Posts Tagged ‘Short Story’

In June, I decided to start posting some of my work on Wattpad. If you’ve never hard of it, it’s a place where indie authors and young writers can share their work and receive some form of feedback, such a up-votes, being added to reading lists, and comments.If you don’t have an account with them, I recommend one, either for sharing your own work or for reading.

A few weeks ago I received an announcement via mass email that Wattpad had joined forces with TNT and was having a horror writing contest. The grand prize is $20,000 and the story being purchased by the TNT network. This would be an exciting prize, but contests are just like anything in writing; a lottery. However; this one was free to enter and I qualified, so why not give it a chance? If nothing else, it could give my writing some visibility.

I’ve submitted a short story, and now begins the waiting.

shadows

The winner will not be announced until January 17, but until then stories will go through stages depending on how many votes they receive. This is where I’m going to shamelessly plug that if you read my story and like it, please share it with others. If you share it on social media, please use the tag #TNTHorrorContest.

Okay, shameless plugging over.I’m working on the next installment of The Hunted. I’m also going to be diving into Book Three. Thank you for reading!

In other news, I’m working on the next installment of The Hunted, which is going to add a new dimension to the storytelling. I’m also going to be diving into Book Three. Thank you for reading!

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ONE
Attack in the Night

The demons came in droves, pouring out of tears in the night sky unhindered by walls or guards. Locked doors could not stop them, and the magical wards of the holy were overwhelmed by their sheer number. There was no hope but to run, to hide, and be hunted. Walled in by their own defenses, the people were trapped with death.

Primary among the demons’ targets were those born with magic. Lexanna awoke to the screams outside her bedchamber window. She rushed to look out, horrified by what she saw below. Demons did not merely kill their prey. They fed on the flesh and torment they inflicted.

Lexanna’s father appeared at her chamber door. “Hide, and do not reveal yourself until I return for you,” he said, leading her to the heavy wardrobe.

Her parents were the most powerful magicians in the Klimok region, assigned to the town of Shirgrand as emissaries of the Ossuary of Minds. They would be the only ones capable of saving the town. Their daughter, however; was useless in the fight. She had no magical talent to speak of and required protection.

With her faith in her parents intact, Lexanna slipped into the wardrobe. As a child she often would tuck herself away behind her clothes and leap out at Mircy, her maid, to frighten her. The space was a tighter fit as a woman nearly grown, but it would suffice.

When the door clicked shut, Lexanna sat in the dark and waited. Tears streamed down her face as the noise from the battle grew louder. Even in hiding the screaming of innocents rang in her ears while she listened, helpless. If only she had been born with her parent’s skills. Instead, she was naught but a girl raised in the manner of a noble lady. Her talents of sewing and dancing were worthless in protecting others.

After some time the noise diminished. Lexanna waited anxiously for her father to return with word of their victory. She considered opening the door to peek out, but feared the quiet could be a ruse to lure people from hiding. Many minutes passed and it became more difficult to remain ignorant of the events transpiring. When she thought she could take it no longer, the door of the wardrobe opened. Lexanna flinched against the sudden light.

“Come with me, hurry.” It was Mircy, and Lexanna sighed in relief at seeing her maid unharmed. The elder woman took her by the arm but Lexanna pulled away from her grasp. “What are you doing? The house is on fire, we must go.”

“Father said I am to wait here until he returns.”

“He sent me to fetch you, quickly.”

Lexanna did as she was asked. Mircy took her by the hand, leading her down the back stairs into the kitchen. At every turn there was evidence of death. Blood smeared the walls and floor, shreds of cloth and dismembered pieces were strewn about like leaves in autumn. Militiamen and servants alike had been slaughtered. Lexanna tried not to look, but it was impossible and she felt both rage and sorrow at the losses of life.

They ran out into the court yard. Immediately she was met with a horrible truth. Her mother and father lay dead. Demons feasted upon their corpses.

“No!” she screamed, and the beasts turned in her direction.

