Poor Deer

Jane looked out a window on the side of the house and saw the sun shining over her neighborhood. She looked at the utility hallway in front of her door where the suited man had stopped part way to wait for her.

“What’s going on?” she asked. “How’d you do this?” she gestured at the hallway connected to her front door. The stranger leaned down and lifted the leg of his black slacks. He exposed his ankle and lowered his black sock to show Jane his tattoo: a well-dressed skeleton with the number 14 on its skull.

“You can do some weird things and you’ve got a tattoo with a number on it, right? 45?” Jane nodded, though she did not know him well enough to show him the tattoo of a doe on her back with the number 45. The man nodded, then continued to walk down the corridor. Jane shrugged to herself and followed, though she stopped to lock the front door on her way out. Then she jogged a bit to catch up to the stranger.

“I’m guessing you know my name since you came to me,” he nodded. “Who are you? How did you do that thing at my door? Where are we going?” Jane looked ahead, but the narrow hallway extended as far as she could see. A straight shot without any turn offs.

“Elias. I opened a portal to a parallel universe right at your door,” he stopped and turned around. Jane looked behind her and panicked slightly. She should still have been able to see her door, but she only saw more hallway with no sign of her house.

“Where’d it go!?” she asked. Elias made a gesture in the air with his right hand and the air rippled like water. A clear, circular portal appeared next to them with Jane’s door on the other side.

“It didn’t go anywhere, you’re in a different universe.” He dropped his hand and the portal disappeared leaving only the dim hallway. “I can get you home any time.” Jane nodded.

“Okay. Let’s keep going,” she stepped forward to show Elias she was willing to continue. “So where are we going?”

“Have you met a Mundo yet?” he asked.

“No, I’ve never heard that name,” Jane replied. “Is that where we’re going?” Elias shook his head.

“No, just wondering how much I have to explain. If you had met one, you’d know most of what I have to say,” he shrugged. “Oh well. I can cover the basics while we get there.” Jane glanced forward again, but she saw no end to the hall.

“You are something called a Unique Soul. Specifically #45 El Venado, the deer. I’m one too, #14 La Muerte, the Death.” Jane stopped walking.

“You’re death? Am I dead?” she pinched herself then grimaced when it hurt. Elias chuckled and stopped walking.

“No, you’re alive at the moment. La Muerte is the type of Unique I am. There’s different types…,” he gestured at Jane, “…like the deer. I’m not Death anymore than you’re a deer.” Jane accepted the explanation and started walking forward again. Elias followed.

“So where are we going?” she asked. “And why can’t you portal us there?”

“Portals are only good for going between universes. I can’t open a portal within the same universe. And I was getting to that. So there’s different types of Unique souls, right?” Jane nodded.

“If you say so,” she said.

“My boss studies Uniques to learn more about them,” Elias said. Jane recognized an open door in the distance. She felt glad their walk was almost over. She had more questions than she started out with, but hoped to get answers soon.

“Whoa,” Jane had a realization and turned to grab Elias’ arm. “Am I getting a job offer? What’s your boss like? Is she gonna be my boss?” she asked with an eager smile. She got laid off the day before but had been too afraid to tell her husband and kids. If she had a job line up already it would be much easier. Elias shook his head and resumed walking towards the open door.

“No job offer, sorry,” he said. “Honestly, you don’t want to work for her anyway. Trust me.” They reached the door and he stopped to let her go through first. Jane crossed the threshold into a small room with a single desk and a chair on each side of it.

“How come you work for her?” Jane asked. She sat down on one side of the desk, Elias closed the door and walked around to the other side of the desk and sat down. He reached into a drawer and pulled out a clipboard with forms on it.

“I have to,” Elias shrugged. “It’s the only way to save my Earth.” He handed the clipboard to Jane with a pen. “Oh, forgot something.” He stood and gestured in the air to open a portal. Jane began filling in the form, but she looked up.

“I don’t know your other responsibilities,” Jane smiled. “But if it’s just bringing in folks to fill in a questionnaire, it doesn’t seem like too bad a way to save your Earth.” Elias chuckled as he stepped through his portal.

“Yeah, if that was it the job wouldn’t be so bad,” the portal began shrinking with Elias on the other side of it. “But the form is just a distraction.  I’m sorry.” His portal disappeared leaving Jane alone in the room.

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