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 Fifteen: Part Two
“Ah, so you are Death.”
It was a strange creature that floated over the scene of a vehicle accident. My form appeared nothing like that being, but they were more like squirrels. The actual bodies were almost hairless, I want to say scaly, although the long bushy tails were present. The one that floated over the scene was however like a spider.
Having things to do, I ignored the other. As I went about releasing those in the accident, I wondered why Greg had not been summoned as well. The disaster had occurred in a city. Seeing people moving about doing their best to provide aid I had to conclude that those seeking life were focusing on those around them and not making any cosmic plea for assistance. A mother kept telling me to go away, as she tried to stay living in order to care for her child. The problem was that it was not her asking for release, but the youngster. As one who sought to one day be a mother, I however understood. I thus kept going to others, but finally felt that I had no choice. No signal bothered me however, and it hurt me to see that the child had died without my touch. Attempting to control my own sorrow, I put my focus on the other that was present.
“And who would you be?”
“I believe that I am Eternity.”
I thought back to what Greg had told me, and could not help but voice a conclusion. “Not at all how I expected you to look or act. Still, it is good to meet you. My name is Calliope.”
The way his legs quivered had me think of the Cladastians whose emotions could usually be detected in how they moved their three legs. The mandibles around the creature’s mouth prevented any reading of inner thoughts. The smooth skin between the multiple eyes however gave me a sense of calm.
“I am Lexostat. I find it most amazing to be in this state.”
“You are the second since Chisel ended his term as Eternity. Chisel was a good man. I enjoyed his friendship. I did not hear anything bad about the one summoned after him, except that he was young. Your position it seems is better served by one of great age.”
“I was near death.”
“Chisel was as well. He warned Greg, the persona of Life, that he felt his time was coming to an end. I refused to touch him until Greg returned with a report of the new Eternity. I feel that you are more like Chisel, and that is good.”
He moved up and presented a leg. I was uncertain, but the act appeared as a sign of greeting. Knowing that I could not be hurt, I reached out to touch the appendage. After doing something with leg that seemed similar to shaking hands, Lexostat spoke in what seemed to be a congenial manner.
“It is nice to meet you, Calliope. To find Death to have such a pleasant form is a surprise. Your job however seems very obvious. I am however having a problem determining what I am to do.”
“Chisel said that only the very old could really understand the duties of Eternity.”
“Well, I have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and others that think that I am very old. Maybe in the vastness of this universe I am but a youngster.”
Hoping to provide some support, I asked, “Well, it is nice to meet you as well, but why did you come here?”
“I was wondering if I had died. I guess that I was slightly scared, so I probably thought about death a little strong.”
“Don’t think like that. Put your thoughts on other things. I will tell the others.”
The legs suddenly quivered as Lexostat asked, “The others? Could I meet them?”
“Only in situations like this. There will be a time, but you must first get some understanding of your persona. The one between Chisel and you did not do that. Don’t rush the process. Take your time. It is better that you learn on your own.”
“I am not old, Lexostat. I thus cannot give you instruction. Only you, if you are truly very old, can hopefully answer that question.”
He again moved to have a leg touch me as he asked, “But, I am not alone.”
“No. There is twenty of us – well, nineteen other than you.” I felt another signal, so quickly added, “I have to go. Some of us are busier than others, and I have one of the busiest personas. It is nice to meet you, Lexostat.”
Leaving one potential immortal, I found myself being greeted by one that I felt was very secure in her persona. “Hello, Calliope. Damn fools created this problem. Blew up the land I guess to support a river, not realizing that the underground seepage was not that great.”
I could see where the trees ended with the ground appearing colored and bare beneath. A group of people had however put some tents near the accumulation of liquid from an underground source. They were dying. Those I spoke to mentioned having no knowledge of why they were suffering. When I got a chance, I thus went to were Shetaile worked her powers to fix the land.
“Those crying for me don’t seem to know that they will not get better,” I said. “It seems to just be a poisoning however, so they should. Greg should thus be here.”
“No, Calliope. They are dead. Their insides are being destroyed by the acids and poisons in the water. What the idiots did not understand was that the water was being polluted by minerals in the ground along with gases from the geothermal heat. The lake that was here had the volume and other things in the surroundings to keep the surface water potable. With a wall of the lake destroyed, what comes up from below is not cleansed. Those that drank are dead.”
“Oh,” I said while looking back to the camp. “Wouldn’t they have known?”