“Here!” Mircy yelled, gripping Lexanna tighter by the arm and dragging her forward. She fought against the woman but was wracked by grief and confusion.

At the far end of the yard stood a greater demon, looming taller than the wall. His muscled form was reminiscent of a man but from his head grew curled horns and from his back were mighty wings. His skin was color of smoldering ash, the glow of fire seeping out from within. He took a step forward, and another, but as he crossed the short distance to where Lexanna struggled against the maid’s grip, he grew smaller in size. When he reached them he was the size of any man, and his demonic features were hidden by illusion.

“You have done well,” he said, his voice strange and inhuman. Snatching Lexanna’s arm from the maid, the old woman backed away.

“It is as I have promised. She is pure and untainted by man or magic.”

The demon leaned in close, encircling Lexanna’s waist with his other arm. He smelled of smoke and blood. Hungrily he sniffed at her neck. “She will serve my purpose; a child born of magic with none for herself, such a tragedy.”

“Let me go,” Lexanna pleaded, but the more she attempted to twist away the tighter he held her, pressing her body against his. She could feel the heat beneath his skin through her nightdress.

“I cannot let you go when I have only just found you.” He moved in as if to kiss her and she turned her face away, terrified. The demon began to laugh, a resonating noise that shook her soul. “You do not have a choice. I am your destiny.”

“Release the girl!” A voice from above boomed down at them, and the demon hissed as he turned in its direction.

Lexanna raised her eyes to the manor wall to see a man standing there, a giant sword as long as he was tall in one hand, resting across his shoulders. She could not guess how a single man could wield such a thing, but was grateful for the interruption.

“Kill him!” the demon commanded, and the horde of smaller beasts rushed forward.

The stranger leapt down, swinging his giant blade as he moved, and cut the demons back. The beast that held her pushed Lexanna backward and she stumbled, falling to the ground. She watched as the monster began to grow in size once more, but the stranger was unafraid.

Taking the opportunity, she sprinted for the gate, but Mircy lurched forward to grab her once more. Although the woman was old, she was faster and stronger than one would expect.

“Why are you doing this?” Lexanna pleaded. “You’ve cared for me my entire life!”

“Insolent child! Always making the fool of me but it is I who fooled you all in the end. From the minute of your birth it was known that you would be the one!”

“The one for what?”

An answer was not forthcoming. As Lexanna struggled with the woman, so too did the stranger battle the greater demon, and their fight was fierce. Both Lexanna and Mircy were forced to scatter as they moved in their direction, lest they be caught by the swinging blade or trampled by the demon.

Moving faster and with greater agility than any man should, and swinging the giant blade as if it were naught but a regular sword, the greater demon was no match for the man. Feinting to trick the demon into lowering its guard, the stranger leapt up high, as if taking flight, and plunged the full length of his blade through the beast’s unprotected abdomen. The giant demon roared in pain, flailing to knock his attacker away.

Lexanna watched as the stranger used his weight to ride the blade downward, cutting the demon wide. Its innards and black blood spilled out into the yard, and she backed away to avoid being splashed. The man was drenched in the stuff, and momentarily vanished from view until he appeared again, seemingly unharmed. The greater demon toppled backwards into the house, crushing the roof and the walls as it fell.

“No!” Mircy screeched, flying forward to attack the stranger.

He put out his arm, catching her by the throat and lifted her from the ground. She kicked her feet wildly, pounding his wrist with her fists. The man stared at her from beneath his blood-soaked hair, anger clear on his face.

“You are a traitor to our people and this world, siding with demonic forces in your ignorance and offering your own charge into the grasp of something you do not understand. There is no place for you in this world.” With that, he snapped her neck and tossed her to the ground, running her through with his blade for good measure.

