Dear Goth

Dear Goth

by

Christopher Thomas

https://42bitpi.net

Chapter One

Dear Goth

Friday December 28, 2309 @ 01:52:35

In the year 2309 near the end of the year, one of the last storms of December passed through town leaving the air colder in skull valley than normal and a light wind blowing to the east. Skull valley a small town between two points, if you blink on the highway you might miss it. It’s been home to Lucius and his wife Becky for some ten years, they live in a wood shack though it has electricity, running water, a wood fire stove for heat and concrete floors they are just a mile down the street from the city market which has a large skull on the front of the building.

Lucius who is no stranger to the cold nights in town is dressed in layered clothing and a trench coat to keep him warm, he’s not walking quickly rather he’s taking his time enjoying his walk through about a mile of open fields and a road that goes nowhere but back to home. It is after two thirty in the morning when Lucius returns home, he takes his coat off and hangs it by the door and walks to his wife who is sitting at the table, he bends down and gives her a tender kiss on the cheek. It is a humble dwelling yet somehow it feels like home to both of them.

They often spent all night awake, playing cards and drinking coffee that has as much grit as it does creamer. They had but one rule, always in bed before sunrise, they didn’t like the daylight and have no desire to go out in public more than absolutely necessary. "Are we on for tomorrow night at the club?" Becky inquired. Lucius doesn’t think about it and says, "Wouldn’t dream of missing that." they sat at the table playing cards and talked of the people they know at the club in town some forty miles to the east. "I think devon is going to be there tomorrow, why don’t we offer her a ride?" Becky says while laying down two pair, aces high.

"Ok you win that hand, sure we can give her a ride into the club, we both know she’s on her own getting home, she plays even after the sun comes up." Lucius says while picking up the cards and shuffling the deck to deal out another hand of five card stud. Becky picks up her cards and sorts them in her hand saying, "She will have to learn the art of finding someplace dark before sunrise on her own."

Becky checked her cards and she has nothing, she discards four and picks up four more cards, a pair of sevens. "Do you think you have ever lived before?" Becky probed Lucius for maybe the one hundredth time since they had been living there. Lucius lays down his cards two pair, two queens and two fives, Becky throws her cards on the table and looks pissed at being beaten again. "I’m not sure if there is life after death, but I would be a vampire again if it meant I had another shot at life." Lucius says picking the cards up and shuffling them hard and fast.

Becky flicks her cigarette on the floor and says, "Don’t worry if anyone is going to make you a vampire again it’s going to be me. I know how you love life." new cards were dealt out and Becky has three of a kind and a pair of sevens. "Dude i’ve got you beat." she says coldly.

Lucius says, "Don’t be so sure, my hand is pretty good." Becky got up and pours a cup of coffee for both of them, Lucius hides his cards as she does, so she wont see his cards. "What I want to know is would you screw devon if you had the opportunity?" Becky let out as she threw her hand down in triumph. Lucius looks at her hand, and smiles knowing he was beat, "Hell no, the thought of cheating on you doesn’t even cross my mind." Lucius says as he tosses his hand down and shows not even a pair of anything.

Lucius stares into the fire and thinks of the odds of his past lives, of which he doesn’t remember any yet he has the deepest feelings he has lived before this life, "When are you going to deal the cards out silly?" Becky demanded in hopes of getting a good hand. Lucius deals out two sets of five cards and says, "Sorry I was thinking about your question on past lives." they play cards and talk like this for some two hours, it gets cold inside and Becky and Lucius turn the lights out and go to bed.

Sometime just after sundown, which in December was early near five thirty p.m. Lucius wakes Becky up, "Time to get something to eat and dressed for the club tonight." Lucius says in a flat tone almost as if he doesn’t care what they do tonight. He had been awake for an hour, thinking about his past lives if any that he had. Becky gets up and walks into the shower and Lucius fixes some breakfast for supper.

After supper they dress in wild looking latex and severe black on black clothing with a green scarf for both of them. Becky’s boots squeak as they walked to the car and climbed in, Lucius started the electrical system and they put their seat belts on, then he started the car and turned on the music. By the time the car hit the pavement on the highway he was in third gear doing seventy five miles an hour. Two minutes later Lucius is at his normal driving speed, a hundred and twenty miles an hour. They have no fear of death, as the road winds around and down in elevation they go faster and faster.

Lucius holds this speed for some thirteen minutes as they drive into town and Lucius down shifts and hits the breaks to the speed limit for in town. They drive down the street that devon lives on and pull into the driveway, because they lived in California they know not to honk the horn. Instead they get out of the car and notice the porch light is off, they knock twice and wait five seconds before going in. Devon is sitting inside on a bar stool and looks ravenous, she is a creature of the night. "Thought you guys would never make it, what kept you so long?" devon says in a pouty voice that was soft.

"I had trouble with Becky’s outfit tonight, it took an hour to zip it up, then we were both so tired that we had to rest before leaving" Lucius joked as there wasn’t any zippers on Becky’s outfit. Becky who got the joke says, "It’s just a good think for vacuum cleaners that can vacuum seal the clothing right on your skin." Devon laughs wildly and says, where you two get this stuff I don’t know." despite all their talk you would have thought there was a zipper somewhere on Becky’s outfit, after all devon’s outfit had three.

They make idle talk for a few minutes before heading to the club, when they arrive at the club known as: "The Blue Falcon" Lucius always makes note of the sign just above the door, it reads: ‘A dark place for dark times’ Lucius always thought that was fitting for when they were living.

Lucius paid for the three of them with forty dollars and told the door man to keep the change. As they entered the door the music could be heard, they were playing something rather dark by a band they all knew. This is not a locals hang out, there were a lot of people from out of town who had made the special trip, very few even knew the place was there.

