Brooke absentmindedly shuttles through the recordings of Jack’s day: playing with his children, another less-than-exciting day at the office, playing with his children again, ignoring Lacey as much as humanly feasible, the gym. Day after day, the highlight is his children while the rest of the time seems to be a void of grey fog as Jack seems to just bumble through the actions of living with as little involvement as possible.
And how is that even possible? Brooke fiddles with some of the buttons along the top of the monitor. Much like her unknown counterpart, David, once toyed with “Dreamweaving,” “Ultimate Wake Up,” and “Special Programming Options” in the drop-down menu on the “Dream Implant” button, Brooke toys with the idea of pressing the on switch for a few of the items on the drop-down menu under “Life Lifting”: “FutureFast,” “Advanced Awakening,” and “Align Human Being with Human Spirit.” She lingers over that button for several seconds before another angelic hand comes to rest on hers.
She lets out a long sigh. “Wasn’t going to.”
“I know.” Blake’s complete understanding lifts her spirits a bit. “Want to go on a galactic gallivant?”
“On Earth they call it a ‘road trip.’ But our roads are a little bigger.”
“We’re allowed to do that?”
He takes her hand and they disappear from the desk...
...and Brooke finds herself standing just outside the Roman Coliseum. Two very jovial men dressed in gladiator costumes point the way to the entrance for a group of tourists. Brooke notices a few more men also in gladiator costumes, but their colors—both of their skin and of their costumes—are nowhere near as vibrant, and the men are nowhere near as cheery. Then she notices that there are a few more. And even a few more. As she and Blake pass through the walls to the inside arena, she sees many more humans who are certainly not gladiators—very tall women, very short men, people with physical handicaps, and others who would have been considered misfits in their time. And this time, still, perhaps, by the less-than-enlightened. Light beings in the shape of lions and other animals roam the grassy area that once was hidden under the grounds, the “playing” fields, of the coliseum.
“What?” Brooke blinks her eyes. Some of the dead fade as she makes her choice to see fewer of them. “Oh, of course. But why haven’t they moved on yet?”
“Some have, some haven’t.”
Despite Brooke’s attempts to fade the ghosts, she spies a woman way up in the highest seats. The woman would have been strikingly lovely were it not for the soul-deadening pain that fills her eyes. Brooke tunes in to the burning pain in her heart.
“Wow,” she observes. “I guess sometimes the pain of not stopping something is greater than the pain of having it done to you.”
“Yes, indeed,” comes the response from her impressed superior.
Brooke scans the grounds again. The animals are definitely light beings, whereas most of the dead humans are not. Yet.
“They’re still here to help the humans with their journeys,” Blake clarifies. “Very few things in creation are as big as the love and devotion of an animal.”
Brooke smiles at the idea and continues scanning. The walking dead shimmer a tad, but nowhere near as much as living humans do.
“What’s going on with him?” Brooke points to one fellow who looks around, his eyes wide in horror, then covers his face with his hands as he cries.
“He’s here now, he’s still from the year 12 BCE, and he’s also in the year 2782.”
Brooke tries to wrap her angelic mind around that one.
“Don’t worry about all that. They’re on their journeys, too. For now, just see what’s right here.”
“Or not. Let’s go somewhere else.”
Blake starts to take her hand, but Brooke’s attention is drawn to the words of a guide as he addresses a group finishing a tour: “Before you judge them for what they did, ask yourself what people two thousand years in the future will be judging you for—what you found entertaining or even acceptable in your society.”
Brooke notices that even the people who died long ago have three angels. Blake notices her regarding an angel-with-a-laptop following one of the gladiators—one of the dead gladiators—in full calculating mode.
“Everything is just a thought,” he tells her. “Everything. In this world, even in the worlds within worlds, even in the worlds within worlds within worlds, every cell of their bodies is a thought, every state of their affairs is a thought. And now there are seven billion humans on one planet. And what those angels are calculating are the highest chances for what is happening in this very moment, given all the things that could happen—change of heart, payment of a karmic debt, an infinite array of possibilities—what is most likely to happen for their human assignment. Even if that human no longer happens to be living in the physical world.”
