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I was walking down the street one night when I spotted a familiar figure. It’s another me. And they’ve emerged from an alternate reality to warn me about something. I was shocked and scared. But I mustered up the courage to ask what they had come to tell me. They warned me about a great danger that was coming, and advised me to prepare for it. As an 18-year-old who spent most of my life in school and my room, I was paralyzed by this warning. How will I stop this impending danger when I have not even sorted my own life? I knew I couldn't handle this danger alone, and so I resolved to seek help from anyone who could provide it. The only person that came to mind was my best friend, Aria. She's the only one I know that has my back no matter how crazy the whole situation is.

Me and Aria spent most of our childhood together. In fact, we were so close that it felt like we were sisters born from the same mother. We share everything, from gossip to secrets and even our feelings. Hey, we even share each other's wardrobes so often that we sometimes forget whose clothes are whose. We have a special bond that only sisters can share, where we can rely on each other for emotional support and love. We have been through thick and thin, and we know each other better than anyone else in the world. For those reasons, Aria is the only one that came to my mind when this alternates me from the parallel world and reality appeared to warn me of this danger. In fact, she is the only person who would believe such a ludicrous story if I told it to her. Personally, it is pretty ridiculous to imagine meeting someone from an alternate universe, right? If I was in Aria's shoes, I would have been snarky!

After that very peculiar encounter, I rushed to Aria's home hoping to share this with her. In the midst of it all, it completely slipped my mind that Aria was actually away from home with her family to have dinner with her grandmother. Silly old me, I forgot all about it. I even embarrassed myself by repeatedly ringing her doorbell. But instead of being welcomed by Aria, I was welcomed by complete silence. There I was standing in front of her door alone and my messed-up mind. I did not know what my next move would be. I only thought of rushing over to Aria and telling her what had happened. Now that she is not home, I am not sure what to do. Should I wait by her doorstep till she returns home or wait till tomorrow before telling her this? Or should I just call her on her cell right now and demand to speak with her? I was lost for ideas. I took a deep breath and decided to wait for her. I knew that whatever I had to tell her, I had to tell her in person. I sat down by her doorstep and waited patiently for her return. This situation is like being in the middle of a storm and trying to find shelter. I knew that talking to Aria was the only shelter I could take and I was willing to wait as long as I needed to take it. That means sitting alone in the dark for however it takes. This could take forever for all I know. In the middle of all this chaos, I completely forgot to notify my parents that I'd be returning home later. Technically, I am 18 now and do not have curfews or need to check in with my parents. However, out of respect, I need to let my parents know if I will come home late. I do not want them to worry about me.

I took out my phone from my pocket and I punched in the code to unlock the phone. I suddenly have the weirdest feeling of eeriness. A sudden chill runs down my spine. I felt like someone was watching me from behind the veil of night. My body suddenly seized. My fear was heightened. I was on high alert and ready to take on my assailant, whoever it was that was watching me. I looked around and saw nothing, not even a shadow. I slowly let out my breath and my body relaxed, but my mind was still on high alert. I still couldn't shake off the feeling of being watched. Could it just be my mind playing tricks on me? I was running on adrenaline since my encounter with my alternate reality self but that could not be linked to this sudden chill I felt. Maybe my alternate self-followed me and was watching me in the dark this whole time? I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I decided it was time to go home and get some rest. I took one last look around before I started walking away. The time on my watch shows it is already 10.30 pm. Being out at Aria's place in the dark was unreasonable. I just felt anxious that it was not easing up on me. I knew it was in my best interest to head straight back home and worry about my next move in the safety of my room.

That eerie sense of being watched never abated the whole time walking back home. I still felt like I watched the whole 5 minutes’ walk home. On a regular day, the walk was nothing. It was a quick jog back to my place but on this particular night, it seemed like I was on the longest walk of my life. To my surprise, there was not a soul in sight. Any other day, the streets would be teeming with people. Folks walking their dogs, teenagers hanging out all over town, couples out on a romantic date, families out for dinner. This night, it looked like a ghost town. The only sense of movement I ever saw on my way home was neon lights from the diner blinking now and then. Not even a slight breeze was in the air. The air even felt heavy. It is as if the unease I experienced inside me is now around me. It's in the air, in the atmosphere, everywhere. It felt like the world had stopped turning and I was the only one around to watch it. I felt so alone. I felt like the world was waiting for something, but I was unsure what it was. I was scared and I just wanted to get home.

