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 Eight: Complete
Calliope was not really looking for Greg, so found it strange that he should be standing in the corridor. He turned with a surprised expression, then ran to her. A kiss was nice, although she waited for his words.
“I found the pictures.”
He pulled her down the corridor, then through one of the red portals. She found herself in a large room. What appeared to be stacks of shallow boxes filled the chamber. Some however had been moved, and she saw that they were actually framed portraits. Many had families. None were of humans.
“I did not know who to go to. I was trying to decide between Chisel and Labonchy, but there is Anne and Phudrall who might be good choices as well. I am always glad to share things with you.”
Calliope moved a couple to look at them as she asked, “You met Labonchy?”
“Yes. Did not really like her, but she identified Vefillaya as a Dumonistat. I thus felt that she might be able to place some identities to those in the portraits. At least knowing the races might end up being a help.”
She moved to try and look down a row to determine the size of the room. Calliope found herself having to wipe her eyes, as the rear wall seemed to slide back revealing more and more space filled with pictures. Wondering about what she saw, she walked down the row.
Greg walked with her. One thing that she appreciated about him was that he would not force himself. He could be forceful, but only after certain barriers were crossed. He also did not consider the fact that the barrier had been passed once, that it was permanently overcome. He was there, but silent and allowing her to set the pace.
Not really in the mood to walk a great distance, Calliope stopped. Just because she had walked to the point she had, she lifted some frames to look at the images they showed. Greg had her stop however, as something in one portrait caught his eye.
“Hey, that is Eddie.”
She had been just flipping. The frames were of various materials, and did have weight. Calliope thus appreciated Greg’s help to move the portraits to find the one he spotted.
The face of the being appeared reptilian, which seemed to imply that the dragon was from its world. The clothes of the person appeared feminine, but they were rough causing her to appear to have been an ancient version of War and not Life. The comments from Greg however indicated that he was focusing on things besides the one centered in the picture.
“I believe this was a photograph. The detail is great, and I see no brush strokes. Look, Calli, you can see one of the hanging bowls with the plants.”
“So, this picture was taken in your room.”
“Yes,” he said while turning the picture over to look at the back. “There however is nothing giving any indication of who this is or the date. Maybe Anne or Labonchy can help.”
“Maybe. I am tired Greg. I came here to get some sleep.”
He turned to kiss her, then said, “Sure, Calliope. Sorry. It is just that you are not one who usually speaks about needing sleep.”
“I guess that is the fact that I am still young. Speaking of which, do you want to have sex?”
He looked at her strangely as he replied, “If you think it will help you sleep better.” Before she could ask anything, he added, “I don’t want to spoil anything you have going with your efforts to return home.”
“You won’t spoil anything, Greg. Until I am again removed from being Death, my life here will continue. I have accepted your companionship, and you have done nothing to spoil that. Vefillaya can say what she wants about being the wife and me being the other woman, but I had you first. This life here is your primary occupation, and your relationship with me goes back further than your marriage. I will have my private time with you.”
“Don’t get competitive, Calli. From my conversation with Labonchy, I felt that was her style. I did like the fact that you and Vefillaya got along. I will not deny you, but I also do not want to be forced to make choices. Let me easily have access to both of you, and I will do my best to leave both of you thinking good thoughts about me.”
She apologized while having a hand grab between his legs. He smiled while bending over to kiss her. Calliope felt that she would have been picked up, but he had his hands keeping a grip on the portrait. She let him carry it while using her hands to direct him out of the room.
He was what she needed. Going about allowing people to die had it own emotional turmoil. It felt good to be able to share time with someone that appreciated her presence. He did not take, but gave. Greg did not just take pleasure in the sex, but enjoyed the full range of what her body could provide. When he left her, she could not say, but when she awoke there was a feeling of him that still lingered.
Chisel was present in the common room when she went to get something to eat. He was already eating something. Calliope was glad to see him smiling, so took a seat nearby. He did not wait for a comment, but spoke as she took her first bites.
“We have found the beds. Greg went to Anne about trying to date some of the pictures. Everything in here becomes timeless however, so she could not give him any answers. Seeing the pictures did get her curious, so she went looking into other storage rooms. I did not even know that we could have our choice of beds. The one I had was nice, but a little firm.” He patted his stout form as he said, “I prefer a softer place to lay.”
Calliope swallowed, then asked, “Did you need a whole new bed?”
