It’s been a hectic period which is why I haven’t posted here much lately. Poems are still getting written, just at a slightly slower pace. Classes for the latest degree are done for now (about 2 months), so naturally I assigned myself numerous projects—namely a new book of poetry to be centered around holiday themes (giving Halloween its proper place of prominence, of course), a possible additional book of poetry assuming I have enough material, a memoir on experiencing three strokes and the process of recovery, and most recently a book of interrelated short stories tentatively called Karma Chronicles of which there are currently 4 stories written (only two have made it to the computer, the others are still in long hand form). The general theme of the shorts is people making choices or wishes, then getting exactly what they stated they desired in a way that they deserved. I’ll be posting chapters here as they are drafted, and as I find time (on a new contract job with 12 hours shifts for the next few weeks and I’ve found that regardless of how awesome I think I am, or how very motivated I get, or even how much coffee I can consume—it’s a lot—I still need sleep). At any rate, comments and critiques are welcome (if anyone can tell me how to do a general approval, it would be appreciated—right now some setting is forcing me to approve every comment before they show and I’d much rather just delete the ones that are offensive. I’m not easily offended so that would be the easier and much less intensive task I believe). The first entry starts below. This is a second draft so please do let me know what you think.
Possible trigger warnings: someone gets shot though it’s not graphically described, a dog dies—again not graphically described, and some light blasphemy dependent on your belief basis (although, if you’re here, reading my blog, I don’t imagine that would be a problem)
And now the story:
Dave’s Last Choice
“Alexa, what’s the temperature?”
The Kindle screen flashed on as the voice replied “It is currently 48 degrees Fahrenheit with an expected low of 28 degrees. You know, you can personalize your voice responses with a brief setup conversation. Would you like to do that now?”
“No, thank you Alexa.”
Dave finished tying his walking boots and selected the heavier black overcoat passing up the longer, thinner leather trench coat. Shrugging it on, he grabbed the fedora from the coat stand on his way out the bedroom door. The brief, but necessary, after work nap had refreshed him enough for the nightly task of walking the dog. Walking at night had become a habit, the mile-long walk was the only commitment to exercise he’d accomplished since the stroke had robbed him of easy mobility two years ago—the dog was a relatively recent addition to the routine. He walked at night because the heat of the day was unbearable during the non-winter months in the long sleeves Dave insisted on wearing year-round—in black no less. Dave rarely compromised when he’d decided on a fashion. He’d once heard someone say never let the weather dictate fashion. Pithy sayings often stuck with him. No matter how foolish. Long sleeves felt right. Short sleeves wrong. It was that simple for Dave.
The walks also helped to lower his stress levels after being on the phone for eight hours assisting people to turn their computers off and back on. Computers and data were fine, those he could deal with, they presented few problems; people were idiots, they caused problems. No, they were problems. Problems without solutions. Dave’s boss insisted that Dave think of them as customers. Dave felt his boss was also a bit of an idiot.
So Dave walked. Dave walked to relieve the stress. Dave walked to clear his mind. Dave walked to renew his soul. Dave tried to maintain a sense of Zen. Dave often failed at this.
Dave walked at night. The dog had joined in with the glee of her kind for walks of any type. Roughly a year ago, Lucy had come to live with him and his wife as sort of a package deal. His twenty-six-year-old niece, Holly, her two young daughters, and their dog had hurriedly exited a domestic situation that had been rapidly approaching physical abuse. Holly’s ex was still hung up on her. Moving on did not seem to be in the boy’s nature. It had been a year. Get over it already. Dave had been meaning to get a camera system installed just in case tires got slashed. Again.
Dave didn’t mind adding the dog to the nightly walk, much. Her consistent sniffing of various interesting scents, of which there were apparently many, did add about twenty minutes increasing the walk time to an hour around the neighborhood. But it was an extra twenty minutes of attempted calm.
Moving quietly past the toddler’s room, he went carefully down the stairs, a hand on either banister rail to catch his balance should it waver. It hadn’t for the last year or so, but the instinct was still there from the physical therapy sessions. Weaker left foot down first when going downstairs, opposite when going up; bad foot down towards hell, good foot up towards heaven was the mnemonic the therapist gave him. Adjusting the headphones for a more comfortable fit, he cranked the volume on the industrial playlist for tonight’s walk. Passing by the doorway to the living room, he was spotted by the dog. She’d been lying on the couch with her head in her person’s lap, but very aware of the time. He was running late. Not late enough for her to start whining, but her concern was showing. It was time. For. The. Walk. Just the greatest event ever in the history of dogkind. Every night it happened around this time, but every night her excitement was puppy-level enthusiastic.
