Storytime with Erika
A Romantic Dystopian Novelette
Caleb lost his soulmate, Valerie. Could it be possible to find her in a parallel universe? If his father succeeds to open the portal, will he find the same person in the alternate universe or a stranger? How far is he willing to go in finding the happiness he lost?
Will he find his soulmate, Valerie?
Caleb felt slight dizziness for a moment and shook his head to clear his vision. He found himself in a cemetery looking down at the gravestone with his name on it. It must be the right universe. I’m dead here. He rejoiced and felt Midnight squirm in his arms and jump to the ground. “Where did you disappear so fast?” he mumbled looking around but didn’t see the cat, only a slight shimmer as if the air was thicker at the small area where he stepped through the portal. He touched the small locator fastened to his wrist.
Feeling great anticipation and hope, he started walking in the direction where his and Valerie’s house was supposed to be, side by side. It took him only a few minutes to reach the street, where he found both houses exactly the same as in his universe. Then he heard Midnight’s loud meow from Valerie’s garden, but he didn’t see the cat anywhere.
The front door opened, and Valerie stepped out holding a small bowl. “Here Whiskers, I have a special treat for you.”
Caleb’s heart skipped a beat seeing Valerie all grown up. She was a lanky teenager when I saw her last. She’s more beautiful than I’d ever imagined she would be.
He heard a meow again and watched as Valerie looked around, confused. “Where are you, kitty?”
The cat meowed again, sounding close by, but was nowhere to be seen.
Caleb didn’t ponder the fact that he didn’t see the cat, or Valerie didn’t notice him standing only a few feet away. “Val,” he called out.
She froze and looked in his direction. “Caleb?”
“It’s me, but from a parallel dimension.”
“Who said that?” she cried out and started trembling. “Nobody is here. I’m hallucinating!”
“You’re not. I’m here! Look at me. I came from a parallel universe to find you. Please, look at me!” Caleb begged.
Valerie broke out in sobs and turned to go back into the house. “Either I’m going batshit crazy, or I’m schizophrenic. I read about that. I’m about the right age when the first symptoms appear. That must be it,” she mumbled between sobs.
“Val, I’m here.”
She slowly turned and took a step closer. “It’s Cal’s voice but nobody is here. I must be having auditory hallucinations.”
Shaking her head, she turned toward the door again. Caleb moved toward her. He reached out and touched Valerie’s shoulder. Her body shook as she turned and took a step back. “Is this a sick joke? Who’s there?”
Caleb knew something was terribly wrong. “You can’t see me.” When he looked down, he couldn’t see his own body. “I can’t see me either! Val, I’m here but I seem to be invisible.”
Valerie scrubbed the tears off her cheeks. “That’s impossible! I… I can hear you, but I can’t see you. This can only mean two things. One is schizophrenia, and two, you’re a ghost.”
He shook his head. “No! There is nothing wrong with you and I’m not a ghost. I’m from another dimension.” Caleb reached out to touch her, but she pulled back as soon as she felt his touch. “You’re scaring me. What is happening to me? Who are you? It’s Caleb’s voice, but he’s dead.”
“My dad built a machine and I came through a portal from a parallel universe to find you. My Valerie… my soulmate, she died in the universe I live in and I saw the grave of your Caleb in the cemetery.”
“Are you sure I’m not hallucinating? Are you really here?” Breathing in deeply, doing her best to stay calm, Valerie pinched her arm. “Ouch!” she cried out. “At least I know it’s not a dream. Are you supposed to be invisible?”
“No, this is not how it’s supposed to be. Dad said everything is supposed to look and feel normal once I came through the portal, so I’m sure something went wrong.”
They heard a meow again, and Valerie jumped when she felt something soft brushing against her leg. “What is it?”
“It must be Midnight, my cat. He came through the portal with me like he’d gone through many times before.” Caleb rationalized
“Midnight? Is he a black cat with white whiskers?” Valerie asked, feeling a little relieved. “He’s been around for weeks, but he comes only for short visits.”
Caleb chuckled. “So, you’ve been feeding him. He’s been getting a little porky, and he’s never hungry after his trip through the portal.”
The front door opened a crack and a young girl poked her head out. “Val, who are you talking to?”
“Nobody,” Valerie replied quickly. “Just Whiskers—you know, the black cat that’s been hanging around.”
“I don’t see any cat.” Lianne stepped out and scanned the garden and driveway. “Come in. Alice made chocolate pudding, your favorite.”
“In a minute.”
“Okay.” Lianne turned, walked in, and then closed the door behind her.
“I have to go, Cal,” Valerie whispered. “Will I see… or rather, hear you again?”
“I’ll come back, promise. As soon as my dad fixes the machine. Now that I’ve found you, nothing could keep me away.”
Valerie smiled with hope in her heart and went inside.
Caleb started walking toward the cemetery. “Midnight are you coming?” he called out. He heard the cat’s quick footsteps behind him and felt him brush against his leg. He reached down and picked up the cat. Just in time, because he felt a slight dizziness. When his vision cleared, he was back at his dad’s lab.
Storytime with Erika. Enjoy!
Erika M Szabo
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