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For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

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Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 All Problems Have a Cause - Part 1 (1 - 6)

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PostSubject: All Problems Have a Cause - Part 1 (1 - 6)   April 25th 2018, 7:56 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter One

Greg really did not dance with his wife that often.  With the multitude of people of the Suderling Union being non-symmetric, the styles of preferred dancing were often rather elaborate.  He had taken up expressive movements with his wife just because they found their cultures had similar steps, and it was something they could do together before retiring to the bedroom.  As the prime ambassador of a diplomatic space vessel, he had an expansive front room for hosting socials, which provided plenty of space for him and Vefillaya to move together.  They had released a picture of the two of them coming together from different sides of the room, and many had responded favorably to the image.  Finding others wanting to witness such fondness for each other, Greg found himself being encouraged to perform a dance with his wife even though neither really had the time to practice any special moves.

He stopped the actions with Vefillaya to hear a loud applause.  He then looked around to see that all others had cleared the dance floor.  He saw the confused, although cheerful, expression of his wife realizing that she had been the center of attention.  As the sound of the applause came to a stop, he heard her ask a question.

“Do we keep practicing?”

Greg replied, “No, as our purpose for being here is not to provide entertainment.”

The one that approached appeared as a snake who moved upon a multitude of tails, and he softly said, “It is your purpose to set everyone along a proper path allowing for a compromise of objectives.  I believe you have given them something they can agree upon.”

“Yes, but what works today cannot be assured to work tomorrow.”

“Still, keep practicing.”

Greg knew another rule of his occupation was to show himself as malleable as he expected those needing to form an agreement to be.  He thus nodded in a sign of displaying acceptance of the advice before having his wife move with him in an act of acknowledging the crowd.  Working with Vefillaya to do more than simply walk off the dance floor, Greg went to work speaking to certain important figures to try and assure agreements while they were in a good mood.

As he traded verbal darts of information with one who had forced a need for the Apostle to come handle the diplomacy, Greg felt a call from his other duties.  Those of the Suderling Union had known of his other life when they gave him the position as prime ambassador.  There were others actually having earned their status, and he traded his attempts to find an opening to a solution to the antagonism with another assuredly better qualified before rushing off.

In his usual manner he came to a set of elevator doors.  The spaceship was not entirely an enclosed space, but a collection of habitable sections to fulfill various functions and satisfy various types of entities.  The framework supporting the elevator cars was not airtight.  As a blue covering of energy revealed itself around Greg, his power had the sealed panels open to enable him to pass into outer space with the doors shutting tight before he left to find out the reason for the call.

He found it strange to come upon a massive chamber filled with beings that appeared as gigantic winged maggots.  They were all suffering, except one who moved about with her grand body quivering.  He found it strange to be present at a scene of death, and of not finding Death to be the one present.

Anne, the representation of History who actually had a native form like the others present, said, “Greg!  Thank the All Powerful you came first.  Calliope should be here momentarily.”

Greg turned hearing the feminine voice of the one who represented Death say, “I’m here,” but quickly looked back to History.

She said, “Greg, please, save that one.”

Having Calliope mention that the one indicated called to her, Anne went into a tirade lecturing the sick youth.  Greg smiled at Calliope, who had a rather scary form of a native, then went about seeking to understand the situation.  He felt his own powerful personality agree with the lecture from Anne about the sickness being self-inflicted.  Calliope did release a few, even as he worked to figure out a method of having the beings survive their torment.  When Anne finally finished her tirade, Greg was able to answer the question he knew would be coming.

“Greg, can you help him live?”

He replied, “I can negate the poison, but there is still internal damage.”  Both of their heads lifted upon hearing a distant siren, although Greg quickly spoke a conclusion, “If he still calls for Calliope, I cannot help that.”

“Greg, please.”

He took on the form of the natives of this world, then moved to the youth to say, “Listen, I can try and help.”

Having dealt with Anne, Greg could recognize some movements as attempting to deal with the pain as the youth replied, “That lady, she claims to be my great-grandmother.”

“Well, whoever she is, she seems to care for you.  What I want to know is if you are going to care for yourself.”

The youth only momentarily appeared to consider his words, but quickly set his mind to handle his own train of thought.  “Who are you?”

“A friend.  Now, Death is here, and your great-grandmother does not want you to meet her.  I however will not stop that.”

“Are you an angel?”

Greg actually had heard that question a number of times before, so easily replied, “No, but I don’t think it matters whether I am or not.  What matters is if you are going to go on living or not.”

“I was supposed to become an angel.”

“I am pretty certain that what you did was not the proper way of gaining that status.”

“I… I hurt.”

Greg actually felt that was a good response, even as he admitted a truth.  “I am not going to stop the pain.  Life is not easy, and you did this to yourself.  Still, I can put you back on your path to live your life.”

“Yes, do that.”  As Greg neutralized the poison, then healed what he felt he could do, the youth then asked, “Do you work with my great-grandmother?”

“In a way, but I believe we just consider each other to be friends.”

“There is no record of my great-grandmother dying.”

Greg finished his work, then replied, “And now there should not be a record of you dying, at least at this point in time.  Keep living.”

The body of the young man began to settle as he asked, “Will I ever see you again?”

“Probably not, but you could meet Death.  If I were you, I would try to put off that meeting for a long time.”

After saying that, Greg dropped his special form and returned to being an unseen entity.  Anne rushed upon him to thank him.  Her natural form was as the great winged maggots, but he accepted the affection from a friend.

Actually interested, he asked, “Was he really you great-grandson?”

She answered, “Yes.  This was supposed to be his formal advancement into manhood.  I came to see what prospects would state their desire for him.  Instead I heard a set of speeches about how cruel life had become with everyone then drinking poisoned punch.  As History, I really could not do anything, but I did what I could to get you instead of Calliope.”

The other lady, who had also returned to her human form, approached to say, “I can understand, Anne.  This really was a waste of life.”  Greg noticed the form of Calliope seem to shiver for a moment, so was not surprised when she spoke of needing to leave, although was surprised at how she said it.  “Greg, take care of Anne.  I have to go.”

All he could think of to say was to ask, “Anne, do you want to go to Peace?”

The large inhuman lady replied, “No, Greg.  Peace won’t help me at this time.  The problem is that I don’t believe anything will.”

“Time, Anne.”

“No, Greg, not with this.  In fact, I believe time has made things worse.”

Trying to help, Greg checked with the mentality of his alternate self to gain an answer.  “Your great-grandson will get better.”

“But there is still the whole issue of why he did what he did.  Actually, Greg, it is time for me to act on my own persona.  I believe I am going to move about this society and look into the history.”

Wanting to keep a positive attitude, he replied, “I cannot believe that to be a bad thing.  May you inspire yourself.”

