The International Writers Magazine: Our
Serial: The Great Beyond - Chapter Six
'Death was supposed to be a restful break from a life in which nothing
ever made sense. I wanted my money back'.
you haven't read the previous five chapters of this amazing novel in the
making - start at Chapter
Great Beyond - Chapter V1
I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
- Emily Dickinson
that mean?" I asked. I felt that I should panic, but there is a
certain comfort that comes with the insecurity of invisibility. If no
one could see my future, no one could get and edge on me. Fencers reflexively
develop an eye for potential weakness or strength, and the more you
do it the better you get at it. It appeared I had the upper hand for
"It could mean several things. To my knowledge, there is no precedent
to learn by, therefore, we have to go with what we know. I know that
your death was no accident. This suggests that we are not the only ones
who know about your unique condition. This isnt too surprising.
We could hardly keep something like this a secret. The murderers were
likely trying to end any potential threat you pose by rubbing out your
existence at the museum. However, you didnt die in the museum,
you died on the operating table in the hospital. That thwarted their
plans to take you soul with your body." He motioned to the scroll,
and it laid itself flat on the table. The lines floated off the vellum
and formed a three dimensional grid which spun slowly around in the
space between us.
"What do you mean I was murdered. Who could have known I would
lean against the scaffold?" I relived the moment slowly. To all
appearances, it was a stupid accident. I shook the case open and gravity
took care of the rest. It was a mesmerizing shower of lovingly polished,
shining steel. My audience were all a good ten feet away. None of them
even looked at me while I was speaking, they just looked around at the
weapons on the completed sections of the display. I reflected momentarily
on the amount of garbage I had to put up with at the job I worked so
tirelessly at. I got an odd sort of satisfied thrill at their reactions
to being splattered with blood. It really got their attention.
"I think you know the answer to that question. You must have seen
it when you were watching the timestream. Think back. What did you see?"
He flicked cigar ash onto the floor, though none seemed to reach it.
"I know what youre talking about. The pattern of evil was
all too obvious. Who is it? Loki? Satan? Anghra Mainyu?"
"Of course. It has many names and faces but its all the same
evil. Call it what you will, it is the adversary, and its minions did
"This massive force came after me; after one person? Do I really
deserve that much attention?"
"The casing didnt unlock itself. Truthfully, I was surprised
to see them set such an elegant trap. I had expected a full scale assault."
He laced the timelines where they were still fighting for my survival
in a sharp blue light. He motioned to the display, and the scores of
branches arranged themselves to give a clear view of the lines with
lights following the crux. One at a time, they were sporadically fading
out. "In most instances they came at you with an army."
I watched speechless as more and more of the lights on these lines dim
and disappear. Sometimes the whole line itself followed. "What
does this mean?" My voice didnt shake because I didnt
have vocal cords, but Im sure he caught the emotion.
"It means that they are looking for you, and they wont let
anything stop them. They have succeeded on all of these lines so far
to take you out completely. Except for yours. Youre safe here;
they cant see you now or you wouldnt be here. You need to
lay low until things quieten down a bit. As you can see, in some places
entire timelines are at risk, and are being systematically combed through."
"I wont ever be safe will I?" I was beginning to be
annoyed. Death was supposed to be a restful break from a life in which
nothing ever made sense. I wanted my money back.
"Youre safe now, and you will be for as long as you want
to be. They cant see you here or anywhere on this line."
He twitched a finger and one line following from the crux lit up with
a pale red light. All the other lines moved away from it. "Even
if they knew where you were, they wouldnt be able to see you through
my defenses. Besides that, I can also teach you to hide."
"Where does that leave me?"
"You are in a position to do whatever you want. You can live your
dream of rivers of beer and rolling green fields full of topless women
for all eternity. You can reincarnate; return to the land of the living.
You can go anywhere and do anything." He paused for a moment and
returned the graph to the scroll. "There is an option I want to
present to you, though it is more dangerous and less glamorous than
your first impulse. As an invisible life force you have the potential
to fight against them with a devastating effect. I can train you to
be an agent, an instrument for the side of those of us who wage war
against the darkness. You have the gift Sloan. You have the instincts
of a fighter, and you have an advantage over any of the hunters looking
for you. This path is not for everyone, and like the enemy I have no
foresight into what you can become. I only know that I see in you the
potential for a powerful force for everything thats right in the
scheme of things."
He let the silence hang in the room while I took it in and mulled it
over. I thought about all the things I hated about the world when I
was alive. I thought about all that I had seen and heard that made my
stomach turn. I thought about all the times I felt I should have acted
when I let it slide. I thought about all the times I felt ashamed for
turning a blind eye. I helplessly gathered an accumulating picture of
the things this black force had accomplished throughout time. I thought
about all the lives of all the people erased on the timelines that were
gone forever because of me. I lingered for one last blissful moment
on the prospect of retirement in anonymity.
"The choice ultimately lies with you, of course. I can guide you
and teach you, but I cannot decide this for you. I dont think
that I would even if I could. I dont envy you."
I waited a moment before I asked. "Who would I answer to?"
"There is a sort of council that organizes resistance for our team.
They have an army of sorts, but you dont have any obligation to
tie yourself to them. Regardless of what some of them think or may tell
you. You can work independently for them after youve had enough
training, but if you do you should let me contact them for you. I know
some of the more influential members who would see me imprisoned in
a madness web for telling you this. They would grab you for themselves
and use you as they saw fit if I would let them. There are no real laws
but there are conventions we all follow and respect. Your freedom to
decide for yourself is foremost in my agenda. If I may offer a word
of advice, your greatest advantage is that of your invisibility. Keeping
your ties at a minimum for now will preserve that better than enlisting
in an organization; even as a special covert operative."
I nodded in understanding and resignation. I could see no other alternative
that would let me enjoy a decent drunken orgy of naked female flesh
with a clear conscience. "When do we start?"
A strange smile came over his face. "In some ways, you remind me
of your Uncle Jerry too. To answer your question, weve already
© Brodie Parker September 14th 2004
Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here
Chapter Four here
Chapter five here
Viva La Resistance! Exclusively
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