Lexanna stood by the gate, frozen in her own horror. The stranger cast a glance in her direction and she took full stock of him. He was dressed simply in a leather jerkin but wore no shirt beneath. Simple trousers made him appear to be little more than a militiaman. His skin was a strange color, dark but in an unnatural shade that hinted at the ashen hue of the demons. His hair was covered in blood, but she believed it was dark color.

Turning toward the greater demon, he lifted his blade. Lexanna was born without magic, but in that moment she saw what could be described as nothing else. The blade absorbed a fine dark mist from the bodies of the dead demons, and the corpses disintegrated into ash. She watched in amazement as his body absorbed the blood, and he appeared revitalized.

The stranger looked in her direction once more when it was done. “Leave this place. It is tainted and cursed and much time and magic will be needed to purify it, if it ever can be cleansed at all. There is nothing left for you now.” Without another word, and before she could thank him for saving his life, he bounded back onto the wall and leapt down to the other side, disappearing from view.

She did not instantly heed his words, knowing other demons were still in the city. Instead, Lexanna rushed to where her parents lay dead. Mutilated, there was nothing left of the faces, and their chests had been torn opened to allow the demons to feast upon their hearts. Falling to her knees, Lexanna was wracked by sobbing. When at last the tears slowed, she reached out and tore off ruffle around the sleeve of her mother’s robe. It was red velvet, scalloped, and trimmed with gold. Lexanna had helped make the robe. It was a gift to her mother, and one she wore often.

“Here! There’s one here!” someone shouted.

Lexanna turned her head to see militiamen running through the gate. The first to enter was a young man. She recognized his face as he knelt beside her.

“How did you survive?”

“There was a man. He killed a greater demon and saved me.” She motioned to the giant mountain of ash and the ruins of her home.

“We’ll get you safety,” he said, trying to help her to her feet. She collapsed back to her knees, unable to stand in her grief. “Help me, she’s in shock,” he said over his shoulder.

Two more men came with a stretcher and carried her out of the yard to where a carriage waited. She was put inside and glad that she could not see the carnage of Shirgrand, the only home she’d ever known destroyed in a single night.

__________________________

Thank you for reading the opening of my new serialized story. More chapters will be posted in the coming weeks. You can read the remaining parts on Wattpad.

soulwave

If you missed part one of SoulWave you can find it here.

__________________________

Lindsey took advantage of the Eternally You staff’s offer to take her purse and coat down to her car and inform her driver that she would not need a ride.

The receptionist called the elevator for her and gave her a final, professional smile as the doors slid shut. Around her, the car began to descend but she did not move with it. Instead, she was given her first taste of passing through the steel, wires, and wood and left to float in her own illumination in the dark elevator shaft.

After a moments she realized that there was no longer a need for elevators or doors. She considered passing through the walls but the idea was unnerving. It was one thing to move through something thin, such as drywall, but quite another to fly through solid concrete. Instead, she descended down into the elevator and out through the metal doors.

The lobby of the building which housed Eternally You was just as richly decorated as the clinic. There was a small café near the windows with a view of the busy sidewalk. Lindsey floated past, unable to smell the coffee brewing. She also took note of the confused glances in her direction, and some full on stares.

Out on the sidewalk she crossed in front of a young man who jumped back when he saw her. “Whoa! What is that?”

“Excuse me,” she said, hurrying past.

More faces and exclamations of surprise met her along the way. People pointed and snapped pictures with their phones. Perhaps being at eye level for conversation was helpful for others, but traveling would be much better at a higher altitude. She made her way to the rooftops, where only those on upper floors would be able to see her pass. At least she would be less aware of their reactions.

Without having to concern herself with traffic, it was a quick flight to her office. It had been four months since she took a leave of absence until she was well. A few weeks ago she lost hope that she would ever return.

Lindsey felt a swell of joy overtake her as she descended into the lobby. If she was going to take the lead once more, the employees would need to get used to her presence. She prepared herself for the shock and confusion that followed. At the security desk she stopped to speak with the guard, who stood up and took a step back as she approached.

