“I feel great!” Greg smiled at his youthful, brown-haired reflection in the mirror. An hour ago he was offered a new job in the middle of a fatal car crash. Minutes ago he was a balding, grey-haired old man. Now he stood in a new apartment three times as large as his old one and he couldn’t stop smiling at his smooth, handsome face. Greg turned toward Janet, his new boss; the being responsible for his life and youth. “So how does this job work?” He asked a black cat with a red, skull-shaped patch of fur on its head that was sitting on his dresser.
“I collect magical artifacts. Whenever I get a lead on one I’ll send you out to get it.” Greg looked around the clean, modern apartment and smiled at the cat.
“I guess they’ll be in different universes too?” he asked. He was still getting used to the idea of alternate universes, but she did promise Greg would see visit places he never imagined. The cat dipped her head slightly to nod, then she flicked her tail at the empty air next to Greg. A tall, pitch black portal opened.
“Now that you’re settled you need gear,” she said. The cat jumped off the dresser and walked into the portal. Greg followed her. On the other side of the portal, Greg walked into a large room that reminded him of a bank vault. The walls were lined from floor to ceiling with small square-shaped doors that he assumed were safety deposit boxes. Golden numbers decorated most of the doors. The cat padded to one wall and sat on its haunches. “Open the one that says 13,” she said. Greg walked to the wall and found the door with the number 13 on it. He opened it and found a pink bonnet inside. It seemed to be made of silk and he noticed the number 13 stitched on the inside of the headband.
“I don’t think this is my style,” Greg joked.
“Put it on,” Janet said. “It goes with anything.”
“Is this one of those magical artifacts you collect?” he asked as she fit the bonnet onto his head. He felt a faint tingling sensation run down his spine when he tied the ribbon and looked at the cat to wait for an answer.
“Get number five and 22 also,” she said. Greg found the other two doors on the same wall and reached for the closest one, number 5. He extended his hand but couldn’t see it.
“Wait, is that supposed to happen?” he asked. He brought his hands up in front of his face but could not see them. he waved them around and clapped to make sure they were still part of him.
“The bonnet makes you invisible,” she replied.
“Awesome,” Greg grinned and reached for the number five door. He opened it and reached inside. He pulled out a clear plastic umbrella.
“The umbrella protects you with a bubble shield.”
“Awesome!” He repeated with more excitement then took two steps to his right to open the number 22 door. He found a single black leather boot inside.
“The boot will silence your footsteps,” Janet explained. Greg chuckled.
“I’m silent and invisible. So I’m stealing these magical artifacts?” he asked. Janet nodded.
“Do you have a problem with that?” she asked.
“Not one bit,” Greg replied.