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 Six: Part One
“Ah, Calliope, come here darling.”
I did not recognize her. She was old and lying on a number of hides, then covered by many more. Necklaces of shells covered the sides of her pillow. Plates of polished stone were set on poles behind the bed. The lady was obviously very much respected. I looked around at the number of people kneeling in the room, and in looking at one young lady I knew in whose presence I had come.
“Denidroe. I hope that you have had a happy life.”
“And you, Calliope, have you now accepted your place among the real immortals?”
The people looked up with many having expressions of wanting to see what the elder lady saw. Some cupped their ears hoping to hear what she heard. I discarded the apparition of my duty accepting that I could face this lady as I was.
“No. I have lost my taste for this job. I lost my place as well, but found myself without any security should I return home. A chance came for me to return to this position, and I took it. I however am now studying with someone from my homeland to assure that next time I can go home.” I looked around to say, “I would like this.”
“I, who was Life, have surely returned to find it in a different way. These around me are all blessings, but I helped so much more as one of the immortals. If I had regained the office, I would not ever have wanted to leave it.”
“There is a man who now holds your office. The ladies that replaced you did not last long. I don’t know what happened, but the last one lost her place rather mysteriously. Greg did not gain the status of Life in the usual manner, but he is working out wonderfully.”
She straightened out some of the covers on a spot on the side of the bed as she said, “Come here, Calliope. Let us talk for a time.”
I stayed standing. “I came because I was called, Denidroe. Vabrey, you should remember him.”
“Yes, the quadraped. He had the personality for War I thought. Nice as could be, if you handled his style of speech and behavior.”
“Yes, well I spoke with him while sharing a meal. The new Life, Greg, he is concerned because there are no records of us who served. He feels that so much knowledge has been lost. Vabrey however said that it was supposed to be lost. Our innocence was a blessing, because if we knew what we were doing then we could be held responsible. He said that once he dies he plans on getting drunk while speaking to the previous ones that were War and speaking of each other’s mistakes.”
I heard in her laughter the sound of her dying. While a smile played on her face, I could tell that she was in pain. She however patted the side of the bed and again told me to come sit with her. All in the room gasped when the bed did react to my presence.
“I have so much family,” Denidroe said while waving her hands to the host around her, “that my friends are not allowed in. You however have a place here, and I do consider you a friend. I am glad to have you here, Calliope.”
“It is nice having friends.” I really did not know what to talk about. “Oh, Denidroe, do you know anything about the dragon in your room?”
“Eddie? You told me that his name was Eddie, Calliope.”
“That is right. It was Bezilny that told me. That dragon must be extremely old.”
“I never could figure out how it got there. I always felt that it was one of those Jubridors transformed, but I never could prove it.”
I smiled thinking to tell Greg that idea. She was correct that we could not bring anyone to Peace. Some of the men had tried, but found that when they held anything living that the path to Peace could not be found. Greg however might have the mind to actually discover a method.
“Chisel has mentioned to the one that now holds your position that he is scared of someone taking his place.”
“No. He is one of the real immortals. Chisel held that office before you, Calliope, and now represents it. He cannot be replaced. You are the same, Calliope. The universe is blessed with you as Death.”
I looked to the room and almost wept as I said, “I want this, Denidroe. I want this so badly.”
“Oh, it is something, isn’t it? I am not going to say that I am not proud of them all. I am so ready to leave it however. It has been a hard life, and I am so tired. Calliope, I did call you, but I also want you to know that I missed you. I am glad to have a friend at my side.”
“I thank you, Denidroe. I however want the years to pass and for me to have this moment. As Death I am doomed to stay on this side, and I know nothing of what you have coming.”
“You tell Vabrey that the longer he holds office, the longer he has to drink himself drunk while speaking with the others. The same with you, Calliope. The longer you hold your position, the more you will have to take with you to the other side. This great family around me is something to be proud of, but I know many foolish ladies who left with the same, if not more. My memories, my stories, my life, is what makes me strong in facing the unknown. I lost my position as Life, but I realize now what I gave up. You have a similar blessing, Calliope. You share all these intimate final moments with people. There is so much to you. Giving it up for all the petty concerns of children, men, and the daily problems of life does not rate in comparison to what I had and what you still have.”
I heard her words, but they did not sink in. I could not deny their truth. I however felt that her words matched her personality, and not mine.
“We who are immortal are not superior. What you have here is truly what the great creator considers important. I feel the desire to return to this plane of existence, gain a husband, and do what is necessary to hopefully have all this around me.”
“Will you hug me, Calliope?”