Dave retrieved the leash from the kitchen and before rattling it once, she was sitting beside him quivering with repressed anticipation on the tile floor. Her speed was teleportation quick. If he hadn’t heard the clicking of claws on the tile, he would have suspected she’d been there the entire time. This was their routine. Attaching the leash to the barely restraining herself dog, they moved to the interior garage door. Once that door was open, the race to the exterior garage door was on. Fortunately, the leash was the fifteen-foot variety, so she didn’t choke herself in her excitement to check the state of the neighborhood. She had responsibilities; people needed to be inside their homes—they had no reason to be out what’s wrong with them; animals needed to be made aware she was on patrol—in MY neighborhood y’all vermin better recognize; any floating balloons needed to be fearfully barked at—things shouldn’t float in the air; there was stuff to do—the walking patrol is a heavy duty, but some dog has to do it.
The explosion of light and sound upon opening the door was new. As was the cloud of smoke and blast of fire exiting the barrel behind the buckshot. The sudden thrust to Dave’s chest was unexpected. This was not part of the routine. The movies hadn’t prepared anyone for this. Books lied. When shot, there isn’t time for a funny quip or deep, meaningful last thoughts. There was simply a thunderbolt to the chest, a body being thrown backwards to the ground, overcoat enfolding like the wings of a burial shroud, and a thudding wet slap of a body striking concrete. The frightened howl of a dog suddenly slapped by the rapid retraction of a leash handle. And darkness. Dave’s eyes closed for the last time. Dave was dead.
An Eternity and an Instant Later
Dave found himself seated in the high-backed chair in his den. The house was still. There was no noise. At all. No sound from the heater vents, no cool wind rattling the windows. Nothing. The silence was eerie in its completeness. He didn’t even hear his own breath. The unearthly quiet delayed his realization for a moment. He wasn’t alone.
The person sitting across the room on the settee was unsettling. Dave’s mind couldn’t decide if they were male or female. The person seemed to shift from one to the other in a fluid motion. Starting as a Victorian woman and morphing into a modern era man as they shifted position to get more comfortable then to a small girl from Elizabethan times and then an old man as the girl kicked her legs which grew longer and her dress morphed into pant legs. It was a touch unnerving.
Dave leaned back in the lounge chair. “So. Can I get you anything, coffee, tea, a beer, the hell out of my house?”
“Dave, Dave, Dave. There’s no need to be rude. And I’m not sure it qualifies as your house anymore,” said the now young man.
“What do mean it’s not my house? And could you maybe stop doing that?”
“Changing forms like that. It’s disturbing.”
“Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to upset you any more than needful. That’s why I chose the music room for this,” she said adjusting her janitor’s uniform.
“Music room? I hardly think adding a cat-torn amp, a bass guitar, an old flute, and a music stand makes a den into a music room.”
The middle-aged banker replied, “Well, sometimes it really is the thought that counts. Plus doing this in the living room would be, well, not really rude, but awkward, and I didn’t want to hear the puns.”
“Yes, puns,” stated the 50s schoolmarm, “you have no idea how bad they can get with them.”
“I really don’t understand, what puns and who are you talking about?”
“The puns—living room, you’re dead, in the living room—get it?” shaking his head sadly while adjusting his disco collar. “It’s not really even funny, but then a lot of puns aren’t, but you can’t tell a punster that, they’ll just keep trying and trying and getting less and less funny. No, best to avoid it from the start.”
“Wait, I’m dead?”
“Ummm, ye-aaah. Didn’t we go over that? Are you paying attention at all?” asked the teeny-bopper in between pops and smacks of bubble gum. She resembled Tracey from high school. Dave had had trouble forgiving himself for making her cry in class. She’d been stupid. She’d said something annoying, and he’d lit into her mercilessly. He couldn’t remember what exactly it was she had said, only that it was insulting towards someone that was out of the room. After he’d matured a little, he’d felt bad about it but had never found her to apologize. He sometimes wondered if she remembered. He did.
“How am I supposed to pay attention when you keep changing appearance every ten seconds! It’s distracting, it’s unsettling, it’s frankly quite disturbing!”
