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Science Fiction Crime Suspense

It’s not murder because I’m killing myself, and it’s not suicide because I’m still alive.

Nobody thinks twice when weird lights and noises come from one of the stalls of the bathroom-sty at Shannon’s Pub, which is why I like the place. It’s reliable.

I wish I could rejigger my spacial reality trans-shunter so that it didn’t whine and flash like lightning every time I used it, but that’s a problem for another day. The device itself fits into an oval metal case sized for my palm, and I keep it affixed to my belt. My shirt covers it, and even if someone did spot it, they’d take it for a stylised belt buckle.

I leave the bathroom and explore this latest reality. Shannon stands behind his bar, bald and grouchy as always. He’s a reliable touchstone. But then, I feel a pin-prick at the back of my neck. Most realities are different flavours of the same thing, often indistinguishable to me. But I see this is one of the weird ones.

For starters, the Union Jack is not hanging from the far wall. Instead there’s some ludicrous flag. Sure, it’s red, white and blue too, but it’s all stripes except for the top left corner, which is filled with stars for God knows why.

I worry – what if they don’t speak English here? But there’s a telly mounted near the bar broadcasting some bizarre variant of rugby, and I hear the announcer speak. “Touchdown! Incredible! What a day for football!”

Okay, so they speak English here, albeit poorly. I think he said “football” but they’re clearly running around with a rugby ball. I make a note of avoiding sports talk.

I sit at my usual table. Shannon doesn’t react, so I assume this is the usual table for the me in this reality too. Reality 77492. That’s how I keep track of all the… my goodness, are the realities truly infinite? I’m still so bloody new to all this. Well, I’ve taken to calling them reality-threads, and I’ve assigned each one an existential-coordinate. The last five digits are what I call the speculative shift, the difference from the cohesion cluster.

Oh, sometimes I wish I could publish my findings. I would be the most highly celebrated human in history – in all the histories! The name Neville Gaines would eclipse all others for all eternity. But I’ll be damned if I share my trans-shunter with anyone, particularly myself. I must have a monopoly. Anything else could lead to untold chaos.

Now, for the hard part. How can I find myself? Every reality presents its own challenges, and–

–again, my skin crawls.

Someone left a newspaper on my table, and it’s open on the advertisements page. And right there, in front of me, is an ad circled with red pen. “Feeling lost? Looking to find yourself? Come by Dr. Neville Gaines’ self-help support group. 774, 92nd Street. Walk-ins welcome.”

Did… did I leave this here, for myself to find me?

Even the address matches the speculative shift.

I suspect I am expecting myself.

***

The address is a run-down community centre (but they spell it “center” for some reason) in an overgrown field of weeds. There’s a sign taped to the door that says, “Self-help group!”, and it has an anaemic arrow on it.

I go inside, and I see more crude posters pointing the way. Just to be on the safe side, I produce my trans-shunter and key in a new existential-coordinate, one I know is safe. I want to be able to escape quickly, should push come to shove, and from experience – it usually does.

Early last year I stumbled on a coordinate I call Eden. As far as I can tell, it’s a reality where humans just never… happened. No other major beasts either, and the few weird critters I did encounter were utterly docile. It’s a pastoral reality of pleasant weather and rolling prairies. Untainted. For now, it’s also the perfect place for me to store a change of clothes and other supplies, but I already have big plans drafted for it, as a kind of resort-reality.

Next, I check my knife. Mine is dirty work, but I like getting up close and personal when I do it, because it’s the only way to be sure the job’s done. I acquired the knife from a me at speculative shift 108… something 7. Everything there was the same as in my reality, except the me in it developed an interest in material sciences and knives, instead of galvanics and parallelocation. So he never made a trans-shunter, but he did make this thing. It’s some kind of ceramic that’s harder than steel, and when I turn it on – yes, it turns on! – the blade vibrates fast enough to cut through anything.

I return the knife to the sheath I wear under my shirt, and follow the signs. A few turns take me down a carpeted hallway, where I find a door labelled “Gaines’ Self Help!” on a final poster, which also contains a crudely coloured sun with a cloying grin. I hear muffled voices on the other side. Witnesses. I’ll need to escape after all.

I swallow hard. I place my right hand behind my back where I can reach my knife easily, and with my left I reach for the door knob.

But the door opens first.