They took their time making the rounds to see those who were familiar faces, those who knew each other always introduced others to Lucius and Becky.

After an hour they found themselves sitting at a table with five other guests, making a total of eight. They were friends of friends that were well known, after a few hours of conversation the guy known by the name of Marco says to Lucius, "He has risen." and Lucius who had never heard this before asked, "Who has risen?" just then Marco blushed with embarrassment of not knowing what to say next, he was sure that Lucius knew by now.

Marco looks at the group and says, "How is it that this creature doesn’t know of who we speak of?" Lucius who thought he was well equipped with knowledge was surprised to meet someone that knew something he didn’t.

Devon who was their long time friend says, "Go on, tell him of the one that the legends speak of." Marco who looked rather surprised with this encouragement began to explain the life of Ash MoonBlood to Lucius and Becky saying, "It’s time you two knew of the poet that lived in the 21st century, he changed our lives, brought us out of the lies."

Then Marco’s girl friend of the time says, "Surely you have read Ash MoonBlood in your travels?" Lucius looked at Becky for guidance but only meet her perplexed gaze and shrugged, they both say about the same time, "Your going to tell us about this poet right now."

It was an hour before sunrise when Marco finished his tale of the poet known as Ash. Lucius and Becky thanked them for their kindness and accepted the rare book outlining the instructions left behind by Ash and the signs they would know him by.

They left Devon in the care of Marco and sped off to their small one bedroom palace of darkness to get some sleep. It was an exciting night for both of them, when they made it to their home they closed the bedroom door and shut the blinds so that no light would come in, then they took turns reading each other the book that would change their lives or so they thought.

It was clear to both of them, they weren’t vampires. They didn’t know whether to be over joyed or to weep in sadness, what they had learned changed their minds on a lot of things. It didn’t change their love for each other, they both knew that wouldn’t change. They talked for a long time about what they now knew, they were feeling like things were going to work out for them, after all they thought that even if they died they would still live again.

Chapter Two

Dark Matter

Tuesday January 10, 2310 @ 23:00:17

Lucius started to get dressed to go on his walk and asked Becky if she was going to join him, she says, "Don’t go tonight, stay in it’s warmer in here." Lucius however says, "I will make it a short walk, won’t be long. Don’t worry nothing is going to happen."

With that he put on his trench coat and walked out the door on his way to nowhere, if he walked fast he could cover the same path he always used and cross the rail road tracks at the dirt road and cut through the field back to the highway. It was six minutes into his walk he got a strange vibe, and kept looking over his shoulder.

Then quite suddenly out of nowhere he heard a voice call his name, at first he thought it was Becky, then it registered in him, it was Devon. ‘What was she doing here?’ he thought to himself. He found she had sneaked up on him and was on his left and walking just as fast as he was in boots with a good heal on them.

"Your a creature of habit, you have been screwing around long enough. It’s time to get serious." Devon says in a hushed voice. "What the hell do you expect from me?" Lucius asked in a curt tone. Devon suddenly stopped and grabbed Lucius by the arm and says, "I’m going to come out and say it, your him, your the guy were looking for." Lucius says, "This is crazy, even if I was him what would you want me to do?"

Devon says, "I know you, I have watched you make this walk night after night, often by yourself, don’t you realize it’s me that truly loves you?" Lucius frowned and didn’t know what to say. Then Devon says, "You keep your keys in your left pocket, you take them even when you go out for walks, you know what were going to do?" Lucius says, "Not a clue I hope your going home and myself like wise." Devon reached into his front pocket and took the keys, then she started walking fast as she says, "Were going for a ride, now move it."

They walked back to the place that Lucius and Becky had lived for the past ten years. Only thing is that instead of going in, Devon got in Lucius’s car and commanded him to get in the passenger seat. "Where the hell are we going, and how long have you known how to drive?" Lucius says in a clear almost angry tone. Devon says, "I have always drove and have a car, but I kept it from you and Becky since the beginning, it was easier to see to it that we saw each other.

Now we have someone we want you to meet. Hang on." Devon drives out of the dirt road at sixty miles an hour and hits the pavement she accelerates to over a hundred and seventy five miles an hour. She holds that speed for twenty minutes, they arrived at a train station which Devon produced tickets she had already bought for the two of them.

They go to the sleeping car and closed the door for a long talk. After listening to Devon for some time, Lucius asked, "The book was a fake wasn’t it." Devon didn’t answer she just shrugged it off and whispered, "You will see the real one before tomorrow." with that things were changing so fast that Lucius hardly had time to keep up with Devon, but it was starting to make sense.

Then Devon ripped the rug right out from under Lucius and says, "Do you know why you never heard of Ash MoonBlood until a few nights ago?" Lucius shook his head no and wondered about it himself. "It’s because Becky kept you from learning the truth, she’s a mind vampire that feeds off your energy, it’s all bad news." Lucius was surprised to hear this, but he took it well enough. He wasn’t sure about Devon or what she was up to right now, he wasn’t sure he was going to go along with her high talk.

"I will make my mind up when I see the book, after that we will see what needs done." Lucius says in a cool tone that soothed Devon for the first time in almost ten years that she had known him. "Now your starting to see the reason behind things." Devon says in just as cool tone that Lucius hadn’t ever heard from her. It was an eight hour train ride through the mountains of Colorado to a small town that Lucius thought he had never been to. "Why are we here?" Lucius asked in not knowing why they had left or where they were going.

There was a car waiting for them with two women in the front seat, they got out and greeted the two of them warmly, Devon introduced the two of them as Bree and Vicky. They climbed back into the car and drove off going fast, not as fast as Devon drove, but fast enough to get them there quickly. They drove to an ancient cemetery where the gates were open and there was a watchman who waved them through.

