The Good Trip Getaway – a flash sci-fi story

We took our last spare cash to a street pharmacist, a guy in a stained coat selling hard drugs and soft lies down in the scrap district. Light and sound blazed from every building, music cascading into the streets from a thousand new year parties. In the heart of the city, you could always lose yourself if you needed to.

“I want to escape all this.” I pointed to one of the rockets towering over us, a remnant of the years when humanity had flown to the stars, when there had been a brighter hope. “I want to feel like I’m flying, to know what it was like in the old days.”

“History offers no take backs,” the guy said, pulling a pill from his pocket. “But I can offer this. You’ll fly and so much more.”

Pill for cash, deal done in the moment between the beats of the music. I swallowed the pill dry and twitched my arms, eager to take off.

“And you?” the pharmacist asked Ailene.

“Just something to relax.”

Another payment, another pill, another quick swallow on the road to relief.
Muscles spasmed between my shoulder blades. I felt as though I was bursting. Then suddenly I had wings and they were flapping, carrying me into the air.

“Check it out!” I shouted to Ailene. “I can fly!”

“Check out a mirror,” she shouted back.

I looked in the window of one of the buildings, saw myself reflected back in the glass. I didn’t just have wings. I had claws, feathers, a beak. I was a bird.

Laughter shook my fragile avian body. This was some serious shit. I really did feel like I’d taken flight, like those feathers were mine.

Another spasm. I fell to the ground and found myself legless, writhing in the body of a snake. Then I was on all fours, furred and panting. I let my tongue hang out while I looked around for a stick.

“Wow, man,” Ailene said staring at me. “How’d you do that?”

“Quantum, see?” the dealer said. “Becoming different lives he could have been. In the end, he’ll come back to whatever he most wants.”

Ailene ruffled my fur and laughed. I barked happily.

“He’ll be back soon enough. He wants to be with me, don’t you?”

I barked again. I was a good boy and I was with Ailene. How could the world get any better?

* * *

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