“Thank you, Greg, and thanks for coming.”

“You know I have no way of knowing why I am being summoned.  I simply came because I was called.  The fact that it was you just made my time here a pleasure.”

He thought it was good to hear her chuckle before she said, “You know, I wanted your powers.  I wished that I was Life.  Honestly, though, if I did have your powers, I probably would have abused them.”

“Of all the replacements I have met, you are one person that I would feel comfortable should they gain another calling.  You’ve always had a level head, Anne.  I was glad to meet you when I joined the immortals, and still honored to know you.  Do what you must, but don’t be afraid to call should you need help.”

He found himself feeling another call, so took off after saying another kind statement to the persona of History.  She again thanked him for showing up.  Feeling that things had worked out for the best, Greg allowed himself to move on to the other call.

It surprised him to be in the middle of space with no discernable system around him or within sight.  He found it strange how Lexostat, the persona of Eternity, appeared the same way out in space or in a system.  He had a body like that of a spider, but his legs floated around him as if having never been used to lift his physique.  Wondering why he had been called, Greg simply made a bow to the one in sight.

“Uh, Greg, thank you for coming.  Could you move this rock?”

Being in the middle of outer space, the blue glow of his persona surrounded him.  He easily flew to the only object within the perceivable volume.  As he looked over the rock, Greg spoke to the other one present who stayed close to him.

“Chisel, the previous persona of Eternity, once asked me this question.  Honestly, I would not have been surprised if this had been the same rock.  It isn’t, but I wonder what you will say when I tell you that I would send it in that direction.”

“It seems that you seek to keep things the same.  I was pondering sending it in that direction.”

Greg contacted the intelligence of whatever power he had control over in order to have the information to reply.  “That’s not a deadly option, but as Life I cannot say that it is a survivable option.  If you are just going for odd evolutionary development, let me say that what I have seen is rather unique in every case.  My option is not to keep things the same, but to assure survivability.”

“What if I said that in the direction you suggest life will develop, but in the other direction life could use the benefits of this rock.”

“You are Eternity, Lexostat.  I believe I can only speak on how I perceive things at the moment.”

“Ah, that was really my question.  Greg, I was wondering about you.  You are respected among the immortals.  I was wondering just how much you knew.”

Accepting that Lexostat had not held his position for long, Greg sought to give this spidery being some history.  “I studied my powers, or what I could understand of my powers, for a number of years before fully coming into my persona.  I cannot say how much the study actually applied to my abilities as Life, but the time did help me to mature and just gain some understanding of things.”

“I believe that does explain something different in you and the others.  Even Calliope, who I believe presently holds the position of the most elderly of us, does not hold the respect that you do.”

“Speaking for myself, I must say that if one is able to speak to her, she is well worth the time.  She was very young upon gaining her position, but her place has Death has given her experience and wisdom that should have others more than respect her.  I would even say that part of the reason for my own respect is that I have the respect of her.”

“Yes, well, my problem there is that I cannot speak to her.  She really does not influence Eternity, at least not in a fashion like you or I do.”

That response caught Greg by surprise, and he explained why.  “Lexostat, Calliope and Chisel spoke a lot with each other.  In fact, she was the one that kept working on me to speak to Chisel.  I am glad that I did, and I believe you would find yourself glad to speak to Calliope.”

“How would you recommend that I do that?”

Greg thought about differences in Lexostat and the previous personality behind Eternity.  “Well, Chisel hung out rather often in Peace.  Calliope will go there.  Another option is to have me call you when she comes to me.”

“I would not want to intrude on any personal time between you.”

“Lexostat, Calliope is just one of two ladies in my life.  While there are periods when your presence would be an intrusion, let me assure you that if I call we are desiring a period of simple friendship.”

“Friendship.  Yes, that would be good.  Yes, Greg, call me then.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.

Last edited by TerishD on May 20th 2018, 7:56 am; edited 5 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Two   April 30th 2018, 7:49 am

[size=24All Problems Have a Cause[/size]
The Blue Flame

Chapter Two

Calliope moved into Peace actually looking forward to going to her room. The new bed had helped immensely in having her accept this place as a part of her life. All those years, decades, centuries, she had only gone to her room to gain what rest she felt was necessary. The cold, cruel perception of death, her occupation, made her not like her room at all. The walls had instruments of harvesting. The bed had been nothing more than a horizontal place with a meager pad to soften the feel of the supporting material. The tools of reaping plants, and by association souls, were now tightly packed on a section of her wall. Knowing that personal pictures would be taken into storage should she ever pass, Calliope had filled her walls with scenes of landscapes, of life. She now felt that her private domicile in Peace presented her occupation as one not of cruelty, but only a part of the natural order.

She turned hearing another lady exclaim, “Damn!” Coming through the misty oval that acted as the portal to enter and leave this existence, Calliope saw the green, leafy form of Labonchy step into the hallway. “Calliope, have you been able to figure out the other portal?”

“Other portal?”

“You know, the one outside this place? I believe I would much rather spend time out there than in here.”

Calliope did know, as she was the one that related the information to the others. All those years, decades, centuries she had simply known about the few rooms in this section of a place everyone called Peace. They had been sufficient. It took the questioning of Greg to have them search the corridors beyond their usual existence, but it had been Calliope who Mekatyz, the persona of Foundation, had shown one route to reaching outside the building.

She replied, “I was satisfied here all those years. I come to Peace so worn out, that some food, some company, and a place to sleep was fine.”

“Sometimes I don’t want men.”

Labonchy was the representation of feminine perfection. While she really did not appear human, and was not human, somehow she set the basic interpretation for the standards of all ladies. Calliope did not really understand the requirements of Labonchy’s occupation, but had to respect the lady as she had held her place for a number of decades.

Calliope replied, “I am in a different place than you. I am glad for having Greg in my life, and to be going through the instructions for eventually being a proper wife, but after so long a time of being alone I feel that I will never refuse the presence of a man.”

“Well, I did love Skerma, but it worried me that I could return to him only to become pregnant and old.”

“But that is life, Labonchy. I look forward to the day that I no longer represent Death, but can live and bring life to my husband.”

“You really cannot trust a man to stay devoted.”

Calliope felt she declared enough about the difference in her and Labonchy by softly saying, “The men I know, I could.”

The words from the leafy lady came soft, “Yes, that is what I need to think about. The men I have were chosen by Skerma. They’re good men, but Skerma kept a certain attitude about them. With him gone, they see me as a plaything. I might stay young and pretty, and not get pregnant, but I want some respect as well.”

Feeling that she understood, Calliope replied, “Yes, I guess some time outside would help you. It’s a good walk. Maybe the walk will help you.”

“Maybe the walk will help me. Damn. You going to bed, Calliope?”

