Science Fiction Fantasy Speculative

    Buckus could have sworn he witnessed spells of synchronicity in his travels throughout the star systems in the Confederation.  Not every disembarkation under a new sun was like this, but enough visitations from the same face among quadrillions was worthy to raise an eyebrow or two.  He was a sole traveler, a salesman by trade, offering devices to occupy the ennui of long-distance rovers, journeymen and soldiers; just switch it on and watch those extended voyages through all those grueling light years become sated with dreams to pass the time.  Most, however, chose to use the device for deep sleep and lift the burdens from the care of the flight stewardesses.  He often joined into the general consensus and went comatose himself, particularly when crossing the tiresome trans-galactic routes filled with nothing but eternal blackness and a few faint fuzzy patches of distant galaxies.  Though after rimfall, Andromeda was quite a sight to see!

    With the endless seas filled with stars or a giant blank void, he reflected on one particular individual.

    Her decorum was becoming.  While he was preoccupied with the itinerary of the assignment given, she often coquettishly batted her eyelashes at him in passing.  He suspected she was a mutual who traveled alone, traversing the gulfs of space for reasons he still didn't know.  The mystery gave him interest, as if he had become a voyeur of a complete stranger’s life.  He didn’t want to pry, but his conscience cajoled him into those secret little trespasses most would have passed up in favor of respecting boundaries.  How could he avoid someone who looked like himself, same anatomy, same coloration, same fur, same complexion, and was foolhardy enough to let go of an opportunity of a lifetime?  In addition, his home world, Sylvanna, was one of the economic hubs of the Confederation, rare metals and timber to boot, so it could have been less coincidental than his overactive imagination often led on.

    Still, the pan-galactic demographic wasn’t exactly partial to recidivisms on an individual basis.

    Nor was Buckus partial to ignoring a golden opportunity for a potential mate.  His family became empty nesters over the past few years and he had been on his own terms since, living out his professional life.  Often, his parents gave him parting persuasions of fatherhood before his job took him elsewhere for the duration, and he took those persuasions with him during his business trips, sometimes to the distraction of his mission objectives.  Imagine pitching a product to a completely different species while familial stresses kept getting in the way of selling dream modulators.  The ever-so hideous Orxlarchs weren’t too receptive to someone torn between pushing a new mode of entertainment and being awash in lovelorn reverie.  At that point, he might as well have been drunk on site.  But that was beside the point.

    The watershed came about in the Ross-128 system, as the fickle humans called it, that he finally let down his tail and approached her with a more robust demeanor he lacked earlier in his travels.  She was coming off another ship from, of all places, the Crater Cluster just outside the Milky Way.  It was more than a coincidence.  It was destiny.  Refusing to belay the opportunity, he called out to her.  Had any of his family members seen him act so foolishly in a public setting, he would have felt the change of air pressure upside his pate before a short sharp shock clobbered him into collecting his wits.  But they were not around to witness his slight of plurality.

    She went by the name of Sika.  He liked that.  It had a nice spunky charm to it.  She had the perfect proportions for a doe, the daintiest of facial features and a personality so inviting he was inches from flushing out the files uploaded into his brain, sharpening his antlers, and taking her by the pleated hoof before they went off into the faraway wilderness of the wild black yonder, complete with a heart shape irising out the scene.

    Just the movement of her tail tickled him from afar and her manner of speaking was bashful yet accepting of his brazen approach.  She had no profession to speak of, but she enjoyed visiting eclectic places alone, at least until they met.  He even lost sight of the coincidences in which they encountered one another on so many docking bays.  The romantic vista was too much to bare, and they took a tour of Crimson Wake, the prime hub of Ross-128.  The city was known for its ruby-hued edifices reflecting the light of the red dwarf star, harnessing its power as its chief energy source.  The skyline was picturesque under the frame of a black and star-studded field and had some of the finest restaurants on this side of Virgo.  After a pleasant dinner by the seaside, they took an evening stroll through the Museum of Anthropic Evolution.  Among the exhibits of interest were the various stages of Terran diaspora and the incarnations of its underling species during the periods of uplift.  They amorously nodded at each other over the historical gesture.