“Well, I could go all traditional on you, but nobody ever likes that one, so no, I don’t think I will—I don’t like to be…scary,” a shadow passed over the figure like a cowl, leaving the impression of a skeletal figure holding an hourglass with a scythe laid across the knees, “but I can…if you like”.
“No, no, that’s okay. I’ll adapt. It’s not that disturbing” Dave’s voice trembled, “but maybe you could pick one image and stick with it?”
“Hmmmm, noooo, I don’t think so. This is more fun. For me,” he said appearing as a sumo wrestler, “and it gets you ready for when they come.”
The flapper sighed resting her chin in her hand, “Didn’t we go over this? Your guides to the afterlife.”
“Is that not you?”
“Oh my, aren’t you precious,” said his aunt Matilda, “Bless your heart, not for a long time now, not since the split.” Matilda had taught Dave to read. Well, to read properly by moving his eyes and not his entire head. She’d patiently sat with him holding her hands on either side of his head while he found one of his greatest joys in life.
The wild-white-haired professor looked up from his notes, “Don’t you ever pay attention? The split, the fall, serpent, garden, fruit? Why do I always have to explain everything?” Peering over his Prince-nez spectacles, professor Skoko, who had prepared Dave for much of his life with the simple wisdom of always consider the source, continued, “Very well I shall elucidate for you.”
Shaking her golden locks, the starlet continued, “Since the split, representatives from both sides come to talk with you. Then you pick one to go with or not. All in accordance with the Free Will doctrine, neat, tidy, and efficient…when they bother to show up on time.”
“Wait, so I don’t have to go? I can stay here?”
“Yes, technically, you could,” sighed the put-upon librarian, Mrs. Brown, “although, I don’t recommend it.” Mrs. Brown, Dave recalled, was one of the first people to recognize how very bright he was. She let him check out extra books in elementary because she knew he’d finish twice as many books as the other students. And he was polite. And she liked that he read. Everything.
“Yeah, but I could totally haunt my killer, right, I was killed right?”
“Yes, but what happens after he dies? You’re stuck here. For eternity. Wandering the earth, randomly scaring people. Forever. And that’s a mighty long time,” sang the Purple One.
“So when these guides show up, I just pick the angel and go to heaven? There’s no judgment?”
“Sorta, kinda, but not that simple, “shrugged the convenience store clerk, who looked remarkable like Jared, Dave’s high school friend and rival, “You judge yourself by the choice you make. Because the choice is the outcome of who you’ve been. One of the new theories of Free Will, every choice is dictated by the previous choices and you can’t really choose against your nature, which some then argue means it’s not really Free Will and never was, and then the fighting starts for real…Look, do you really want a philosophy lesson here and now? Hmmmm?” He sounded just like Jared. They’d argued philosophy and physics and abstract mathematics in between classes. Both had graduated in the top ten of their class. Neither had really tried or they would have been first and second. Jared would have been first. Dave still resented that Jared was slightly smarter than him. Or at least, he’d tested better. That’s what Dave had told himself anyway.
“Umm, no?” Dave’s uncertainty showing as the appearance of Jared reminded him that he didn’t always come out on top with tests. He often made assumptions that turned out not to be correct. His wife Lacey usually said he was always wrong when he assumed. Dave was sure there was at least once when he’d been right, but he could never figure out which time it was. Sometimes, he was so smart he was actually kind of stupid. He’d been told that he lacked common sense. He assumed they were wrong. They were not.
“Alrighty then, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted…”, continued his previous boss, a micromanager who had been killed in an office shooting by a disgruntled employee. Dave found the voice difficult to listen to. He always had. “…so you’ll choose between them based on who you are and what you’ve made of yourself. Simple. Only thing though, is the Angels, both of them, will not appear as what you’re expecting. Cinema has lied to you. There will be no halos or pitchforks, no wings or tails, just two individuals presenting their sides’ case. You get to judge between them and then choose. The choice is the thing. And I do wish they’d hurry up already. It’s not like it’s easy dilating time like this and carrying on a conversation with a mortal that does not pay attention doesn’t help.”
“Wow. Sorry to be an inconvenience.”