“I don’t see why not. If they had the intelligence to destroy that natural barrier over there, they surely had the knowledge of how to test things. Hopefully, others that see this scene will gain some wisdom from their folly.” She looked at me to study my face before adding, “Don’t feel sorry for them, Calliope. It is probably best if they die.”
“But they cry to me saying that they don’t understand. I thus wanted to know.”
“And now you do. Honestly, if I were you, I would tell them that they probably have a lecture waiting for them once they pass on through to the other side. The answers will be too late for them, but I believe that they will comprehend their folly. One reason that I believe it is better on the other side is that there are no ignorant fools there. Every question will be answered.”
Those words cheered me up for some reason, so I sought to speak to Shetaile some more. “I met the new – new persona of Eternity. He is not the one that Greg met. His name is Lexostat. A strange type of spider looking being. Seemed nice enough, but I don’t know if he will make it or not.”
“Do you remember when you first met me? You couldn’t have thought that I would make it either.”
I did remember, so easily spoke in reply. “You had all these ideas about how things should be. You were not liking some of the things that you were led to do, but I remember you taking the time to study the results of what your powers enabled you to do. You don’t argue with yourself anymore.”
“No. When I return to my life – and I will simply return to my life – I will have a lot more appreciation for all the manipulations of the natural order. It is not the way of things to stay as they are. People can be idiots, like those here, but it is strange how what they do can actually be beneficial.” She stood to say, “I really was not needed. I have helped, but nature had purified things here before, and I am certain would do so again.”
“Maybe it was an earlier version of you that fixed things with the lake.”
Shetaile was a rather exotic being, but I could tell that she displayed cheer as she replied, “Maybe it was. The earlier problem surely troubled life around here. That however was just a result of natural things in the environment – this was done on purpose. Have you finished killing everyone?”
Shocked, I replied, “I don’t kill. I bring release. Those that called to me have been released. The others are dying on their own.”
“Sorry, Calliope. Of all the immortals, you are one that I want as a friend. I mean, you are a good person – a real good person. I cannot think of someone better to ease my passage to the other side.”
I mumbled, “I hope that I’m not there.”
“Sorry, again, Calliope, but I am hoping you are.”
“But… you like this life, don’t you?”
Shetaile paused in her activities. While she looked at me, she did not immediately speak. I however wanted an answer, so waited. Shetaile did not go back to her activities, but answered my question.
“You would not have returned if you had a life to return to. Right now, Calliope, you are planning for your return. I lived out in the forest taking care of the trees, the plants, and the animals. If I find myself replaced, all I have to do is go back out into the wilderness.” She paused, then said, “I won’t be as angry. A man that approaches might not be lectured, but I might actually speak with pleasure about his interest in me.”
I had to say, “I wish we could be neighbors. I mean, I know that we are from completely different worlds, but you seem like someone that I would want to stay in my life.”
“No. No complaint, Calliope. I will return old and tired, and you will be young and vibrant. Just… don’t forget me. I promise that I won’t forget you, Calliope. I promise that if I cross before you, and I should, I will be waiting for you. We can be neighbors in eternity, and there I believe we will both be ready to tell our stories and the rest of the grand congregation will be ready to listen to us.”
Something in her words touched me. I however could not figure out why. Hoping to somehow pull useful words from her, I mentioned a fact.
"I tell others that once I cross over I do not want to speak of death again.”
“But it won’t be death then, Calliope. All those lives you have touched will be living. You are making friends, Calliope – eternal friends. If anyone should want to die, it should be you.”
What she said might be true, but I did not feel ready at all. “First, I want to live life.”
“Of course. Like I said, I feel that once I return I will not be the angry person I once was. I will return willing to see the full complexity of the land and people around me. You – you will no longer be fearing the life ahead of you, but eager to face it with all of its complexities. I don’t know whether to pity or envy the man that gets you, but I hope that he knows to love you.”
“I just want to experience it.”
“Ah, well, it seems that you still have a lot to learn. I doubt that anyone will replace you anytime soon. You are not ready yet.”
Those words completely confused me. I did not know why I would not be ready to be a wife and mother now. If I had gone on with life centuries before, I would have traveled that path. Girls younger than me and barely even trained traveled that path. I thus did not know how I could not be ready. Hoping to remove some confusion, I spoke my thoughts to Shetaile.
“How can a lady not be ready to be a wife and mother?”
“Ah, Calliope, wrong question. What you should ask is how can a lady that has had the life you had, centuries, not be ready. Think about it, Calliope. We can possibly discuss it the next time we meet.”
She suddenly went away. I felt a signal as well. Wondering if I would again be called to the same place as Shetaile, I followed the signal.