“Yes. Finding the beds, and getting one better fitting me, has been a good thing.”

“How about getting something to eat first?”

Labonchy really did not have a personality that Calliope appreciated. The problem however was that she had so few women, or people in general, that she could associate with. Only in Peace could she be herself. Anywhere else in the universe she was the persona of Death. While there were a few who would associate with her, they felt her chill. Actually glad to be able to spend time with someone, Calliope allowed that she would visit with Labonchy.

It did not take long however for the lady to stop her complaining to say, “You really are not feeling bad about anything I am saying.”

Calliope had to shake her head as she admitted, “No. I am not saying that I would not be bothered by some of it, but I just feel that most of your problems are from your own making. Let me stress that I am doing what I can to avoid certain dilemmas. I am presently going through the instructions to be the proper wife for a man. It will be my duty to obey him even as I bear his children and run his house. That is the culture I am from however. Women have been living under that type of existence for longer than I have been alive, and I want to become part of that. I am not going to fight it, Labonchy.”

“I am feminine perfection, Calliope. Surely my influence is showing.”

“I guess it is, because one of the reasons men are interested in me is that I am willing to follow the old ways. What I hear is not you having problems, but of the men around you having problems they want to solve by performing sex with you. That is not the type of woman I want to be, and I am finding men that seek more than a physical act from me. Who you might need to speak to it Zilthiny.”

Instead of allowing the conversation to switch to the persona for masculine perfection, Labonchy asked, “Just how much do you allow Greg to do with you?”

“Greg is a wonderful man. With him it is not what he does with me, but what he allows me to do with him.”

“But you would be pregnant if you were not Death.”

“If I was not Death, I would be among my own people with a husband. I once lost my status, Labonchy. While I did go to Greg at that time, I have thought about what I did. The reason I did not return to my people then was that I had been gone for centuries. I did not know them. I guess I would have returned if not for Greg, but I would have been a stranger to my own people. Now I have made contacts, and going through certain lessons. The next time my place as Death is taken from me, I will return to my own people, gain a husband, and live life as it has been lived. That is what I want. Death will not come for me, but I will live life until it just has to be taken from me.”

Feeling she had not finished, Calliope continued. “And that goes for the all the bad things. The misery of men, the pain of childbirth, the torture of an old, failing body, all of that I want for myself. I swear that I will be the happiest miserable person there is.”

The blue circle that acted as the doorway for the parlor was disturbed by another female stepping in and asking, “Calliope, do you know how we can access the portal outside?”

Having to smile to Labonchy, Calliope answered, “No, Anne. Honestly, even the non-physical personas come and go through the portal we use. The one outside had been covered by plants.”

“I was speaking with Lexostat, and both of us really are not built for places like this. I am naturally very large, and he is rather spread out. Outside would be more comfortable for the both of us.”

“If you figure it out, Labonchy would like to know. I however feel that we are to stay social. It would help if everyone would stop in here and leave some word on where they could be found.”

“You can use the jubridors for that.”

Calliope looked at the plump girlish figures with wide eyes, barely any nose, and thin lips that did the menial chores in Peace. They could talk, although usually only softly spoke simple statements that answered a question or fit a situation. She had never used them, or even thought of them, as resources of information, so agreed with Labonchy who made the reply.

“We seldom actually seek out each other, and we never sought out the non-physical presences. If you are not here, it is just assumed you are out doing your job.”

Anne replied, “Yes, well, if we are being given a second chance at things –“

“A second chance at things? This is a first chance if you ask me.”

“No, but long ago that was where our kind stayed. It was lost to us.”

Calliope felt a need to say, “It was never lost. We just stopped going there. The stories I heard spoke of those with our occupations being rather arrogant. What we have here is enough to give us a break from our duties.”

“Maybe for those of you that can actually fit in these places. My actual form is rather huge. I cannot be myself while here.”

Labonchy replied, “Well, if you do figure it out, let us know.” Calliope had a jubridor refill her mug with mead as Labonchy then asked, “Anne, what is your feeling about my status as feminine perfection? I am not really happy with the men in my life, but it seems that Calliope still feels the desire to be a man’s wife.”

“We might be mediators of our aspects, Labonchy, but we cannot change the natural order. Men and women have a place with each other. We women might not want a man, but they will want us. That is the way it has been, and will be.”

“So I can get as mad at my men as I want?”

“You are to be an example, Labonchy. I would suggest staying a woman, and not becoming a mean, vicious, devious, bitch.”

Calliope could not fault Labonchy for laughing, as she felt a need to laugh herself. Calliope had to admit that Labonchy had never been considered an improper lady. She could be a little haughty, but never had she truly overstepped her bounds. Calliope just had never developed a friendship with Labonchy, although had to allow that she had done what was expected of her.

Calliope felt a signal, so started wolfing down her food. Labonchy watched her for a moment in silence. As if finally understanding why Calliope was devouring her food, Labonchy reached over to touch her while speaking softly.

“Sorry for not letting you get some sleep.”

Calliope had to say, “I only wanted sleep because I am enjoying my new bed. I need to eat as well. Thank you for the company.”

Anne said, “If you see Greg, ask him about using the other portal. He put things together to have us find it.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Three   May 5th 2018, 7:54 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Three

Greg looked at the door for only a moment. He saw his wife smile at him as she turned to stand up from the couch. She and he had been playing with their feet. While his were simple flesh covered appendages with five little toes, hers were three large, long scaly digits ending with tough talons, and a couple more near the back that did help with stability. Most of her blue-black upper torso was as soft and feminine as a human lady, but as one descended her form the scaly texture from a different evolutionary past than Greg became evident. Vefillaya applied a lot of lotion to keep her blue-black skin feeling soft for her husband, but beneath her knees the scaly texture could not be covered. Greg however found her able to respond to his touch, and enjoyed letting her know that her very inhuman scaly lower appendages could be appreciated by him, so was bothered that the period of play had been interrupted.

She activated the door after mentioning that the one who interrupted them was Tertha. The cladastian female was one of Greg’s most important associates. Her husband had his assets, but Tertha had direct experience in working with the head of the grand government that controlled a large section of the Andromeda galaxy. If she felt a need to interrupt then there was a high probability what she would speak about would truly be important.

Greg did not worry about his attire. He considered Tertha a friend, and spent enough time with her and her husband to be comfortable however he was dressed. He and Vefillaya had only been playing with their feet, so were still dressed except for being barefoot. With Tertha having an anatomy based on a three-sided physique, what she considered an attractive form was nothing like him with Greg feeling that both she and he could be naked and still not affect the way they interacted.

Tertha acknowledged Vefillaya, but quickly moved into the room to speak to her superior. “Greg, I am against this, but Emperor Abrogrund is too new in the office to take a clear stand.”