They parked some two thousand feet into the cemetery by a large tomb. "Is this his tomb?" Lucius asked in a hushed voice. "No, that isn’t the tomb of Ash MoonBlood, his is the humble one just on the other side of the hedge." they walked in back of the large tomb and around the hedge to find a head stone that was three feet wide by three feet hight, "This is the tomb of Ash MoonBlood" Devon says in a cool tone.

"What are we doing here?" Lucius asked, Bree says, "You want to read the book right, well there is only one copy!" Devon who knew what Lucius was thinking says, "Nope don’t have to dig, just have to push the button and hope that the last person put the book back where it goes." Devon who pushed the button on the underside of the tomb stone, and like magic a piece of the tomb slid down revealing an hidden compartment. Devon shined the light on the hidden opening and was taken aback in total revolt. The book was gone!

Devon reached in while shining the light in the compartment and felt for a note, there was an envelope. She pulled it from the tomb and held the flash light under her left shoulder while opening the envelope to see what or who had taken the book. The note read, "Book is in safe keeping, moved out of need." there was an email address given and the name of the contact. Bree went to the trunk of the car and took out a laptop, she booted up and checked the email address in the database. "No results. Shit!" Bree says, in a pissed off voice. Devon says, "We don’t know who has the book do we?"

Lucius was starting to feel taken advantage of and says, "You let the book fall into the wrong hands, who would have given the secret away to this place?" no one had a good answer. They were all pissed off and hadn’t a clue what to do.

Then he quickly added, "I’m going home, I have a wife and don’t have time for these wild goose chases or other games." They climbed back into the car, drove to the train station and Lucius bought two train tickets, he was kind enough to pay for Devon train pass, though he had thought about leaving her stranded there. With that it was some eight hours and a few hours till he reached his house. His wife Becky was really pissed off, although someone had called her to tell her that her husband was delayed but would be home soon, it didn’t go over with her, Becky was pissed, she drove Devon back to her home and bitched her out the whole way...

That was nothing compared to the yelling and screaming that went on when Becky got back home to her husband. They had it out big time, for good reason too! Lucius had no business going anywhere with Devon like that.

He didn’t tell her that Devon had a car, no he kept that bit out of the story and so did Devon. However Lucius’s favorite past time, going for late night walks was put on hold for a while. It was easy enough, but Lucius didn’t like it at all, not one bit.

Becky kept Lucius under her careful eye and watched him like a hawk who has it’s sights set on a field mouse. They still went to the club a few times a month, they didn’t however offer Devon any rides. It was odd though, she didn’t show up at the club either, as a matter of a fact there were a lot of people who didn’t show up at the club. It got to be kind of old hat so to speak. Then a few months later when Lucius was going for his walks again, a car pulled up on the dirt road, they rolled the window down and told Lucius, "This is your last chance, either get in and see where life takes you or your on your own." it was Bree and her friend Vicky.

"Do you guys have the book?" Lucius asked pleasantly. "No the book is gone, but we have twenty people who have read it and know it by heart, they can teach you what you need to know." Lucius thought for a minute and says, "No way. You guys nearly ruined my marriage I’m not getting involved on a whim." they rolled the window back up and drove away. That was the last Lucius saw of them, they stayed away and didn’t come back.

Lucius thought that it was absurd that these people thought he was someone he wasn’t. They didn’t know him, they weren’t going to know him. He enjoyed his life of ease and the times with his wife. He returned home after cutting through the field and returned to the highway which he followed half a mile up the road until he reached his humble home. Becky knew that they had offered him a lift, she was kind of bitchy about it, she says they had stopped by the house looking for him. Becky had a long drawn out conversation with Lucius about the need to move. He wouldn’t hear any of it. They owned this place and they were staying.

Becky kind of gave him the silent treatment for a while until she saw that they weren’t coming back. Finally things returned to normal and they were back into the same routine that they always had. What they didn’t know was that there were people working at a insane pace to track down the person who left their email address in the envelope at Ashes tomb stone. They had few leads and simply sending the person an email could endanger Ash’s life in the present.

It took them three years of searching to locate the person who had taken the book, when they had found him they realized he didn’t have it. They could figure out that he wasn’t working alone. They sent a group of their best to Lucius’s place of dwelling in Skull Valley. It happened to be one fine Friday when Becky drove into town for the next weeks food and supplies Lucius was sitting at the table playing solitaire, Becky wouldn’t be back for some four hours and in walks Devon.

"Hey stranger, long time no see." Devon says cooly like she had that night he had run off with her. "What do you want? Why are you here?" Lucius says coldly. Devon replied, "Some of us think your wife is responsible for the missing book. We think it’s in your dwelling." Lucius who thought it was absurd, says, "Take a look around, if you find it I will go anywhere I have to see this through."

With that in walked twenty people who were very good at finding all things hidden. They however didn’t find it, no it was Lucius who found it when he remembered that the squeaky floor board had ceased to make any sound what so ever. He asked for a crow bar and pried the board up from the floor, underneath it they found a box that was about seventeen inches by twelve inches and another seven inches in height. They opened the box and found the missing book.

It was clearly the book that was designated by Ash MoonBlood to those who searched for him. Devon took the book and opened it to page forty two, upon which she read aloud the words of Ash that had changed their life. Upon hearing it Lucius felt it was a pressing need to go with them. "Why was the book in the floor of my dwelling?" Lucius asked in wonder at what was going on. "The answer will become clear, right now we have to move you someplace safe." Vicky says in a cold tone. "What about Becky, isn’t she going to come with us?" Devon was the one to answer, she says, "Remember that email address in the cemetery? Well we found out who it belonged to, Becky’s first husband." Lucius was in shock, "You mean I’m not the first?"