The old granny smiled sweetly. The slight hint of an accent came through, mostly on the vowels, just like Dave’s own grandmother’s voice had betrayed a British accent at times. “It’s not you honey, it’s them. Ever since Fate, Destiny, Luck, and Fortune played that card game that resulted in Chaos Theory, things have run amok. I swear, some days…”
“Wait a minute, go back, time is dilated? Has my killer made it inside the house? I could go save my family?”
“Yes. No. Probably not,” replied the milkman in a singsong mantra.
“Whadda ya mean probably not? If he’s not inside, I go to the garage and stop him. Simple.”
“Is it? Is it really? Simple? You think? How do you plan to stop him? You’re invisible, you can’t be seen. You can’t affect the material world right now. So what, exactly, would you do? Other than watch your loved ones get shot. You want that? Really?” the priest watched his head go down, “yeah, didn’t think so.”
“Besides, want to, do you really? Your feelings, if you find them you can, search,” mumbled Dave’s karate instructor. The sensei had always phrased his lessons in that way. He seemed to think it sounded wise. Dave wasn’t so sure. Odd sentence structure that made you think about the words didn’t necessarily mean you absorbed them any better. Sometimes it just made you giggle. Dave wasn’t giggling now.
Dave searched. Then he searched again, disbelieving what he found the first time. And one more time. The third search confirmed it. He noticed that while he thought he should care; he didn’t really feel it. The concern just wasn’t there anymore. “Why don’t I care anymore? What’s happened?”
“Elementary, my dear Dave,” replied Christopher Lee in full Sherlock regalia, “your emotions are centered in your flesh. You are not currently in your flesh. All you have is memories of your feelings. These can give you insights into yourself, but they cannot generate real emotions. But do please pay attention to those insights. They may be helpful at some point. And, really, you should pay more attention, it’s your Ever After we’re talking about and I am sure I mentioned your choice is Forever. But I like you Dave, you’re fun to play with, so here’s a freebee. No other person dies here tonight.”
“But” began Dave only to stammer, “when did they get here?” As two figures were now flanking the apparition on the settee. They didn’t enter, they just suddenly were.
There was no androgyny about them. One was clearly male, a typical specimen. Short unkempt hair heading towards shaggy, medium build, worn jeans—stained with what was probably oil, work boots, a black leather jacket, and lightly stubbled cheeks indicating a glancing familiarity with a razor but not a close friendship. One corner of his was mouth turned up. His eyes seemed to say he’d rather be off relaxing with a beer, but he had to be here, and the sooner done the better—or maybe Dave was reading too much of himself into that expression. Dave would have liked to be off having a drink somewhere, instead of what was beginning to feel like an intervention. The one failed Alcoholics Anonymous meeting had been enough. Dave didn’t have a drinking problem. Dave had willpower. Dave had insight. Dave had it under control. Dave could see this guy sneaking out with him. It was a good feeling.
And the other was just as clearly the epitome of female. Of a certain type. An overweight, judgmental, Sunday-go-to-meeting type right down to the gingham dress of bright yellow and white squares. Dave could practically smell the perfume he imagined she would use—that little old lady bathroom odor that is so flowery-sweet as to be nausea inducing that seems to get issued en masse to matrons when they hit retirement age. They don’t have to use it, but they do, and it had always bugged Dave to no end. She brought to mind Dave’s aunt Hilda. Hilda was an enormous woman with folds of flesh to entrap her nephew whenever she hugged him. Which was every time she saw him. Which was every Sunday. She stopped by his parent’s house on her way back from church. Which meant that her hellion brood came along. Dave didn’t care for his cousins. Dave didn’t know why she took them with her. As far as he knew that church didn’t do exorcisms. Dave grew up disliking Hilda’s holier-than-thou attitude towards his family, her disapproval clear in every gesture and sniff of her nose. Always trying to save everyone. It was the height of irony to Dave that she’d been unable to save herself. Hilda died from a heart attack, complicated by her size. Dave became somewhat obsessive about weight after her death. Nobody should die because the paramedics couldn’t flip them over for CPR.
The female figure on the settee looked like she would have been a friend to Hilda. Would definitely have known her from church. The woman’s expression screamed disapproval, of the house, of the world, and specifically, of Dave.
They had appeared on either side of the first apparition. The lady bumped him with her shoulder. “We’ll take it from here Azzy.” Her voice sharp and nasally. “You can go ahead and resume your proper form now, I think he’s gotten the gist of things.”
