The International Writers Magazine: THE GREAT BEYOND - A Dreamscapes
you haven't read the previous chapters start at Chapter
-in the afterlife seeking revenge
scene of the crime was crowded. My sword display was completed
without the slightest change in my original design. I couldn't
have finished it better myself. It took weeks of subtle manipulation
and cajoling to put the project into motion. I retained full creative
license of every aspect of it, and as a consequence wound up doing
almost all of the work.
I had to track every weapon down and personally see to its delivery.
I had to build the display and arrange everything on it in the limited
time allotted to me in the room I managed to have reserved. By default
it was my masterpiece. It did my heart good to see it appreciated. It
didn't make any difference if the site of my death was a gruesome novelty
to our community's limited cross-section of art lovers. I put some of
my life and plenty of my blood into the project. I wanted it appreciated
by as many people as possible. There was even a little memorial to the
dearly departed, tastefully displayed at the entrance to the exhibit.
I'd lay down twenty to one against the museum director having anything
to do with that. It was Gloria's handiwork. I suddenly missed her terribly.
The crowd started to unsettle me. There were a lot of unfamiliar faces.
No one I recognized from any of the local museum patrons. I decided
to come back after hours to begin the hunt in earnest. Until then I
decided to check up on my leftovers. Ma didn't look so good. She had
a lot more gray in her hair and a lot more laugh lines on her face.
I told myself they were laugh lines anyway; I had to. I sat with her
for a while and I told her a few things; as if she could hear me. She
started crying, so I shut up and left in a hurry.
My closest friends were in the back room of our hideout. We all shared
ownership of a large studio which we remodeled and used for everything.
Roach was playing a Final Fantasy game. He was the biggest help I had
with my designs, and leg work at the museum. Hes the worlds
greatest couch potato. Anthony was yelling into a phone while crunching
numbers on a 10 key calculator. He doubled as curator pro tem and assistant
to the director. I owed all of the credit for getting my proposal considered
and approved by the boss to him. He's the hardest working man I have
Thomas was practicing with a boken sword; swinging it around in his
own vicious kata. Thomas turned me on to swords and fencing in the first
place. If I could recruit him, he would get a kick out of Urimaru's
training course. He would probably have an easier time with it than
I did too. Hes a dangerous man.
Bob was drinking at the bar and using the empty bottles to construct
Bohr models of carbon atoms. Of all of them, we had known each other
the longest. He looked like he'd just lost his best friend. Bob wasn't
drinking alone though. They were all steadily amassing empty bottles
in small clusters within an arms reach of where they were. This wasn't
unusual; beer was the first item on the menu in our kitchen. What was
unusual, was that they were all drinking my brand. We all have vastly
different tastes in booze, so this was a tribute to me.
I left them after a while to look in on Gloria. I was saving her for
last. She was sitting quietly in our living room with the lights off.
She looked exhausted and drained. I watched her for a while and thought
about how much I missed her. I stopped thinking about time, and it stretched
out longer and longer. The seconds crawled by slowly until one stretched
itself into a near stop; bringing everything to a standstill. I had
toyed with time dilation after training, but didn't think much of it.
It came naturally this time, like a reflex triggered by emotion. I didn't
stop to analyze it because I couldn't get my attention off of her. After
an eternity of this, it broke suddenly with the doorbell. It split the
air like a thunderclap. She jumped and gathered herself before she left
the room. She came back in followed by a guy I met at a party held at
her office last year. I didn't think much of him then, and I was liking
him less and less by the moment. He sat next to her on the couch; much
too close for my comfort. A few red flags went off in my psyche. I began
to sweat anger. The air around me felt thicker somehow. My mind raced
for a way across the barrier. Urimaru told me there were two ways. Start
over from birth, or force another soul from a living body. I couldn't
I saw it coming before she did.