    Her eyes had a deep brown halo surrounded by dots of ebony and dappled with reflections from the lights above, and his thoughts drifted to the supernal nighttime sky his career made into a part of his life.  Just her gaze alone felt like the endless depths of space, and he was off on another journey, galloping through her soul as she watched everywhere he went, leading further and further into her guiding spirit.

    She suddenly balked, lowering her head sheepishly and averted her starry eyes to the side.  Buckus was shaken out of his trance, though he noticed he wasn’t being rebuffed; at least that was a positive.  But he sensed there was something on her mind she was looking to express.

    “Deer…”  Sika said, slowly and gracefully blinking.

    “What is it, my little dama?”  He silently prayed he wouldn’t lose her.  What was itching this lovely doe so much?

    “There’s something I need to tell you.  I…I just forgot because you’re…you’ve been such a wonderful stag among so many creatures on all these planets––”

    “Whatever it is, fallow one, I can understand.  You can trust me on that.”

    “Well,” there was a momentary pause, “do you know about all those wormholes that get us from star to star?”

    “Yes, my gentle little Bambi.  Everyone goes through them.”  He wondered if he was being naive.

    She looked forlorn.

“I know but, haven’t you noticed all those, well, coincidences?”

“Yes, in fact I did.  What are you saying?”  Buckus grew more concerned and felt his tail prick up halfway.  She pinned his own curiosity, to his baleful reverence.

“Oh, Buckus, I heard something about––from what a few told me––there are two universes juxtaposed between us, and when we travel through space, we periodically get entangled in them.”

His beady eyes cocked at the puzzling thought.  “And what of it?”

“Well, they’re like each other, you know…parallel realities, but different of sorts…”

Buckus, struck with anxiety, slackened his hold and she crumpled from his grasp.  Reflexively, he lunged and caught her, then stared right back into those starry eyes.  “You mean…some of us…oh, boy…are the same people but from different universes?”

She moaned, “M-hm.”

“Oh, my sweet little Bambi.  You don’t suppose––”

“That I’m you, but on a different plane?  I’m afraid––”

“Good God!”  She gently pushed him away and stood on her own.  “But…but how do you know that?”

“Please don’t hate me, deer.  I love you very much, but all those times we saw one another…you know, same time, same place, same species…I could only have guessed––”

“But if that was the case,” he began gesticulating his feverish sentiment, the flexions of which furrowed the skin in his joints, “why didn’t I see you at every stop when I got off?”

She clasped her hooves in front, her arms straight in shy disposition.  “Well…the wormholes…” she began rubbing the back of her neck, the gesture of which aroused him, and he wished this part was all a lucid dream, “they’re unpredictable.  So, it’s kind of a gamble when we go through them.  The universes collide, and well, we meet our mirror opposites.”

“And we’re always in the same location when we meet!” he concluded.

The thought was a dire one.  What were his chances of meeting someone so beautiful, so supple in form and equally as appealing on the inside?  He would have had to search high and low on his own world to increase the chances of such an occasion before he would ever encounter those starry almond eyes again.  But he realized he was a fool, a sucker for synchronicity that fused two universes only comparable to their counterparts as shadows are to the objects that cast them.  Because there were in fact differences, he was male and she was female for instance, he instinctively knew it would also apply to their genetic makeup, that they weren’t the same people after all, but as unique as everyone else.  In his youth, he studied some of the exotic sciences on the side, so he was not treading blindly on obscure subject matters.

He looked back into the eyes of Sika, grabbed her in his arms once again, and holding her in a tight embrace, said, “Oh, my little fawn who forages the dew-scented tall grass of the heavens, opposites do sometimes attract!”

Without protest, she happily consented, and together, they traversed the furthest stars like two little deer skipping through woodlands, prairies and dreams of his little device he was selling.  They painted the universe as red as Crimson Wake.

November 11, 2022 05:57

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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