About Us

Contact Us


The 21st Century

Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters
Dreamscapes 1
Dreamscapes 2
Lifestyles 2

The International Writers Magazine
The Great Beyond: a serialised novel about life beyond death Chapter Twelve
If you haven't read the previous twelve chapters start at Chapter One here

The Great Beyond XIII
Brodie Parker

The three of us were enclosed deep within the catacombs of Urimaru’s 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 of assailants.

I broke the silence with an open thought to both of them. "I’m sorry I got you mixed up in this. They won’t stop until they have all three of us; either side. We’re men without a country. Maybe I can find a way to make it up to you someday if you’ll forgive me."
They both just stared at me long enough to make me uncomfortable. They didn’t look angry though. If anything they looked puzzled. "Son,." said Clemens "We’re both grownups. We’re 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 isn’t supposed to exist though."
"You two are the only allies I have. Other than Bootman you’re the only people I’ve met on this side who have been so much as cordial to me. I’ll never be able to repay you."
"We’re blood Sloan. Family. Kindred. Again you don’t owe anything." Urimaru dismissed my concern with a wave of his hand.
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, I’ve cost you your job and you’ve done nothing but help me since we met. I feel that I’ve wronged you."
He smiled softly and breathed a deep mental sigh. "Like Urimaru said, we’re blood. No debt is owed."

That caught me by surprise, but before I could react an alert sounded from one of Urimaru’s wards. They were upon us. Urimaru swore colorfully and changed the subject. "We have to get out of here now. I didn’t expect them to find us this quickly. We don’t have long. My defenses won’t 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 wasn’t 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 wouldn’t be easy for them under the best of circumstances. While we’re 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 don’t have any allegiance to either side of the great war. They do their own thing and as long as no one bothers them they don’t bother anyone. There isn’t 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. That’s 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 I’ve tried to do something about it, but it’s gone too far."
"Are we safe here?"
"For now. So we should get started. First, we know that they won’t ever stop. Not now. I don’t 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 weren’t there."

I began to understand. If I could get through the council’s defenses, why not the enemy’s 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 wouldn’t have been as merciful had you not been there. In the end, Sharper got what he wanted. You spared him from Shugg’s wrath, even if you didn’t deliver the killing stroke. Shugg didn’t 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 it."
"He wanted my help to destroy his master. Or so he said. I could feel the enchantment around me, but it didn’t seem very strong. I broke out of it easily. I don’t 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. "I’m not qualified to guess at what you’ll 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 you’re safe for now. They won’t 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. "It’s 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 can’t afford to let anyone get to you. The results would be catastrophic."
"Why don’t 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.
"There’s nothing on the other side that they can send at us that any one of us can’t 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. We’ll leave after we finish these drinks."
"Why don’t 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 it’s own rules and they don’t 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 Chapter 6.04.2005

Missed Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here

Chapter Four here
Chapter five here

Chapter Six here
Chapter Seven here
Chapter Eight here
Chapter Nine here
Chapter Ten here
Chapter Eleven here
Chapter Twelve here
Chapter Fourteen 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

More Fiction in Dreamscapes

More First Chapters

Be here next time for another exciting chapter. Only at Hackwriters…


© Hackwriters 1999-2005 all rights reserved