With that they says, "Nope, your not the first." Lucius was pissed. They packed his stuff in a tote bag and went out about leaving the place. They got down the road when they saw Becky pull into the drive way in the rear view mirror. Devon pushed the accelerator to the floor and the black Lincoln town car hit one hundred and eighty miles an hour. There was no way that Becky could drive that fast. They knew her by now, they had been watching her and knew what she is capable of.

"We already have everything you need, your going to Canada for a while, it’s a good thing you like it cold." was Bree’s first words once they could see that the coast was clear. "How do you think were going to get there? Were not driving are we?" Devon replied and says, "Nope your flying this time. We have a private jet that will take you at once." Lucius was curious about who was going to pay for all this fan fair, and asked, "On who’s dime are we doing all this?" everyone says at once, "We are. You have no idea how much money we have."

Lucius shut up and just listened to them talk, he couldn’t believe what he was up to. Had he really left his wife for this group of riff raff? He wasn’t sure, he asked to see the book. They handed him the book which was some five hundred pages. He started at page one. He couldn’t believe he was reading something that was over two hundred years old. "Is this the original?" Lucius asked in a hushed voice. Someone replied back, "It’s the second copy, it was made a hundred and fifty years ago." Lucius figured that his first guess was wrong and wondered why?

Page one was surprising and shocking , it wasn’t about who Ash MoonBlood is, it was about who his friends are. It outlined the many ways he would know his friends by, first listed was Panos and her love of Ash that everyone knew she held his interests first. Though the physical descriptions had changed somewhat the personality’s of each of them were held intact. They were still who they were in the first lives that they had lived and when they had known Ash MoonBlood.

"First things first" Lucius says to the group, "Which of you is Panos?" Devon replied, "Yours truly", with that out of the way it was easy to figure out who everyone else was, it was clear. Lucius and the others arrived at a small airport and drove to the hanger that a personal jet was docked in. They got out of the car and walked up the steps to the airplane and got themselves seated.

The stewardess walked by and asked, "He has risen?" to which the group responded "Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust." she replied by saying, "I will let the pilot know our new destination." they weren’t going to Canada, something told Lucius that they were going to someplace much older and perhaps much more distant. Yet he didn’t know where.

He continued to read the book page after page. It was enthralling. The first five chapters were more about his friends them himself. Although there were some key points that he took away from it. His dark nature wasn’t by mistake. He had lived many upon many lives.

What they didn’t know was that they were all in for some surprises. The plane landed safely in europe, someplace dutch. They left through a side door and found a car waiting for them, two cars to be exact, they had brought some extra baggage, things necessary but not obvious.

It was two days after they had arrived in denmark, in their secret lair where they were hidden from those who might try to find them, in the room to the right of the main room , was a place set aside for the villain who was to be questioned severely and let go or rather taken back to the place of his origin. He hadn’t eaten in three days and the group known as: "Ashes to Ashes" had brought a special treat for the one who had tried to spoil their happy ending.

Being that he hadn’t eaten in three days they prepared some fried frog legs for his enjoyment. What he didn’t know was that he would have to eat a whole live frog to get the fried stuff.

Chapter Three

Hunger

The villain was Becky’s first husband, Josh. They had him tied to a chair and asked him a very carefully chosen set of questions. Every time he lied they made him eat another frog. He wised up right quick and took to telling the truth. "Who told you about the tomb of Ash MoonBlood?" Bree asked josh severely. He just shook his head and didn’t answer. They dangled the fried frog legs in front of his nose and let his smell the rich roasted taste. His hunger finally took over, and he let slip what he knew. He says, "There were fifteen of us who were working together to prevent any knowledge of the dead poet Ash MoonBlood." Bree lost her patience and says, "Tell us something we don’t already know!" with that they offered him a small bite of fried frog legs his hunger took over again and he says, "We were paid off by the church of god To complete the job, we were supposed to take Ash MoonBlood out for good , but your people were always watching out for him." It would take another five days of starvation before they were able to get the information they needed. They did get what they needed, Josh who lived through the events was taken back to his place of origin and left to his own sad selfish ways. Once Ash had read the poetry that he had constructed two centuries ago, everything become very clear in his mind. It seemed to him that things were going to turn out rather well. He even invented a new quote that he told those who were his friends, saying, "Don’t hate spiders, if you hate them you will come to fear them. No one every feared anything more than that which they hated most." he was thankful to be where he was at the time he was there. Always in the right spot at the right time.

Wednesday September 22, 2310 @ 21:55:35

They had waited a solid two weeks for the moon to be in the right position, it had to be a new moon to perform the ceremony. There were over a hundred of those who had been seeking to find the poet known as Ash MoonBlood in his later life after death. As they waited for the right time they made the necessary preparations for the ceremony, everything was picked out down to the very ring each member would wear. Meanwhile Lucius took to reading the book which he had co-written some two hundred years ago.

The night of the ceremony there were some one hundred guests of worthy note in attendance. The first thing to be done was to read the most important sections of the book which was entitled "Ashes to Ashes" which was written by Ash and Panos together some two hundred years ago. After the reading they drank strong liquor in gothic wine glasses which had the five part interlaced artwork engraved upon each glass.

Then the real ceremony took place, Lucius was asked to kneel in the center of their circle dressed in a cloak and hood and black attire. They mixed Ashes from paper in a bucket of water and pomegranate juice, the blood of the gods, they poured those Ashes upon him, there by completing the ceremony of which he would never again use the name Lucius, he was now known as Ash MoonBlood.

The reason the moon had to be a new moon was to promote a longer life for Ash and his friends, each of them who were present took turns in kneeling and having the rather odd mixture poured out upon them. Ash had a sum of ten very close friends and some ninety who were closer to acquaintances but still considered his friend.