“Martin, I’m heading up to the office and I wanted you to be aware to prevent any possible negativity from your staff.”

His mouth dropped open and his eyebrows lifted. “Ms. Roker?”

“That’s right. I’ve returned and I’m glad to be back.”

“What happened to your body?”

“It’s a long story, Martin. I’ll have a memo sent out once I’m settled.”

Still confused, he didn’t stop her as she flew past. This time she didn’t bother to wait for the elevator. Behind her, the gasps of surprise from those standing outside the doors were quite audible. She was starting to feel a small sense triumph at the reaction. Her competitors would have nothing on her uniqueness.

Lindsey shared her office space on the top floor with little else than the primary boardroom. The comfort and familiarity of the place made her happy. She was surprised to discover a meeting was in progress when she arrived. All of the usual faces sat in their usual seats around the big glass table; all but one, the vice president serving as her temporary replacement.

As she approached the reception desk, her assistant sat up straight in her chair.

“Good morning, Gloria,” Lindsey said.

“What?”

“I’ve returned from leave and am ready to get back to work. Can you brief me on the meeting?”

“I…” Gloria’s dark eyes widened, then narrowed. “How is this possible?”

“I’ll explain later,” Lindsey said, exasperated, giving up on getting any useful information and instead entering the board room.

“What’s this?” Alan, the head of accounting, sat back hard in his chair when he saw her.

Sitting at the head of the table, in her chair, was Scott Gleeson. His blond hair was slicked back and shining. He dropped his pen with a loud clatter onto the glass table.

“I’ve returned,” Lindsey said. “Before you all start asking questions, I’ve had a medical procedure which separates my consciousness from my body. I am expecting that none of you will show me special treatment due to my new condition.”

“What is this?” Scott laughed, leaning back in the chair, which reclined slightly. “Is this a prank? Did you set this up, Marcus?”

Marcus, heavy-set and balding with nervous eyes behind the thick lenses of his glasses, shook his head vehemently. “No, it wasn’t me.”

“This isn’t a prank.” Lindsey moved forward. Every head in the room turned to follow. “Continue with your discussion, I’ll figure it out as you go.”

Scratching at his temple, she could see by Scott’s expression that he was not amused. “That’s not going to happen.”

“I know this isn’t proper procedure but I’m ready to get back to work.”

“Yeah, that’s not what I mean. How do we know you’re Lindsey Roker, exactly? You’re…” he scrunched up his face in an attempt to find the right word, “a very convincing drone, perhaps.”

“Drone?” she almost laughed at his audacity.

“What would you call it, Beth?”

The older woman shrugged, leaning with one elbow on the table. “Maybe she’s a ghost.”

Everyone at the table chuckled.

“I’m not a drone or a ghost. I’m very much alive and I am still the head of this company.”

“That’s debatable,” Scott said with a shrug. “From where I sit, I’ve been the head of this company for months, and things are better than ever.”

“He’s right,” Marcus was nodding furiously, always one to back the most expensive suit in the room.

“My body is in cryo stasis back at Eternally You, that can be confirmed.”

“Then you’re dead.” Beth leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest. “Only dead people get turned into popsicles.”

“I’m not dead. I’m alive right here in front of you; the SoulWave was a voluntary procedure.”

The faces around the table cast skeptical glances at each other.

“I think being alive, and remaining head of this organization, requires a body.” Alan said quietly.

“Damn it, that’s discrimination!”

“Is it?” Scott shook his head, smiling his infuriating, pretentious smile. “Quite frankly, I believe if you pass on, half of your shares are up for sale and if it was your choice to have this done, it may even count as suicide.”

She knew exactly what that meant. In the event of suicide she would forfeit her remaining shares, the ones which would have been willed to her husband and daughter. Instead, they would drop directly into Scott Gleeson’s pocket.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“It’s not what I would dare; it’s the reality of the situation.”

Another thought came to mind. “It seems to me you’re ready with this knowledge. You’ve been researching it, haven’t you?”