“Welcome!” says another me. No matter how many times I’ve done this, it’s always a rude shock seeing a living mirror. Wearing plaid no less. “We’ve been expecting you!”

Normally I just lunge, slash, and it’s over. But this time, I don’t move. Something behind him catches my attention.

It’s another me. No, three of them.

My hands fall limp by my sides. What is this? This has never happened before.

“You’re wondering what this is,” says the me at the door. “You’ve never seen this before.”

I scowl.

“Please come in,” he says. “We’ll explain everything.”

I step inside what appears to be a conference room, with grey carpet and a big white table. There’s maybe fifteen of me here. Some are almost identical copies of me, but others less so. There’s a fat one, and one who’s got a beard and long hair. Long hair! And then another embarrassment that’s gone completely bald! What bloody reality do I go bald in!?

“To curb confusion,” says the one that let me in, “we’ve taken to using a naming system based on speculative shift.” He taps a nametag on his shirt which says Local. “I’m Local, because this is my reality.” He goes around the room introducing me to the others, and I follow as though in a dream, desperate to figure this out.

There’s 11122, 38902, 64408 who insists it’s not an “existential-coordinate” but a “chrono-spacial-juncture-hash” (but majority overrules him), 90002 who has an ungodly French accent, and others. The numbers blur in my mind. I’m just on the lookout for any coordinate I recognize.

I’m pretty sure I’ve not been to any of them. And none of the mes show any signs of recognition. I mean, other than the recognition of seeing yourself from another reality.

“So, where are you from?” Local asks. He’s got a roll of masking tape and a marker.

“Um…” I say. “05404”. Drat. I didn’t mean to give him the real number, but I’m feeling overwhelmed.

He writes the numbers down, tears off the tape and pats it on my chest. And then everyone greets me warmly, with a pat, a shake of the hand, and a grin.

What is this? Why are they – I – being so nice to me? I… I hate me, don’t I? Are their realities so different from mine? Did they not suffer a life of inferiority and failure too? Probably not the fat one, but doubly the bald one.

“So,” says Local. “You’re the last one we’ve been waiting for today. I know you’ve got all sorts of questions, but there’s a serious matter we need to discuss so there’s not much time for chatting. We can give you a quick orientation. For starters, where are you from? La Confédération de Louisiane? The Western British Empire? A vassal principality of Tenochtitlan?”

“Um…” Louisiane? Tenochtitlan? “Western British America.” Real reality. “Which, I gather, is not where we are now.”

“Correct,” says Local. “These are the United States of America. Long story short, we successfully gained our independence here.”

I snort, reflexively. The Crown has been crushing rebellions under its iron heel since forever. Nevertheless, I suppose it’s possible that one in a million slip through. Hmm… maybe there’s something alluring about that.

“Nevilles!” Local says, clapping. “Shall we begin? Please, take a seat.”

We sit at the white table. My spot’s between 64408 and one who has glasses. It reminds me I should pay the optometrist a visit.

The table is a circle but we all look to Local when he sits and opens up a folder. I’m still trying to make sense of all this, and I’m completely lost on what my next action is. I see the others and I wonder what they’re thinking. My faces are… unreadable. I give Local my attention when he speaks.

“Good Nevilles,” he says. “Some of you are already aware of what’s happening. I’ll fill everyone in now. You all, in some fashion, have forged trans-shunters in your lifetimes, allowing you to hop between threads–” he raises a hand to forestall interruptions, “–yes, or waves, forms, impressions of reality… let’s not get bogged down in semantics, please.”

We nod.

“No doubt, you have noticed not all of us achieve this. Myself, for example.” He puts a… metal brick on the table with a thud. It’s covered in spiralling wire and blinking lights. The others all grin, as I do. “Yes. Not as svelte as yours. It’s not a trans-shunter, but I did accidentally create a trans-beacon. What it lets me do is… well, I kind of send a message into other realities. A message to myself, as it were. And that message is, ‘use coordinates 77492.’”

We murmur. I feel a chill run down my spine. I picked those coordinates at random. Didn’t I? But what are the odds we all would pick them randomly?

“As you’ve surmised by now, yes, in a way I’ve called you here.”

My pulse quickens. Could this be true? Some sort of trans-reality mind control? What else is he capable of?

