The International Writers Magazine:
The Great Beyond: a serialised novel about life beyond death Chapter Twelve
you haven't read the previous twelve chapters start at Chapter
Great Beyond XIII
three of us were enclosed deep within the catacombs of Urimarus
fortress before any of us breathed a word. I could sense an aura
of energy from Clemens that he projected around the three of us,
but I could only guess at its function. It disappeared when Urimaru
signaled him and three rocking chairs rose up from the stone floor.
We sat quietly for several moments under an unspoken anxiety that
the slightest sound would draw the attention of any of a number
I broke the silence
with an open thought to both of them. "Im sorry I got you
mixed up in this. They wont stop until they have all three of
us; either side. Were men without a country. Maybe I can find
a way to make it up to you someday if youll forgive me."
They both just stared at me long enough to make me uncomfortable. They
didnt look angry though. If anything they looked puzzled. "Son,."
said Clemens "Were both grownups. Were completely capable
of making our own decisions. You owe us nothing."
"Still, it only took me two trips to the compound to have everyone
in it chasing after us. That has to be some kind of record."
"Not everyone." Urimaru joined in. "The council is divided
on what to do with you, though the majority are against us; especially
now. It is pretty impressive for someone who isnt supposed to
"You two are the only allies I have. Other than Bootman youre
the only people Ive met on this side who have been so much as
cordial to me. Ill never be able to repay you."
"Were blood Sloan. Family. Kindred. Again you dont
owe anything." Urimaru dismissed my concern with a wave of his
That I could understand, but what about Clemens? What was he in this
for? I decided to turn my concern onto him. "Fair enough, but you
belong to the council." I said looking at him. "If nothing
else, Ive cost you your job and youve done nothing but help
me since we met. I feel that Ive wronged you."
He smiled softly and breathed a deep mental sigh. "Like Urimaru
said, were blood. No debt is owed."
That caught me by surprise, but before I could react an alert sounded
from one of Urimarus wards. They were upon us. Urimaru swore colorfully
and changed the subject. "We have to get out of here now. I didnt
expect them to find us this quickly. We dont have long. My defenses
wont hold them out once they arrive in force."
"Where do we go?" I asked.
"The Gray Area. We can hide there for a while." Clemens grabbed
both of us and we flashed out into an empty section of space. He seemed
to be searching for something that wasnt there, then his hand
suddenly stopped and a handle appeared. He pulled on it and a door shaped
hole appeared outlined in a smoky gray. He took our hands and pulled
us into a dense fog. There was a cool breeze that did nothing to dissipate
the thick mass, only stir it. Clemens seemed to have no trouble finding
his way though it, so I followed him through the space between ideal
and practice, through the intricacies of interpretation and semantics,
along the edge of the difference between freedom and responsibility;
into the Gray Area.
He stopped us and slowly the fog cleared away revealing an empty room
with a few chairs and a bar. We helped ourselves and relaxed a bit.
The mood was much more laid back. After a while Clemens spoke up. "We
can talk here for a while. We expected them to look for us at your place
first." He motioned to Urimaru. "They will look here too,
but it wouldnt be easy for them under the best of circumstances.
While were here we should discuss a few things."
"Where exactly are we?" I asked.
"The Gray Area is home to what you could call the underground.
The people here dont have any allegiance to either side of the
great war. They do their own thing and as long as no one bothers them
they dont bother anyone. There isnt any organization to
speak of here, but the collective does make a point of looking after
itself. For all of its chaos each entity here has its own function and
purpose. They have a standing agreement among everyone; not an easy
thing to accomplish. Thats why their philosophy is so simple.
I think the council could learn something from it. Organization breeds
corruption and stagnation by its very nature. The older it is, the deeper
it sinks into static banality. People who hold power long enough to
get comfortable tend to forget themselves. Jefferson tried to warn us.
So did Franklin and Paine and a host of others. Even Ive tried
to do something about it, but its gone too far."