“We had to, Lindsey,” Beth said quietly. “Things weren’t looking good for you.”

“You’re going to hear from my lawyer about this, do you hear me?”

Scott frowned, tenting his fingers before him. “Not to be rude, but I don’t think you have a leg to stand on.”

The executives erupted in laughter. Enraged, Lindsey exited the room, flying directly through the wall and out into the open air. She sped her way across town, ignoring the roadways and flying directly over the rooftops. Her anger boiled through her. It wouldn’t be the last they saw of her. She would bring a case against Scott and his cronies. Once she was installed into her old position, she would find new bodies to fill the seats in the boardroom.

Brooding as she was, it wasn’t long before she was in her neighborhood and her house came into view. The lovely four story home was a dream to behold. A finely manicured lawns with perfect gardens full of flowers waited to greet her. Her husband’s car was in the driveway, and she was glad. In this instance recruiting his help would be beneficial. Until people were used to her new form she would need a body to take the direct focus away.

Passing through the front door she found the house was quiet. “Michael! Michael are you here?” She hurried up to his office to find him sitting at his desk, working on paper work. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Of course I’m home, I picked up Abby up from school today.” He lifted his head and jolted in his seat. “What the hell? Lindsey?”

“Yes, it’s me.” She sighed in relief to see his face. “I’m so glad you’re both here.”

Michael made his slow way around the desk. “What the hell happened to you?”

“I had a procedure done, the SoulWave. I wanted to surprise you. I’m not sick anymore.”

He drew near, inspecting her with confusion. She couldn’t smell his cologne or feel his warmth. After moment of silence he pulled back, shaking his head and putting his hands into his pockets.

“I’m speechless. This is unbelievable.”

“I know. We won’t have to write up a will. I was thinking that we should put a down payment for you to have it done, too. Not now, of course, but when you’re ready; and for Abby, for the future. We can be a family forever, no matter what.”

“No.” Michael shook his head. “You’re not listening to me, which isn’t a surprise. I can’t believe you would do something like this without talking to me first.”

“Michael, I…”

“Actually, never mind. I can believe it. This is just like you, only thinking of yourself.”

“How can you say that? I did this for us, for our family.”

“For us? No. You did this because you’re afraid to die. Jesus, Lindsey. What the hell are you supposed to be anyway? How will you work? All of your finances are going to be tied up because of this.”

“No, I have documentation…”

“Stop, I don’t care. I’m done with all of this and now you’ve made it easy.”

Lindsey felt as if she were spinning, her emotions began to boil back up. “You want to talk about selfish? I was in pain, dying, and about to leave both of you forever. I found a solution. All you can think about is about the money.”

“You’re right, I’m thinking about the money, because how are we going to pay for a place to live? How are we going to pay for Abby’s school? Our debts? No, I’m not the selfish one because I actually think about these things.

“I’ve wanted a divorce for a long time, but then you got sick. I wasn’t going to be the asshole who divorces his sick wife. Besides, at least I knew I had an out. You were going to die. Now what? You’re going to live forever and you expect me to spend eternity with you?”

“I don’t understand.”

“I’m sick of you and how you never consider that other people might want a say in what happens around here. I want out, and I want half. Actually, I want more than half. Look at you. You don’t need a house. You’re a ghost.”

“Michael….”

“Mommy?” a small voice said from the doorway. Abby peeked her little head around into the room, eyes sad. Her sandy-blond hair was pulled into pigtails and she carried a doll under her arm. “Is Mommy home?”

“I’m right here sweetheart,” Lindsey said as calmly as possible.

Her daughter looked up at her, startled. “You’re not my mommy,” she said.

“Beautiful,” Michael said, shaking his head.

“Yes, it’s me,” Lindsey lowered herself to Abby’s level, but the girl screamed and ran.

“Abby!”

“Now you’re a terrifying monster. Good job. That’s another thing I’ll get. How does a ghost take care of a kid?”

