SciFi

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.

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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

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