“Not really, just the mattress, but since I had a choice I went ahead and got one more to my liking. My new one is a waterbed. I called the Jubridors, and they did all the work.”
“Did Greg go see Labonchy about the portraits?”
“Yes, and she has been through. These rooms are enormous however. There is no telling how many millennia some of those items could be.”
Calliope wondered exactly what changes would come to Peace. In all her centuries of living in the place, it had been a stable refuge. Her room stayed the same. This room stayed the same. The people had changed, but those were welcomed moments of freshness in an otherwise constant routine. She ate wondering if things would again return to a sense of normalcy, just instead of a new person filling a moment Chisel would have a new bed, a few decorations would change, but otherwise the years would again drone on.
She decided to ask a question. “No gardens or fountains?”
“No. I mean, this stuff is from the known storerooms. I remember my first day here and being told that red portals were utility rooms or storerooms. I have never considered what was being stored there.”
“Just like you never considered where the food came from?”
“No, and I can eat quite a bit. The Jubridors however always seemed to have more. There however does seem to be a history to this place.”
Calliope wondered if discovering it would be a good thing. As boring as Peace was, it did fulfill its place in her life. She could come here and relax. It did not need gardens, fountains, and large banquet rooms. There were not that many immortals. This common area was sufficient. She thus asked Chisel about his thoughts about what might be discovered.
“There has to be a reason those sections were marked off limits.”
“We have not seen anything marking anything off limit. If you and Greg are together, and the portal to your room goes black, I don’t walk in. No one yet has spoken of coming to a black barrier blocking a hallway. I like this life, Calliope, and would do nothing to cause any distress with it. I however do consider this my life, so I want to know about it.”
“Well, this revelation might be the reason that you sensed that the end of your time was coming.”
“Oh, they don’t want me anymore. They want Vabrey.”
If she had food in her mouth, she would have spewed it. “What?”
“Don’t ask me how I know, but the threat on me has passed to War. I really do not know the source, but they are doing something to cause me to sense them. I have tried following the signals, but have not had any success yet.”
“Greg thought that since you told him, that it could have something to do with the Suderling Union. The emperor there did work to get his presence, and it is conceivable that he would do more to gain the support of immortals.”
The man finished his food. He then had a Jubridor get him some mead to drink. Calliope liked mead as well, so signaled the small barely female figure to get her a glass of that as well. The action caused Chisel to return to sit near where she worked at finishing her meal.
“I really did not know Greg, but I knew that you trusted him. You are the second oldest one of us here, Calliope. I thus took my chances on the man, but I still did it in my own way.”
“If he was a woman, it might not have worked. You however mostly only caught Greg by surprise.”
Chisel sat and drank his mead for a time. Calliope took the pause to finish her meal. While she appreciated the rest, she expected to again feel the signals of those calling to her. As she stood and drank her mead before leaving, Chisel set down his glass to speak some more.
“Well, tell me something. Those years that he studied his attachment to Life, what did he study?”
“Physics. It was an electronic device that was used to transform him, so he focused on that aspect of their technology, although found himself needing to branch out to a lot of associated sciences. He really is quite smart.”
“I could tell. We have seen a number of Lifes, Calliope, and Greg seems much more in control of that persona.”
She could not argue, although she considered some of the differences in him and the others was simply the fact that he was a man. “Yes. I am glad that he gained Vefillaya, but I believe that he will eventually be like Labonchy with a host wanting to please him. As long as they can keep him happy however, the universe should stay a thriving place.”
“You should stay, Calliope. Me, you, and Greg, we could hold down this place for the rest of existence.”
Those words came close to getting her angry. “No, Chisel. You and Greg. I want a life. I want a husband and children. I want everything a woman is supposed to have”
“You have more than a woman is supposed to have here, Calliope. With Greg here, there is nothing, except children, that you cannot have – and children are not as much of a certainty in life as you think.”
Vefillaya had an accident from doing something dumb. Calliope had never done anything risky. Even when she faced Death, she had gone through the steps methodically to assure that everything was done properly. Vefillaya might indeed be alive without any chance of giving birth, but Calliope did not consider herself in the same situation at all.
“You’re wrong, Chisel. Children will come. I will be a proper wife, with a proper husband, and proper children. That is what I want. I do not want this, even if it comes with gardens, and fountains, and special beds, and everything else. I am glad that you are happy here. You tell the next person that becomes Death that she will not be my friend. I will not call her. I will live life to the fullest until I have no other option but to die. That is what I want, and I will have it.”