Flailing into the great beyond, early in 2014 there was a lot of confusion. Without a mission I kept trying to create one on my own. It has never worked that way.
Since 1994 I have lived according to a code. The code was my recipe for penance and eventual forgiveness. It was to be twenty years of following dreams and the instructions of an angel that appeared in them, an angel who loved being cryptic, sacrificing my peace of mind, financial and career stability, and in the end distancing myself from so many people that I loved.
The first ten years were filled with magic and miracles. The second ten was filled with disasters. It wasn't that I failed in my missions to create the disasters. It was that they were more difficult missions and their end games were not "happily ever after" like the earlier missions were. It was a whole different ball game. Having women I loved committed. Watching another woman I cared about very much go back to her abusive husband, who left her periodically whenever something else interested him, all because she somehow believed that "family" would win out in the end and after all they had children together.
There were lessons in all these things, at times about the futility of life, but also about how our choices forever change the path we follow. Sometimes we choose misery. Sometimes we choose to keep our eyes closed.
So, there was this emptiness, and I tried to duplicate old missions. I focused on a waitress who seemed preoccupied with something tragic. It turned out her father was a paraplegic and on a kick about how he could achieve anything and had been hurting himself fairly regularly. It was on her mind.
Then I tried to create a queen out of raw materials, taking a simple young woman and endowing her with qualities she did not have so she would fit the old mold.
I knew these false missions would fail. "TheDeadGuy's failed final mission" was always about that.
The twenty year mark passed on June 6, 2014 and I spent it in the hospital unable to participate in my quickening, which energizes me each year on June 6th. I was in a hospital bed in a great deal of pain and could not spend the night alone, which is a requirement for the quickening.
I have Lupus. Apparently when the angels told me I would be released from my assignments after twenty years they had a sense of humor about what they were releasing me to. I was not supposed to celebrate completion of my penance. I was not supposed to kick back and be overly proud of myself. This makes certain of that.
I have no desire to discuss my medical condition, treatment, or receive unsolicited advice from well-meaning people. It just doesn't work for me. I see a host of doctors and medical professionals almost daily. The topic stays there, where it belongs.
The topic here is the paths of our lives and how the ones we choose create the world we live it.
It is also about the faces and the memories that slowly follow us along the path, staying well back from our position or wandering off into the weeds just out of sight.
I have never expected anyone to believe my stories. Most of the time I expect them to read them as clever fictions or dramatic representations of something less exciting and unusual. This has never mattered to me, as one can take away from my tales what they wish. My spirituality runs in a different way that standard religions or freethinking philosophies. It rejects nothing and embraces those essentials of all beliefs without holding them above any other beliefs. It is the product of having died and travelled all the way to the other side, through the light and into the desert of my soul. It was the nature of my suicide, my afterlife was a desert, but I was given an opportunity to try again.
And then I rejected it, or at least tried to. It was absurd to think what I knew had happened to me had been real. It must have been a dream created by all the pills and liquor I'd taken to kill myself. So, I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore the voice of the angel Anastasia who kept telling me to follow my path. Eventually it could not fight it any longer, the signs were too strong, there was too much synchronicity and miracles began to take form.
Rancho Nuevo, on the road to the lost kingdoms. The Jack walks alone.
"It is something like a trial, but you are not on trial."
"Uh huh, cryptic as always, angel. What's the deal?"
"Time's just about up, dead boy."
Rancho Nuevo wasn't a desert. It is an expansive landscape of many different flavors, although the desert still stands. It isn't as expansive and intimidating as it once was. The desert gives in to the wastelands that mark untapped potential. Whenever one stumbles there is always the wastelands to help one focus.
"What is happening to me?"
"Body is breaking down, plain and simple. Medically I can't help with the mystery all those doctors have been puzzling over. Spiritually I can tell you this is probably something I could have anticipated. After twenty years of going full force you physically collapsed. This was the flavor it chose."
"This is some sort of final penance, a suffering I have to endure?"
"Nah, that would just be cruel if it were on purpose. We're as baffled as anyone else, well, the folks of Rancho Nuevo think they are smarter than they are. Some of them, anyway. Even they haven't offered an answer. That is because there is no answer and those that try to find one just annoy everyone else."
"And it isn't part of this trial you mentioned?"
"The trial has been going on for a very long time, much longer than your sickness."
Tina had been tracked down and it was becoming clear that the place she worked at was no ordinary Chili's. Work involved a sketchy timeshare resale company that was doing many unethical, if not wholly illegal, things.
And Sonny had a chance.
She was the receptionist and she studied me with a strange fascination.
"You're dead. What are you doing here?"
"Still working that out."
"But things had started to make sense. The picture for your journey is becoming clear and impossible to deny."
"How do you know all this?"
"I came back here from Los Angeles. I was recalled for a mission."
"You're from L.A.?"
"I'm from here. They call me Sonny, or maybe is Sunny, I'm never sure. Want to go to a movie? I think there is something playing that is right up your alley."
"I suppose I could do that."
"Sonny. Sonny with a chance. I still have a chance, but I wish I had as much time as you do. You have a fascinating journey ahead of you. I wish I could know you for more than the next three months, but I'm Sonny with a chance. We have to do what we have to do."