“And you’re wondering why,” he continues. “Well, while I love the idea of getting together with myself for a barbecue, this is unfortunately not a social call. Some of you already know what I’m talking about, because you’ve seen it. For the rest, please prepare yourselves for some dire news.”

Everyone at the table tenses, myself included. It’s getting hard to breathe.

“In some realities, we have been murdered.”

Shit.

“And the murders started around the time we invented the trans-shunter.”

Shit shit shit!

I look around the table, and all of me are doing the same. Are any of them staring at me? Frenchie? No, he turned away. I can’t tell if they’re glaring at me with accusation or commiseration. I need to get them off my trail.

“Uh…” I say. “That’s… bad.”

The others all nod and repeat it. Okay, safe for now.

“Yes, Nevilles,” says Local. “It’s horrendous is what it is. So that’s why I’ve called you. One, to warn you. Someone out there – perhaps someone wearing our very own face – means to murder you. Two, so that we can put our heads together to figure out a way to stop it. After all, just one of us can break the barriers between realities. Imagine what all of us can accomplish together!”

The table cheers. By George, even I cheer. Cooperating – what a bloody brilliant idea! Could it possibly work? When I look around the table, I see excitement in their faces. Oh, my God, am I truly the one from the wrong reality-thread? Have I let my twisted experiences cloud my judgement so horribly, that I missed out on something beautiful?

Local walks around the table with a tray of coffee as we chatter. It’s black, Sumatran, and too strong for most people’s taste, which is just the way I like it. Just the way we all do. He says there’s more where that came from. “We might be here all night!” Everyone laughs.

Oh, it tastes divine.

So if I’m the odd one out – my God, what a treasure of scientific research this trans-shunter is. I’ve pissed away my life seeking fame and fortune, but I have before me an unprecedented opportunity to study nature versus nurture. And while I can’t stand working with others, working with myself would be completely different. It’d be like having tremendously capable clones of myself, covering all the things I’m not able to. And there’d be no issues with credit or glory, since we’re all the same man.

Local takes his seat again, raises his coffee in the air. “Nevilles! To a better, brighter future! One heralded by us!”

We all cheer. I feel both dread and excitement roiling in my guts. The possibilities for the future are endless! But… I have transgressed so badly in the past. Can I hide my crimes from them? Well, I know myself better than anyone. All I have to do is distract myself with an even bigger, more ambitious project. Yes… the murders will stop, and they’ll forget all about them.

And maybe they’d even forgive me. After all, they are me. Surely they must understand my motives. They might even agree with them. It can’t be just nurture after all. There is some nature involved.

We set our coffees down, as does Local. He smiles.

Wait. Did he actually drink any?

One of me grunts and falls from his chair.

Shit!

Another two go down. The roiling in my stomach burns, pain creeps through my body, and everything cramps. I can’t move. I can’t breathe!

Local plucks a trans-shunter from one of the dead and leans back in his chair. He beams at each of us as we fall, and his words are the last thing I ever hear.

“It’s not murder because I’m killing myself, and it’s not suicide because I’m still alive.”

July 26, 2022 00:47

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62 comments

Mavis Webster
03:09 Jul 29, 2022

The only thing I like more a murder mystery is a murder mystery with crazy scientists who are all the same man... just from different universes. The full circle ending was a nice touch, as were the little details (ex., the protagonist saying, "By George.") This website--and the stories on it--have really begun to make me see the appeal of sci-fi! (I'm normally a fantasy-only kind of gal.)

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Michał Przywara
03:41 Jul 29, 2022

Yeah, it's great for that! The stories are short, so the worst case scenario is you lose a few minutes on something you didn't care for. But in my experience, there's a load of skilled writers here, and I've found great stuff in genres I normally don't read. It's very educational.

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Mavis Webster
13:38 Jul 30, 2022

I’ve always felt that being open-minded has been one of the best traits for a writer. Even by participating in experiences you may not want to in your day-to-day life, it may make explaining similar scenarios in your writing easier. And of course, in order to become a good writer, you need to read! Thank you for giving me the content I need to do that :)

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Jay Mc Kenzie
07:04 Jul 28, 2022

Oh my god, this is fantastic! What a brilliant concept, perfectly realised and just so stylishly done. From the opening line, I knew we were onto something special. This is such a creative take on the prompt. I love that you come out with such different pieces week on week and do them all so well. Huge fan of yours.