Greg calmly replied, “You’re going to have bring me up to speed, Tertha. Can Vefillaya get you anything?”

“No, Greg. Jirdan is making something for us. The children are growing well. We are still unsure where we want to send them for their education, but I do like eating with them.”

Vefillaya returned to a place on the couch next to her husband while saying, “And you should, Tertha.”

“Yes, well, Greg, you know about the Offlantians.”

Greg replied, “I should, since I wiped them out when I returned to this galaxy after you and Jirdan came to get me.”

“Yes, well, they are promoting their next expansion as a method to enlarge the Suderling Union. Conquering of systems is still conquering systems. Just because we do not know about any lifeforms on those worlds does not make it right.”

“I don’t care how new Emperor Abrogrund is to the office, he should have enough knowledge of recent history to rule against that. Also, there is the matter of why hasn’t the Suderling Union already expanded to that part of the galaxy.”

Greg kept his face from smiling even though he recognized the expression in the odd features of the cladastian. “I would hope with you alerted that you will bring yourself up to speed, Greg. Let me however say that the reason I, I really mean you, was informed was your ability to disrupt the methods of the Offlantians. I believe Emperor Abrugrund is trusting in you to handle things should a problem erupt.”

“That sounds right. All right, Tertha, thanks. I guess I need to get to work. You can return to your children.”

Vefillaya rose to see the female cladastian to the door. Greg simply watched the ladies. While he did not consider Tertha a sexual object, he gave her the same respect of any other of her gender. As for Vefillaya, he did enjoy things about her appearance.

She had been the one chosen to have him choose this galaxy as his home. The previous emperor realized the risk in sending people to another galaxy in order to gain Greg’s assistance, so sought a method of keeping him available. Understanding that a woman was a good method of having a man feel at home, a multitude of ladies had been presented. While there were no humans in this galaxy, the Dumonistat people had developed a physical form close enough that Greg could find enjoyment in having one of that race for a wife. As had been hoped, Vefillaya had him feel at home in this galaxy.

He could have treated her as nothing more than a plaything. Greg however had from the first given Vefillaya some respect. She had sought him out, and being pleased with her form and personality he had supplied details that helped her win a place as his wife. Understanding that others saw her as only a plaything, Vefillaya made certain to act as a gracious hostess, a trusted confidant, and a lovely asset to the presence of her husband.

Accepting the importance of what Tertha had come to tell him, Greg moved to the room where he handled business over official channels. Basically, it was an office, although not one large enough to have visitors. Those who wanted to speak with him had the luxury of socializing in his spacious front room. Understanding the true importance of her place in his life, Vefillaya entered the office then began removing her clothes.

There were times Greg attempted to stress the basic joy of just having the lady in his life. He however had also come to accept the pressure she was under to assure that he remained present in this galaxy. While he did everything he could to assure Vefillaya had the status of being his wife, he knew to just enjoy those periods when she felt a need to show off what she was willing to do for her husband. They could not have children. Their differing genetics assured no offspring would result even should her womb not have been seriously damaged in a foolish antic. The rest of her did work however, and Greg knew to enjoy those periods of his life when she put her focus on pleasing him.

He was thinking over some things that he had read when he saw Vefillaya’s eyes lift, then heard her say, “You should be getting hungry, Greg. I will go start to prepare something.”

He felt the chill in the air, so turned to another female as his wife left. This lady also had long white hair. Unlike Vefillaya, the skin of this lady was not scaly and almost as white as her hair. Blue streaks could be made out showing dry blood vessels. Greg felt the chill in the air, but also sensed his body react to this lady because it recognized her as being human.

Calliope moved in front of him while saying, “I can take over for Vefillaya, Greg.”

He would not refuse the lady. She had a life as an immortal just like he did. Calliope was just as alone in the universe as he was, and he knew she appreciated his friendship and just being able to have some association with another human. The fact that he was a man and she was a woman allowed for other things in their relationship. While he would treat this lady with as much respect as he gave his wife, he would also allow her the freedom to be comfortable doing things for him.

Greg did work to explain the situation. “A serious matter has come up, and Vefillaya was just doing something while I caught myself up to speed. I actually have been following the matter, but I am having to fill myself in on the history between the Offlantians and the society from which our new emperor comes. As for what you ladies do, I wish I was able to give you some pleasure in return.”

Calliope did things to continue to please him even as she said, “Vefillaya does things because it is her place. I do them because I can. I don’t mind, Greg. Vefillaya does not mind either, and I know that you will spend time pleasing us.”

“But she has a life with me. Your time with me is so limited.”

“Yes, but I still don’t mind. I have no control over when I come into your life, Greg, but it would be wrong to make you react to me. I accept that I will arrive at these times. Vefillaya allows me to be a part of your life, and I know to be pleased that she does not act to spoil my presence.”

“If your only reason for being here is to be around someone, I will not stop you. If you had another reason however, I will do what I can for you.”

“And you do, Greg.” She went down on him far enough to have him worry about her even as he felt the sensations, which were enhanced when her form shook. “That was what I expected. Just one of those periods where I am busy.” She rose saying, “I need to do things like that occasionally, Greg. What man I eventually get I plan to make very pleased with me. Still, hopefully in my next break I will feel able to actually get some sleep.”

Hearing the door open, the eyes of Calliope obviously were looking at another lady as she asked, “What are you going to do, Greg? I mean when this life gets taken from you?”

He replied, “A lot depends on my situation. If it happened right now, I would stay. I actually have a job, and I could grow old with Vefillaya without any problems. Later, I can’t say.”

The voice of the other lady said, “We actually talk about that at times, Calliope. Sometimes Greg comes back so mentally challenged that I have to talk him out from dark places.”

“I can’t do that, Greg. I live in a dark place.”

Greg wanted to argue with Calliope, but she disappeared. He turned to Vefillaya, and saw an expression of concern on her face. She looked to him, and in a calm manner spoke some support for Calliope.

“She has never lost herself to the darkness of her job. In fact, you and others have mentioned how much light she brings to those facing the end.”

Hoping to support the positive words, he replied, “If I don’t see her in the near future, I will make an attempt to go to her.”

A tone sounded on his computer indicating a call. Vefillaya stepped up probably to sit in his lap, but noticed she was naked so left his office. Greg assured himself of being presentable, then activated the call.

The face of the new emperor looked at him and asked, “Greg, are you aware that your own agent is speaking against your aid with the Offlantians?”

Greg replied, “If you are speaking about Tertha, you should be very aware that the two of us are very close. She is also very opinionated, but I am on record as usually supporting her tirades.”

“We need you with the Offlantians.”

“Yes, but you may not get it if the reason for my involvement is your actions. I have a lot of questions about what is being proposed. Further, I am finding myself again agreeing with Tertha. What you are allowing the Offlantians to do does have a lot of potential for creating a problem, a serious problem. I do have a sense of humor, emperor, so you might find me laughing at you instead of helping you.”

