Tag Archives: Damien Krsteski

“Many Worlds Away” – Fiction by Damien Krsteski

By NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz. (NASA - Comets Kick up Dust in Helix Nebula) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Comets Kick Up Dust in Helix Nebula – NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz., 2007

The grand finale of our Spring 2015 issue is Damien Krsteski‘s “Many Worlds Away,” a cosmic odyssey through death and what comes next.

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TO DIE IS TO JUMP. Small pounce, huge leap, big skip or tiny hop, you end up doing it anyhow. (If you want to be all philosophical about it, you could ask whether it’s you that moves or the entire universe that changes lanes—swerving, not a single pop nor screech to warn you—while you remain immobile, believing to have taken flight.)

My first such movement happened at thirteen, in my Grandpa’s library, balancing on two stacked chairs to reach the thick tomes behind which he kept his pistol; I hoped to brandish it before the school jocks whose hands had begun straying toward my developing girl-parts. Just as I started to climb down, the bottom chair cracked, wobbled, gave in, and I tumbled down, revolver in hand, hit the ground with a thud and the distinct click of a pulled trigger. Panting, blinking tears, the clutched gun pointing toward my chest. Unloaded.

Years later I decided that was the precise moment when I began living in Everett-2.

Switching to Everett-3 also happened unknowingly, four years later, when distressed, angry and depressed I ate half the pills from my parents’ medicine cabinet—goddamn Vincent and his goddamn jealousy fit cause I’d dared to like somebody else, calling me a dirty dyke, and whatnot—with cognac to wash it down. I woke up in a hospital to many concerned expressions, in a whole other World.

It was in Everett-7 that I met them—

“Hey, you,” she hollered at me, holding up a cardboard sign at an intersection corner, “how many times have you died already?”

Hurry on. Ignore the freaks. Sip your coffee. But I glanced back; in a fraction of a second my eyes absorbed her whole, and my brain decided to like her. Close-knit wool hat, spotted gloves matching her scarf, blue eyes, pale skin, sophisticated, pretty; she didn’t resemble a crazy street hustler.

“Zero, unfortunately,” I shrugged, taking a sip of the scalding take-away latte to my immediate regret.

She took a step in my direction. Sharpied on the cardboard, the words, Too important to disappear.

“You’ve traveled, girl,” she said after a prolonged look into my eyes, then handed me a business card. Coated paper, slick, only a street address printed on it.

I went to see them that night. Maybe it was my conservative upbringing, my paranoid, prepper brothers, or just too much TV, but I expected robes, candles, pentagrams, goth music. Instead I walked in on a party—crab cakes and white wine, folding chairs and people in T-shirts tucked into jeans talking passionately about politics and science and what have you.

Klara looked nicer without the winter garments, her hair draped over her shoulders. She introduced me to Peter, their leader.

Continue reading “Many Worlds Away” – Fiction by Damien Krsteski

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Starring Wm. Samuel Bradford, Vajra Chandrasekera, Juliet Cook, Sagnik Datta, Ariel Dawn, Robin Wyatt Dunn, j/j hastain, Rebecca Havens, Anna Lea Jancewicz, Sally J. Johnson, Ian Kappos, Damien Krsteski, Rachna Kulshrestha, Jasper Lo, Danielle Perry, Arman Safa, Bud Smith, Kailey Tedesco, and Jasmyne Womack