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KC! We're gonna need another bus! There's blood all over the damn place and someone needs to get these people back! Get behind the yellow tape, sir!
This one isn't lookin' so hot, Murph. Looks like Martha Jefferson might have to deal with her. UVA says their ER is full.
What?! That's bullshit. Get on the horn and tell them rich brat, la-de-da ER docs that we have a bona fide disaster over here. Breaktime's fucking over!
What the hell--? Where am I? Why can't I move my hands? I can feel heat radiating in waves but I don't know from what direction. I hear the crunch of glass underneath boots from somewhere near my right. A young paramedic leans over me with a penlight, flicking the narrow beam across my face.
Man, I'm surprised this stiff's still in one piece. Her eyes are givin' me the creeps.
Stiff? What the--? Hey, buddy, who're you calling a stiff? Just wait till Iwait whoa why am I not moving? I can't feel my lips. Hey! Can anyone hear me?
"Actually no, they can't."
Wha-? Who's there?
"Just me, Noah."
Oh, you again. Care to tell me what you're still doing around? And why the hell can't I move? What happened?
"Well, to answer your first question, I am not still around. I was never with you in the first place. Your 'inner child', as you so sarcastically call her, is on permanent holiday. To answer your second question, you can not move because you are deceased relatively speaking, of course"
Hold the phone, there, sister. What do you mean, deceased?
"I mean, deceased as in dead, no longer among the living, shinimashita"
All right! All right! I get the picture. What the hell is so relative about being dead? The voice is silent for a time, as if contemplating what to say next. I can hear the crackling of flames, the crashing of wood supports disintegrating. The wail of sirens seems to come from everywhere. Sometimes I wish the Doppler Effect weren't quite so effective.
"In the human sense of life, your body is no longer functioning at this point in time. Thus, for all intents and purposes, you are dead in the here and now. You are, however, very much alive somewhere else."
Say what? I'm a damned biologist, Jim, not a quantum physicist.
"Point taken. Honestly, quantum physics has nothing to do with it."
I hear several people approaching from my left, dragging something that sounds large and metallic.
Bobbie Jo, get her torso, will ya? I'll grab her legs.
Why do I have to get her top half?
Because you're the chick, because I don't feel right getting near her boobs and because I freakin' say so! Now, let's get this body moved.
All right, all right.
Wait! Where are they taking me?
"It's nothing you need to concern yourself with. At least, not yet."
Listen, enough's enough already. You're scaring me and I'm petrified enough as it is...just the facts, if you don't mind.
"Iwell, my real name is Iwanaga-Hime but you can call me Iwa-san."
Perfect. I have a voice in my head that has a Japanese name. My Japanese mother would be so thrilled. Hey, watch it there, genius! I yelled, despite the fact the medic couldn't hear me. That's my leg you're manhandling.
I could almost feel disembodied voice smirk at my interruption. "As for who I am in my country, I am the goddess of eternal life. I am here with you only by happenstance."
My mother always told me that there was no such thing as chance, only fate.
"In some respects, she is correct. The restaurant you were about to enter exploded due to the carelessness of one of its employees. He lit a cigarette to close to the open flame of a nearby gas stove. What is odd is that the explosion was somehow powerful enough for your reality to become fused with three others including the Reality of the Gods. We immortals sometimes call an event like this 'coincidental magic'. Such things as fate and destiny cannot dictate the outcome of this event. Only the one who is affected can decide what will happen."
Brilliant. So I'm dead because some Einstein cook decided he wanted to take a quick drag. How annoying. I felt like kicking something then realized how absurd that feeling was in this situation.
Iwa-san's golden laugh sparkled in the silences of my mind. "One could think of this as an opportunity, Noah-san."
Yeah? I grumbled. How so?
"I am to be your guide through these other realities and you will have the chance to choose which ones you wish to remain in. In other words, you are being given the chance to rewrite your own history."
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