When Worlds Collide – a short story


A friend suggested I write something in which some of my characters crossover. The idea interested me and I came up with a short story called When Worlds Collide. Hopefully the story makes sense, but to give readers who haven’t read any of my work, some idea of who these characters are and which books they are from, here is a short description of each.

Hope Hope and Magic (series)

When Hope decides to leave Dublin and head to London to pursue her dream, Steven is unable to let her go. He seeks the help of a witch, resulting in Hope becoming his unwilling captive. Can she break free and discover her own magic? And what does the witch really want from Hope?

Grace – After the zombies (and my forthcoming book Not Human)

Following a two year long zombie outbreak in Manchester, the handful of survivors attempt to get with on their lives, but can they forget all the horrible things they have been through and everything they had to do to survive and are the zombies really gone?

Kayla – Lost and found (two part series consisting on While I Was Gone and While You Forgot Me)

Kayla Marshall is a young woman who was kidnapped at the age of six while playing with her twin sister in a park. Her family had given up ever seeing her again. Fifteen years later she is reunited with her real family, after she was brought up by a couple who raised her as their own. Now she has to adapt to her new life, figure out where she belongs and get to know her real family while dealing with the lies told to her for so many years by the people she believed were her parents.

When Worlds Collide

I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been here. Carl was kissing me goodbye, then I went into the light. I was dead. I suppose I still am. Things are different here, in what I guess you would call the afterlife. It’s not like I thought it would be. I get to sit and watch anybody, anywhere, not just from the world I lived in, but from parallel worlds too. I can intervene, but afterwards, I always have to put things back to how they were before I intervened. I like to think that the feeling people sometimes get, which they put down to instinct, is actually someone like me intervening, then making them forgot, but leaving them with some unexplained notion of what they should do.

I’m watching a woman called Hope. I suppose I’ve been drawn to her since I got here. She was in love with the Carl in her world. Part of me was jealous when I first watched them getting closer, then relived when he didn’t love her back. I know now, that just because each world has its own version of everyone from my world, that doesn’t make them the same person.

I still have an interest in Hope though. Sometimes I feel like I can understand her. She loved Ritchie, or should that be she loves Ritchie? Just because he died, that doesn’t make her stop loving him and that is part of her problem. She is meant to save her world from witches, but she’s still so torn up about Ritchie’s death, that she’s just going through the motions. Part of her would probably be relieved if the world ended. I thought I was in love once. Unfortunately, I was dead and the object of my affection wanted someone living. I moved on after almost doing something, which I now know would have sent me to purgatory, rather than where I am now. I think I could have fallen in love with Carl, the one from my world I mean. He was a ghost like me. He still is. He never went into the light. I suppose he missed his chance. He’s stuck now and I can’t see the ones who are stuck. So I’ll probably never see him again.

I decide to turn my attention away from Hope and look into one of the other worlds instead. I’m drawn towards Grace. She’s having a hard time too. She lost her husband, but was already in love with someone else by that point. There is a zombie outbreak in her world and that means that it’s not straightforward between her and Luke, the man she loves now. I decide that watching her is too depressing. I want to watch someone who is happy.

Watching Kayla usually cheers me up. She’s had her share of heartbreak too, as well as finding out her parents weren’t her parents, but had bought her on the black market, after she was kidnapped as a child. She’s doing okay now though. She’s married to a great guy called Jason and even though her twin daughters aren’t his, he treats them like they’re his own.

That makes me wonder. Could I somehow get Hope, Grace and Kayla together in the same place? I’ve intervened before, but never brought people from different worlds to the same place. I know it can be done, but it’s dangerous to put someone from one world into another. If they end up running into their counterparts, things can get messy. I could create a temporary place, not another world exactly, more like a small town, on another plane. I could place the three of them in there. They might be able to help each other.