After being glared at for a moment, Emperor Abrogrund said, “I am sending a delegation to the Apostle. They are coming to speak to you, Greg.”

“They might not get me, as I do have other duties. Still, Tertha will be in attendance at those meetings. This delegation should understand that they need to convince her.”

“They did not want to come, Greg, but understand there was little support for their cause. It does sound good to me, so I challenged them to face you.”

“Better now than later. I am not being rude, emperor, and will not be rude. They will get a fair hearing. Actually, Tertha is very level-headed, and I can assure you that her report to me will be unbiased. What she says while delivering the report might be biased, but I enjoy her honesty.”

Again Greg felt the emperor wanted to chastise him, but held back such a statement due to very facts he stated. “You have a good reputation, Greg. I told the Offlantians that they would need to gain your trust. It will be your show, so please show up for it.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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PostSubject: Chapter Four   May 10th 2018, 7:45 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Four

It was actually unusual to find myself in the presence of humans. It amazed me to see people dressed as I sought to clothe myself. Recognizing the man, I had to stop and curtsey. I rose to hear the unusual sounds of people recognizing my presence.

One man knelt, as he had the fate to be under my employ. He could see me, because he regularly, as regularly as was possible with me, dealt with me. Others knelt because they knew for whom he worked.

The old man in the bed managed to say, “Calliope, I hurt.”

I replied, “For you the pain will pass, but for me it won’t. Let me talk.”

“Are you responsible? This was sudden.”

“Do you think I’m cruel? To myself? You are my family. It is your son, possibly great-grandson who will speak for me when I come as a bride. Even if I was the most horrible creature to ever exist, I would not do anything to you.”

“I see. Thank you for coming. Now, I hurt.”

I really did not move any closer as I said, “Are you cruel? To them? To me? We will continue to hurt.”

“I’m afraid the gods have not given me any choice.”

“No, and I have no option. To see you like this is painful as well, to both us and you. I will come to you, but I would hurt more if I did not give you a few more moments. Speak to them. Speak to me. Try and ease our pain.”

I saw him nod, then he worked to lift himself. “Pethauna, she’s a good woman. Continue with her.”

The one who had knelt first put his head to the floor as told his father that he would. The others made sounds of agreement. While they should not have been able to see me, or hear me, most probably knew I was present. All eyes however lifted when the old man collapsed back down.

“All right, Calliope, I’m ready. Do what you must.”

“What I must?” I replied. “All I have to do is touch you. I’m here because you called. I’m here in the same way I come to others. I’m not here as a friend. I’m not here as a member of your family. I’m here as Death. This is not how I want to be here.”

“And yet I am glad it is you and not anyone else. I would rather it be you.”

Trembling, I approached the man and kissed him. As I felt the life leave his body, I cried. With no options available to me, I fled to Peace. In the one place where I could be myself, I rushed trembling to my room where I could cry.

I wiped my eyes realizing that what I experienced was life. If I had been in the group as one of them, nothing would have changed. I would still be crying at the loss of an elder. The only difference would be that I would be able to grieve with family and not have to be all alone. Feeling the call of another, I wiped my eyes and checked my outfit before going back to my job.

The room appeared to be part of an institution. The walls were white with a few pieces of artwork that did not appear that special to me. I saw instruments, but they appeared to be turned off. I saw the reason as a person on the floor held a cord in his bent hand. I looked to the door in the room wondering if some people would come, although the fact that I had been summoned caused me to act calmly hearing some gasped words.

“Good. Kill… me.”

Seeing the scene, I had to ask, “Are you committing suicide?”

“This… isn’t… life. Kill me.”

The man was disfigured. Not seeing wounds from either an accident or surgery, I had to assume his warped condition had been from birth or at least a number of years. Why he had been placed in an institution I could not tell. There was no evidence of him having been present for any length of time. Exactly how he had been living his life I could not say, but I accepted his disfigurement limited his quality of life.

I could not say why he was dying. If he had been living with his condition then something had to have happened to put him in this room. The instruments did not appear to be doing anything to keep him alive, although for me to be summoned he had to be truly facing death.

He said, “Quickly, before anyone comes.”

Considering where I had just been, I asked, “Do you have family?”

“Yes. I don’t want them to hug me, but I want to hug them. Where I am going, I should be able to hug them.”

Looking at his deformed body, I felt able to understand his situation. Accepting my place, I reached out and touched him. The door opened as others rushed into the room, but I left hoping that his body would not be in such a condition on the other side.

It felt good to be called on a number of the usual occasions. Only certain conditions actually had me show up, but in the grandness of the universe there was usually someone crying out for the termination of their life. Most were understandable situations, and after a couple of centuries I handled them with ease. It however felt good when I returned to Peace feeling that I could indeed take time to rest.

I came to enjoying the experience of having had a comfortable place to sleep when I sensed something odd in the air. I turned and opened my eyes to see what appeared as a glowing yellow feather. Since I was in Peace, I did not feel threatened. While I had not spent much time socializing outside the grand building, I came from the bed recognizing something about the presence.

It did something that had me hear, “You do not come for one of our kind?”

I had to admit, “I really don’t. I don’t know why not. Even Greg was surprised when he was contacted by one of the more esoteric beings.”

“I am Kestay. It seems my aspect is Energy. I would think of myself as Life, except I am told that there is a Life. When I am called, it is usually death, but you are Death.”

I remembered another acting as the personality of Energy. In learning about the more esoteric immortals a good bit of this strange existence was learned. There were twenty positions among us immortals with some having no relation to life as I knew it. Wondering if the reason for the question was that Kestay knew of the death of the last one to hold the personality of Energy, I asked him something to help me satisfy him.

“How is death for you? For us there is a physical form that seems to be driven, inhabited, by something more eternal. It is that immortal part, what most call a soul, that I release from the physical shell.”

Electricity seemed to spark around the tines of the feather, which helped produce the sounds I heard as words. “With my kind there is a dispersal. Most also believe in something immortal, but there are no facts for it.”

“I hope you are not as busy as I am. To have gained a period of rest is uncommon for me.”

“There is a persistence in my calls. Like I said, I felt I should be bringing life, but I am instead assuring dispersal. I find it bothersome.”

I sat for a time and simply spoke with Kestay. Having never encountered a being like him, it felt good to be able to relate to him. He also did well speaking with me on some topics, as I did not expect him to have any experience with some subjects I mentioned. I however enjoyed my time with Kestay, and actually found myself amused when he spoke of a problem I had heard from others.

“Calliope, would you know how to activate the portal outside so we can arrive out there?”

