Zero Surprise

Another me?” Leah stared down at the unconscious woman on her bedroom floor. Equal parts surprise, confusion, and annoyance coursed through her. Her other self was sprawled on the grey carpet with a visible bump on her head. Leah glanced around the room but didn’t see anything she could have knocked herself out with. “At least it’ll be easier to move her to the bed,” Leah sighed as she bent her knees and got a grip on herself.

“Owwwwww…,” Lena woke with a throbbing head in a bed much nicer than the one she was used to. She had yet to open her eyes, her head hurt too much, but the bed felt soft, warm, and smelled clean.

“You okay?” someone asked and Lena’s eyes opened; then, immediately squeezed them shut again. The sunlight flooding the room was too bright. She caught a glimpse of someone, but her eyes weren’t open long enough to register the stranger’s face.

“Where am I?” Lena asked. “What happened?”

“You’re in my house. I found you unconscious in the bedroom. What’s the last thing you remember?”

“Your house?” Lena shook her head slightly. “No. I wasn’t in anyone’s house…,” she thought for a moment. “…I was walking through the park. I think a baseball hit me on the head.” Lena reached up and felt the welt on her forehead.

“I got knocked out in the park… but now I’m in your house…,” Lena’s mind slowly put the pieces together. “…instead of a hospital.” Her eyes shot open in panic and she sat up in the bed to push herself back against the headboard. “WHO ARE YOU!??” She yelled at the same moment she registered her own face. Leah calmly smiled at Lena.

“As I understand it, I’m you from an alternate universe. Though, since this is my house, we could say you’re me from an alternate universe.” Lena stared at her other self sitting nearby, but not too close. She narrowed her eyes. After a few silent seconds, she spoke up again.

“That’s ridiculous,” Lena said, then she relaxed and stretched out on the bed again, though she still kept her eyes on Leah. “Why do I believe you?” Leah laughed and gave a half-shrug.

“If you want the technical explanation, you’ll have to find a Mundo. All I know is, you somehow traversed universes. Even if you don’t remember doing it, your mind is now aware that it can happen.”

“What’s a Mundo?” Lena asked, willing to accept the explanation for now. At that Leah’s eyes widened.

“You don’t know about Unique Souls?” she asked. Lena shook her head. “Oh wow, we need to get you educated on that before you go back.”

“Back?” Lena asked. “I can go back!?” Leah nodded.

“Yeah. Don’t you want to?”

“Of course! I don’t know how I got here, so I thought I was trapped like it always happens in movies and stuff.”

“Of course not. Getting you home is as easy as getting a cab. Literally, we have inter-dimensional taxi services. A lot of restaurants deliver to other universes too, and there’s generally a lot of tourism.”

“Taxis, food delivery across universes, tourism?” Lena asked. “That doesn’t seem…healthy? What about diseases and bacteria?”

“You’re going to make some Mundo’s day with all your questions; they love nerding out about the multi-verse. The watered-down version is…,” Leah used air quotes for her abbreviated explanation. ” ‘…The void purifies all that pass through it.’ The universe itself doesn’t let contaminants cross between universes.”

“Wow, your Earth must be pretty advanced knowing about all this,” Lena said. Leah shook her head.

“The Earth at large doesn’t. I know at least one other person on Earth knows,” she shrugged. “I don’t think we’re the only ones, but it’s a good possibility.”

“So, how do you know so much?” Lena asked. Leah laughed.

“It’s kind of a funny story. I learned all about the multi-verse the first time one of my Zeros appeared in my house from nowhere. I was less thrilled about having a stranger with my face in my house back then.”

“The first time?” Lena asked. “This happened before?” Leah nodded.

“I hoped the second time would be the last, but here I am,” Leah said.

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