Here is the next part of Faith (Book 4 of the Waldmeer Series). The last few parts have been written in close succession, however, we will now have a break from the story before returning to finish this fourth and final book in a few months. I sincerely appreciate your sharing in the series which began with the first chapter, One Who Speaks, 3 years ago.
Chapter 24: Death Row
Last time Faith was in Tierramedio, she hadn’t noticed the hallway beside the Mirror of Life. It had a sign, Death Row. She certainly wouldn’t have gone down the passage except that the Master appeared and pointed for her to do so. Knowing that he would not lead her into danger, she accepted the invitation; not wholeheartedly, mind you. Faith came to a room on her left. It looked like a hospital room. Entering, she saw a lone bed with a sleeping man. He was an older person who was probably in the last stages of a fatal illness. She read the notice at the foot of the bed; Age: 87, Name: Farkas… She stopped reading.
“Amira,” said Farkas opening his eyes, “you came.”
“Of course, I came,” said Faith. Farkas had rarely been ill his whole life. Now, he was. “You’re in pain, aren’t you?” said Faith. Farkas nodded. “I’m going to get someone. Wait here.”
“I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere,” said Farkas. At least, he still had his sense of humour.
Faith found a nurse at a desk and said unapologetically, “He’s in pain. Fix it.” The nurse turned up the dial on the machine administering pain relief. Soon, Farkas relaxed.
“I’m not afraid of death,” said Farkas, “but I am afraid of dying.”
“You don’t have to be afraid of either,” said Faith. She wanted to say that death was as much an illusion as this terrible hospital room but its reality was overwhelmingly real to Farkas, at the moment. Faith could tell that Farkas didn’t want to be touched and so she sat a few feet from him. Anyway, she felt that the less reality he gave to his body, the better he would feel.
“Thanks for being here,” said Farkas. “Now, that it’s over…”
“Please,” said Faith, “try to see. Nothing real is ever over.”
Farkas listened more intently than he normally would have. “As I was saying,” he continued, “now that my life is over, I don’t know why I had so much fear.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Faith. “Don’t think about the past. Think about now. You would like to get out of this room, wouldn’t you?” Farkas stared at her as if he was considering whether she was speaking nonsense again or if she really knew a way out. The jury remained out on that one.
The Master came to the door and beckoned Faith back into the hallway. “This is only one possibility,” said the Master, “but it’s a very possible possibility. Everyone on Earth is on Death Row until they find a way out. It’s not so hard to find the way out, but the problem is wanting to.”
Chapter 25: A Thousand Years of Happiness
Faith could hear a noise like a small party coming from further down the hallway. She entered a room on the right and looked around. It was the sort of communal lounge room one finds in an aged care facility. It was neat and clean and had a pleasant atmosphere. Nevertheless, it still had the feel of waiting death in the air. She recognised a few of the people in the room as Gabriel’s friends. After a while, they left, one by one, and only Faith and Gabriel remained.
“I didn’t know you were here,” said Gabriel giving her a kiss. While his visitors had been around, his expression had been bright and happy. Now that they were all gone, he sat in a chair and said, “I’m tired.” He reached for a glass of water, drank some, and then carefully put it back on the table so as not to spill any with hands that were no longer young. He was probably in his nineties.
“You are still partying then?” said Faith.
Gabriel knew Faith all too well. He glared at her and said, “I’m not a recluse.” He turned towards a window with heavy, drawn curtains. “Actually, since I have been here, I’ve had a lot of thinking time.” He pulled himself up from the chair. “I’ve spent too much of my life asleep.”
“Yes?” said Faith hopefully.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “We spend a third of our life in bed.”
“Oh,” said Faith.
“I mean, I wouldn’t mind if most of that time wasn’t asleep,” he added with a grin.
Faith smiled slightly. She wanted this conversation to matter. “And all the other times asleep?” she asked.
“What other times?” said Gabriel.
“Drinking, meaningless conversations, saying things you don’t mean, not saying things you do,” said Faith.
“Drinking isn’t asleep,” said Gabriel. “It’s fun. You never quite got that. Fun, Faith!”
“Is it?” asked Faith.
Gabriel sat back into the chair with a bit of a thump. “No,” he said, “not really but it’s better than the alternative. I’m not you.”
“Thank God for that,” said Faith, “but do you really want to hold onto empty things? We don’t have to give anything up. They just need transforming. A thousand years of happiness would be much better than another thousand years of tears, don’t you think?”