“Shut up, you prick!” Lindsey snapped, hurrying after her daughter.

Abby ran to her room, slamming the door behind her. Lindsey was right behind her, but stopped at the wood, choosing to wait.

“Abby, it really is me. I’ve just changed, that’s all. Now I can stay with you forever.”

She listened for a response. After a few moments she could hear Abby sobbing.

What have I done?

Lindsey passed through the door. Abby was sitting on her bed, hugging her doll tightly to her chest. When she saw the light she scrambled toward her pillow, pulling the blanket over her head.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“What happened to my mommy?” Abby asked, still hiding.

“I’m right here, I just look different now. I’m not sick any more, and I won’t die. I can be with you forever.”

Very slowly Abby lowered the blanket, her eyes were red with her tears. Lindsey waited while the girl considered whether the change was good or bad.

“How will you tuck me in?”

“Well,” Lindsey thought for a moment. “I can’t but I can still read you a story if you hold the book and turn the pages.”

“How will you kiss me goodnight?”

A powerful sorrow filled her. If she still had eyes she would have cried from the pain. “I can try. It will be different.”

She dared to move closer to the bed. Abby reached out her hand, and Lindsey brushed against her fingertips.

“It’s warm,” Abby said before pulling away. “I miss my old mommy.” She began to cry again.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, but I am your old mommy. I just don’t have a body any more, and my body was full of sickness. Isn’t it better that I won’t die?”

Sniffing into her dolls hair Abby nodded, but continued to cry. Lindsey stared helplessly at her daughter, unable to pull her close and comfort her. She was filled with grief at her losses; things that she never expected to lose once her body was gone. Her career, her husband, her daughter; everything was hinged on the fragility of flesh and bone.

“I still love you, Mommy,” Abby said suddenly.

“I love you, too. Forever.”

___________________________________

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my short story, SoulWave! Please feel free to leave a comment.

 

soulwave

“Have you been diagnosed with a terminal illness? Are you suffering in pain and torment knowing the end is near? What will happen to your loved ones if you leave them behind?

“At Eternally You Inc. we have solutions that could solve all of death’s problems. From cryogenic stasis to our patented, cutting edge SoulWave, your last breathe doesn’t need to be your final goodbye.”

Her eyes tracked away from the LCD screen hanging on the wall, annoyed by the commercial. The smiling faces of attractive, vigorous people spending time under a blue sky captured the dream beyond the reality. This service wasn’t for the healthy; it was for the desperate and dying.

I’m already here. No need to keep pushing the sell.

For her comfort, the reception area was luxurious decorated with almond finish on the wooden tables and firm wingback chairs with rich, cream colored upholstery. Tall vases full of fresh sprays of tropical flowers graced the end tables. At the desk, the receptionist was dressed in a designer suit, her hair perfectly styled and her makeup finely applied. She was the centerpiece to the illusion crafted by design to cater to a clientele who could afford the services offered by Eternally You, clients exactly like Lindsey Roker.

Her hands shook as she lifted the glass of water given to her for her wait. It was a real glass, not the cheap paper cups usually found in a doctor’s clinic. The water was cool as it slid down her throat; not enough to sooth her nerves or the endless pain in her muscles. It was better than sitting still. Patience was not her virtue.

“Ms. Roker,” a young nurse called from the doorway, chart in hand.

Gathering her purse and jacket, Lindsey teetered uneasily to her feet. Her life was full of accomplishment. Wealth, fame, family; she was highly regarded for her philanthropic contributions to the less fortunate. She lived the dream most people would strive for in vain. It felt rather unfair that her existence was to be cut short by an incurable illness.

Following the nurse back into the sterile white clinic, the atmosphere retained the well-polished appearance of luxury. A series of small interview rooms lined the corridor to her right while to the left the area opened out into larger rooms encased in glass.

