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Updated on May 11, 2017

Part 1

"You were so close that time. What the hell happened?!" The voice; ethereal, neither masculine or feminine, seems to be talking to itself more than me.

"Why doesn't it just take it?" A second voice chimes in. It's pitch is different, less commanding somehow.

"I don't know. I don't understand."

"I mean, it should want to, no?"

"Of course it should. Sometimes it takes them a few times, is all. Most of them, actually."

"This was endeavor twenty-four." the second voice says flatly. "Are you sure that's the one it's meant for?"

"Don't be stupid, of course I'm sure." The first voice admonishes.

I can't open my eyes..or am I blind? I want to ask where I am, what is happening, but the words won't come, it's as if my mouth is taped shut. I begin to struggle.

"What is happening?" the second voice, confused, almost fearful.

"It's alright. It did this once before. Let's just get it ready to go back, and hope the new input guides it to the right selection this time." The first voice sounds genuinely concerned.

"Something's wrong...." the second voice is saying, but it sounds far away now.

The right selection?

Then everything goes white. Blinding white. Blank. Crushing nothingness, the memory of just moments before is rapidly fading... what had they said? something about selection... was there two voices or three? What was it the voice had said? I struggle to hang onto the words, but they slip from my grasp.

I've done this before...

As a child, the thought occurred to me often, troubled me. I would sit alone, thinking about whatever event, sometimes just a smell, had triggered the feeling. Trying to conjure the memory, to no avail. As I got older, the world lost it's whimsy, I dismissed such things as deja vu, coincidence, nothing at all. Now, as I am getting on in years, it happens more often than ever, and I cannot ignore it. Now, as I stand staring down at the freshly filled grave, I know I have been here before. Not this exact place, but this moment. Where the grief is smothering. The regret, the self-loathing... all so familiar. I place the flowers, blue orchids, on the grave, glancing over my shoulders. Clear of prying eyes, I pull the trowel from my pocket and dig into the loose dirt. About a foot down, I stop, and drop the photo in, no longer able to contain the tears the pour in after it. The ultrasound print of the spark of life snuffed out before it could even begin, the only evidence of our love, the child who only lived in our hearts. I smooth the dirt back over it, brush off my hands, tuck away the trowel, and draw a deep breath.

"In the next life." I say aloud, rising.

I wonder how much longer I'll have to wait.

Driving home, the feeling strikes me again, shortly after a pickup truck blows through a red light and strikes my car. A direct hit to the driver's side door. As the world around me goes dark, and I draw my last few, ragged breaths, I can only think.

I've definitely done this before....


"Endeavor twenty-eight, Omniel. You have dwelt too long on this one."

"This one is special."

"It isn't. Few of them are. This one cannot grasp the simplest of concepts. The one thing it needs to accomplish, that it should want, it denies at every turn. Put it to rest. Ease your burden."


"There are more promising prospects that your time would be better spent on."

"I could say the same to you. No, I will not be dissuaded, Tabbris."

"He will take notice."

"Let him. I have work to do. Goodbye, Tabbris."


"We can't keep doing this.." She told him, breaking off their kiss. "I can't.."

His brow furrowed. Sat in his car, parked in a far, quiet corner of the office lot, away from prying eyes, silence overtook them as she searched for the words to elaborate.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No, it's just.. this is..has become..more to me than just a physical infatuation. I can't help the feelings I have, I knew what this was at the start but it's only going to get worse."

"What this was.." He repeated the words, wounded. "You think this is all about sex? I mean, we haven't even had sex! You think I'm some kind of asshole?"

It went on for a few minutes that way as she tried to explain and finally they came to the understanding that it would, indeed, have to stop. "Just friends" would have to be the extent of it, but it became more like distant coworkers; acquaintances at best. Neither could stand to be near the other with the omission of their former closeness for very long, and the pain of it began to manifest in bitterness toward each other.

"He's married." She reminded herself over and again, only to counter to herself

"It is a loveless marriage."

"A marriage, none the less."

The guilt of what she had done, coupled with the anguish of an impossible love, was crushing. After a few months, neither could deny they were miserable without the other, until she found herself meeting him in a corner booth of the cafeteria.

"I thought it would be easier being away from you..."

"It's not."


A lesson they would learn time and again over the next few years.

When she changed career, deciding to also commit to trying to fix her own relationship, they parted ways again. This time was no easier, but the physical distance helped to ameliorate the loss.

Two years passed. She settled into a routine of omission, tucking away the memories, the languor, every piece of him. Burying herself in her work and in trying to build a real home in her relationship, she found a kind of banausic peace.

It wasn't enough. Undone by a simple slip of paper. She was cleaning out a desk drawer of junk papers when it fell from a folder. A post-it note from her old desk at the old office. On it, a jotted number all too familiar. Before she knew it, the text was sent.

How are you?


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