
“Go ahead, I’ll wait for her in the back and send her up.” Tobin checked the walk-in again, but she was still missing. He took a seat to play on his phone and wait for either her appearance or another customer. After ten minutes the sound of the fridge opening caught Tobin’s attention. Allison stepped out of the fridge.
“Hi, just gotta use the restroom real quick,” she said as she walked by him. He grabbed her by the wrist to stop her, then let go immediately realizing how it looked.
“Sorry! I just uh… Where’d you go? I looked for you in the walk-in but you weren’t there.” He asked with wide eyes.
“shit,” Allison mumbled under her breath. “Okay, I can explain.” Tobin brought his hand up to interrupt her.
“Okay, I want to hear it, but right now someone’s waiting for you out front,” he said.
“Who?” Tobin shrugged.
“I don’t know, dude looks like a lion though, it’s awesome.” Now it was Allison’s turn to stare at Tobin wide-eyed.
“Some stranger comes asking for me, and you’re like, ‘oh sure let me get her’? You didn’t even ask his name?” Tobin shrugged again.
“He didn’t use yours, he just asked if someone else worked here.” Allison slapped Tobin on the side of the head.
“He wants all the employees together because he’s going to rob us you idiot,” she hissed in a whisper. Tobin shook his head.
“No, I don’t think so. There’s something about him, you’ll see. Go talk to him.” Allison grabbed his hand.
“You’re coming with me. If he pulls a gun, I’m hiding behind you.” She dragged him out to the front and the bearded man stood from the booth and gave a slight bow to the approaching pair. As Allison approached the stranger she felt like she was approaching a warm, comforting fire. She relaxed her grip on Tobin’s arm as she realized why Tobin didn’t question the man. Somehow being in his presence made her feel safe. The man extended a hand to greet Allison.
“Hello, my name is Regal.” Allison shook his hand.
“I’m Allison,” she said. Regal gestured to the booth.
“Please have a seat, I’d like to discuss something with you.” Allison tugged Tobin’s shirt as she slid into the booth to get him to scoot in next to her. Regal sat on the other side. “It’s easier if I start somewhere in the middle to see what you know then work from there. I am #46, El Sol. Does that mean anything to you?” he asked. Allison shook her head.
“No. Is it supposed to?” she asked. Regal shrugged.
“It will, but it’s okay if it doesn’t yet. It just means more explaining. Okay, how about this?” Regal placed his hand flat on the tabletop. A small, pitch black hole opened up under his hand and it fell in. He held a handful of gold coins once he pulled it out again. He let the coins drop from his hand back into the hole, then the hole disappeared.
“What?” Tobin asked. Allison put her hand on the table and opened a black hole under her own hand. She reached in, then pulled out a blue rose. She tossed it back into the hole, then it disappeared leaving the clean white table top again. Tobin turned to her. “WHAT??!” Allison giggled and gave a light shrug.
“Uh, so you know how you went looking for me in the fridge? I can make portals to other universes, so that’s where I go.”
“There’s other universes?” Tobin looked at Regal as he asked the question. He nodded.
“Infinite universes,” Regal chuckled and looked at Allison. “Well, a few less because of Allison.”
“Are you a cop?” she asked Regal. She focused on her seat, ready to open a portal under herself if she needed to. Regal waved her worry away.
“You destroyed universes?” Tobin asked. If he had not seen the portal shenanigans with his own eyes, he would not take any of the conversation seriously.
“No, I’m not an officer. I’m aware of three Earths that you’ve destroyed, though there might be more. However, after the first one, the rest were empty. You’re not in trouble, but I just realized I haven’t told you why I AM here,” Regal said.
“You’ve destroyed THREE Earths?” Tobin wished he couldn’t take them seriously, but he knew it was true. Allison nodded.
“Seven, but like Regal said. The last six were empty. I needed somewhere to practice with my powers.” After she explained to Tobin she turned to Regal. “Okay, why are you here?”
“I’m creating a school for people like you and me, we’re called Unique Souls by the way,” he looked at Allison and smiled. “And I need faculty. Would you be interested?”