Of Love and Death – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 13

book 1

“It’s alright, Sila… don’t… don’t worry.”

The branches of darkness poured down to Winnie’s body and wrapped around her, then began to lift her up. As she cleared the liquid the void grew much larger. Wider and wider. Then it swallowed her whole and slowly turned a pale shade of purple. The two beings raised their encircling arms and the pale cloud of shrank. Then the they slowly lowered their arms and the cloud evaporated and with Winnie.

“That was so beautiful, Daddy. Where is she now?”

I was weeping, but I was more concerned with Sila’s grief than my own.

“I don’t know, sweetie but I’ll find her… don’t worry… I promise”

The two beings turned and looked at us and then looked back at each other. Then they looked up and we looked up with them to the light above us before it flashed and brought us back to that crowded place where we had come from. But without the two strange beings. Sila led me to an area where a line of people were throwing themselves into a pool of vibrating sand. The little grains bounced and hummed around each person as they fell into the pool and rippled like water before settling again. Numb, I didn’t ask, I just followed and when Sila dropped into it I threw myself into the pool after her and suddenly found myself on a patch of sand looking up at the sky.

“James?”

“Ola??”

“James, where have you been?”

“Mam… Winnie is dead.”

“What?? James?”

“Winnie and I were somewhere and we were brought back here but when she came back she was dead. I don’t even know how that’s possible.”

“Oh, James, you have so much to learn. Did she progress?”

“Two things took her and there was a cloud of purple… ”

“… pale or dark?”

“What?”

“The purple, was it pale or dark purple.”

“Eh, pale pur…”

“… oh, thank god!”

“What?”

“James, people die here too. But when they die they go somewhere else. It’s called “Progression”. Those two things you saw are like priests. They pass the deader on to wherever it is they go.”

“You don’t know where they go?!”

“It’s like back on earth, James; there’s only rumours, but nobody knows for sure.”

“What about the other planets?”

“What?”

“We met other gods. We were in strange places. Other worlds.”

“That’s “The Push”. It’s like a test. If someone remarries on earth the person they marry has to go through a gauntlet to prove themselves but, James, I’m sorry but they always die. That’s why Winnie was progressed. She can’t be hear with you. It’s against the rules.”

“ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING!?”

“I’m sorry, James. Everyone goes through this. We were… ”

“NO, Ola! I’M the sorry one. I can’t lie about Winnie… I love her.”

“I know, James. I could see it in you when she arrived… ”

“… I didn’t mean to hurt you, Ola.”

“I know.”

“We had something perfect, didn’t we?”

“We did. Thank you for loving me, James. You made life so sweet.”

Her tears came then and Sila hugged her and I hugged them both. It was the first time all three of us embraced as one. I can’t say that it didn’t feel good but that feeling was for Sila, not me. All my life I’d wanted to be the best man I could be and all through losing Ola and then restarting life with Winnie I kept that want alive inside myself. When I became a father I was able to bolster that wish. But in that moment, holding Ola and Sila, I had a dark thought, and when the moment passed it stayed with me.

“Ola, can I talk to you in private?”

The sand that we had come there through was outside a large wavering bubble of leaf-like sheets of metal. Ola kissed Sila and sent her inside their domed abode and as she walked to the bubble an opening appeared in its surface and Sila walked inside. It was just another new thing that was in fact quite beautiful, but not what mattered to me.

“I know what you’re going to say, James and the answer is no. If you kill yourself you won’t progress. You’ll be ended.”

““Ended”?”

“It’s reserved for the worst offenses. Suicide on earth or here, molesters and rapists, all of them are taken away and through a similar ritual to progression they cease to exist. Either here, on earth or anywhere else. They are destroyed, James.”

“Ola, thank you. So much. You’re so kind to me after I went and fell in love with someone else. And now you’re helping me. I can’t ever repair you.”

She just smiled and rubbed my cheek with the back of her hand. I knew that she still loved me but it was different. It was still sweet and kind but the connection we had before was broken. It was kind of sad actually, but beautiful in its tragedy – Ola could never be anything but. She was just that kind of person. I grabbed her and hugged her as only family can and we went inside to Sila where we ate.

At first we ate in silence but it was obvious to the girls that I wasn’t able to calm myself. In the corner of my eye I saw them looking at one another every other minutes until after a half hour of playing with my food I stood.

“I’m sorry Sila, Ola, I have to go.”

I kissed them both on their foreheads and as I left Sila stood but Ola took her by the wrist then gently shook her head and smiled. It hurt to leave but in her mother’s care she was in the safest possible place. I didn’t know what to do or if I’d even see them again but I had to try. Winnie would have done the same for me.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

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