Tears came to my eyes as I said, “If I hug you, you will die.”
“Is there a better way to go?”
“No. I am glad to see you go in this manner, Denidroe. Thank you for claiming me to be your friend.”
I did hug her. I cried as I felt the life go from her body. Family could not see or hear me, but they saw that the elderly lady had her arms wrapped about someone. Letting them have time with the venerable remains, I fled to Peace, to my room, and wailed to release my sorrow.
Finally composing myself, I left for the common room. Chisel was not there. I saw Zithiny. He really was not considered one of the active agents, but he did usually stay out in the universe and not about Peace. Prastus was also present. I looked to both as I found myself unable to determine the location of Chisel.
I went ahead and asked my question before the two could ask me. I saw them both look confused as they also could not answer. Finally, I guess out of frustration, Prastus blurted a simple response to my question.
“I guess that he is busy, Calliope.”
“Well, I can certainly be found when about my business. You can as well.”
Zithiny might have been attempting to change the subject, although he could have read the expression on my face. “You look troubled, Calliope.”
“I just sat with Denidroe. She called me a friend. She also said something else about me, and included Chisel. I thus want to talk to him about what she said.”
Both men knew Denidroe. Prastus had not been immortal for long, but he had gained his position in the later years of her. Truthfully, three ladies had served as Life between Denidroe and Greg, but the number of years had not been that many. Both men asked about her. I told them about the size of the family around her, and said that due to their number she only had me as a friend in her final moments. Those words almost caused me to begin crying again, so I left.
I cannot say that I knew where I was going. Greg speaks of flying about the universe. Zithiny does as well. I do not fly. I travel by unknown paths that have no correlation to the distances between worlds. I simply rushed through cosmic corridors attempting to find my way to Chisel.
“You want me, Calliope?”
How I ended up in deep space I cannot say, but I ignored my surroundings as I faced the one that was Eternity. “Yes, I want you. Why couldn’t I find you? I can find anyone else. What makes your life so private?”
“Worry, Calliope. Privacy is something we can all claim, but we must be careful. I however knew that I was being summoned, so I came.”
“I sat with Denidroe. She said that you were a real immortal and that I was as well. I told her that I did not want to be. She had so much family around her. I looked and thought her extremely blessed. I told her that I wanted what she had, but she told me to stay as Death.”
“She was a good Life. I hope that you gave her a peaceful end.”
I could not hold myself from crying as I said, “She wanted me to hug her. I did, but she had all this family around her. I don’t want this life, Chisel, I want what she had.”
He moved to hold me. There were few that I would allow the privilege, but Chisel was one. I had known him for a very long time. He also had an older personality that I felt that I could trust. I thus held him and sobbed.
He still held me, but as my crying began to stop he spoke. “Well, I do like my place as Eternity. I hope that I am indeed able to carry this office for the rest of the days of this physical realm. Right now I am concerned that I will lose it however – and I really would hate to prove somebody like Denidroe wrong.”
I wiped my eyes as I agreed. “She was a good Life. Not like Greg, but she would work with the creatures like he does. She however had a flair that made working with her a lot of fun. She was also about my age.”
“It would seem that she returned to have a long blessed life.”
“And she did not forget us.”
“Well, she was Life for almost a century.”
Those words helped dry my eyes as I felt able to ask one of my questions. “Where did Eddie come from? I asked Denidroe, but she reminded me that I had told her his name. I then thought that it was Bezilny that told me.”
“Eddie? Oh, the dragon in Greg’s room. I cannot say that I know where it came from. We do most of our socializing in Peace in the common room. I really don’t go to anyone’s room.”
“Denidroe said that she always felt that it was one of Jubridors transformed. I mean, we cannot bring anything living to Peace.”
“There are plants and birds in that room as well, Calliope.” I saw a play of emotion over his features, then he exclaimed, “That is a mystery! Thank you, Calliope.”
Confused, I responded, “What? You’re welcome, of course.”
“It does me no good going around worrying. I am a little older in body and time of service than you. Let me take on that mystery. Warn Greg that if he finds me in his room, or senses that somebody other than you was present, that we are attempting to resolve some puzzles.”
“I will tell him, but I doubt that he will complain. If you need help, he is probably the better one to assist you.”
“That is something that I have already concluded for myself. I really did not know what I was doing when I contacted him however. Now, I have a focus. Thank you for looking me up, Calliope. If I am to go spend the rest of my days as Eternity, I will be glad to have you as a friend. If not, when I call you to my death bed, I hope that you are also so reluctant to see me go.”