Fishy Substance

“Don’t fight it,” Mike repeated.”You have to let go or you’re in for a bad trip,” he said. The high-school senior sat across from his best friend, Katie, on the floor in her bedroom. She was entrenched in a black beanbag with her head resting on the bed behind her.

“I’m not fighting it,” Katie growled her reply. She was already tired of his single piece of advice for the experience. “I should be feeling something by now, right?” Katie sat up in her beanbag. Mike shrugged, then focused his attention on his phone. He browsed the internet for a few minutes in silence until Katie spoke up again. “Maybe I should take more?”

“NO!” He said quickly, then he lowered his voice when he had her attention. “It says on the internet that if you take too much, your mind might not make it back to this reality.”

“What does it say about how long it takes to feel something?” she asked.

“That’s what I’m looking for,” he replied without taking his eyes off the phone. After a moment of reading, he stopped and looked around Katie’s room. Posters of pro surfers and swimmers decorated the ocean-blue walls of her small room. A shelf in the corner, over the computer desk, was filled with swimming trophies. “No… way…,” he said it loud enough to be heard, but he only meant to talk to himself.

“What’s up?” Katie asked.

“I think I know why Shift doesn’t work for you,” he said. “Apparently, there are people that don’t have versions in other realities. When they take it, nothing happens.”

“How do I know if I’m one?” Katie asked.

“What’s your favorite number?”

“50,” she replied, then gave Mike a confused look. “When did I get a favorite number?’ Then, she noticed his broad grin. “What? Does that mean I’m one of the special ones, then?” she asked. He nodded vigorously.

“Not special. Unique.”

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