TITLE: The Everett Quartet
GENRE: Science fiction romance
Edmond’s girlfriend, Viv, can travel between her parallel universes. Now he must battle to win her back from the man she married in another reality. In another universe, Edmond’s and Viv’s alter egos struggle to keep their secrets from tearing them apart.
I clutch my wine glass, watching Viv shift realities. She stops eating, her hand arrested mid-air just as she is about to bite into a sumptuous prawn. Unnoticed by anyone else in the crowded lunchroom of Via Grande, my girlfriend leaves me once again.
Her eyelids flutter, dark brown irises take on the opaque colour of mud. I know then her reality shift is complete. Hades drags Persephone to the Underworld, abandoning me to the dark and cold.
The fork clatters to the table. Her breath quick and shallow, the alter ego taking Viv’s place looks around with parted lips. Then she turns to me, wary. Suspicious.
‘Hi, I’m Edmond,’ I say, handing her a glass of tepid water to soothe her throat, which always burns after a shift. ‘Welcome to my universe. I know about the reality shifts,’ her eyes widen, ‘and I’ll help you cope with your visit.’
I extend my hand. She takes it and smiles. And so, yet again, I play genial host to an alien mind in Viv’s body, while guarding her secret from the rest of the world.
A secret that revealed itself to me when my girlfriend died.
I stare out a dirty window to a street of Georgian houses. I’ve never visited this reality before.
I think of Edmond looking up from his plate at Via Grande into my alter ego’s eyes. Would his grey eyes narrow, guarded and dubious? Or will he hit it off with my other self?