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  • LateNiteScholar

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    June 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Okay, had to add one more little thing in here I thought of today. A bit over 1k.

    I think a simple ‘Untethered’ might be the best title.


    People who say a knock to the head can mess up your day, don’t know the half of it. But you’re here for the story, not to listen to me wax philosophical.

    I was here in the city on business, headed down to a pub for lunch. No, I’m not going to tell you which pub. We don’t need a bunch of louts and conspiracy types showing up and causing trouble.

    How’d it happen? I don’t really know. I was at the bar, minding my own business. I heard some ruckus starting behind me. And next thing I know I’m waking up on the floor.


    “You alright, fella?” The voice starts far away, but gets closer as my vision clears. It’s the bartender, heavy eyebrows knit into a frown.

    “What? What the… Why am I on the floor?”

    “You took one of those big glass tankards to the back of your skull. Guy just found out his buddy was sleeping with his girlfriend. Bouncer didn’t get ‘em quite fast enough. We’ve called you an ambulance.”

    “Oh. Okay.”

    The ambulance came and went. They said I didn’t have a concussion, but told me to take it easy. They took down my name and the hotel I was staying at and I promised to call if I had any problems or worsening symptoms. Satisfied, they went on their way.

    The bartender put me in a booth, and returned with a cup. “Sorry lad, we’re switching you to water after that. Just in case. Gonna bring you some food, too. On the house. You just sit there as long as you need.”

    “Okay. Thank you.”

    A server brought the food a few moments later. A steak sandwich with half a cow’s worth of meat and chips cut so thick I almost mistook them for bananas. I tucked in, and after the meal I felt a lot better. I tipped the waitress and the bartender and headed out.

    I made my way back down the street toward the Neoclassical building on the corner. A couple passed me; both had blue hair and wore very little apart from their tattoos. But there was something off about them, something odd about the patterns they wore on their skin. I shook it off as I climbed the stairs into the building. I had better things to do than worry about heebie-jeebies.

    The woman behind the reception desk was different from I’d left. She smiled. “Can I help you, sir?”

    “Thank you, but I’m just going to head upstairs for the investors meeting.” I pulled out my ID badge and held it out to her.

    She frowned. “I’m sorry, that isn’t one of ours.”

    “What are you talking about? I was here all morning!”

    “Perhaps you’ve got the wrong building? This is a library.”

    “What?”

    “Perhaps I can give you directions to where you need to be?”

    “Where is here?” I demanded.

    “This is The Amelia Earhart Presidential Library and Museum. There is a sign.” She pointed above her. I stepped back and there it was, emblazoned in bronze letters. I turned, greeted by a large portrait of a serious-looking woman; familiar yet older than I’d ever seen her.

    Deep, stabbing prickles ran up my spine into my skull and down my limbs. I backed up slowly.

    “Sir, are you alright?”

    “This isn’t… this can’t be!”

    I saw her picking up her phone. Security? The hospital? The cops? I decided I wasn’t going to risk it and took off.

    Back out on the sidewalk, I looked around. There had to be a mistake! The street looked no different to how I’d left it, how could the building have changed? Then I began to see them. Other people, like that couple. Clothes, hair, body mods; all things I’d seen before, but all not quite right.

    “You okay, buddy?” A man at the counter of a newspaper stand was looking at me.

    “I… don’t know. Wait!” I snatched up one of the magazines, staring at the faces of the man and woman on the cover. Underneath was scrolled The Princess and Queen Talk Their New Charity Venture. The cover date was last week.

    “What the…?”

    “Hey, you gonna buy that?”

    I threw some money on the counter and dashed off. Back to the pub. That’s where this had started. Maybe if I went back, I could fix it.

    The bartender’s head came up as I burst through the doors. “Everything okay, fella? Did you forget something?”

    “Yeah, my sanity. I came in here and things were normal. I go out there and Amelia Earhart was President?” I held up the magazine. “Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana are still alive? I…”

    I looked around. The patrons had all changed.

    “What do you see?” The bartender asked.

    “The people in here. There’s people in regular clothes, those ones look like they came out of The Matrix. Those three are… Vikings? And, Native Americans? I don’t even know what that couple is. They look… like dinosaurs. And… they all overlap.”

    “Aw, my boy. You’re seeing them. I should’ve realized.”

    “Realized what?”

    “You’ve become Untethered.”

    “I don’t understand.”

    “The science guys can explain it to you, but basically, you’re not bound to one dimension anymore, you’re part of all of them. At least all the ones that intersect here. That why you can see everybody. You’re now part of this Universal Constant.”

    “What?”

    “The way I understand it, time-space is thin here. So, the multiverses insect on this spot. And in a lot of multiverses, there’s a pub here. Or a bar, or an inn, or whatever the locals call it. We call it the Time ‘N Space Inn.” He chuckled. “Where you from, kid?”

    “Carthage.”

    “Ah, Punic Confederacy. Should’ve known. But if you’re here now we’ll find you something to do. What were you before?”

    “Before?” The word had such a finality to it. “I was a banker.”

    “Well, maybe we can find you something like that. If all else fails, we’ll teach you bar. Whatever you were before, you’re one of us now, and we take care of each other. Come on round back, I’ll introduce you.”

    I looked down at the magazine again, then followed him through the ‘Employees Only’ door.