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Michał Przywara
20:53 Jul 28, 2022

Thanks, Jay! That means a lot :) It's always a little nerve wracking throwing something different out there, 'cause you won't know what actually works until you do. I'm a big fan of yours, too. Still think about "To Let Death Steal the Last Kiss" from time to time :)

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Jay Mc Kenzie
00:27 Jul 29, 2022

:)

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Wendy M
20:20 Jul 27, 2022

This is brilliant, I wondered about this challenge but couldn't think of a way to write it, you've absolutely nailed it. My one small criticism is that you have made him a Brit and he has picked up on the US spelling of center instead of our centre, but then used US spelling throughout, anemia would be anaemia, stylized would be stylised. It is a minor detail, the story is amazing as always.

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Michał Przywara
20:53 Jul 27, 2022

Thanks, Wendy! Good eye -- I definitely missed those, no excuse but sloppy editing :P We kind of pick and choose parts of both Englishes up here in Canada, just to add to the confusion. I appreciate the feedback :)

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Wendy M
12:32 Jul 28, 2022

Haha never knew that, could prove interesting!

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Graham Kinross
01:41 Jul 27, 2022

Rick C-137 would never have fallen for such an obvious ruse. Neville clearly wasn’t ruthless enough to do what he had to do, unlike Neville. It’s a Neville kill Neville multiverse out there. Very cool, I like the detail about the knife vibrating to cut better. Think there’s room for a sequel to this? Neville is dead, but Neville is doing fine.

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Michał Przywara
02:40 Jul 27, 2022

Heh, it's indeed a twisted little multiverse :) I hadn't considered a sequel, but there's ample opportunity, that's true. Lots of crazy ideas and combinations are possible, when you're looking at infinite realities.

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Graham Kinross
03:55 Jul 27, 2022

Have you ever watched Rick and Morty? This felt a lot like that.

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Michał Przywara
21:04 Jul 27, 2022

I haven't. It's been recommended before, but I've not had the time to get into it. But I've seen similar ideas in other places. There was a short story (I think Asimov?) about a similar tech being used to create vacation homes on private realities for people, realities where there were no humans on Earth. But of course, humans in another reality stumbled on the same idea, and now your private vacation universe was being invaded by you. Something like that, anyway. I think they resolved it without murder though.

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Graham Kinross
21:58 Jul 27, 2022

If you like portals, high concept science fiction rigmarole, course humour partly written by the main voice actor who method acts as an alcoholic to get the burps just right, then Rick and Morty is the show for you.

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Katy Borobia
15:34 Jul 26, 2022

This is my new favorite of yours, Michał! Firstly, enormously clever. The title and first line are immediately intriguing, and the rest lives up to them. My favorite parts: ""774, 92nd Street. Walk-ins welcome.' Did… did I leave this here, for myself to find me? Even the address matches the speculative shift. I suspect I am expecting myself." "La Confédération de Louisiane? The Western British Empire? A vassal principality of Tenochtitlan?” Well done!!

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Michał Przywara
21:36 Jul 26, 2022

Thanks, Katy! It was fun to write, fun to imagine all the alternate realities and histories :) And of course, to indulge in otherwise confusing self-referential language. I appreciate the feedback :)

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Jim Firth
09:38 Jul 26, 2022

Michał, Bravo! I thoroughly enjoyed this. It has to be a big contender for an award this week. The beginning drew me in effortlessly and I had no choice but to read on because it was so compelling. You pepper just the right amount of clues throughout, until the twist. A couple of my favourite lines--'I suspect I am expecting myself'. 'No matter how many times I’ve done this, it’s always a rude shock seeing a living mirror.' This is when narrator Neville is killing one of the mes just outside the meeting. Does he drag him into the...

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Michał Przywara
21:24 Jul 26, 2022

Thanks, Jim! I'm glad you liked it :) Yeah, I got to play around with a lot of fun lines, which would just be horribly confusing and ungrammatical in another context. > This is when narrator Neville is killing one of the mes just outside the meeting Ooh, I may need to revise the text. My intention was to have him consider doing it, but he stops when he sees the other copies, and realizes this isn't like every other reality. I think it used to be clearer but I cut a few words here during editing. Yeah, the twist was fun :) It's terrible...

