The second Blue Flame novel –
There is a wiki database to reference names, although you can certainly ask me questions as well.The Other Side of Life
Chapter Two: Part Two
Calliope and Greg went back to work. She took her time attempting to have the people truly feel peace before dying. He went to work doing his best to make those that continued to live to have a real chance at survival. Finally, they looked at each other feeling that their work was done.
“We need to speak to War,” Greg said. “This scene is going to be repeated, and I just cannot make it.”
Calliope said, “Come, I will take you home.”
“No. I am going to Peace.” She could not help the strange expression that came to her face as she focused on him while he said, “You know, I have not seen your room.”
“You have a wife. Come on. I will take you to her.”
“No. Nothing against Vefillaya, but I have been coming home, having sex, sleeping, then rushing out again only to come back and repeat. I got to break this routine, Calli. I am going to Peace.”
With the calamity over, he reverted to his true form. Calliope thus could see the dark lines around his eyes. That caused her to be really concerned for him.
Arriving at Peace with him, she pulled him toward his room, but felt him tug in another direction. “Your room, Calli. Really, I haven’t seen it.”
“You have plants and birds, and a dragon in your room, Greg. You have things that need and want your presence.”
“This is Peace. They are fine. Let me see your room.”
She really wanted to argue with him. He however was correct. He had not seen her room. Calliope turned to trudge in that direction wanting to explain things to him. She however felt it just best if he saw for himself. She had no dragon, nothing alive in her room, so simply allowed that he might actually get some rest.
Stepping through the portal of green light, she ran into his back. Calliope did not bother attempting to push him forward. She simply went around him, and began turning back the blankets on her bed. She knew what he was going to say, and simply waited for him to say it. He held his place looking around, then finally said the words.
“Over two hundred years, and nothing?”
The ones that had his room before him were women. He was also the representation of life. His room thus had plants, bright colors, and cute little mementoes. It was men that had once held the status of Death. Her room was black with the only color from bright tassels hanging from weapons. On one wall actually was a classic reaping tool. Similar weapons, although smaller in size were on other walls. Not a room for a lady at all.
“Yes, Greg, these blankets are mine. Made them myself. The silk I went back to purchase.”
She moved to point to a corner where a sturdy wooden desk had been converted into a vanity. Peace was the only place where she could truly get away from her job. Her hair had color. Her eyes were blue. Her body actually had warmth. Even in the sanctuary of Peace, she however felt that he could tell the cosmetics were old.
“I will make myself attractive for you, if you desire.” She felt tears come to her eyes as she said, “It does not matter. When I leave it all goes white.”
He moved close to hold her as he replied, “You are attractive to me, Calli. Don’t feel bad, I haven’t even done that much to my room. We don’t need to be forgotten however. We both need to make our changes.”
“Can I make myself attractive?”
He sat down on the bed as he said, “You can do whatever you like, Calli. I am honored. I however do not know if I can stay awake.”
“Do you want to have sex?”
“Vefillaya has sex with me when I am like this. I sleep well enough, until I get awakened.”
Memories of his wife, and the period of her attempting to gain Greg as her husband came to Calliope. She actually considered Vefillaya a friend. Love of Greg, and knowing his wife, Calliope felt that she had to put the man to sleep.
He was barely conscious as he cleaned himself. Returning to the bed, she pulled the silk sheets over his comatose body. She then turned to look at her room. Coming to a decision, she moved to the desk and began working on her appearance.
Staring at herself in a mirror, Calliope for the first time in a long while actually saw herself as a fourteen year-old girl. She always thought of herself as a mature lady. She however looked at her reflection and realized just how much life she had to look forward to. The sight did not bring her comfort, but actually scared her.
She left the room and headed to another that she knew well. She looked at the common room surprised that Chisel, Eternity, was not present. He usually was. Shetaile also was one that considered this place home. Sitting on one of the recliners was however the person that she was looking for.
Vabrey was the representative of War. He personified the essence of cosmic struggle. Calliope remembered having a hard time actually understanding what he represented. Like the rest of the immortals, he did not have any instructions about what he could or could not do, or how things should be done. What he said was that he could cause people to see beyond their petty squabbles. Most of the time they felt small, and quit their activities. Sometimes they became inspired to even do greater things. Vabrey would talk about his work, and that gave Calliope the hope that she might gain her and Greg some peace.
He listened, and shared his food with her. Just like everyone else that Calliope ever dealt with, he treated her as an equal. Vabrey did recognize that she was a member of the opposite sex, but made no comment about her age.
“Yeah, Calliope, I will go check it out. I agree that a conflict should not be aggression on the regular people. I am not going to promise how I see the circumstances, but I will check it out and let you know. How is Greg?”
“He is asleep in my room. The man has been worked rather hard lately.”
“Yeah. He is generally there either with you or Shetaile. Some live, some die. If it is the land, it is Shetaile. If it is the people, it is you. In either case, it is Greg. All that work is probably hard on his marriage.”
“No. Vefillaya is a strong lady. Still, he should be able to find rest with her, and not have to hide out here.”
He stopped eating. Calliope watched as he grabbed a mug, then drained it as if it were almost empty. After wiping his mouth, he spoke while rising.
“That is what I was doing. I was attempting to find a place where I could get some sleep away from where my CO could wake me. Two men decided to have an argument however, and I had to move out and give them my opinion on their dispute. I heard someone mimicking my words behind me, turned, grabbed him, then rammed my fist into his mouth. Next thing that you know, I am the personification of War. Not really a bad job.” He reached out to touch her on the shoulder as he said, “I don’t mind doing this. You always have been one of the hardest workers.”
He was turning to leave, but Calliope felt a need to stop him. “Vabrey?” When he turned back to her, she asked, “How old do you think I am? I know that you are not human, but I would still appreciate your answer.”
The representation of war was not human. He would be a centaur, had his body been narrow. His stocky quadraped form actually had him looking like someone that always battled. Calliope however watched his eyes feeling that he could see the truth.
“You’re young, ain’t ya?”
“Yes, I am young.”
“For a girl, that’s good – right? I mean, you will one day make some man a good wife. Bear him lots of kids.”
She rose from where she had been eating with him to answer. “Yes. That is what I want to do – one day.”
He moved back to her with an expression of concern on his face. “So, what bothers you?”
She tapped the side of her head as she replied, “I am not young up here.”
“Calliope, we men never understand you women anyway, but your presence in our life sure is a blessing. You let a man ravish and love your body, and you bear him all those children. He will praise you through eternity no matter what is in your head.”
Those words really did not please her. She did want her husband to consider her attractive. Calliope however wanted him to love her for more than just the sex.
“But, Vabrey, Greg says that all of this should not be lost.”
“It’s not lost, Callope. Anne, the muse of History will assure you of that. It just all goes on to the higher plane. The struggle here continues. We don’t know what we are doing. Your replacement won’t know what he or she is doing. Life goes on. I believe we actually get to exchange notes on the other side. That is what I hope, anyway. I want to sit around with the others that held this position, and get drunk while reminiscing about our mistakes.”
“Don’t you think that it would help if we did know what we were doing?”
“Nope. I believe that it would just make us responsible. That is why most here don’t stay here for long. They begin to figure things out, then make a mistake and find themselves held responsible. You, you keep working. That is why you still have your job.”
“So, all I have to do is quit?”
He stepped back closer to her as he asked, “You not thinking of doing that, are ya?”
“Yes, I am thinking. Nothing more right now, but I am thinking.”
“Yeah, Calliope, I want to talk with you. Let me go do this. Expect me to stay for a while, so I won’t quickly come back with my report. You are really a good Death, and I would like to do what I can to keep you.”