Oh hey, you’re back. I hope you’re feeling rested up. How was the spa? Best foot massage ever, right? Gotta love Gorlog. She may not be much to look at, but those cloven hands of hers are amazing.
Here, let me get you a drink. Tonight’s special is a Dresdanian Moon Flower tonic. You get buzzed on the aroma long before the drink takes effect. You’re going to love it.
So, where were we last time we chatted? Oh yes, I was telling you about X.
I don’t know what his true name was, he only said he was called X. He’d lived on a parallel version of Earth. However, his Earth had been wiped out by a meteor shower, killing all of humanity in a few short hours. Though I’d technically died several thousand years before he’d been born, he was here long before I was. As I said before, there is no such thing as time in this place.
When I woke up from my encounter, I was surrounded by nothing but night sky. I knew the night sky and what I was looking at was nothing like what I’d known my whole life. I sat there on what I guess was a rock and looked around. There were no buildings, no fires or lights in the distance, nothing. Just the millions of lights twinkling in the sky. What struck me as odd was that I wasn’t afraid. In fact, I found it rather tranquil.
As I sat there wondering about what I should do next, I heard something in the distance. I looked up to see the form of a man walking toward me. He wasn’t dressed in anything I’d ever seen before, but I found him very handsome. He wore a pair of black, denim jeans with a white shirt and black vest. His hair was black and greased back and he covered his eyes with sunglasses all the time. Seriously, he never took them off.
He walked over to me and smiled just a bit, never dropping the cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. “Welcome the the Multi-Verse,” he said to me in a deep, gravelly voice. “I’m X. I was told to come here and get you. Come on, we got shit to do.” He reached down and took me by the hand. I didn’t resist, though I’ve never really known why. I just somehow knew it was what I needed to do.
“So, totally freaked out yet?”, he asked without looking my way.
“Um, excuse me?”, I asked not knowing exactly what he meant.
“Oh yea, sorry. I forget you haven’t learned the lingo yet.” He stopped and turned toward me, “Look, here’s the thing. You’re dead. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but it is what it is. We’re all dead, sort of. This is the next plain of existence.”
I was too shocked to speak words. How could I be dead and standing there talking to him at the same time. “Um, sir”, I stammered, “I think you have me confused with someone else. If I were dead, I’d be…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Elysian fields or Tartarus, blah, blah, blah. Sorry kid, but this is it. This is where we all end up. Sooner or later, this is the next life. But, there is a bright side. It’s not the last life.”
“What do you mean?”, I asked not having a clue what he was talking about.
“This is just a stop-over. There are millions of places a soul can go once they’ve made it this far. You’ll learn soon enough that your time on Earth was the most boring part of your life. Here, you can go places and meet beings you didn’t even know existed. Don’t worry, kid. I’ll show you the ropes. But first, we have to get you set up. Come on.”
I followed X across the barren landscape. It seemed we’d walked forever when we came up over a ridge. In the distance stood a little cottage with lights coming from within. It was the first time I’d seen any form of civilization since my arrival.
“Who lives there?”, I asked.
X laughed, “You do. Well, we do. It’s going to be our place.”
The look on my face must have given my misgivings away as he went on to explain. “Don’t worry, kid. It’s not what you think. You see, I was sent to retrieve you by the Great Elders. When I first came here, I was retrieved by a being known as Metaphias. He was an old wizard who’d lived on a planet called Laxonia. When he crossed over, the Great Elders took him in and taught him how to traverse the realms. He would come to be known on Earth as “The Gate Keeper”. He carried the keys to the inner workings of the Multi-Verse.”
I was having a hard time believing everything X was telling me. Part of me was ready to run, but the other part of me wanted to know more.
X went on with his story. “Metaphias showed me how to use the stars to move from one place to another. He taught me how to tap into the Multi-Verse itself in search of my path. He gave me the power to connect with the Great Elders, creators of the Multi-Verse. Then one day, he handed me a ring of keys and told me the time had come to take his place among the elders. And that was that. I became the new Gate Keeper. I find wandering souls and help them find their way. It’s what brought me to you and brought you to this tavern.”
“That’s a tavern?” I found it hard to believe that the little shack sitting in front of me was a tavern.
“Well, it will be when we’re done with it. I had the idea to create a place where souls could come once they crossed over. Rather than wander around aimlessly searching for souls, have them come to me. But I need someone to help me put my plan into action. I asked the elders to send me someone who had the heart and drive to see my plan through, and they sent me out to find you. So, what do you think?”
I looked at the little shack again, still thinking this guy had lost his mind, but what did I have to lose? Something told me I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Oh Sweetie, are you okay. You’re looking a little woozy. I told you the vapors in those drinks would hit you before the drink itself would. Come on, let’s find you a place to lie down. I’ll tell you more when you wake up.
Whoa, careful. That’s not a guy you want to trip over. He might be little, but his temper is enormous. Sorry, Mr. Napoleon. Yes, yes, Emperor…Emperor Napoleon. Get over yourself, you pompous little…