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The Great Beyond: a serialised novel about life beyond death
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Great Beyond XV
picked up a tail on his way to Glorias house. He didnt
make any attempt to lose it. Instead, he made himself as conspicuous
as possible. Being back among the living bothered him a bit.
came back from the dead Sloan. Most people wouldnt handle
that too well."
Especially the smells.
These could be duplicated easily on the other side, but usually they
arent. Most people would rather not remember what a paper mill
or a sewer smells like after they no longer have any use for them. The
people on this side had such different attitudes than he was used to
dealing with. He could smell fear and sweat everywhere. Such distantly
familiar sensations made him think back to when he was young. He ran
a finger along an invisible scar on his right forearm, tracing the line
and reliving the day from so long ago on which he received it. This
scar was not apparent when Sloan had finished his training and he had
revealed the scars which his students gave him. This one was much older
and had an entirely different connotation associated with it. It was
a scar left by an enemy; his first true enemy.
Whatever trait inherent in their bloodline that made them so dangerous
to the darkness was not exclusive to Sloan or Jerry. His family were
well aware of their unique nature and had tried to hide him from danger
until he was ready. They almost succeeded. Urimaru could still see the
stranger coming at him with a sword. He could still smell the air and
the grass outside his home. He could still feel the hot sting as the
edge of the weapon split his skin apart. It wasnt a fatal blow
by any means. It was quickly stitched and cleaned after his guardians
had chased away the assassin. They never caught him, but they never
saw him or any like him again. The blade was poisoned as well. He could
still smell that too. It had been neutralized and his arm was saved,
but the infection that managed to take hold refused to release him.
His mortal body soon collapsed and he began his second life. During
the countless years which followed he had considered tracking his assailant
down, but never seemed to find time for it. There was always something
that kept him preoccupied. But today the same scent that he remembered
from ages past hung around the man in the back of the bus he was on.
The man who watched his every move. This was unmistakably the same man.
He was followed off of the bus and across several city blocks. When
he was less than half a mile from Glorias house he rounded a corner
out of sight from the man and quickly disguised himself like a chameleon
as a part of the building he was next to. There were a few bystanders
in the immediate area but they were out of sight. When the man was past
him he dropped the cover and followed silently. When he was sure they
wouldnt be seen he whistled. When the man turned Urimaru made
an obscene gesture and the fight began. It ended in seconds. The mans
arms were broken and useless. They were sprawled in dozens of obscene
angles on the pavement, hanging loosely from his shoulders. Urimaru
sat on his chest and began to ask questions. When he didnt get
them he slowly increased the density of his cells. Soon he knew everything
he needed and the mans chest collapsed under the weight. Blood
erupted out of his mouth, nose, ears and anus staining the wall of the
building nearby and the ground for several feet. Urimaru quickly pulled
up a web of energy completely encasing the body. This was similar to
the web used on Sloan, but instead of destroying the soul with the body
it merely kept it there. Charon, or Bootman as Sloan called him would
be by later to collect, and he would have to explain. He made a mental
note to thank him for delivering Sloan as he hadnt had the time.
He set up a temporary residence in an abandoned building within shouting
distance of Glorias house. When he was ready he busied himself
with traps and wards to keep the undesirables away, then set up a routine
for patrolling the area. There were three more before nightfall. Once
he had dispatched them he contacted Jerry.
Jerry Tucker was standing on a dock on a large lake at his familys
ancestral home. He was breathing in the air coming in off of the water
and remembering. His sister was living in the old house several yards
from the dock. She was spending her days painting, reading and taking
walks around the place where they grew up together. Jerrys death
was hard on her, but Sloans was slowly killing her. She had visitors
often. Gloria and Sloans friends would bring her food and flowers
and much needed company. Fortunately none of the unwelcome guests had
appeared yet, but he had met one on the way there. The meeting had been
quick and violent, and what remained of him was in the water under the
dock wrapped in a stasis web with the soul intact. He lingered at the
dock until dark then started walking in a large circle through the fields
and the forest he knew so well. There were others coming, and he felt
sure their associate under the dock would have company soon. He didnt
bother with any of the fancy traps that Urimaru was so fond of. He kept
it simple with a few alarms that only he would hear and wards on all
the doors, windows and any other possible entrances to the house. When
he heard from Urimaru the moon was just rising over the water.
"All quiet on your end?"
"Just a shadow I picked up on the way. I never thought Id
be standing here again. I built a place like this once, but it just
wasnt the same. Ill have to thank Sloan for this. Have you
heard from him?"
"Not yet. I have a small pile of bodies building up. I had a follower
too, then three more stopped by. Theyre in stasis in a building
nearby. These arent from the council. Not one of them. They havent
sent anyone after Gloria yet. I dont know what theyre waiting
for. The council is smart enough to know where we are. Even without
spies they know what were up to on this side. Do you think theyre
scared of Sloan?"
Jerry thought for a moment. "Possibly. I dont think so though.
They dont know him as well as we do. Theyre probably still
in the middle of a power struggle. By now the dust should be settling,
but on this side theres no way of knowing. My guess is that theyre
regrouping and the force they send against us will be massive. These
annoyances weve met today are nothing. The real fight has yet
to come." He was about to mention his concern over Sloans
silence when his voice sounded clearly in their minds.
"Any problems yet?"
"Where are you?" Jerry continued his walk along a trail through
"North. I spoke with the guys already. Theyre prepared and
theyll be out to check on Gloria and Ma over the next few days.
They gave me a tip on something I have to check out. I should be back
in another day or so."
"What do you mean you spoke to them?" Urimaru interrupted.
"You told them who you were?"
"Sure. I need my hands free. There are four of them. I cant
watch them all every second of the day."
"And they arent looking up psychiatrists?"
"What do you mean?"
"You came back from the dead Sloan. Most people wouldnt handle
that too well."
"Theyre ok. I convinced them and they know everything now.
They had to cope with the shock of it, but they can handle it. They
arent like most people. My friends are the kind of people who
expect completely impossible things to happen at any moment. They know
me and they know its real."
"What are you doing there?" Jerry cut in.
"Im looking in on someone. Something isnt right here.
As soon as Im finished Ill get back to you. I cant
tell you anything else until I find out more myself."
"All right. Hurry back. Theres going to be plenty of action
and you arent going to want to miss it." Jerry felt the connection
abruptly end. He spoke with Urimaru for a while before setting up watch
on the roof of the house. The night was clear and warm like the calm
before a storm. The storm would come soon enough. Until then he would
rest under the familiar constellations of his youth and remember better
© Brodie Parker - Begun
May 10th 2004 - this Chapter June 2005
Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here
Chapter Four here
Chapter five here
Chapter Fifteen here
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