My pace accelerated as I was overturned by adrenaline. All I knew was I wanted to get home as quickly as I could and lock the door behind me. My head felt like a race track with thoughts racing nonstop at top speed. How could this be possible? How could I make sense of the sudden change in the environment around me? I acknowledge now that an alternate universe exists and it is very real as is this one. But is that alternate reality so powerful that it could rule over our reality? Is it possible? Before I knew it, I was already approaching my doorstep when I was startled out of my skin by this sudden noise. It sounded like two cars had collided. I turned around to see what the commotion was all about. A few hundred meters from my house, my neighbour, Mr. Steve, drove his car into a huge tree. His bumper was totally wrecked on impact. Without a second thought, I rushed over to check on him to see if he was alright. Before I could reach him, I saw him stumble out of his car, massaging his forehead and ribs. I helped him out and gently walked him to his patio. I asked him what had happened, whether he was alright. His reply left me pasty. He said, "I do not know what happened. One minute I drove the car and within a minute, the car drove itself. I lost control of the car and it headed straight for the tree. If I'm being honest, everything feels like a daze to me." Is this a warning meant for me? Did Mr. Steve become an innocent victim so I could get the message? I was sure of one thing, whoever is after me surely meant business. Now more than ever, I have a million reasons to watch my back.

After helping Mr. Steve, I dashed for my house. I felt immense relief locking the door behind me and heading into my room. It definitely got me thinking. Should I share all this with Aria at all? Would it put Aria and her family at risk if I did? I was shaken up after Mr Steve’s incident. I did not want to put Aria at risk. It dawned on me that I was alone in this mess. I have no one to turn to for help. I cannot share this with anyone and I have no clue how to do it. There is a very real fatal danger out there, and I have no armour to defend myself. I was scared and felt completely helpless. I had to take matters into my own hands and figure out a way to get out of this mess. I just hope I can stay safe and protect Aria and her family at the same time. This alternate reality warns me of a danger that could end me. It also means that if I died in this reality, then everyone of us in every other reality would die as well. My alternate self may have informed me that this version of me is the weakest among the rest of my alternate self. This makes this version of me an easy target for the assassins. I must find a way to protect Aria, her family and myself, or the repercussions will be catastrophic. I cannot afford to be taken out, as it will affect everyone, not just in this reality, but in all realities. Therefore, I must do everything in my power to stay alive and protect those around me. If only I knew how!

I was so worn out from all the thinking, worrying, and adrenaline. Rather than worrying about all this now, I decided to sleep well and deal with it in the morning after I'm refreshed. In no time at all, I was in my pajamas and lying in bed. A bizarre dream occurred to me while I was sleeping. However, it didn't feel like a dream at all. It felt real. As if my subconscious mind has moved into a different reality and it was actually happening. I met my other self again. This experience was like a dream within a dream, similar to the idea of being stuck in an infinite loop where the only way out is to make the right decision. The dream state allowed for a different perspective and clarity that couldn’t be achieved in the conscious world. This time we had the talk we should have had in the first place. She sat me down and patiently answered all my questions. Her name is Samantha Wicky and she comes from a long royalty line. She is the princess and the next in line to the throne in her world. A world called Asphere. One of the most powerful worlds of 100 alternate worlds. The Jugulars are trying to overthrow the Princess and her family and gain power as the strongest world of all. By gaining immense power and force, they could dominate all other realities and rule them as they see fit. Simply put, the Jugulars mean enslaving all beings in all 100 different worlds. That is why I was their target. So, if they could kill me, they would easily take the throne from Samantha and her family. After listening to all the horrors of the Jugulars, I was on board with stopping them from claiming the throne. The only problem is, how do I protect myself against powerful beings with technologies and weapons far advanced than what we have on Earth? They could zap man into the dust with their weapons so how am I to protect myself against that kind of weapon?

Samantha Wicky suggested I stay in her fortress till the war is over. The idea of being a prisoner trapped within walls did not sit right with me. I was not keen on being tucked away like a weakling and protected at all times. I hated the suggestion. I did not want to be weak. I wanted to fight in this war too. But this was a war I knew deep inside me I would not win. It was a war meant for those belonging to other worlds. We Earthlings are not as formidable as the rest of them. Samantha easily proved that to me. With a swift movement of her wrist, I was yanked back into my body and woke up jumping. It may still be my subconscious mind that made the journey, but I felt the effect on my whole body as if my whole body made the trip as well. Upon waking up, I was shocked, panting and covered in sweat. I was still trying to figure out what happened or whether it was real. The time on my clock stared back at me, 10.30 am. Does that mean I was stuck in that alternate reality for almost 10 hours? Time works differently there. I quickly jumped out of bed and headed to the bathroom to take a long hot shower. The dream still made me feel loopy in my head.