The detective costume faded into a cowled robe of darkness. Dave didn’t know exactly how he managed it, but the skeleton’s face appeared disgruntled. A slow murmur of sound crept back into hearing, as if listening to voices underwater.
“Fine,” Azzy shrugged, “you two always handle things so well, always so punctual and efficient, I’ll just go ahead and release the hold on time now as well, shall I?”
“That works for me,” the man drawled, “this shouldn’t take too long, the choice between us is a bit obvious, after all.”
“Well, I don’t know about that at all,” she said as she peered over the top of her bifocals at Dave, “We have to give him the options, rules are rules, and they apply to everyone. As you constantly forget, or pretend to,” tightening her mouth as her eyes cut over to the man.
A great sigh from the man, “Okay, fine, have it your way,” he said turning his head to look at Dave,” Hi there, I’m Michael, you can call me Mike though. Come with me. It’s more fun, we are much more relaxed than the wound-up old biddy here. The only real rule is don’t be an ass. Everything else pretty much common sense. Everyone is welcome, we are a very diverse bunch. And most importantly, we do not judge. So, there, that’s my spiel, and now over to you,” he concluded with a nod and wink to the woman.
In an outbreath, “Hwhell. Wasn’t that just terrific. Great introduction there Michael, don’t prejudice him at all. Biased bastard.” The last words swallowed somewhat under her breath. She turned back to Dave while adjusting her glasses and smiling cheerfully, like a crocodile. “What have we here?”
“David. Edward. Whillaby.” Each name pronounced this way shrank Dave into his chair just a little more, recalling the beginning of unpleasant childhood lectures. “You may call me Justine. And while Mike,” indicated with a wave of her hand and disdain in her high-pitched voice, “prefers to be all slack and lazy, we offer so much more. For the right people. For, our kind of people. Everyone with a place and everyone in their place. And yes, there is judgment, but how else will you know you’re progressing? And that’s what we’re about David, progress. David Whillaby, you belong with people like you, people who’ve been through the kind of things that you’ve been through. People who understand people like you. People, who are like us. There is no point to mixing with inferiors, it dilutes the base and produces very pretty, but, worthless junky people. So make the right choice, come be with your own kind.”
Dave leaned forward resting his face in his hands, elbows on knees. “Can I think about this for a few minutes?”
Mike and Justine talked over each other, “Sure, no problem, take your time, it’s a big call.” “Don’t take too long, we don’t have all the time in the world, young man.”
The skeleton rolled his eyes, “He does, until he decides, he’s not going anywhere, and you know it, Justine.”
“Azrael Reficule Lucifuge, did anyone ask you? No. I did not hear anyone either, so kindly pipe down.”
Dave looked at both representatives in turn. Mike gave him a subtle nod. Justine a quiet glare. This decision was going to be an easy one. Mike seemed pretty chill and who in their right mind would want to hang around with Justine for more time than it took to make up an excuse to leave? Not Dave, that’s for sure. The low murmur of voices raised in volume briefly like shouting and a distant sound of sirens rang through the dimly through the air.
“Tick tok, tick tok,” Justine’s head bobbed side to side with each word.
“Let him think,” Mike shushed her.
He was about to open his mouth when he noticed Azrael glance to the doorway. He turned to face the opening behind him. A low black shadow was there. It moved forward and resolved into the dog, Lucy. She came forward and rested her head on Dave’s knee.
“Hwhat is that doing here?” shrieked Justine.
Azrael turned to look at her motioning at the dog with his skeletal hand. “She died.” Indicating himself with his other hand, “Angel of Death, duh?” both hands flipping out on the last word.
Dave stared at Azrael. “You said nobody else would die here. I thought you people had to tell the truth. She’s dead.”
The cowled head regarded Dave, “Think back carefully on what I said Dave. We don’t lie, but what you perceive in our words is not in our control. A person and a body are not the same. Sometimes you overthink. Sometimes you assume. Sometimes you end up blocking yourself. Don’t let your prejudices cloud what you really think. Think.”
“Still a rule violation,” snarked Justine.
“Which rule?” Azrael asked shifting his gaze back to Justine.
“Rule 43.1 subsection b—no outside interference” spouted Justine.
Azrael sighed, “Justine, you know that rule only applies to sentients.”
“Yeah, lighten up Justine, it’s just a dog, no harm done,” Mike interrupted, “What’s her name?”
“It’s the principle of the thing,” muttered Justine under her breath as Dave replied, “Lucy. Lucy Furr.”