Each time after the ceremony was performed, each removed their cloak and placed it in the bon fire in the back of the room, then individually they showered and put on clean fresh clothes. By the time everyone had been through the process it was well after four a.m. Their lives were brought into intricate interwoven mesh of truth and loyalty.

After that Ash lost track of days and nights, he was so busy in finding out about the last two hundred years and keeping those who were his friends company, everything became a blur. He was kept safe and out of harms way, many of his friends were pleased to be re-introduced to him and to get to know him once again, though there were some differences from who he was two hundred years ago and who he really was now.

Once Ash had filed the paper work to divorce Becky it became clear who he really loved, it was Devon that was his most trusted soul in his life. He didn’t understand how he could have let Becky control and manipulate him for so many years. He was really surprised to learn that he had the wool pulled over his eyes for so long.

Chapter Four

Awake

Saturday September 29, 2310 @ 23:18:32

Black as night, the devils winds blow bleak and cold. Ash finds himself in the freezing night rain back in the small town in Colorado where he was buried in the 21st century, he was not alone, Devon was with him and they were having the headstone replaced upon his grave.

Complete with a ten digit access code to access the hidden compartment where the book was to be returned. The new epitaph for the tomb stone read: "Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust." Everyone thought it was fitting as those who knew him would agree, it was the best sign they could leave for those who followed his existence.

They all had some new hope that they too would live again and get to see their friends who they longed for. Yet keeping the ideas out of the minds of those who were not willing to believe or would abuse such power was also a key point.

He could have been anyone, you, me, your pet snake, however he chose to be Ash MoonBlood for a reason. Yet it was something he never recorded in his journals or elsewhere, nor did he tell anyone else the reason for why he had become who he was. Not even the famed Panos knew why he had chosen that name and yet he knew that he would remember that reason in other lives just as well as he did in his first life.

As soon as the new headstone was put in place and the book secured in the secret chamber within the headstone, Ash and Devon hoped to leave that town for good. They were going to the city where they would make contact with the people who had funded the whole project from the beginning after Ash had passed away in the 21st century.

There had been many studies some where in the public and others were very secret, the subject matter was: "Is there life after death?" many felt that they would see a clear answer within a handful of generations. It was unclear if anyone was going to ever see real proof in any life, much less so in this lifetime.

No one wanted to die, yet they were all afraid of living again, the idea of more than one death was scary as the tales of the ghosts and the boogie man. Everyone says, "One death is all god assigns to me and that is all I want." they must not have loved life like Ash did, who would only want to live one life? Those who fear death. Those who don’t know better.

Chapter Five

Times and Times

Ash and Devon were both wearing black stretchy fabric that was as shinny as it was tight. They smoked their cigarettes and drank coffee that the dutch waiter had prepared himself for their enjoyment and health. They thought more than they spoke and when they did talk it was with very deliberate movements of their mouth, lips, and tongue.

"Ash, tell me again why death is so necessary." Devon asked while they were sitting in the room two stories below a clothing store, that is where the cafe slept outside of normal peoples awareness yet it was abuzz with those gothic people who looked to secret places to have their conversations and tend to their own needs.

"It’s simple, if it wasn’t for death, if people lived forever there would be no forgiveness of sins. Death gives us a clean slate and a new shot at life." Ash MoonBlood says in a cool voice that soothed Devon a great deal. She understood what he was talking about and says, "People wouldn’t be able to live with each other if we all lived forever, isn’t that right?" Ash thought for a minute and says, "Yeah that is the idea in a nutshell. There really is more to it than just that but we should be thankful to God for our short life span."

With that they both sat in silence for some twenty minutes thinking about it all when Devon asked Ash, "What do you think you were doing after you died?" Ash didn’t have to think and says, "I helped God make the world a better place. From time to time I would watch over those who were soon to be departed or new to being departed from the world. What did you do?"

Devon thought for a second and says, "I sat on the river bank and watched flowers grow and the water in the stream pass by. Sometimes I would hear the voices of those who had died in the wind. Yet I took comfort in knowing that they too would live again."

The smoke in the cafe was sucked out of the tight quarters by an exhaust fan that pulled the air to the street, yet no one on the street could hear their conversation. They thought for a long time about the things they had done and the things they wanted to do still. Then in a surprise move Devon asked Ash, "Does it ever end, how long do we really live?" Ash didn’t think about the answer and says, "As long as the sun beats down upon the people of this earth our lives will go on and on. After that we will always exist in some form or another. We never die."

Devon rang the bell on the table for the waiter to bring them fresh drinks and more food. Within that very minute the waiter returned with fresh bread and olive oil and clean cups full of hot coffee. They talked and sat in silence for some three hours before getting up and going to the room one floor above them where their were soft sofas and places of ease to rest. There was no money that changed hands, these places were all covered as the secret society "Ashes to Ashes" was seeing to the well being of Ash and Devon.

Ash held Devon tight in his arms as they lay on a large sofa, they were both horizontal, and as close as they could get, they thought for a long time about their other lives and the secrets they held still of those lives. They didn’t plan on making the same mistakes that they had in previous lives.

"Say something poetic and meaningful that shows you love me" Devon requested in a pleading tone. Ash thought some two minutes and says, "Our lives are like patterns of moonlight within the shadows of a blue moon, our love is like the burning sun." this seemed to satisfy Devons desires and she thought about how her desires for Ash burned like a blow torch upon blocks of ice.

They fell asleep only to be awakened by their most trusted servant Vicky, she says in a hushed voice after having woke them up gently, "You have a phone call. It’s very important that you take it." Ash didn’t know who would have been so important to wake them from pleasant sleep, but he rubbed his face and wiped the sleep from his eyes.