I replied, “I did not even know it existed until rather recently. My work keeps me so busy that I am usually showing up only to sleep and eat.”

“Well, I am told to ask Greg. Having also been told that he is the persona of Life, I am interested in talking with him.”

“He will help, but he stays busy as well. He is nice.”

“How could I find him?”

There were steps in becoming an immortal. The first was just to realize that one had gained a set of powers beyond those of regular life. This step usually happened fast. The next part was to somehow find the way to Peace. This took a person learning something of their new life. Greg had spent a long time at this status, although he gave the pause credit in enabling him to gain some confidence in his place. Once someone obtained a presence in Peace, there were still further things about their lives as an immortal one that could be discovered.

I replied, “You will learn. We are supposed to be public figures. We are not to hide or be separate from those just living their lives. We can be called, and we can be found. There are ways to gain privacy, but those that know how to call us can usually gain our presence.”

“That is how you find each other?”

“Yes. If I want to go to Greg, I do. He will also come to me. Those of us that have been around a while can bother each other should we care to do so.”

“How long will it take for me to learn that?”

Not able to give a direct answer, I told the truth. “I have been here for centuries. Only recently have I learned about things outside. Greg took years to arrive here in Peace. We’re immortals, and each of us have our own stories.”

“But you don’t stay here forever. There was one before me. What are the rules?”

“There are no rules. Even if there were, they would be different for each of us. It has been said that once you begin to figure out the rules, you are then held accountable.”

I had hoped my words would silence Kestay, but it really did not surprise me to hear another question. “You have been here for so long, and have not learned the rules yet?”

“I’m here because I wanted to be here. I thought becoming Death would be great. I’m doing what I thought I was supposed to do. It is getting old, but I still know the importance of what I do. I still cherish the moments I have with people.” Hoping to get Kestay to realize something, I slowly said, “I have been Death for so long that I long for life. Still, I know the value of what I do. I honestly accept that I will miss this when I finally have to leave.”

“Can we go home?” As if not really wanting to hear my answer, Kestay added, “I tried, but they said I was not who I was.”

“There are several of us that have lives in the physical world. Yes, we have been changed, but we do what we can. I told you that we are public figures. It is our place to interact with those still going through their lives. Even one such as I, who represents Death, there were ways I could find a place with others.”

“I had family.”

“Nothing will stop you from continuing to love them.”

As if able to read into what I said, Kestay asked, “Do you have family?”

“No. They died. I wanted to kill them, but they killed themselves. I come from a horrible time. I am now doing what I can with remnants of my people, but they are not family.” Wanting to keep myself, much less Kestay, from any darkness I added, “They found me. Those I interact with found me in the annals of history. It has helped them accept me.”

A brilliance filled the room. I could not say what Kestay was doing, but I watched as strands of his essence intertwined while glowing intensely. I saw the things about the room in a way I never thought possible as he spoke an introduction.

“I am Kestay of the Nurmongy. I am honored to have shared your time, Calliope.”

“I hope I have gained your friendship, Kestay. We have so few in this life.”

“Friendship and love. There are no personas of either, is there?”

I rose from the bed to curtsey as I replied, “I would hope that all of us are.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Five   May 15th 2018, 7:49 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Five

Greg shot up in bed. Vifillaya turned with a shocked expression from where she worked with her hair. All he had to do was reach out with his hand and she came to him. Her top was exposed, possibly to prevent white strands from falling on her gown although probably simply to have her feminine mounds where he could see them. He could tell that she wanted to kiss him and do other acts of affection, but he needed to simply have his fingers move slowly about her head as if he was a blind person seeking to recognize her. While she sat next to him on the bed and let him do what he would, she still chanced asking a question.

“Are you going to tell me?”

He started with the conclusion that was driving the actions with his fingers. “She was not like you, at all.” Just because she would care, he added, “Not like Calliope either.”

Her hands now moved about his body while saying, “Calm down and tell me.”

“I was flying down to a planet. It was wooded and swampy. I really did not see any mountains. I do not remember seeing my reflection in the water, but instead was focused on the lights of a house.” He attempted to recall the vivid nature of the dream as he said, “Every light of the property must have been on. There were bulbs in all the trees and bushes about the house. Not blue. They were not blue, but white.” Attempting to keep in his memory every second of the image, he assured his wife of a fact. “I did not see my reflection in the water.”

As if to help him, Vefillaya asked, “Two story house? A refurbished spaceship?”

“Two story with balconies all around both levels.” His hands left her face to work to visually help her see what he was attempting to describe. “The roof had windows coming out, so I guess it had three stories. The roof was dark, but the outside walls of the house were yellow. Not blue – yellow.”

“Were there people?”

“No, but only her. She stood in the doorway as I landed on the top step. She was… probably not as tall as you. Much thinner, but very womanly. I mean she had graceful curves, and a very noticeable chest.”

“I guess you had Labonchy bless her.”

Greg really did not want to get his thoughts off the dream, so tried to focus on his vision. “Large eyes. You have large eyes as well, but these were blue. Very blue. She had tall, pointed ears. Thick, thick hair that cascaded about her. The hair was a soft orange. She was gorgeous. That is something I felt strong. She was immensely beautiful.”

“Well, not from this galaxy.”

“No. I can’t believe she’s real. Vefillaya, in her hands she held something in a mass of blankets. As I approached I clearly heard her say, ‘Blue Flame, I want you to meet your son.’”

As if determined not to speak on what he considered important, his wife said, “She does not sound like Calliope either.” She then asked, “Could it be a vision of your future?”

“I don’t know what it could be. What troubles me is the impact. It’s not like I feel the dream is real, but that it is supposed to mean something.”

“There is no persona of prophecy, is there?”

With a tone of her supposing to know, Greg replied, “None that I know. I saw the statues of us, Vefillaya. There was no statue of anyone associated with prophecy, foreknowledge, or even of sleep or dreams.”

“You have not spoken of going all the way through the building, Greg. Who knows what secrets that building might have?”

“Why would there be secrets there?”

“Because it is old enough to have secrets."

They both turned hearing a tone with Vefillaya being turned in the direction to see a monitor. “It’s Tertha.”

Greg said, “I’ll go.” Seeing the glance from his wife, he grabbed a breast while saying, “Tertha is my employee, and you’re not my butler.”

As if the matter was solved, he moved from the bed to put on something simple before grabbing a robe. He knew that his wife could have done the same, in probably the same amount of time, but he did feel that it would be improper to distance himself from his work. Greg felt glad for his decision when Tertha rushed forward while speaking on the matter that brought her.

“Greg, the Offlantians are already putting certain policies into motion.”

He directed the Cladastian lady to a chair while saying, “That is a legal problem, and we are not a legal entity. We definitely do not have the authority to enforce the law. We can protect people, but our forces are still only meant to delay any show of force until military units arrive.”

