Fiction – novel chapter 1
It came on during the night. Early this time, much earlier than I was expecting. The heaviness started in my chest, and spread. I recognized it immediately but it still made me tear up. Damn! I struggled to fight off the comforter, sit up and put my feet on the floor. I couldn’t just lie here and have Nan wake in a few hours with the results. I had a good life with her, uneventful, “normal” if you will. 25 years of marriage. She was loyal and loving. It had been a calm and happy life. This was going to break her heart as it was, I didn’t want it to be more difficult. I managed to move quietly and head out of the room. I walked unsteadily down the hall. Cloe’s bedroom door was closed but I paused to open it and watch her sleep for a moment. She was heading to university in Boulder in a few months. I really didn’t want this to delay her plans. The pain returned and I knew I had to make it to my office. I paused again at the top of the stair, more to let the wave of pain and nausea pass before I attempted to make my way down. I had a moment of anger, this was too early! Halfway down the stairs, I had to sit down. My vision began to blur and it took a precious 5 minutes to get moving once more. I finally made it to the office. I fell back into my chair, shook the computer mouse and brought up a new document. I concentrated. Finally typing with two fingers, between panting breaths, it wouldn’t be much longer. Another wave of searing pain shot through my nerve endings. I typed through tears. “I love you, live beautiful lives and I’ll see you soonnnnnnniofj;lak.”
I fell out of the chair, my left side limp and useless. I struggled to pull myself around my desk. In my flailing I had knocked our family photo off the edge. I wanted to see their smiles as I died. I hate the pain, there is always pain. My fingertips brushed the frame and everything went dark. My last thoughts of this life, “this was just too soon.”
Then light passed through and into me. It flooded my soul and made my entire being transparent. I held onto myself. Clung to my memories and just as the light peeked, I forced my will through the veil. Spinning the Void, I watched as flashes of light shimmered beyond the veil. Each flash, a life ending, a soul being cleansed. The colors ebbed and glowed then turned a soft silvery hue. That was the turning, that moment when the soul lost its memories from the prior life. Occasionally, the soul darkened, darkened until it faded completely. I believed that was the result of a soul so damaged it couldn’t be cleaned. I wasn’t certain.
I thought about the transfiguration, this process of the soul, and wondered how many times I had passed through to silver before I had ‘awakened’ and stopped completing the journey. While I had no body, lungs, organs, no physical form, in my mind I sighed and thought about Nan and Chloe. I sent them good will and happy thoughts. Even though I had rotated much early than normal, I learned hundreds of years ago to have a plan in place for those I cared about and frankly to make my next life easier. Most of the time it worked wonderfully. Nan and Chloe would have few monetary needs after my death. They would have every chance in the world to live successful and beautiful lives. It was up to them to make the choices to take those opportunities.
I floated in bliss, the void was indescribable. There was no time here. There was nothing and at once everything. The best I could come up with was that moment, when a loved child drifted to sleep in the arms of a caring parent. Safe, warm, loved. That was the Void. Other souls floated here too. All waiting to be called. I didn’t see the familiar blue hue of others like me, other immortals. No matter, we would find each other, on this side or the other. I willed myself toward the Senders. I was the only purposeful motion among the millions of souls. In my thoughts, the sender resembled bight, glowing, energy octopus. Their tentacles sweeping souls toward their beaks, intelligence beyond measure in their eyes. I swear one winked at me as I moved into the energy of its arm and let it take me toward its cavernous opening. I passed through, again into penetrating light and cycled into awareness.
The external sound was muffled, warmth, fluid, motion. I would reawaken, remember my prior lives, once I passed through early childhood purity. Every entity was different. I began to feel the fog of innocence pressing on my thoughts. I thought again of Nan and past happiness. It would be years before I remembered. I relaxed and settled in for the months long wait. Softly I drifted into the sleep of virtue.