He started moving closer, and soon she was forcing his hands away. He
pressed the issue, so she used a few things I taught her on him. He
went down quickly, but I was almost too angry to be proud. My skin felt
hot and the space around me was definitely getting thicker, or more
dense. I reached out to touch it, and found that I could gather it into
a clump. Space bent and warped around it as I forced it all into a tight
wad of nothing, no bigger than a spitball. She was still fighting him
off while I worked frantically. He had the longer reach, and she was
in no shape for fighting; it was only a matter of time. He got a clear
shot of her stomach and doubled her over. When he slapped her, I drew
my sword without thinking. Acting on blind instinct I stabbed the small
mass of space with surgical precision...and was instantly sucked through
a breach no larger than a paper cut. I was suddenly among the living
once again. Standing behind them in my living room, I was too stunned
to move for several breaths. It took me a while to realize what had
just happened. When I could, I grabbed him from behind and threw him
across the room where he crashed into the wall and collapsed in a heap.
Gloria was scrambling back and staring at me with a look I can't describe;
shock and horror and disbelief and maybe love too.
"Are you all right?" I asked stupidly. She promptly fainted.
I picked her up and put her gently on the couch. Then I turned my attention
on her assailant. He put up a little resistance before he caught sight
of the sword. I knocked him down and loomed over him menacingly. "You
know," I said glancing back over my shoulder at Gloria, "it
may be cliché, but it's true. You don't really appreciate something
you truly value until you lose it." I looked down at him and lowered
the point of the sword over his crotch. "Take for example, your
testicles. You look like the kind of guy who takes his balls entirely
for granted. So here's what's going to happen. You have five days to
quit your job, move to another state and forget you ever saw her. I'll
be back to check. I won't bother going into what the consequences will
be should I find you working or living anywhere near here five days
from now." For emphasis, I stabbed the point of the sword into
the carpet between his thighs, splitting open the fabric of his soiled
jeans. He screamed, then threw up, then passed out.
I picked up the phone and adjusted my vocal chords. When Anthony answered,
he heard Gloria's voice begging for help, then I dropped the phone.
Three minutes later, the four of them burst through the front door.
I put the tip of my sword into the pinpoint I came through still in
the air, and it pulled me back through just as sharply leaving me just
as stunned as the first pass over. I easily dissipated the mass like
a stiff breeze clearing out a fog, and it faded back into blankness
as if it was never there. There was no sign of the tear I had made.
They found the two unconscious bodies as I left them. Anthony took care
of Gloria while the others took turns working him over in the backyard.
I watched for a while before I noticed it was getting late. I left wondering
just how I had managed to stumbled onto a way back and forth between
the worlds of life and death, and whether or not I should tell anyone.
The museum was empty except for the guard making his rounds. I always
liked it best when it was empty. I used to walk around it at night,
and look at everything in the moonlight. Like all good museums, it was
designed to make the best use of natural light while keeping out the
elements. Under the uncovered skylights, the halls would glow by the
light of a full moon, and everything would seem somehow to be fundamentally
Tonight was no different. I looked down, and lo and behold I was being
followed by a moonshadow. My shadow was painted in blackness there on
the floor behind me. It shouldn't have been, I was still behind the
scenes. But the moon is an odd bird, and my shadow has a mind of its
The remnants of the spell were still in place. It had eight corners
and formed a cubical cage inside the exhibit. The trigger was on the
scaffold, and once activated the spell contracted tightly on its target.
I studied it long enough to find the clues I needed. My fingerprints
stood out on the trigger, easy to distinguish. Sharper had practically
written his name on it; like he was advertising. I had an instinct that
poked me in the ribs. Either he was arrogant to a fault, he wanted someone
to find him or he was being set up. I refused to believe that he was
this stupid. No matter. I had his number, and he would be the first.
I was bringing judgment to his doorstep.
© Brodie Parker Jan 2005
Don't miss the toe curling action
next time at Hackwriters...
Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here
Chapter Four here
Chapter five here
Chapter Twelve 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
all rights reserved