Futuristic white machines edged in blue light hummed quietly on standby settings. Human-sized tubes where bodies were frozen were easily recognizable. In the farthest room to the rear of the clinic, a large orb-shaped machine reminded her of a free-floating eyeball stared in her direction.

I’m walking through a damn sci-fi novel.

It wasn’t far from the truth. Eternally You was the first to have their cryogenic containment approved and sanctioned by the government. The SoulWave technology was the latest craze to hit the media; a promise of true immortality beyond the hope of being revived if a cure was found.

It was an exciting time to be unwell for the wealthy.

The nurse stopped at an exam room door and motioned for Lindsey to enter. Her smile was warm and patient but well practiced.

“All of the legal waivers are in order and your payment has been approved,” she said cheerfully. “Dr. Mentz will be with you momentarily.”

“Thank you,” Lindsey said, taking a seat on the exam table.

It was a familiar dance over the past eight months. Wait in the reception area, sit in the exam room, discuss the test results and prognosis, worry herself into a frenzy. Her company needed her. Her husband needed her. Her daughter needed her. She wasn’t dead but she felt useless in this endless parade of doctor visits and experimental treatments. The idea of laying helpless in a hospital bed waiting for the end was not appealing.

When next the door opened a young man with dark hair stepped in; his white lab coat and serious expression the pristine uniform of the medical profession. He surveyed her chart, making notes.

“Your lab work and preliminary exam have all come back with good results,” he spoke without lifting his gaze. “You are within acceptable ranges for all of our procedure options.”

She found it ironic that his use of the word “good” merely meant she was close enough to death to legally flash freeze her body. If nothing else, it lessened her concerns that she would be forced to wait and retest once her illness progressed.

“Have you gone over the pamphlets we sent you home with last time?”

“Yes,” Lindsey said, folding her hands in her lap. “I’ve decided on the SoulWave.”

Dr. Mentz nodded, writing that into her chart. “You’ve discussed this with your family?”

“Yes,” she said, but it was lie. This was her choice, not theirs.

He looked her firmly in the eye, concerned. “No one chose to be with you today for the procedure?”

“It was my decision to be alone. I don’t want them to see me looking like a corpse.”

“All right,” Dr. Mentz said, nodding absently.

He set the chart down and sat on the small rolling stool by the counter. Leaning forward, rested his elbows on his knees and lanced his fingers together. “Before we beginning there are a few things that you should be aware of that other patients have reported.”

I don’t care about them; I just want to get this over with. She gave him a tight lipped, tolerant smile. She knew it was the law to discuss potential side effects.

“You will feel disoriented at first. You may experience dizziness. Although you will no longer require food or sleep, you will have phantom sensations for these activities. Much like having an arm or leg amputated, your mind will try to compensate in awareness for what has been lost.

“To lessen feelings of hunger, it is suggested you spend as much time in the sunlight as possible. Solar energy will sustain you. If you feel as if you can’t function due to feelings of fatigue, it’s recommended you find a safe, quiet place to rest where you will not be disturbed. Patients report that these sensations begin to fade after a few months.”

“I understand.” Not needing to eat or sleep would be beneficial and add more hours to her day, she didn’t think it would be a problem.

“It is also common to experience depression and anxiety associated with grief and loss. If at any time you feel overwhelmed by these feelings our psychology staff is here to help. Also, your body will be kept in complimentary stasis for thirty days. Should you choose to reverse the procedure we will preform a reversal, however results may vary on your functionality once revived. It isn’t the same as cryogenics.”

“I know.” Lindsey frowned. “I highly doubt I will want that.”

“Lastly, you will no longer be a physical being. You will have a presence which appears tangible, but you will not contain matter as you do now. Some patients find the ability to move in any direction they please freeing, while others try to mimic their old life. Just be aware that you will pass through objects and will require assistance for many tasks you take for granted.”

“I did read the brochure fully. Can we please get started?” Lindsey said, unused to be lectured.

“Of course,” Dr. Mentz stood up and offered his hand. She shook it, confused. “The last time you will shake hands.” He smiled but she was not amused.