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Mike Panasitti
15:37 Jul 27, 2022

Although I found the "there can only be one" machinations of the Local Neville to be disappointing, the sense of completion, the pleasure of the Eureka! moment one gets upon reencountering the ingenious first line makes this worth reading. Was this at all inspired by "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once?"

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Michał Przywara
20:55 Jul 27, 2022

Thanks, Mike! No, I'm not familiar with that film, although "there can only be one" – Highlander did actually cross my mind while writing this. I even had a quip in mind about it being called "Immortal Scottish Swordsmen" in the narrator's reality, but I couldn't find a place for it, and I'm not sure it was funny. Of course, they (he) needed a different reason than "The Prize" for killing the other iterations, so it became a monopoly on inter-reality travel. But I wonder if that's all it is. How would we react if we came across someone w...

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Calm Shark
22:28 Jul 26, 2022

Hi Michal! I loved the idea of seeing clones of yourself in different realities which is pretty interesting. Along the way, when Local began talking about someone wanting to kill one of them, I became suspicious of Local for some reason. That he might be the one to do it. I sometimes predict what will happen and sometimes, it comes true. Anyways, I loved the story.

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Michał Przywara
01:03 Jul 27, 2022

Thanks, Shark! Yeah, Local's a little too friendly, perhaps :) But he probably has a pretty good idea of how to trick himself. Thanks for the feedback!

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Calm Shark
01:17 Jul 27, 2022

No problem!

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Makayla Mikels
12:09 Sep 19, 2022

The last story I read in that was put in this category was the winner, but I personally like this more than the winner. I mean, come on, the winning story didn't have murder in it! But I really enjoyed it, particularly the ending part where it got to Local killing the rest of the Nevilles. Also, the first and last lines are incredible and definitely got me wanting a sequel. Have you thought about whether or not the other Nevilles will still somehow be alive in their own universes/realities?

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Michał Przywara
21:02 Sep 19, 2022

Thanks, Makayla! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I like the opening and closing lines too. I haven't given it too much thought, but I suspect there are many more alternate dimensions/timelines, with many more Nevilles. Maybe infinite? So these Nevilles are probably dead, but there's more where that came from. So maybe this is a doomed quest, but then again if infinite Nevilles are trying to kill each other, maybe not. It gets hard to reason about infinite reality logic :) I appreciate the feedback!

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Marty B
23:18 Aug 05, 2022

Neville is Dead. Long live Neville!

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Michał Przywara
16:54 Aug 06, 2022

Ha :) Thanks for reading!

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Jacob Chudnovsky
19:43 Aug 04, 2022

I've read 2 of your stories now, and both are very cool. I like that you write skillfully in multiple different genres. Following.

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Michał Przywara
21:04 Aug 04, 2022

Thank you, Jacob! I appreciate that. I've found trying out different genres has helped me dramatically improve my skills, with some hilarious failures along the way :)

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Peggy Gerber
23:59 Aug 02, 2022

You had me right from the title. This was brilliant from start to finish.

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Michał Przywara
00:07 Aug 03, 2022

Thanks, Peggy! I liked the title too, I was hoping someone would point it out :) I appreciate the feedback!

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16:45 Aug 02, 2022

Michal, this was outstanding 👏👏👏 I loved the premise, and your technique of opening and ending with the same line was so well done! The Nevilles were so intriguing, and their “mission” and existence was captivating. I was so hooked right from the start! I will admit, when they all drank the coffee, I mused “You know, they better hope that’s not poisoned.” 😆 I loved this story, I hope you write more like it! ❤️

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Michał Przywara
21:39 Aug 02, 2022

Heh, you saw through the ruse :) Neville, alas, did not. Thanks so much for the feedback, Hannah! It's always good to know what works, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

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Zack Powell
20:10 Aug 01, 2022

I'm not surprised to see people lauding this story's first sentence, but I'd like to also highlight it as one of the best of the story (it's my favorite, as is the last sentence, by extension). Total Hook with a capital H, and it's incredibly witty. Love how the repetition of it at the end comes as dialogue, which further emphasizes the similarities in the thought processes between the Nevilles. Very subtle, very clever. I'm a fan. Lots of technical things I enjoyed about this one, as usual. I appreciate there only being one line break in t...