“The Offlantians have a tactic that puts time on their side. You are here because we needed you to stop them.”

“I have been here a number of years now, Tertha. If our military has not come up with a response to the Offlantians then the fault is with them. I will let our new emperor know that.”

He did not turn when his wife spoke, although suspected the focus of Tertha’s three eyes switched to the other lady. “Greg, Hubrinostry called saying something about the Offlantians.”

Calmly, he replied, “Tell Hubrinostry that I am in a staff meeting discussing that very topic. As a member of my staff, he is more than welcome to come to my apartment and join the meeting.”

“I will do so nicely.”

Now he turned to his wife, but only to smile. Hubrinostry was actually the senior ambassador. He had the experience to be the prime official on board the Apostle, but had calmly stepped back recognizing the celebrity of Greg. Upon taking his position on board the diplomatic vessel, he let the actual ambassadors know that their experience would be fully recognized. Greg in fact stressed his own duties as having his personal focus with him recognizing that his only skills were his celebrity. What Hubrinostry came to learn was that Greg had his strengths along with a likeable personality, so could advance the purpose of the vessel while assuring no one stepped on each others’ feet. Seeing Vefillaya smile, he knew that the verbal duel between him and the experienced ambassador would continue along with their friendship.

Tertha said, “Greg, Hubrinostry will defer to you in this matter. You have the precedence with the Offlantians.”

He replied, “I was not an ambassador then, and I will let Hubrinostry know that.”

Greg was hungry, so cheerfully agreed when his wife spoke of preparing something to eat. He had learned not to fight Vefillaya about doing certain things. Simply to pass the time for the food to be prepared or the senior ambassador to arrive, Greg decided to speak on another topic.

Tertha did listen as he related the dream to her. He considered her a friend, and they often spoke on topics other than business. He had his personal concerns, and presently her mind would often go to the raising of her children. They however allowed the other to speak on whatever was on their minds. When he finished the events of his dream, Tertha freely gave her interpretation.

“The fact that you did not see your reflection means that the dream was not necessarily for you. If you had seen your reflection, then the experience would definitely involve you and could be taken as prophecy. The fact everything was lit however meant that it was important, something you needed to see.”

Greg interrupted to say, “I also assume it was not something negative, scary, but positive.”

“You cannot really say that, Greg. Some find the future scary, which includes any information about it. Others are not scared of even a horrid future, as they feel they will survive it. The baby definitely signifies that something new is coming. Not a child, as we both know that as an immortal you are unable to sire offspring.”

“Well, I would say the fact that I am dealing with races, even in my married life, that are nowhere similar to my race assures we are not talking about an actual offspring. That is one thing that bothers me. The lady I see is not human either. Well, maybe, as I guess she could be elf, or fairy, or something from Earth’s folklore.”

“She was bright as well.”

Greg considered that an interesting point. In the pause he saw Vefillaya rush to the door. Hoping to bring the private conversation to a close, he spoke an agreement to Tertha.

“Yes, although that could be from the lights of the house.”

“The message, Greg, is that you were to accept it as possible the child was yours. You would have been pleased to have intimacy with the lady. The child however might not be yours.”

Hubrinostry appeared as huge bird that evolved to slither along the ground. The rear appendages had an appearance of wings, although could not power the large form. At the front were two powerful arms with hands that could do delicate work or work to help move the body. Vefillaya did help provide what could be called a chair for Hubrinostry while letting him know refreshments would be present shortly.

Settling into a comfortable position, the Begrinnold said, “And what is this of a child?” He looked to Tertha while saying, “Cladastians don’t have one child, but many.”

Not wanting to have the conversation digress to the number of three-legged little people in a certain apartment, Greg said, “I was relating a dream to Tertha.”

“You dream, Greg?”

“It was a very powerful dream. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

One rule Greg had learned of diplomacy was that facts had little to do with negotiations. Personalities and opinions were often the influential matters in gaining agreements. The fact that he was a celebrity actually made him a wonderful ambassador. Greg had learned that business usually could be done with frivolous topics, so calmly included Hubrinostry in the side conversation.

After hearing the dream, he said, “The child is not yours, Greg. You can have children. The Blue Flame cannot. Calliope is definitely planning to have children when she again leaves her place as Death. That lady was presenting the child to your immortal identity.”

Tertha interjected, “But the child need not be a child.”

“Whatever it is, it is being presented in a manner to get Greg to think it will be a good thing. The fact that he did not wake up thinking it to be a good thing, but only of the beauty of the lady doing the presenting, means that he might end up being deceived.”

Having his wife set down various items, Greg said, “Vefillaya told me to search the grand building on Peace. She said that it was definitely old enough to have secrets.”

“I would rather you spending your free time around here, Greg. The Offlantians are a serious historic problem that is again making their presence known. We probably need you.”

Tertha added, “And they are definitely stating their desire to speak to you. They are not coming to discuss a possible treaty.”

Greg provided his own focus. “I am interested in why they chose a certain volume of space to expand into. Offlantians might be bold, but they are not stupid. There is a reason.”

Hubrinostry replied, “That has intrigued me as well. Maybe if a certain someone flew around to check the place out?”

“I wouldn’t recognize anything. No, we need someone with a more deviant mind.” Greg looked at his wife and grinned as he added, “And I believe I know who.”

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Six   May 20th 2018, 8:04 am

All Problems Have a Cause
The Blue Flame

Chapter Six

Calliope entered the room and sat down seeing a small wreath of flowers over her picture. While she noticed the man drop from his seat to kneel, the presence of a tray of cookies also caught her attention. Hoping to give the right impression, Calliope mentioned something about her reason for being present.

“I will need to learn how to make those.”

The man kept his face toward the floor as he said, “Yes, in time, my sister.”

Since he spoke in Mongolian, she did as well. “You are what I consider my family. Still, I am here as an employer.”

“You gave our father respect. You came as a daughter, and not as Death. I did not see you as Death.”

“I did not want to be Death. I do not want to be Death. People however still know that I am Death. Your father, my father, did not doubt the reason I arrived. I am told that I am a good Death. That is what I want to be, a good Death.”

“He was crying before you showed up. He was in so much pain. You brought him comfort. You brought him peace. A better death he could not have had.”

Because she felt a need to instill a certain understanding, Calliope said, “I tried to come upon him as someone who cared about him, and not simply as a person doing a job. That is how I have changed my room in Peace. I have done things to make the next person to become Death not see it as a job, but as something that should be a part of the whole expanse of life.”

“It was an honor to see you perform your job. Yes, you were a good Death. Do you come upon others in the same manner?”

“I try. None others are human. I appear as Death simply as a part of being in a form they relate to. It is strange however, as I have appeared before people I have come to know and they spoke to me.”

