Tuesday Tales

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

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Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 2

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.

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 2

Photo by Stefan Kunze on Unsplash

The light guided Jake along the length of the hall. He passed several doors – all closed – until the guiding illumination stopped him at a door. The door parted from the center and air brushed his face. A projected screen and audio flickered from a darkened corner. “Jake was a good man. A man’s man with exemplary military service.”

“Come in, Mr. Lassitter. Please have a seat.” A young woman with dark hair pulled into a bun stood beside a simple desk of mahogany.

Jake walked into the room and sat.

“I’m Mrs. Walker.” She extended her hand.

“Can you end that.” He pointed to the projection where the speaker droned on about his life. Mona wept.

Mrs. Walker shrugged. “Most people like to view their end, but as you wish.” She tapped the projected interface on her desk and his service flicked into silence.

“Thanks.” He hated seeing Mona cry. He held back the hitch in his throat but his chin quivered. Watching was vain.

“Mr. Lassitter, I’m here to–.”

“Jake, call me Jake.”

Mrs. Walker cleared her throat and her lips pressed into a line. “Ah, these are hard enough without, uh, first names. I have a few instructions for you before your, uh, departure.” She placed a card on the desk. “This is your ID, keep it with you at all times.”

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Jake chuckled. “The toe-tag.”

The young woman paused and cleared her throat. “Yes, well. Please leave all your personal belongings with me. Through this door is the escalator to the shuttle to Shady Oaks.”

He chuckled again. “All this is so humorous.”

“Mr. Lassitter, ending your life is a serious matter. Now, if you are ready please proceed to the transport.” She pushed the card toward him.

Jake discarded all his belongings, glanced at his new ID, and read the label: Archangel Lassitter. He stood, took the ID and headed for the door.

“Goodbye, Mr. Lassitter. I hope your journey is peaceful.”

Sunlight blazed into the room as the door hissed open. Wind whooshed around Jake and he stepped outside. He swallowed the lump in his throat.

“Mr. Lassitter?” Ahead another woman beckoned him toward the escalator into the shuttle.

Jake shoved the ID in his pocket and trudged into the wind. They were all so politely aloof. He reached the other woman who looked like Mrs. Walker’s sister.

“You’re the last. Hurry, there’s a schedule.” She took him by the arm and herded him onto the escalator that carried him off the ground.

Jake’s shoe-sole scraped on the door-runner’s seal. Other people his age waited in the cabin. Some of his fellow passengers glanced at him. No one offered greeting and no one looked him in the eye. He sat in the first empty seat. He recognized no one, so which seat he chose mattered little.

Minutes later the shuttle lifted into the sky toward the sun. Jake left who he was.

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

Tuesday Tales: Endless Doors Part 1

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The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. Last week Shadow of the Beast ended. 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.

Endless Doors

by P. H. Solomon

Part 1

The dark abstraction of mourners loomed on Jake’s left. The blurred faces with indistinct mouths opened in song and weeping, gray set against black matched the somber music in the room. He hated abstract art.

Jake thumped the carpeted floor with his heel. Why were they waiting? There were no more goodbyes left for him. Just get this over.

White hair dropped across his eyes and he brushed it back. He’d given up on haircuts after the government pulled him from active service. The living cared about haircuts. Let the EES cut it if they wanted. Even better since there were no decisions left to him. When had his hair turned white? Jake sighed, hating the color and its meaning for him.

Mona leaned close, slipped her arm under his and squeezed his hand. “It’s not fair for them to make you when it’s not my time yet. We’ve been together so long and now…” Her lips quivered as her words trailed into silence.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Jake patted her hand. “It’s what’s required. We’ve had our time for all this.”

Along the line of chairs his family waited with him. Jake blinked at Marsha’s bulging belly. Her third and he wouldn’t see it. He’d just be a picture on the shelf. The story of a shadow. Marsha wiped tears away and leaned against her husband, Bob.

On his left, Jake’s son stared at his shoes. James’ worried faced sprouted a brave smile but he hesitated with a nod. The mourners hovered in pictorial silence that shrouded the waiting room.

The door hissed and light flared into the room. Jake jerked at the suddenness. His family sat agape.

“Jake Lassitter, please step into the light.” The mild voice ended in abrupt silence.

Jake pulled free of Mona’s grip. He stood as his family wept. He walked through the open door and paused in the light. Jake never waved nor spoke another word to them. He had given them his love over the last few months. The door whispered and shut his family’s lives away. Jake hesitated for a moment and then left them.

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