Infinite 01 - Infinite Sacrifice
Disharmonious, chopped sounds surround me as I fly through darkness. Lights flash far away in liquid black, as if I’m looking up from the ocean floor, the sun streaming through the distant surface. I speed nearer toward the light, which glares brilliantly with painless intensity. I absorb it through every pore. I crave getting closer to it, to penetrate farther, deeper—saturating me in a peace I never knew existed.
I find myself standing trail-edge in a forest, looking out across an expansive clearing with an island of wheat fields before me. The light is golden and glowing off the fields and a warm breeze causes the wheat and trees to roll like seaweed in strong current. I release the grip of my hand that Ellie was just clutching.
Am I having another morphine dream? Did I slip into a coma? Where am I?
A figure moves toward me, out of the pulsing light.
Finn? I hope it’s another dream about Finn .
Instead, a simple old man dressed in a white tunic and loose pants strides forth, barefoot, and smiles as if we’re good friends.
“Do I know you?” I ask, sure he’s mistaken.
“I’ve known you all your lives.” His sea-glass blue eyes gleam through happily squinted lids.
Nothing makes sense.
“Where’s my family?” I say, turning away, searching for them. “I need to be with my family right now.”
Stretching his arm up with surprising speed, he touches my shoulder; I calm, all anxiety forgotten. He takes my hand within his; warmth travels up my arm.
“Come with me.” His measured words resonate.
The fields dissipate, and a vast ocean now rolls before us. Seagulls cry out, gliding on strong winds, and sandpipers scatter as the waves crash onto their sands. The old man gestures to pick one of the two wooden beach chairs facing the water.
“Where am I?”
He begins as I settle in the low chair, “My name is Zachariah. I am your spirit guide.”
Pulling my hair from my face, I look over at him. “Am I dead?”
He simply nods but holds my eyes with a gentle look.
Strangely, I’m not panicking. The beach looks just like the beach where I spent my summers, with sea-green surf the shade of Finn’s eyes as the waves crest with the sun behind it. I’m reminded of the first time I looked into them as he kept a tennis ball out of my reach—and how shimmering green—they stole my breath. As I dig my feet into the flour-like sand, it brings back memories of Finn and Ellie running with me on this same sand, playing games only children play. Yet we never stopped playing them, even after college. We drew looks from the passersby on the boardwalk as we wrestled, threw sand on each other, and ran into the surf with all our clothes on. I can hear Ellie’s high-pitched lyrical laughter gliding on top of Finn’s childish giggle, sailing to me in this chair where I sit without them now.
My hair blows across my eyes again, and I realize my short, brittle permanent is gone. My hair’s long and silky around my shoulders. I glance down at my legs—the tan, strong legs I haven’t seen for fifty years. I straighten up from the hunched position I’d grown so used to.
“I’m sixteen again!”
“Souls appear the age they felt their best.”
My eyes dart to his aged form in silent question, and he grins. “This is how I feel most comfortable.”
I look down at my hands—young hands! No spots, no veins, no shaking. Only smooth, peach, beautiful hands. Ah! I forgot how great this feels! No aches, no pains, only flexible strength and boundless energy. I want to run across the beach and do cartwheels!
As though he reads my mind, Zachariah gestures over to the sand. I bounce up and do ten perfect cartwheels in a row, the sand spiraling out from between my toes as I complete each one. I finish and point toward the water, and he nods with a smile. I take off, stepping over the small waves and jumping over the larger ones until I’m past the break. The waves surge and pull as I dive under the bubbled froth of white repeatedly. The womb-water calms, and I float over the now sleepy waves.
When was the last time I swam?
My ears are submerged as I stare into the cloud-filled sky.
But where is everyone else?
As soon as I think about leaving the water, I’m instantly back in the chair and dry to the touch. I turn to him with a puzzled look. Zachariah replies, palms up, “No towels in heaven.”
I sigh and glance around for something more. “So is this it? Do I just sit here, swim all day,
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