Dennis shut his eyes, clenched his fists, and tensed his body as the rocky ground below rushed up to meet him. Instead of the brief, final moment of agony he expected, his backpack caught something. He felt the straps bite into his shoulders the moment he stopped falling, then he was lowered gently to the ground. Dennis immediately sighed with relief.
“Oh no, were you trying to die?” Dennis rolled over as the question was asked. “I can take you up again and drop you if you want.” His mouth dropped when he discovered who saved him. Dennis was not a small man; he stood 6’5″ and weighed about 280lbs. Despite that, a young girl that didn’t look older than 11 or 12 hovered in the air above him. He shook his head and sat up.
“No! You saved my life!” He stood up and dusted himself off as the girl landed in front of him. “How did you save my life?” he asked.
“I got here just as you went off the bridge, I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time. My name’s Astrid,” she offered her hand. Dennis shook it with a smile.
“Yeah, but,… how? How did you fly? How can you even carry me?” Astrid shrugged. Then, before Dennis knew what was happening, she carried him up into the air and placed him on the old bridge he fell from.
“Like that,” Astrid replied. “I can fly and I’m strong. Hey,” she changed the subject. “Do you know anyone named Mundo? Or like a tattoo shop or bar or something named Mundo’s?”
“Why?” Dennis asked. Despite the fact that she saved his life, Dennis wasn’t in a hurry to volunteer information. His younger brother’s name was Mundo, but he was not about to offer family up to a stranger; even if she did save his life. After he asked, Dennis resumed his journey across the bridge. He wanted to get to the other side while Astrid was still nearby, just in case he tripped again. He heard Astrid giggle behind him.
“You know, that’s a good question,” she said. If you had asked me about 10 minutes ago, I would have told you it was for a ride.”
“A ride?” Dennis asked over his shoulder, then returned his focus to the rickety bridge. He was almost to the other side.
“Yeah. Mundo usually knows the right people that can get me where I’m trying to go,” she replied. “But that hasn’t been happening lately.”
“What do you mean?” Dennis asked. They reached the end of the bridge and stepped on to solid earth. He turned to look at Astrid; she was chewing on her bottom lip with a thoughtful look on her face.
“HEY!” she shouted at the sky.
“What are you-” Dennis began to ask, but he was interrupted by Astrid screaming again.
“What is it, little Luna?” a woman’s voice spoke from all around them. Dennis whirled around but he saw only Astrid and no one else.
“Are you moving me from Earth to Earth?” That question caught Dennis’ attention. His brother mentioned alternate Earths sometimes; but, Dennis chalked it up to imagination. Astrid asked about his brother by name. She also seemed to know something about different Earths; the two events had to be related.
“Did you say-” He started to ask Astrid, but the mystery voice spoke over him.
“Of course I am,” the absent woman replied.
“Why ar-” Astrid began to ask, but a black hole opened at her feet. The girl fell in and the hole closed in less than a second; then, Dennis was alone again.