At her name, Lucy lifted her head and noticed the others in the room.
Justine had an affronted look as if she were wounded, “That is a highly inappropriate name”.
Mike couldn’t stop the chuckles, “Yeah, but big black dog, called Lucy Furr, Lucyfurr the dog, c’mon that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.”
Azrael just shook his head, “A pun. Thought we’d avoided them, but no, you had to name the dog that. Great. Just great.”
“Az, lighten up, you have no sense of humor.”
“Well, Mike, I have an excellent sense of humor—puns are not humor. Besides, your sense of humor would disappear pretty quick if you spent all Eternity as a skeleton.”
Mike muttered, “Maybe I’d look for my funny-bone.”
“Puns are the lowest form of humor, Mike, please stop, Justine doesn’t do it.”
“That’s because I find nothing funny about a lower order being present. It shouldn’t be here.”
“But she is, and look she’s noticed you both,” snarked Azrael.
Lucy moved towards the settee to investigate the newcomers. At Mike, she crouched low and her hackles rose with her low growl. “Some dogs don’t take to me immediately. Don’t know why. It’s cool though, they get used to me in time, don’t they girl?” He leaned forward to stroke her head and immediately pulled his hand back as she snapped at him. He shrugged leaning back. “Some take longer than others,” he smiled.
“She never does that, I’m so sorry, don’t know what got into her.”
Azrael, she ignored as if she didn’t see him.
But Justine, Justine got jumped on. A happy, so-excited-to-see-you jump, a where-have-you-been jump. And Lucy whined like a puppy. This left Justine seeming flustered as she tried to move the dog back to the floor.
Azrael’s previous small speech had set Dave thinking. Possibly just as importantly, it set Dave to observing. He went back over the statements of both Justine and Mike, now with the understanding that they could lie, by omission or persuasion. Neither had provided any real details. Mike promised fun, Justine work, well improvement. Mike seemed like a buddy, Justine like a parent. In Dave’s experience, buddies often got you into trouble, sometimes on purpose because they thought it was funny; parents sometimes did, but they weren’t generally trying to cause problems—sometimes they made mistakes. Mike had said they catered to a diverse crowd, which is generally a good thing; Justine’s group was more exclusive, only “our” type, which sounded terrible.
Then Dave thought but what if she means people like me and not like what she’s presenting. Why did they show up the way they did, anyway? Dave thought. Here’s Mike, like everyone’s best friend, and Justine, like everyone’s hated Sunday nemesis. The Dave recalled Lucy’s behavior with the visitors. She had a roughly 99% success rate with character judgment. And that’s when Dave had an epiphany. Justine wasn’t everyone’s Sunday nemesis; she was his in particular. Just like Mike wasn’t everyone’s best pal, he was the ideal drinking bud for Dave. What if they were testing him on his biases, what if the choices were set up for a thoughtless decision to fail?
Dave looked at Azrael, who seemed to wink at him slowly. “Okay, I’m ready. Mike you seem like a great guy and I’d love to hang with you,” Mike’s face broke into a grin while Justine looked up from Lucy with a stern, foreboding glare, “but Lucy’s always been a good judge of people—I’m going to have to go Justine on this one.”
Mike stood and shrugged, “Eh, win some, lose some. There are always others. In fact, there may be one nearby. Race ya,” And then he wasn’t there.
Azrael glanced at where he’d been, “He still won’t be on time. You guys never are.”
Justine looked at him over the top of her glasses, “Well if we were on time, would you have the chance to set up these little surprises? I mean really, a dog?”
“No idea what you’re talking about. The dog got killed, I couldn’t let her just wander around. Dogs go the Heaven. Simple statement of fact, no Fall, no choice necessary. At least she wasn’t a cat, they have such strange senses of humor. Well Dave, time to go, Justine will take good care of you and Lucy.”
Dave stood. “So what did happened? You said nobody else would die.”
“See Dave, that right there. That’s why I let her in to give the nudge. I said no other person would die, and you included Lucy in that—that’s how you really think, when you’re not getting in your own way.”
As the four began to fade from the mortal realm, Dave asked, “But what happened to the killer?”
“Lucy. Lucy happened to the killer. Not many people can reload a shotgun with an eighty-pound dog tearing off their fingers. She’s a good dog.” Lucy’s tail nearly wagged her off her feet as she followed her new people Home.