“Hmmmm.” Brooke considers all the worlds within worlds within worlds as they are in living color—or not—right in front of her.
“Now, the thing about karma,” Blake continues, “is there’s really no such thing as karma. At least there’s no karma from ‘out there’ determining how to even up a scoreboard. There’s only what the human decides is his or her karma. Even Hitler has no karma—at least nothing from outside of him. He’s created his own hell for himself, of course.” He points to the angels with the laptops. “But every last bit of that is accounted for in their calculations so they can offer guidance.”
“That the humans won’t listen to.”
“They do. Except when they don’t. It’s all good.”
Blake lets Brooke ponder those words for several moments, and they disappear...
...and appear in a bathroom. A young man, the flesh of his bare chest and arms covered in tattoos, ears gauged, presses a razor blade to his wrist.
Brooke gasps. “I thought when you said ‘Let’s go somewhere else,’ that meant it’d be a little easier.”
“One place is always as good as another.”
“Right. I believe you.”
The young man’s angels cry out to him. “Jason, you’re needed here! This doesn’t take care of anything! You can’t skip steps. You want to make it here. You are so loved!”
At a knock on the door, Jason pushes the razor blade into his skin. His angels amplify their appeals to him. He stops. But with another knock, the razor goes slightly deeper. And, as his father kicks the door open, the cold metal pierces the vein and then—viciously, deeply—he slashes several other areas on the insides of both of his lower arms.
“Oh, Jason, no!” the man screams. “No, no, no, no!” He gathers his son into his arms. Jason’s mother appears in the doorway, but not for long.
“Call 911,” the father shrieks.
Brooke and Blake ride in the ambulance along with the young man, his parents, and an extremely active medical team who are applying bandages along with pressure to try to stem the bleeding.
“It’s not time yet,” Jason’s head angel says to him.
“There’s so much you came here to do,” says another.
But losing the significant amount of blood—second to his desire—brings Jason’s breathing and heart to a stop. This combination allows his light form to dislodge slightly from his physicality—hands and feet first, then his head, which is followed by the rest of his light body.
“He’s not breathing,” shouts one of the paramedics. Jason’s parents sob.
“I don’t want to stay,” his spirit self tells his angels. “I don’t. And I don’t have to.” He notices several light beings behind them. The light beings get brighter and brighter, especially one of them.
“Grandpa!” Jason’s light self shouts.
“Everyone is welcomed home,” Blake tells Brooke. “There are really no mistakes. They really can’t get it wrong. And perhaps his leaving would be a necessary part of the paths of those around him. But....”
Jason’s grandfather grabs him and holds him in a long, long embrace. Then he abruptly pushes him away.
His eyes shine and love streams from every inch of his entire being, but the grandfather shakes his head.
“I want to be with you,” Jason beseeches. “I want to come home.”
“Home is wherever you are,” his grandfather says. “And however you are. Nothing of your soul’s journey will change if you do this.”
“Not one thing would change. Yes, you can leave; you can do whatever you want. You can’t get it wrong. But here, there, anywhere—your work has to be done. So you might as well stay and work it out. Make your home here on Earth and,” he touches Jason’s heart, “here.”
Jason’s hands and feet of light seem to dock, even click, back into his physical hands and feet. Then his head of light clicks into his physical head, followed by the rest of his light body clicking into his physical form.
The paramedic puts an ear to his mouth. “Wait, wait. He’s still here. He’s breathing,” he smiles to the parents.
Jason’s mother lets out a wail. “Thank you, thank you,” she gushes between sobs. A defensive lineman might’ve had a hard time keeping her from pulling the medical team away. She drops to her knees beside the stretcher and wraps her arms around her son. Jason’s father also kneels and wraps his arms around both of them.
Blake turns to Brooke. “So you see, there’s really no way to get it wrong here,” he says. “But some places may be better for them to be than others at any given point in time.”
Brooke watches as the young man’s parents continue to hold him and each other. Blake taps Brooke on her arm. “Alright, my lovely. It’s time for some more field trips.” He takes her hand in his and...
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