I tried my best to keep my thoughts at bay but to no avail. My mind was kind of stuck on whatever that had happened while I was dreaming. I could still hear Samantha Wicky's voice echoing those words in my head. Not even a long hot shower seemed to work. The experience was akin to trying to silence the ever-persistent hum of a buzzing fly--no matter how many times you swat it away, it always comes back. Even if I agreed to Samantha's suggestion, there is no guarantee that Aria and her family will be safe. There is no guarantee that even my own parents would be safe. The more I thought about it, the more clueless I got. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. No matter what I chose, someone would get hurt. I knew I had to make a decision, but I just didn't know which one to make. I wanted to run it over with Samantha, to weigh my options, but I just did not know how. It is not like I could punch in her digits on my cell and call her, right? She communicates with me through my subconscious mind. I cannot say I could do the same. So, what is left is for me to sit in my room and wait till Samantha reaches out to me. I have no other choice. This is similar to being stuck in a maze, with no map, and no idea where to go next. You can wander around in the dark, trying every corner, but until you find the right path, you won’t know where you’ll end up.

I was in my room eating my sandwich when I suddenly sensed my whole house shaking badly. It felt like an earthquake except my house was the only one shaking. I felt the sandwich slipping through my fingers and falling to the ground followed by the plate crashing. My bed was shaking so violently, I feared the second floor of my home would just cave in and come crashing down. I just got up and ran towards my room door. My eyes were drawn to them as soon as I opened the door, the assassins, the Jugulars. They had terrorizing weapons in their hands. They looked evil, merciless and ready to kill me. I quickly slammed the door shut, my heart pounding. I had to think fast. I had to find a way to escape them before it was too late. Before I could even move, the door vaporized before me and now I am standing right in front of them with no place to escape. I was a sitting duck. Now what? Just prepare for the inevitable? Lay down and die? The situation is not looking rosy for me. There is a chance that this could be the end of me and all my alternate selves. I felt defeated. I closed my eyes, bracing myself for what was to come. I was ready to accept whatever fate had in store for me. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes, ready to face my destiny.

I was blinded by a flash of the brightest light. I felt someone grab my hand and pull me to safety. I heard the Jugulars screaming in a language I barely understood, slowly fading into the distance. The experience was like being woken up from a bad dream by a close friend, only to be slowly brought back to reality as the dream fades away. As I slowly adjusted to my surroundings, I suddenly felt a sharp pain on the right side of my torso. I could smell the metallic smell emanating from my freshly cut torso wound. I looked down and saw the source of the pain, a jagged knife that had been plunged into my side. I stumbled back in shock, feeling my life slowly ebbing away from me. I knew I was dying. The pain was almost unbearable. All I wanted was to stop the pain. Unfortunately, it was a sobering reminder that I was on the brink of death. I could see a sense of shock and fear printed on Samantha's face. This cannot happen. If I die, the Jugulars will take over the throne and subjugate the world to slavery, chaos and mayhem. Despite all the advanced technologies and gadgets they have, the one thing they cannot help with is someone's death. It is ultimately inevitable. I knew that I had to take action to ensure a better future, so I did the only thing I could think of: I asked Samantha to connect me to my alternate selves from 99 different universes. This way, even if I died, I could be sure that those other versions of me would be able to continue the fight against the Jugulars and protect the world from their tyranny. She signalled her assistant to contact all my alternate selves from 98 worlds to assemble at her palace.

This took Samantha by shock. She never knew it would be possible to connect with all alternate selves. It was something that had not been done before and was never heard of. On the brink of death, an energy source within me rose and addressed Samantha and all the 98 other selves. It spoke in a clear voice, " "Be one, be united, and be strong. This is now your destiny." Samantha felt a power surging through her as the words echoed in her mind. She knew that this was the beginning of something special. That moment, the same energy within me fractured into 99 parts. Each of my 99 alternate selves received a fragment of the strength originally mine. Together, we knew this was the key to unlocking our true potential. We were united, and nothing could stop us. I continued to live within each 99 of us. My physical presence vaporized but my essence and spirit were now with all 99 of my alternate selves. We were now empowered, emboldened and upgraded. We are confident that the Jugulars will be defeated this time around. 

Samantha and her newly upgraded 99-strong force took the war to the Jugulars. The Jugulars were unable to keep up with us. They suddenly felt useless and weak before us. We used our strengths and gifts and destroyed the Jugulars. We even destroyed their world. The war was stretched out in the course of 15 months Earth time. But just 15 days in their time. We destroyed their world and they were no longer a threat. After that, Samantha and her force returned to their own world in victory. The war was won and peace was restored. After returning home, Samantha and her force proudly declared themselves the "Jugular Slayers" and celebrated with a big party, complete with cake and Jugular-shaped balloons! They even threw a memorial to honour me and my sacrifice in helping them realize something they wouldn't have thought possible. The celebration was a joyous occasion and the people of their world were finally free. They lived peacefully and never had to worry about the Jugulars again. Samantha and her team were celebrated as heroes and remembered for their courage and determination. I was never the weakest link in the chain, ironically, I was the strongest bond of them all. My energy helped my other selves save themselves and almost a zillion lives across 100 worlds. Caitlin Moran, a British journalist, wrote: “Always believe you can change the world – even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it.”


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