by James Hancock
Death isn’t so bad. Okay, when you’re alive and don’t know any better, it can freak you out. Trying to figure out what happens next, but having no clues, can be frightening. Not knowing what’s going on behind the curtain. But, take it from me, it’s no big deal. At first dying can be quite a thing, especially if you go in a grisly way, but even that is over and done with pretty quickly, and after a few seconds the inevitable kicks in and you find an odd kind of peace to see you through the rest of it. As far as dying goes, it really is no big deal. Just part of the process. How would I know? I’ve died one hundred and sixty-three times, and I don’t even consider the how anymore; it’s all about the when.
We have our group of primaries that all need to be free at roughly the same time if we want to keep together, and then there are the secondaries; nice if we can add as many as possible, but understandable if not… after all, they have their own primary groups to consider. I’m not making myself clear. Right, let’s put aside matters of planets, space, time, and memory. Let’s deal with the real. We are beings, and we inhabit a place that isn’t defined by where or when. Some call it Heaven; and why not? Heaven is as good a name as any. It’s nice here… in Heaven.
Is there a God? Yes, of sorts. God is the great organiser. The heart of the universe. The one who knows all the details of all the ages and all the people. That’s quite a lot of knowledge. And who are we? We are the travellers. We look at a place and a time and a people, and we are born into it. You see, lives and people are merely shells; things to occupy for a time. Therefore, each shell can have been occupied many times by many people, and with an infinite amount of alternative decisions that lead on to many different outcomes. It’s not scripted, but there is an element of ‘one’s destiny’ involved. There are a few significant set things which will happen to some shells, or lives, if you will. If you want to be Hitler you must be aware that you’ll start World War Two, bring about the mass extermination of Jews, and end your own life at the age of fifty-six. The rest you can play out how you want.
The problem is you need to get all your primaries to agree and accept surrounding roles; or as many as possible. You think organising an Earthling family dinner is tricky? It’s nothing in comparison to a group of more than a hundred humans organising their next life plan.
Let’s say you want to experience life in a Scandinavian barbarian tribe, battling in the age of the Roman Empire. Now you have to convince everyone else to come on board. The wife will want to be the wife again, which makes sense, and the children will need to be the children, and then their children… etc. However, there are also brothers, sisters, best friends, and all of their significant others to consider. By the time you’ve got everyone organised, there’s usually three or four hundred involved, with hundreds more to join later. And that’s where God comes in. God will find the best time and family group for you to start in, and the rest is history… or the future. As I say, there is no ‘time’.
Some primaries or secondaries might sit out of a big group visit, as they want to get involved in something else that’s going on. Some will have to wait to be born, and will find something else to do whilst they wait. Got to wait thirty years, then why not live the life of this nineteenth-century scientist who died aged twenty-nine? They didn’t form many relationships, so it’s ideal. Back just in time to be born into the huge family group which you’d signed up to. The removal of one costume before trying another. And there are so many fantastic costumes to try.
Or just wait it out and share stories with others who are also waiting to join a life.
But most take a brief journey whilst they are waiting. You see, we all love being human. We are addicted to it. We need the feeling of belonging to something, or to someone. There’s something amazing about a mother. We all have one, and they have a special bond like no other. The greatest gift to any life is beginning it with the person closest to you. And the beauty of the human connection is that my daughter is also somebody else’s mother. And on and on; linked to the great circle.
When you live a life, you are ignorant to it all, but soon enough you’re back and reminiscing with others involved. Kids, grandkids, friends, all spending time together and revisiting emotions. Without limits. Humans are limited to their memories by thought, but in Heaven we can revisit the exact feelings and experience them again in full. Many glorious moments in many fascinating lives are within our personal collection. Emotions and pleasures to be dipped into and had again and again.
And then there’s the reward structure. To maintain a balance, those that die old must be matched with a similar number that die young. Who’d want to come back as a child who died aged five? No time to do anything, or understand anything. Well, if you do, you get a reward point. It’s the same if you pick someone who goes out in an upsetting way; you get a reward point. The points are then used to add something significant to another life plan. Something good. For example, I really enjoyed my life on a farm in sixteenth-century Denmark. I never settled down, but I was good-looking and had a lot of fun, if you know what I mean. So when I revisited it a few hundred years later, and relived it again, I added the reward point I had earned by living the life of a murder victim. When I went back to live my farm life again, I chose to be much wealthier. A simple change in that I owned my farm, rather than paying rent. In fact, I was the son of a landowner and I owned several farms. I had just as much fun the second time around, only I lived a more luxurious life and indulged in more than just sins of the flesh. I had a lot of what some call déjà vu in that trip.
Always remember to keep it as simple as possible, and to keep with as many primaries as you can, or know exactly where and when they are. That way you avoid upset. Yes, Heaven has upset too; well, to a certain extent. I’ve known people to take their main wife or husband into a life where she or he dies halfway through, and then they remarry. It happens a lot. Emotional attachments are made, and afterwards you find yourself with two spouses trying to get involved in the next visit. God is good there though, and often steps in and finds a way where everyone can be happy. Why not be a Mormon? That said, jealousy is a human condition, amplified when visiting Earth, and between lives we understand that love is shared, and a connection made with another doesn’t lessen yours in any way. There is more understanding in ‘Heaven’.
So huge is our family that many millions are living and many millions are in waiting, but all are connected. Drops in the ocean. Parts of a whole. And time is a constantly expanding circle that loops around, repeats, and has infinite other circles springing off from it at every possible point. So when I say God is an organiser, it is quite a small word for something that knows every place, every person, and every point in time; and all the changes as they are made, and how they affect other timelines, people, places… etc. Yes, God is impressive!
Seventeen thousand, four hundred and eighty-eight years ago I became. I can’t remember ‘not being’ before that point, and I don’t how it happened, but I know that God, who is the universe, brought me into existence. I’m not going to question the universe’s plan, if it wanted to create us and learn from our actions, or if it was just bored, but twenty billion white stars expanded, faded, and became a collective life-force from which we sprung. Each of us a child of the universe; part of it, born to experience its wonders for all eternity.
‘Humans will rule the earth for five hundred millennia, and you are they’. The universe had spoken. ‘You can live any life from any time, and you can enjoy it again and again should you wish to. My gift to you is eternity. Now travel it together. Learn everything there is to learn and share your findings. Enjoy love, suffer horror, and understand that although you are many, you are also one. We are one. I have created you from myself, and you are part of me. Only together are we whole.’
Together, we are the universe. Together, we are God.
James is a storyteller with twenty years experience in flash fiction, short stories, longer stories and screenplays. He rarely suffers from writer’s block and considers himself fortunate to be the victim of writer’s overwhelm. The ideas keep on coming. Where they come from is a mystery. A mystery best left unsolved. He lives in England, with his wife and two daughters. And a bunch of pets he insisted his girls could NOT have.