Moments later, I’m watching Grace, Hope and Kayla sat in a coffee shop at the same table, looking slightly confused at how they got there. The surrounding slowly work their magic on them and the confusion starts to evaporate.

Hi, I’m Kayla,’ she introduces herself. The other two do the same.

This place is nice,’ Hope states, after the introductions are out of the way. ‘I wish I could stay here.’

Tell me about it.’ Grace sighs. ‘There are no coffee shops where I come from, just munchers and people trying to use me for their own twisted plans.’

What is a muncher?’ Kayla questions.

Oh, zombies, but some seem more human than others, and they were all completely human at one point. It’s easier to kill them if we dehumanise them first.’

Oh,’ Kayla looks shocked.

You don’t have munchers, or zombies where you’re from?’ Grace sounds surprised.

Only on TV. I watch The Walking Dead sometimes,’ Kayla states.

We had that show too,’ Grace replies. ‘Now I’m living it, only worse.’

Do you have witches?’ Hope asks them both.

No,’ Kayla and Hope say in unison.

Hope smiles the first genuine smile I’ve seen from her in a long time and lifts up her hand. The cups on the table rise slowly, then carefully float back down to the table. The teaspoon lifts and she asks, ‘one sugar or two?’

One please,’ Grace says, smiling in awe as the teaspoon seems to dip itself inside the sugar bowl then float over to her coffee and empty the sugar inside Grace’s cup.

How are you doing that?’ Kayla asks, looking underneath the table for some sort of clue that it’s not real magic.

Hope and Grace laugh. Kayla finds herself joining in. I can see that none of them are really sure why they find this so funny, but I know. The place I’ve designed and brought them too, lowers inhibitions, not in a major way. It just makes people more open to the fact that they’ve been brought there and that helps to lighten their mood.

I really wish I could stay here,’ Grace says, seeming to sense that this place isn’t permanent.

It’s so peaceful, isn’t it?’ Hope asks. Her face seems to have fewer worry lines, but her eyes still give away the fact that she’s lost her soulmate

There’s a world where a person usually dies within days of losing their soulmate. Luckily for Hope, that’s not her world. I sense that she usually feels dead inside though. Sometimes she probably wishes for death. Is it odd that I care about these three, as though they were my own sisters? I’ve never personally met any of them, but I feel like I know them.

‘What would you do, if you could choose any kind of life for yourself?’ Kayla asks.

‘That”s easy,’ Hope is the first to respond. ‘I always wanted to be a dancer. That’s when I feel free and alive, like nothing else matters.’ She looks surprised at her own admission.

Grace nods, then says, ‘I just wanted a home and a family. Somewhere I felt like I belonged and mattered to someone. Somewhere I don’t feel like everything I do is wrong.’

‘What did you want?’ Hope asks Kayla.

‘If I could change things, I would go back to the day I was kidnapped. I would put up a struggle, scream louder, then maybe I wouldn’t have been taken. I could have grown up with my real family. I don’t have many memories of my mum and twin sister. They died before I got back.’

I smile sadly to myself. I can give these three a little peace, just for a short while. I concentrate on creating their desires. The three of them look at their surroundings. Each one only sees their own desires.

Hope smiles and begins to dance to some music, that only she can hear. Grace crouches down, as though talking to a child, then looks up at someone, with a content smile on her face. She’s imaging the home and the family she never got to have. Kayla smiles away to herself. I made her see her what her childhood would have been like if things were different. She’s currently seeing herself having a family meal. Everyone is talking and bickering over how many roast potatoes they got, as though it’s a contest. It’s a simple occasion, but it’s what she always wanted, since finding out the truth about her family.

All too soon it’s time to send them back to their own worlds, before the temporary place I bought them to, starts to disappear. That would leave them in limbo. I don”t want that.

Their lives won’t be easy, particularly for hope and Grace. Maybe they will take some inner peace back with them, to help with what’s to come, even though they won’t remember this. It will just feel like a vague dream about something good.

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