"Who is it?" Ash asked in a casual tone. "It’s a reporter, seems that Becky has blabbed to the media and it’s all over the front page." Ash thought about this and says, "We need to deny it in whole, I don’t exist anymore, when I’m ready for people to know that were alive we will let them know. Make something up that Becky is a crazy and play the whole thing off." Vicky didn’t wait and says, "Very well, I hope you know what your doing."

After having been awakened in such a way they were both in bad moods that made them feel darker than usual. Devon says, "We should have done something about Becky before this kind of thing happened." Ash who didn’t hold a bitter tear for Becky says, "It’s fine, I doubt that she has been to Colorado to see the tomb stone twice." Devon agreed and went about using a feather to tickle Ash with on the back of his neck and down his arms.

Ash thought about things for a long while, if he was going to go public with the news of his new life after death he would do so with some style and grace, or perhaps just pure brute force. Either way it didn’t matter, they were going to be in danger if the reporters found the new headstone on his grave from the 21st century. Good thing they didn’t leave the building or people would have seen them and given them away. As it was you had to be on a list to dine at the cafe or visit the lounge below the clothing company.

The news in the media spread wildly as the rumors were as exaggerated as tales of the dead poet who now lived was anyone and everyone, what they didn’t take into consideration was that all those now alive had lived before. And as the news spread so did peoples imaginations of what their past lives could have been.

Ash and Devon stayed hidden safely in the two underground floors of the Denmark cafe, right up until Ash had finished reading the history of the world in the last two centuries and decided he was bored with staying inside. It was time to take some form of action, and most likely it wasn’t going to be the safest of things to do.

Chapter Six

Inhale the Darkness

"Ash, tell me about the hope for mankind..." Devon says in a sad voice wishing to know if the pain in the world she personally experienced would ever end. Ash who didn’t have to think about it very long says, "We all have need for hope of a better future, one where we will all be loved and equal in the eyes of others." Devon was listening carefully yet she had another question and asked, "Why are we alive in this world?"

Ash who had thought many long nights about the answer to that question says, "Nothing is permeant in the heavens, earth, hell or the very depths of Hades. We live in cycles of life, sometimes upon the earth and some of the time within the kingdom of god. What we don’t know is if these cycles will ever end, leaving us with just one reality that we can all deal with."

Devon thought about this for a minute and says, "What hope do you speak of in this reality?" Ash who understood her question says, "Each of us have a god given right to life, and equally the right that we will not have to endure more than sixty or seventy years in any one life. In the same breath we each have a place in the kingdom of God at some time or another, the only thing is that nothing is forever. We move in cycles through the many realities of the universe and it’s comforts and pains."

Devon didn’t understand all of this, not that it was too deep for her mind to comprehend, she just didn’t see life in an infinite way. Ash on the other hand saw that life was multifaceted and longer than we could ever imagine and shorter than we would ever believe. His concept of time stretched for more than ten billion years in which they would find comfort and pains, happiness and great sadness at the losses.

"Human life is no experiment, it’s the very essence of the meaning of life even to god." Ash whispered into Devon’s ear in a way that made her want him in her arms. Ash quickly added, "Always remember the good and use the bad training you get else where." Devon who had started to cry a little bit asked, "Why is life on earth so cruel?" Ash knowing the answer says, "Life is what men and God make it. When they learn to see through the lies that the world wants us to believe they will change into better beings."

Devon wiped the tears away and wondered why she felt so worthless in life, why her life didn’t mean anything to her personally. She didn’t say a word to Ash about this, she knew it would make him very unhappy to hear those words. Yet she couldn’t help but to feel like she had little to no meaning in her life. She figured it was all those years watching Becky take Ash home and how it left her alone in her own ways which led to a great deal of jealousy and anger for which she had no outlet to deal with.

It was Ash however that says the words she needed to hear, he says, "You mean everything to me, more than life itself." Devon who found the room freezing cold asked Ash to get under the covers with her and to snuggle so she could warm up a bit. Then when they were holding each other for dear life, Devon says, "Do you know that I went to your grave every day after you died until my death?" Ash was surprised to hear this and says, "I had no idea that you took my loss so very hard. Do you know why?"

Devon started to cry, Ash licked her tears from her cheek and kissed her tenderly. Devon says, "Besides the fact we were very close in those days, you were the only person who made me feel like I was worth anything at all." then it was Ash’s turn to speak and he thought carefully before saying a word, he knew that his life depended upon the next words he used. "You did the right thing, it was myself that was not thinking. How long had you thought that I might be Ash MoonBlood?"

Devon says in a careful tone, "I had thought you were different for some time, yet I knew you were Ash when you started taking long walks in the dark in that town that offered nowhere to go." then it was Ash’s turn to be surprised, and he asked curiously, "How long did you watch me taking walks like that?" Devon grinned and says, "Becky would tell me every detail about you from the time we became friends and I knew what you were up to most of the time." Ash smiled and says, "You wish to make her suffer a little now that you sense we wasted many years out of trivial deeds."

Devon was taken aback, covered her mouth with her hand and says, "I only wish it would have been us living in that shack, I wish that I would have never been alone some ten years that were the worst of times in my whole life. And hearing about you from Becky who I knew was mostly a fake just went all through me."

Ash thought about this for a time, then he says, "All we have is right now, it could be the worst or best of times, it’s truly what we make it. The past we can not change and we wouldn’t want to even if we could. How about I make some of these things up to you best as I can?" Devon wasn’t sure this could be done , she says, "What do you have in mind?" Ash who had been planning a surprise for Devon for some time says, "The party is tonight and I have already picked out your dress, though it’s not modest, you will be in style among your friends who have similar tastes." Devon was surprised at first then she frowned and says, "What friends do you speak of?"

Chapter Seven

Burning Out!