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Michał Przywara
22:03 Aug 01, 2022

Yes, this one had a lot of lines that were fun to play with :) The kinds of things that would probably sound senseless in any story not based around a prompt similar to this. I had actually written the first couple paragraphs in past tense, but then it hit me -- why? I agree with you, it would have sounded weird for a dead man to be telling his tale. There's lots of stories that works in, but this one already had the parallel universes thing going on, so it didn't need ghosts too. Although now that I think about it, maybe there's a story i...

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Cindy Strube
17:36 Aug 01, 2022

Ah, this is great! Opening and closing lines would be so strange in any other story… Well, they’re strange here, but perfect. One aspect that really tickled me was narrator’s reaction to such observations as “the fat one”, “the bald one”, “long hair!” In all that weirdness, the prosaic qualities of life are still evident. The Sumatra coffee: “Local walks around the table with a tray of coffee as we chatter. It’s black, Sumatran, and too strong for most people’s taste, which is just the way I like it. Just the way we all do. He says there...

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Michał Przywara
21:36 Aug 01, 2022

I'm glad you were leery of Local :) He's a suspicious guy, although it's a terrible state of affairs when you can't even trust yourself. Those were definitely strange lines. I love being able to get the weird ones into a story, but of course the trick is making them work in context. Sorry about the coffee though :) And thanks for the feedback!

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Aeris Walker
23:50 Jul 31, 2022

AHH. Wow. I very much like how you brought the story full circle, ending with the same lines as the beginning. It reads in such a way that you feel a natural urge to just scroll back up and start again from the beginning. This idea is so clever, the story is fun and original—as all of yours are—and you took a challenging, cerebral concept and pulled it off beautifully. This was my absolute favorite line, I had to pause and read it again: “It’s a pastoral reality of pleasant weather and rolling prairies. Untainted.” Well done as always....

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Michał Przywara
00:54 Aug 01, 2022

Thanks, Aeris :D Yeah, as soon as I had that first line, I had a pretty good idea it was also going to be the last line. Just had to figure out the in-between. The podcast was fun to do, for sure :) I think I've listened to all the episodes so far, and it's fascinating learning about others and their processes. Very informative and entertaining.

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Aeris Walker
11:57 Aug 01, 2022

I agree! I love podcasts, and there’s something unique and cool about hearing the personal stories of people you’ve come to know only through their writing.

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Zelda C. Thorne
17:53 Jul 31, 2022

Oh this might just be my favourite story from you! Just fantastic. Everything. That first line, the effortless worldbuilding, the dialogue, the END. Thoroughly enjoyed. Bravo! 👏👏👏

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Michał Przywara
19:13 Jul 31, 2022

Thanks so much! I'm always happy when the end pays off :D

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Faith Ogedegbe
17:37 Jul 31, 2022

I enjoyed reading the story.

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Michał Przywara
19:28 Jul 31, 2022

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Zoë Page
11:46 Jul 31, 2022

This was amazing! I've not read much sci-fi and couldn't figure out a story to fit to this prompt, but you did it brilliantly. I didn't know where it was going at first, but in the end it tied together perfectly. I thought the narrator Neville would be exposed to be the murderer at the end, which is why the plot twist of Local poisoning them all surprised me in all the right ways. You've definitely thought about how it would all work with them all being the same person but at the same time different. The way it started and ended on the sam...

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Michał Przywara
16:03 Jul 31, 2022

Thanks, Zoë! I'm thrilled to hear the twist worked out in all the right ways! It was a fun exercise figuring out how someone would act in such an unusual situation, and what effect tiny differences in their realities would have on them. I appreciate the feedback!

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Seán Mc Nicholl
11:17 Jul 31, 2022

Michał, this is brilliant!!! From start to finish, it is flawless! Such a brilliant idea for a story and the twist at the end is perfect, didn’t see it coming at all! The perfect end to the story. The opening and closing lines are amazing and witty. I wonder had all the Nevilles the ultimate intention of killing each other underneath it all? And had the rest of them killed other Nevilles in other universes before arriving there! So good! While I was reading this I was thinking this would be great as a novel, with such a great idea. Bu...

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Michał Przywara
15:39 Jul 31, 2022

Thanks, Seán! I don't know if they all had those intentions, but I'm sure many did, since they must have had at least vaguely similar realities to the POV. And so similar nature and nurture probably leads to similar attitudes (and then the Nevilles that genuinely want to cooperate are the poor saps first to get offed). But with an infinite amount of realities covering an infinite amount of variations, who knows :) I appreciate the feedback!

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