This next movement in my story is difficult to contemplate, let alone to write. But I feel as it is important that others know of it, though it is extremely personal, so that they may make up their own minds as to the truth of it…or the lie.
My lovely, lost Miriam sat before me. Janus had somehow conjured her up, in every detail, and before my very eyes. I rose out of my chair to approach her, but she raised one slim hand to caution me against doing so.
”You cannot embrace me, Thomas,” she said. “That is no longer possible.”
I asked her why that was, though I knew in my heart that the gulf between us was now wide and impossible to cross. She smiled thinly and sadly, as if in answer, and urged me to speak no more on that particular matter. It was as it was. She was beyond mortal comforts.
”I am lost, Thomas!” she suddenly wailed, and I steeled myself against the emotions flooding through me – it looked, sounded so much like Miriam! As God is my witness, I swear it was truly her! Before I could do or say anything, she continued in a calmer voice.
”I am plagued here as I was in life – I do not know which way to turn, as there seems to be no true directions here. There is little to distinguish left from right, up from down…even right from wrong. It is more a nightmare than eternal rest.”
I wondered what sort of deity could do this to someone like Miriam. Was this what we were promised by the clergy, by the Good Book? My wife suffered so in life; was she to be tormented in death, too? I swore out loud, looked around the room for something to break, but then asked her what I could do for her.
“Release me,” she whispered. “Release me…"
I felt as lost then as Miriam. Untold frustrations ran through me, and an utter feeling of helplessness took hold of me with an iron grip. I opened my mouth to speak.
“Someone is coming!” said Miriam abruptly, the same look of madness in her eyes as I feared while she lived.
“Thomas, Thomas! Help me! He is coming for me!”
TO BE CONTINUED in Part 7.
All contents © Jim Beard 2012
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