"Are we safe here?"
"For now. So we should get started. First, we know that they wont
ever stop. Not now. I dont know how you managed to pass through
our defenses, but you have and factoring that in, you are more valuable
than ever. They will stop at nothing to get all three of us."
I interrupted him. "What defenses? What do you mean?"
"There are thousands of people at the compound who pose the real
threat to the forces of evil. The billions of others are there to serve
these few. The defenses keep anyone from running a suicide mission into
the compound to take the few out. It was thought to be impossible to
pass through it as you did. As impossible as a full breech to the mortal
world. You have changed the rules. Not only are you completely undetectable,
but you seem to slip through traps, wards and webs as if they werent
I began to understand. If I could get through the councils defenses,
why not the enemys as well? In and out with a doomsday device
and no friendly casualties. I would never know any peace. Not until
I could find a way to scare them off. All of them.
"Then there is the matter of Shugg. Sharper was lying of course.
He let you slip through the cage and out of the museum before you died.
He wanted you to find him and kill him. Shugg wouldnt have been
as merciful had you not been there. In the end, Sharper got what he
wanted. You spared him from Shuggs wrath, even if you didnt
deliver the killing stroke. Shugg didnt want to waste any time
on him when he could have you. He should have captured you easily afterward.
Once he had you in sight he should have caged you instantly and sealed
you into captivity. It is beyond me why he tried to sweet talk you into
"He wanted my help to destroy his master. Or so he said. I could
feel the enchantment around me, but it didnt seem very strong.
I broke out of it easily. I dont know how the cage held out either.
I just put his back together and locked him in it."
"I knew you were strong when you finished training but you continue
to surprise me." Urimaru held up his hands in resignation. "Im
not qualified to guess at what youll do next. Yesterday we knew
that there were impossible things that could never be done. Today we
think differently. What we need now is a plan."
Clemens stopped to think for a moment. "We know that youre
safe for now. They wont be able to find you except through us.
Therefore, we must separate."
"No." I said flatly. "You two are all I have. I need
to stay with you until we can figure this out."
He shook his head. "Its too risky. They will find us eventually.
If we split up now we have a chance to hide you until things settle
down for a while. Then we can decide what to do next. We cant
afford to let anyone get to you. The results would be catastrophic."
"Why dont you come with me back to the other side? I have
to look after my family and friends. I could use your help." They
looked at me, then at each other. It was obvious that neither had considered
this as an option.
"Theres nothing on the other side that they can send at us
that any one of us cant defend against. Between all three of us
we could buy enough time to plan our next move."
Clemens looked at me for a long time in silence. Finally he said, "Keep
those surprises coming son. Well leave after we finish these drinks."
"Why dont I just open it here?" I started to pull my
sword but Urimaru motioned for me to wait.
"The Gray Area might not react well to a breech. This place has
its own rules and they dont always hold true. It might work;
then again it might cause something horrible to happen. This is uncharted
water, so we should take great care with how we navigate it." He
stood up and took our hands. The fog began to materialize throughout
the room. Soon it was everywhere and we began to move. Once we came
through a door into blackness, I pulled us into a dark alley in my hometown.
It was deserted, so I began to pull the space around us into the compact
mass that warped everything around it. I made it slightly larger than
the first, but not too large. As soon as I cut the breech open they
would know exactly where I was. It would have to be closed immediately.
Urimaru went through first. Then Clemens. I could feel something gathering
behind me as I was pulled through. The sensation was less dramatic this
time and I recovered in time to prevent anyone from following us or
keeping the breech open from the other side.
It was gone and we were once more among the living.
© Brodie Parker - Begun May 10th 2004 -this
Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here
Chapter Four here
Chapter five here
I sold my soul to rock and roll right here at Hackwriters
If you like Brodie's writing, tell him so, every writer needs feedback
and nourisment Ed
Fiction in Dreamscapes
Be here next time for another exciting chapter. Only at Hackwriters
all rights reserved