He left her alone to remove her clothes and dress in a hospital gown. She ran her fingers through her sandy blond hair, feeling the strands pass between her fingers; soft and rough and familiar. It was either this or disappear into the unknown of eternity. Losing her physical form was worth it to leave the pain behind but remain in the world she loved.

The nurse returned to lead her to the white orb at the center of the clinic. Multiple assistants were present, all dressed in surgical gowns and masks, their eyes hidden behind protective goggles. Her heart began to pound. Lindsey allowed the nurse to help her lay down on the narrow table where the machine opened at the front.

“This is going to be similar to an MRI. If you think you’ll feel claustrophobic we have a mask to help keep you calm.”

“I’ll be fine, I’ve had many MRIs.”

The nurse gave her that same sad smile people offer to the dying; gently squeezing Lindsey’s shoulder once to remind her of her bravery and walked away. She lay still, staring up at the ceiling while the final preparations were made. In the pamphlet it said the procedure only took two minutes. It would be over soon.

“We’re going to step into the protective area now, Ms. Roker. Do not be alarmed.”

“I won’t,” she said.

The room became quiet when the door shut. Only the hum of the machines remained to keep her company. Slowly, the panel began to slide into the small opening in the SoulWave. She clenched her fists as the light dimmed and she was encased by the smooth walls. Tiny blue lights flickered to life all around her. They began to blink in disorienting patterns. Lindsey closed her eyes. This wasn’t like an MRI at all. Was this the last thing she would see with her eyes?

Her breathing was loud inside the tube. The pain in her bones screamed at her for laying on her back. Behind her head, the crackle of an intercom startled her.

“We’re going to begin now,” Dr. Mentz’s grainy voice said. “The chamber is going to spin around you and you may feel dizzy. Keep your eyes closed to prevent nausea.”

“I’m ready,” she said, upset at the tremble of fear in her voice.

The whir of the machine grew louder as the turbine began to spin. She felt the air press against her, a false wind generated by the motion. Flashing light penetrated her eyelids until at last she was bathed in a solid blue glow. Her mind raced as the memories of her life flashed before her in succession.

Learning to ride a bike, her days in private school with her friends, music lessons, graduating university with honors, her first date with her husband, their first kiss, starting her own business, her wedding day, growing into a multinational corporation, the birth of her daughter, the deaths of her parents, the diagnosis of her illness.

Everything blended together into a blur of time and space. She felt herself lift up off of the table. Her pain eased into a vague ache. Lindsey looked down at the SoulWave machine spinning and humming. She could see the bottoms of her feet in their white surgical booties at the end of the tube. It took several moments to realize she was hovering near the ceiling.

The lights in the machine began a steady pulse and the spinning slowed. Once it stopped the door to the safe area opened. The Eternally You clinical staff stepped out, applauding their success. Lindsey Roker was free of her disease riddled body.

“Let’s get her into the cryo chamber before she flatlines,” Dr. Mentz instructed.

Lindsey watched them lift her lifeless body onto a stretcher and rush it into the next room. From here she looked so frail and old; a worn out suit left on the floor after a long day of work. Within a matter of moments she was placed into the chamber and flash frozen into stasis.

“To keep your loved ones at ease, it is best to hover at eye level,” Dr. Mentz said, looking up in her direction. “The best way to accomplish that is through concentration. Movement will become more natural for you in time.”

She thought about how the room would look from her normal height. After a few moments she descended downward and found herself in a reasonable proximity.

“Very good,” he said. “Now you can take a look at your new form.”

The nurse who held up a large hand mirror. Instead of the haggard, exhausted face she was used to there was nothing more than a glowing orb of pale white light reflected back.

“Congratulations,” Dr. Mentz smiled. “You have achieved immortality.”

——–

This ends part one of my two part short story series SoulWave. Check back next Saturday for part two!

I hope you enjoyed the story. Please feel free to leave a comment.