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Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 4

The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. The previous story was Shadow of the Beast  To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1Shadow of the Beast Part 2Shadow of the Beast Part 3

This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it. Click this link to read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 4

Light cracked the darkness open like a shell. Jake ceased floating.

The soothing voice beckoned. “Archangel Lassiter, it is time.”

The cracks flashed wider. Jake gasped. “How long?” He shivered. He squinted and darkness departed.

“Please exit your container when you are able. Welcome aboard The Afterlife.

His coffin tilted as the lid slid open. Cool air embraced Jake. He fumbled for a grip to exit his long entombment. “How many years?”

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Silence fed him no answer.

He stumbled out of confinement. Jake sunk on weak legs to the floor and trembled in the light shining through the doorway.

Strength returned to his limbs. The light beckoned him from the cool, dark chamber and the stasis container. Jake stepped into the light and followed its guidance once more. He passed multiple bulkheads like door-frames until he halted at pearl-colored doors that wouldn’t open.

“They’re locked until the interview is completed.”

Jake jumped at the voice.

To his right was a recess where a much older man sat at a desk. “Welcome to The Afterlife. I’m Pete. And you are Jake if the stasis barge’s records are correct.”

Jake arched one eyebrow and glanced at the pearl doors. “Really? That’s your name?”

Pete chuckled. “I suppose someone assigned me here as a joke.” He motioned Jake to a chair.

“Why is everything based on such clichés?” Jake sat across from Pete.

“Well, when the EES came into being there was no more need for mortuaries. The industry logically transformed into the service and brought their sensibilities along. May I see your card?” Pete held out his hand.

Jake frowned. Card? He’d left everything behind.

“It’s just in your pocket.”

“Oh, yes.” He handed it over.

Pete fed the ID into a slot on the desk and information was projected before him. “An Archangel, I see. From previous service.”

Jake cleared his throat. “Yes. Is everyone so thirsty when they arrive?”

“Uh, what? Oh, yes. It’s from the vitrifaction. You’ve been re-hydrated but you’ll need more fluids. First the oath, and then your prepared quarters with proper refreshments and clothing.” His eyes flicked to hair that fell into Jake’s eyes. “And a haircut. We’ll send a stylist if you prefer that to the auto-cutter provided.

“Uh, the stylist.” Better than closed spaces. He’d been in one long enough. Jake shivered.

Pete tapped in the request. “Good, then. Are you ready for the oath? Any questions?”

Jake grunted. “I”m ready.”

“Please stand. Archangel, do you now swear to serve humanity in the Earth Exploration Service until the end of your days, leaving behind all former attachments, ranks, privileges, property and reputation?” Pete motioned to Jake’s hand.

“Oh, yes.” He raised his hand. “I so swear.” Like there was another choice or anywhere to go. “How long was I in stasis?”

Pete offered the ID back. “Thirty years. Been here ten, myself.” The attendant pointed over Jake’s shoulder. “Through those doors your ID begins working. It will indicate the way to your quarters. Good luck to you, Archangel.”

He nodded, stood and stepped over the thin line where the motorized, pearl-colored doors ran on tracks. Jake left behind all that went with his name and accepted what came with his new title.

Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.

About the Author

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Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 3

The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. The previous story was Shadow of the Beast  To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1Shadow of the Beast Part 2Shadow of the Beast Part 3

This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it. Click this link to read Part 1 | Part 2

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 3

The shuttle arrived at Shady Oaks with a soft landing. The engines hummed during cool-down like a choir ended a song. Passengers exited whenever their cards signaled for them.

Archangel Lassitter’s card flashed in his hand and he disembarked. He almost searched for bags. He cleared his throat and shrugged at the lack of his possessions. Nothing to carry. He inhaled and released his breath, feeling like it was his first taste of fresh air in years. The lack of belongings left him invigorated.

More light led him to an attendant who stretched her arm toward an entryway. “Welcome to Shady Oaks. Your resting place is this way, Archangel.”

Jake wet his lips. He hesitated at the black tile line marking the room boundary. “It’s what I requested isn’t it? The, er, coffin?”

The attendant pecked her projected data interface. She smiled. “As you requested. It’s just inside. A military design.”

Jake swallowed the lump in his throat. It would be over soon. He entered the room where soft light illuminated the container mounted on a platform tilted for his ease. An old man’s ease. He allowed himself a grimace. “Such a small room. I expected a large one for all of us at once.”

“We’ve found everyone needs privacy in these moments.” The attendant handed him a smock. “Change into this and place your ID in the pocket. When you’re ready…” She motioned toward his coffin.

“I wore my best uniform for this.”

“The smocks are best but we’ll make sure it’s handled appropriately.”

Jake changed into the smock behind a screen. He laid the uniform out neatly and patted the garment. He frowned. It was his last comfort.

“Archangel? It’s time.” She took the ID from his hand and slipped it into the pocket at his chest.

Jake shuffled on bare feet to the container. He climbed in and leaned back.

From Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay.com

The transparent lid slid over him. A recording initiated. “Archangel Lassitter, welcome. You are about to be sent to The Afterlife. Do you confirm these instructions?”

“Yes, The Afterlife.” Jake’s heart lurched and his breathing accelerated.

The coffin tilted toward horizontal. “When the light changes to green, close your eyes and breathe deeply.”

He nodded to the instructions. Jake resisted pounding on the lid or screaming but he trembled. He hated closed spaces.

The light changed to green after extended moments. He inhaled fast and squeezed his eyes shut. His breathing calmed. His thoughts staggered into nothingness. Archangel Lassitter left his world.

Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.

