Chapter XII: The Long Way Home


The concept of time could have crumbled off the edges of the heavens and into the abysmal seas of Tartarus, and we never would have known.  Given that it didn’t exist here, it is not entirely untrue to say that we may have walked for half a millennium.  Only now, each step bled both of our memories onto the canvas of the In Between, while my brother told me all about the lives he’d lived.

Completely enthralled, I listened to his many tales.  Of how he’d been an English soldier in the Seventh Coalition at Waterloo.  How he’d once squandered an entire life away as a back alley hustler hooked on heroine in Bangkok.  He’d been a jewelry maker in ancient Mesopotamia, and a model in the 1960’s who’d lost a long battle with booze, drugs, depression and eating disorders, committing suicide at the young age of twenty-two.  The strangest was hearing about him starting another life while I’d still been living my previous one.

“It was just a regular life,” He shrugged, when I pushed him for details.  “I grew up, went to college, met the love of my life, got married, had kids, did the suburbs thing.  We retired on time, traveled a bit, watched our grandchildren grow, it was a good life.  Not one that would make the history books or the headlines.  Just a really good, ordinary life.”

“That sounds far better than making history or the six o’clock news,” I smile.

“Or Interpol’s most wanted?”

“Right!” I laugh with him.

“It all comes back to experiences,” He reminds me.  “When you decide to be born again, to further enrich your complete understanding of all things, you’re not going to want to relive the same experiences you’ve already had.  Why would you?”

“Even if it was a really great life?” I ask.  “A life of dreams come true, those rare ones we hear about sometimes?”

“Even those,” My brother nods.  “You’ll see.  You’ll remember, once you make that choice, what it’s like to go through all of the options in order to see how each one will affect your spiritual growth.”

“Do you think I will choose to be born again?” I ask, not even sure of it, myself yet.

Sighing, he pauses.  Tries to catch the faint glimpses of our combined memories before they can fade from the canvas.  “Yes, I know you will.  I think there are still answers you seek that you can only get from living.  And, the fact that you’re questioning it is an indication.”

“What do you mean?” I inquire.  “You’re saying there will come a time when I won’t question?  Me?  You know who you’re talking to, right?”

Laughing, he bumps his arm into mine, triggering our pleasant stroll to start up again.

“They say it feels like home,” He replies at length.  “Those who stay.  Those who don’t question.  That you arrive to the In Between, greeted by all of your accumulated knowledge and those souls you’ve spent lifetimes forging bonds with, and there is absolutely no doubt in your mind.  You know it.  You’re finally home and there is nowhere in existence you’d rather be.”

5 responses to “Chapter XII: The Long Way Home”

  1. I think that this is a great conclusion(?) To your story. I like the way that, over the chapters, you have asked as many questions as you have answered, and really made your reader think. I’ve read many a professionally published story which has not delivered as well as this.


    1. There are two more chapters, but I wanted to start leading into the conclusion here, so it wouldn’t feel so abrupt and leave readers feeling disappointed. Want to make sure everything is tied up, with just enough to let readers have their own imagination. Your compliment is amazing, Chris, thank you so much for that, it means a lot!


      1. Looking forward to the final chapters!


    1. Wow, Alienora, thank you!


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