“How about the others?”

With the young man having lost his father, and having seen her act in my capacity as Death, Calliope felt it good to simply speak. While her native language was Mongolian, there had been changes in the centuries since she left the world of the living. She thus felt it good for both of them to just converse.

“Their duties are not so easily defined. They usually appear as they are, although are not visible to the people. They will decide how they are needed, changing into a local form if they feel a need to directly work with the natives.”

“How many of you are there?”

Having been with Greg upon the discovery of the front room of the grand mansion of Peace, Calliope could answer, “Twenty. Some are hard to define, and others have no real application to life as we know it.” Curious, she decided to ask her own question. “What did you do after he passed?”

The man acted as if he did not know how to answer, but his attitude changed as Calliope spoke of the traditions of her people. Again he was of her people, but in the centuries there were a number of developments that affected how the people did things. He however listened to what she said with interest, and seemed to enjoy speaking on the topic. Calliope felt he wanted to dance with her as she spoke on certain behaviors, although the small office would not allow it.

Feeling a call, she left actually in a mood to return to her work. The situations she found herself dealing with were the usual sort, and calmly she went about doing what she could to have each pass on without any troubles. It helped that each person was not in a troubling situation, but just seeking relief from a standard problem of life simply reaching a point where it presented no reward for continuing. Feeling another call, one she recognized as being a little different than normal, she actually felt ready for something to break the monotony of her work.

There was an immensity of black with the glowing yellow filaments Calliope had recently learned to be a new member to the immortals who said, “It does not want me to kill it, but have you do it.”

“Me?” Calliope had to ask. “How does it know about me?” She then tried to focus on the creature, although found it hard to determine the size or distance, even as she asked, “Is that true?”

“Is that true?” Kestay replied. “What do you mean, ‘Is that true?’ Just do your job.”

“I am doing my job. I bring release. I don’t have to come, but most pass from this life as their life comes to an end in the usual fashion. Death is not really a requirement for those that call.” She then thought back to something she noticed in the call that brought her, so added, “And I don’t believe it is what called me.”

She gained the impression that the dense volume of black was laughing as she sensed it say, “He claimed it was an experiment. It bothered me not that he sought some meaning in my cessation of existence.”

“It doesn’t bother me either, although I am not as Kestay. I am asking if you are ready to end your existence?”

“Yes. As you said, I can pass without your aid. I feel my core losing its integrity. Given time, I will pass. It is best if I go without suffering.”

Calliope sought to understand how to approach the immensity of black as she said, “Then let me see what I can do.”

“What type of being are you?”

She looked at herself to see her form as it would be naturally. Of course her colors were the washed out shades of one long dead. Her hair was white. Interested in not seeing her appearance alter to match the being before her, and certainly not a bizarre representation of Death, she looked to the one that asked more than willing to answer the question.

Kestay however interjected, “What does it matter what type of being she is?”

Calliope had to say, “I’m more than willing to talk.”


“He’s the one suffering, but I don’t deny what he is facing. I do not know what life will be for him once he passes.”

“What life will be?”

She put strength into her voice as she replied, “He’s facing death! It might be a total end for one of his kind, but it is still a change of status. I am sure that it troubles him as much to end his life as it would anyone.” Wanting to stress her point, Calliope added, “He is the not the one that called me!”

Hearing only silence for a period, she then said, “I am a human. Our kind does not live out in the vastness of the cosmos, but have developed to live on a planet.”

From the volume of black came the reply, “Ah, I know of those like you. They move around in vehicles.”

“Yes. If not for my gift of representing Death, I would need to travel beyond a planet in such a fashion as well.”

“Well, I am ready. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Calliope found herself moving forward until her hands felt absorbed. Her sensation was of what had been a solid substance now losing its integrity. She could feel rocks and other cohesive masses, but they all crumbled to her touch.

She then heard Kestay say, “This isn’t right.”

He moved up and Calliope could sense the hard material not just breaking up, but losing its presence. What had been a definite volume of black now allowed the light of distant stars to pass. She could tell what Kestay had happened brought about more of an elimination of what had been, and could only wonder how much her actions had actually accomplished.

She turned hearing the voice of Lexostat ask, “What just happened?”

Looking to the strange spider-like being, Calliope replied, “I was told it was an experiment.”

He turned to say, “Kestay, I am Lexostat, the representation of Eternity. It is good to make your acquaintance. Let me say that I would be at fault not to support Calliope. Still, what is your statement?”

Instead of answering, Kestay asked, “Calliope, you don’t die as we do?”

She replied, “We don’t live as you do, so how we end our lives should not be the same either.”

“Yes, but… how bizarre are you?”

“There are a multitude of worlds and beings that call to me. Of the immortals, I am one that tends to stay busy. Sorry, Kestay, but I don’t consider myself bizarre at all.”

Lexostat spoke to support her by saying, “It must be said that of the immortals, those of a non-physical state are in the definite minority.”

Kestay said, “Yes. Yes, but this was a surprise. Calliope, I may call you again.”

“No,” Lexostat replied, “not without first speaking with me. Now, you have your duties. I have mine, and I will be seeking you.”

Seeing the glowing strands disappear, Calliope felt free to say, “I hope he is not in too much trouble.”

“You know we don’t get into trouble. He is still here. As for myself, I don’t know if I want to lecture him or thank him. What are your thoughts on the matter?”

“I felt I was doing something, but there was not the feeling of completeness. Usually when I contact someone, there is a feeling of life exiting. I did not get that feeling.”

“For your information I did get the impression that something wrong was happening, but it was a subdued sensation as if the wrong was not entirely wrong. I hope you understood that.”

Calliope thought back over the experience to try and help the communication between her and Lexostat. “Kestay definitely felt that I was doing things wrong. I let him know that what I was doing was how I usually did things. I am considered a good Death, and did not want to spoil that reputation with these exotic creatures.”

“I have not served in my capacity for long, but I have come to recognize that the others respect you very highly. I thank you for handling things as you did, Calliope. As I said, while I felt something wrong was occurring, it did not give me the impression of being a horrible thing. You may go now. Oh! Greg said that you and the previous Eternity, Chisel, got along very well. I have heard the same from others.”

“He was a lonely man, and until Greg came I was lonely as well. I believe we formed a friendship simply because we were glad to see the other hanging around.”

“We really aren’t the same.”

Calliope smiled thinking back over her times with Chisel, so pleasantly replied, “Sometimes contrast can help one see better.”

“Ah, I can appreciate that. It is good to have a moment with you, Calliope. It seems you have more work, but I will look forward to other moments.”

While she did feel a call, she took a moment to contemplate what just happened. It actually amused her to see Lexostat be the one that departed. Wondering about what others would conclude of the events, Calliope moved on to the call.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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