"Do you remember how we met in our first life in the 21st century?" Ash casually asked Devon once she was dressed for the party. "It’s kind of vague to me, if you remember the story I would love to hear it" Devon says as she fixed the straps that were criss crossed upon her arm going from her hands to the shoulders. Her dress was not the kind of thing you would find in department stores, they made it for her specially and it was the best dress she had ever worn in this life.

"Those were good and bad times, after that my mother never spoke to you again, and it made it harder than hell to see you." Ash says casually thinking of the times they had spent going to old cemeteries and walking in the rain to out of the way clothing stores that were all second , perhaps third hand garments that would both wear everywhere they went.

"Remember the time I came to your window after three a.m. And got you to sneak out?" Devon says thinking of one of the best times of that life, Ash who remembered that night well says, "Yeah we went to that underground club in downtown Los Angeles and didn’t come home until sometime after ten a.m. Ash was wearing pants that were replicas of a WWII paratrooper and a black shirt that was as odd as he was, Devon was wearing a corset that barley covered her breasts and skin tight pants that were shiny and took an hour to get on. Her boots were thigh high black lace ups with a five inch heel on them. They looked good, damn good, most of the people at the party were once close friends of Devon’s from her past life she had lived as Panos. Not that there were many there, maybe twenty people that had known her from her past life.

They talked of the morbid days that they had spent together after Ash had died. It was her friend Ginny who had acquired the poisonous viper that eventually led to Panos’s death, she was there and in fine form, still a red head and looking devilish in her own right. Ash found out that she still kept reptiles in her collection of dangerous animals. "How about another spider?" Ginny asked Ash MoonBlood in a casual tone, Ash who had decided upon keeping something that was more faithful suggested, "This time were going to try our luck with a few scorpions and perhaps a tarantula."

Ginny who didn’t miss a beat says, "I have such a lovely black widow and it’s mate who you can watch being devoured after they have mated. Why not try something like that?" Ash just shook his head no, then after thinking for a few asked, "Could you get us a albino boa constrictor?" Ginny thought and says, "Don’t have any that are smaller than four feet and almost ten inches around, but they are good snakes, the only snake that have fangs and isn’t poisonous."

Ash considered these things and where they wanted to live next and says, "Once we find out where our place of residence is we would like to take four of them and a few scorpions." Ginny gave him a big hug and pressed her breasts up close against Ash and whispered in his ear, none heard what she says, yet Ash had to decline her offer. He knew that his love for Devon was sweet as honey.

Later he found the two women Ginny and Devon talking of their past encounters and sitting close to each other in hushed talks that made Ash curious about what they were saying. Ash figured that Devon needed the attention she was getting and went to find a drink. What he found was a bit more than he had expected, there were people who wanted a word with Ash MoonBlood on the side about his life, not just this one, his past live to be exact.

"Why did you keep your views on life and death so secret?" one of the men who had introduced himself as John, he looked the like the grim reaper in hooded cloak and black attire that made Ash remember some things of other lives he had lived. Ash who had given many of these questions about his past a lot of thought says, "It’s simple, if everyone knew that we lived time and time again what would prevent those who have power to wage war and atrocities from harming civilians and innocent people with out regard for their safety?"

John thought for a bit and says, "I read your journals and there was nothing like that in them, what did you fear?" Ash who didn’t know if he could trust the man, yet something made him feel that he could says, "I feared that wars would be more bloody and violent. Without regard for human life. We don’t want things getting out of control."

John says, "You will need to stay underground as long as you can, but I have a special request for you, could you give us a DNA sample we would like to match it against the body from the 21st century that you say you lived within." Ash who had no worries about anything says, "Your with the secret group who ran the studies on life after death!" John shook his head and says, "That group doesn’t exist, yet I was once a part of that group.

Now we operate within the ’Ashes to Ashes’ family and have the research tools necessary to do the DNA testing." Ash was impressed, then he wondered what they would use such facts to prove and says, "What are you going to do with it once you find a match?" John who sensed Ash’s hesitation says, "Don’t worry it will be kept secret, yet it’s necessary to find out that we have a perfect match. We have already run the test on Devon, we know her, it’s you we don’t want to have any doubts about."

Ash who took the words like an insult says, "What do you need a basic mouth sample and a drop of blood?" John smiled for the first time that Ash had seen and says, "A single hair would be enough." Ash had no worries and took a dagger from behind his back and cut a thumb full of hair off the top of his head, he replaced the dagger and handed John the hair who had a medical zip lock bag ready just for such a sample. John thanked him and says, "We should know in less than four weeks. I suggest you stay well hidden until we can find a safe place of residence for you."

Chapter Eight

Crack Your Sanity

Tuesday December 2, 2310 @ 14:15:11

It was two nights after the party for Devon when Ash found himself in an underground cafe with Devon at his side, their guest was demitry, he was a east German goth who had heard of the legend of Ash MoonBlood and wanted to meet him. He mostly sat in silence and wept for he longed for those who he had known in past lives. Ash could see the pain that Demitry was in, yet there was not much he could do for him. It was still too early to go out into the public, the stories of Ash MoonBlood were still popular among the papers and media.

Devon says some kind words and told him, "It takes time to find those who are of old, those who were our friends." Demitry feigned a smile and just shook his head. Ash could tell he was attracted to Devon in big ways. He wondered if they had known each other in some past life. Ash finally asked Demitry, "Do you want some help in finding some of your old friends?" to which Demitry says, "That would be most kind, as I miss them very much and long to see them, I don’t know if they would remember me or not, but I hope so."

