“It’s you!” Phil hadn’t forgotten the stranger’s long purple ponytail in centuries. Despite not seeing him in hundreds of years, the stranger looked almost exactly as Phil remembered him. Lean with a fair, youthful face.
“It’s me,” the stranger grinned for a moment. “Do I know you?” he asked. He looked around the run-down bar that Phil made his home. “This used to be a good place for drinks, but I guess I haven’t been here in a while,” he said.
“It’s me! Phil! You made me immortal…,” Phil explained.
“Immortal?” the stranger burst into laughter. “I’m sorry to tell you, friend, I don’t have that kind of power. Either you’re confusing me with someone else, or, I lied to you,” the man shrugged. “I probably lied to you, I’m sorry. I hit a bad streak a while ago, but I’ve managed to turn my life around for the better since then.”
“No…,” Phil shook his head. “I’m immortal, you did this to me,” he glared at the man. “I’ve lived over 300 years since that night,” Phil spread his arms wide to gesture at their surroundings. “I bought this bar and kept it hoping you’d come back and help me.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” the man shrugged. “I don’t remember meeting you, but I can tell you it has nothing to do with your immortality. But what do you need help with?”
“I need someone to take away my immortality, I’m tired of living,” Phil said. The purple-haired man burst out into laughter.
“Tired of living? You ain’t even started yet. You’ve been here in the same spot for 300 years? What kind of life is that to call done?” Phil shook his head.
“I’ve been everywhere, seen everything on Earth, and it’s too lonely being the last man on Earth,” Phil said. As he spoke he looked up at the stranger. “I haven’t seen another person in almost a century, where’d you come from?”
“Wait a second,” gold stars flashed in the stranger’s eyes. “You’re still slumbering,” he said. He laughed some more, then stepped closer to Phil with an outstretched hand.
“You can call me Max.”
“Phil,” he introduced himself and accepted Max’s handshake.
“Phil, I think I have all the answers you’re looking for.”
“You remembered me!?” Phil asked. Max shook his head.
“I don’t know how it happened, but you’re not from this Earth,” Max said.
“Huh?” Phil asked. Max chuckled, but nodded. He raised his hand and wiggled his fingers at the air. A small black hole appeared next to the two men.
“Alternate Earths exist, and for a select group of people it’s ridiculously easy to travel to a different Earth. You and I are in that select group. I don’t know how you got from the Earth you were born to here, but since you didn’t know any of this I’m going to assume it happened when you were very young.” Phil gave a faint nod.
“I was adopted. They found me outside a fire station, I never found my real parents.”
“You and me are something called Unique Souls. We have different kinds of abilities, but to access those abilities you need to be Awakened; right now you’re still Slumbering.”
“So how do I get Awakened? What powers will I get?” Phil asked.
“You need your favorite number, 46, etched permanently into your skin. Most get a tattoo, but some people just cut themselves.”
“How’d you know my favorite number?” Phil asked.
“Any other Sol you talk to will have the same favorite number,” Max said. “Mine’s 35, I’m an Estrella. Sols are born with limitless potential. Your power is basically, whatever you want to do, you can find a way to do it. You can also traverse to other universes on your own power.”
“And I’m immortal,” Phil added with a faint sigh.
“Not exactly. Another Unique can still kill you. You’ll age normally if you go back to the Earth you were born on, but in every other universe, you’ll age much slower. And since you don’t belong, Death won’t take you.”
“There are other Earths? With people!? I’m not stuck here?” Max nodded.
“You probably want to pack up and stuff, but just say the word and we’ll go. I know a Mundo that does great tattoos.” Phil looked around at the empty, dusty, rotting bar that he spent so much time in. He thought about the empty, lonely world outside, then shrugged.
“I’m ready. Let’s go.”