About the Author

Interviews With Tordug Part 2: An Arrow Against the Wind

The following post is a fictitious news report based on events from An Arrow Against the Wind, Book Two of The Bow of Hart Saga:

The Ezhandun Resistance Tribune
“Resistance News Dwarves Can Trust”

Date-line: Somewhere in the Central Drelkhaz Mountains
By Cracked-Shield (true name withheld for security)

A rare opportunity has presented itself for an interview from an important personage and news from our scattered people from west over the mountains. Just a few days ago, none other than our former leader, Tordug of Chokkra, arrived with several other people of import in his company. They are on a quest which I’ll let him describe as well as deliver his message to us. This writer is aware that this piece may be controversial for many of our people still living and fighting hard against Rok but the message may prove to be of help to many, even those who harbor low opinions of our former leader.

Cracked-Shield: Word of you has been mere rumor for so many years. Can you tell us where you have been?

Tordug: I was saved by Makwi while fighting in the upper-southern halls where we were cut-off whe Cokkra fell. We escaped out a secret entrance but were still pursued by trolls so we fled west into the wilderness as best we could. After a time, we split up for more than a year but we found each other through scattered people living as refugees in Auguron. We agreed to do our part hunting trolls in the Heaths though none would rally to our cause.

Cracked-Shield: So, you’ve been fighting like shadows without the aid of any of our brethren warriors. Some would mention honor – even with Makwi at your side – as cause enough not to support your efforts. Others would commend you for continuing the fight virtually alone. What brought you over the mountains at this time?

Tordug: We joined a quest at the request of a friend but we didn’t come over the mountains. We entered Chokkra through the Troll Neath on our quest. We have seen, first-hand, the cursed desecration and destruction of our home.

Cracked-Shield: Through Chokkra, eh? Perhaps you were on an assassin’s quest for a certain wizard?

Tordug: If only that were true. But our friend is a Withling seeking a relic to fight against not only Corgren but Magdronu as well. As you have heard the tale already, some of our party barely escaped a trap, including Makwi.

Cracked-Shield: Yes, it is rumored a Withling accompanied you here among our resistance fighters as well as Makwi. You seem to be in honor raising company, even bringing us an actual Ax-maid. What can you tell us of this quest and this Ax-maid?

Tordug: Yes, an Ax-maid is with us. She earned the title saving an Auguron ranger from trolls. She even displayed the death-grip in the incident and several times since, including on her journey here with me.

Cracked-Shield: Death-grip you say? You have brought us some truly brave and honorable visitors. One can only hope that you bear news of hope?

Tordug: I dare hope that our quest will make some difference against the trolls and Rok as well as the dragon and his wizards. But we have yet to find the relic.

Cracked-Shield: Were you aware of the plight of our people here? How they are used for blood for the dragon?

Tordug: I had heard of these things. Several in our party, including Makwi, were rescued from such a fate. I am ill-pleased with the extent of this heinous problem. I will take council with Duliwe and Withling Hastra about these matters as time allows. But as you know, I rule no longer so my word is not law. Only the honor of my companions brings me gracious aid at this time. But it is necessary that we recover this relic for the Withling so that Magdronu may be countered. My great desire is that the power of Rok and the trolls will be broken over Chokkra by recovering this weapon.

Cracked-Shield: So, you offer your people hope after all these years of silence?

Tordug: I do indeed offer some hope though I do not know how it shall be accomplished at this time. I understand that many may given up on any possibility of restoration of Chokkra. Without this quest, Magdronu’s evil will only fester further throughout Denaria.

Cracked-Shield: Can you share more about this quest?

Tordug: I can only say that it is a Withling-blessed weapon passed through a Hartian family over many generations. It is certain that Magdronu knows of our movements and intentions as does Corgren and his brother, Paugren. But the less said the better, I think.

Cracked-Shield: You have grown wiser in the years of your solitude while fighting trolls. It is said your fighting honor rose among us while you traveled here. What of this tale?

Tordug: Aye, our enemy has raised some creature of magic named the Bane. None can slay this creature without the help of a blessed weapon or the presence of a Withling. Hastra was not with us so I and the Ax-maid fought it when it attacked during a fight with a Rokan squad. I pushed it over the side of the mountain but it haunts us still.

Cracked Shield: A deed, well done then. Perhaps you will do more than offer hope in a blessed weapon to defeat our enemy and regain us our home free of the threat of our enemies.

Tordug: Makwi, our companions and I will do all we can to end the power of Magdronu and his minions. It will be done if I must breathe my last do accomplish it.

Ending note: Rokans have since threatened Duliwe with a force of their spearmen. Tordug, Makwi, Hastra the Withling and the Ax-Maid have left with other their companions on their search for the blessed weapon. We can only wish them well for our own sakes though many might harbor little hope of deliverance from such a desperate quest. This dwarf for one, hopes that Tordug’s determination will win him back his lost honor and, somehow, our lost home.

Also of note, Duliwe has reportedly sent a special force of artisans and fighters to block the high-road to the place of our old celebrations now used for the cursed sacrifices of our people. It is not an option we wish at this time, but certainly one which must be carried out if possible. We’ve played for time and survival long enough, perhaps it’s time we cut-off one avenue of Magdronu’s magic supply using our people’s blood.

This is Cracked-Shield, bidding all my readers hope in these dark times.

Look for more of these fun reports about the series. If you are interested in The Bow of DestinyAn Arrow Against the Wind or the newly released, final edition, The White Arrow, please click the appropriate link for the book-page. Following is the direct links to find An Arrow Against the Wind at Amazon where you can also download it for free via Kindle Unlimited:

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