“All I need is your email,” she said, giggling. Hers was an easy laugh, not the harsh, scratchy cackle of a witch who wanted your soul. She was stunning, no doubt, with glittering cheeks and an almost opaque sheen to her skin. “Do you have one?” she prompted.
My mouth felt thick. Her eyelashes lapped at the world like a butterfly exploring its surroundings. Her shimmering hair bled off summer fragrances without a hint of perspiration. And her lips…
“No,” I answered, getting my head back to reality.
“We only need a way to contact you, really. And, of course, your signature,” she said with a demure glance.
I could barely squeak out the next few words. “And why do I need to sign anything?”
“Because we have great experiences waiting for you,” she answered, undeterred by my hesitation. “Once you sign, you’ll be introduced to the three other versions of yourself that you specified. Each one you meet is from a different reality.” She studied the form for a moment. “It says here, you want one where you never made it out of high school, one where you attended college, and one where you dropped out of college during your freshman year?”
She looked up and caught me eyeing her lovely mouth. A ball of panic welled up in my gut, but then she melted it with her smile. “Mr. Martin?”
I couldn’t think of what to say next. “Mr. Martin, are you okay?” I nodded. “Would you like some water?” I nodded again, and she handed me an aqua. I drank. The smell of her clung to the bottle. It was the best tasting water I’d ever drank.
“Please,” I said, “continue.”
“I see you are straight?”
“Your sexual preferences. You indicated here you are straight?”
“That’s good.” Her full lips parted as she smiled again. A cute dimple graced her right cheek.
“Why’s that good?” My gut bubbled with excitement.
She blushed. “There are variations based on your relationship status: either you’re single, or you have a girlfriend, or a wife. We run detailed simulations and we’ve put a lot of thought into it — most of the outcomes have been exhaustively researched.”
“Good to know.”
“Would you like to specify any physical descriptions?”
“Of your partner.” She paused. “Or partners,” she said with a wink. I trembled where I stood.
“You mean, their looks?”
“I had no idea that was possible.”
“Anything’s possible,” she said with a wide, pearly smile. Her eyes darted down, then back up to mine.
“Um…” How could I say I wanted my partner to look like her? That seemed too forward, too creepy. I began describing her to herself.
“Why, Mr. Martin, I would think you were describing me!”
“That would be fine,” I said. “Just fine with me.”
She put her hand to her chest and drew a deep breath. “I’m flattered,” she said. “I’d be happy to enter my model into the system.” She batted her lashes.
“Okay, then,” I said like a lump. What was wrong with me?
“I still need your signature, Mr. Martin.” She handed me a clipboard and a pen. I started to mark the paper, but hesitated.
“What happens if I don’t sign?”
“Then we can’t perform the quick procedure that allows you to enter the simulation.”
I’m not the smartest man, but I knew what that word meant. It was the only clause I’d payed attention to in the entire contract. A soul-cutting. Spirit extraction.
Now that I considered giving it away, I wasn’t sure I’d ever used that part of me. Wasn’t sure it even existed, but it must’ve if they required its extraction. Who knew, maybe without it I wouldn’t feel guilty all the time. “And I won’t ever have to come back to this reality?”
“Absolutely not,” she said. “You can stay in the simulation as long as you desire.”
Desire it, I did. Desire her, even more. After all, she was divine.
I gripped the pen, steadied the board, and signed my name on the dotted line.