Devon thought for a minute and says, "We could make him very popular and have him do something very dangerous for us that were not able to do ourselves. It would get you a lot of attention." Demitry wondered what she had in mind and says, "What are you talking about?" Devon who was on top of her game by now says, "Why don’t we pass him off as ’Ash MoonBlood’ and see what kinds of attention he gets, see how people respond to him." Ash thought this over for a minute and wondered about what the side effects of doing such a thing would be, he felt that to throw this poor guy into that kind of mess would be paramount with suicide.

Ash finally says, "I don’t think he would make it three days as ’Ash MoonBlood’ in this world. People are far too cruel and even if he did make it it would make things very odd in the event that I were to finally go public. Not that I have any plans of doing such, it’s just that you never know what is going to happen."

Devon who saw the reason in this says to Demitry, "Do you know who you were before you died, in your past life I mean?" Demitry didn’t know whether to weep or laugh and says, "I was an artist, in Prague with many friends though I was not well regarded as an artist my friends all liked me."

It was Ash who drew the first line in saying, "Did you believe then that you would live again?" Devon smiled at his forward comment and wondered what Demitry would say, when he finally did answer it wasn’t what they had wanted to hear, he says, "No I could never believe in life after death, I was raised in a very strict home that believed every word the church says." Ash didn’t like this one bit, and looked at Devon in such a way as to make her think they had a spy in their midst.

Devon sent a text message to ’Ashes to Ashes’ and requested an escort out of the cafe and though she didn’t say more than ’code 128’ they knew they had a problem. It was two minutes later some people who were all dressed in severe black clothing and looked as though they had no hope and wished to die broke into two groups, the first group led Ash and Devon out of the cafe and to a new safe house that they could stay in as long as they weren’t found out. The second group drew their daggers and took Demitry to one floor below the cafe and were seeking to find out what he wanted.

Ash who agreed with Devon that was a close call, says, "Those who don’t have such hope rarely make it to other lives with any memories intact." Devon who was listening carefully says, "I’m going to miss the underground cafe , how the hell did that bastard get in there and on the list to see us?"

Ash didn’t have any good answers and was just thankful that they had made it out alive was glad that they were getting to spend some time someplace else. It was Devon who broke the news to Ash that they were two miles from the country side and they had a pair of motorcycles for them to ride. Ash was pleased with the news and says it was about time that they start doing something fun. The next day they took the bikes for a spin into the country side where their were few cars on the road and plenty of long stretches of road for them to ride.

They spent a few hours on the bikes and had a good time taking them up to a hundred miles an hour and holding it as long as they dared. When they returned to the new safe house they found that their clothing and personal items had been moved from the underground cafe to the new safe house. Devon was glad she didn’t loose all her clothing, some of it was rather rare.

They found themselves holding each other and whispering sweet nothings to one another in the early hours of the morning. They fell asleep just an hour before the sun rose, it was one of the best days of their life, though neither of them new it at the time.

Four weeks later

Ash got a call on his mobile phone, it was John who says he had good news for Ash, "The DNA samples are a match, a perfect match!" it took Ash a few seconds to register what he was being told says, "Good, there wasn’t any doubt about who I am, this kind of finalizes things to the point that we can move forward. How long until we find our place of residence?" John hesitated for a few seconds before saying, "Sorry about that creep that got into the underground cafe, we had thought of making that you place of residence, it’s too late for that now and we will have to find someplace else."

Ash says harshly, "Were both tired of living out of a suit case and hope that things will stabilize in a hurry."

John who knew that Ash was growing weary of the way life was going says, "Money isn’t a problem if there was anywhere you wanted to live where would it be?" Ash who didn’t think long says, "We want a penthouse in New York, and something in London for a few weeks a month." John who thought it was a good idea says he would make it happen right away.

Ash told Devon of the good news and that they should be getting new digs right away. Devon was looking forward to the scene in both cities, but secretly she hoped it wouldn’t over shadow her life with Ash , he was her only love in life.

Chapter Nine

Speed of Light

Wednesday February 11, 2311 @ 13:13:37

The penthouse was prepared for Ash and Devon on the top floor of a five story building, it was beautiful, they could take the stairs if they wished, otherwise there was a very old elevator that they could take to reach the top floor. Their first night in the building before any of their things arrived save but a bed and warm blankets had been brought in for them to sleep, there was a party for the two of them.

Many of their friends were there even the red head ’Ginny’ was there and she brought some four albino boa’s and a pair of scorpions that she says would mate, she added, "When you think there gets to be too many of them you can take turns squishing them under foot." both Ash and Devon laughed at this, they did’t have any plans of squishing the extra scorpions, they were going to give them out to those who needed them.

The party raged on for some ten hours before finally one by one they all took their leave of Ash and Devon. They took some extra time to play with the snakes once everyone had left, then after putting each of the snakes back in their own glass case, they too retired to their warm bed to sleep the nights party off. Their apartment in London wouldn’t be ready for some three weeks, yet they were quite happy to have their own place in New York. By now things in the media had calmed down and they could go out as they wished without having the risk of being seen.

In the first few weeks they had been led to a cafe near the subways that was just a few blocks from their penthouse, they were open twenty four hours a day and they could smoke inside without having to go out in the rain. Which the first week they were there it rained solid non stop like they had never seen it before. They enjoyed the rainy days as there were less people out especially at three a.m.

There were still some precautionary measures taken on a daily basis, Ash and Devon both had to send a text message before they left the penthouse, just so someone would be around in case anything bad happened. They were watched closely by the ’Ashes to Ashes’ secret group who was really just making sure no one tried to take them out before their time. Ash and Devon had grown used to this kind of thing even while they were back in Denmark, it wasn’t anything new to them.

Ash was sitting on the sofa playing with one of the albino boa’s when he remembered a riddle that he had made up in the 21st century and he says to Devon, "Two circles, the first one empty the second one full. What is dark made of light?" Devon who thought she knew most things about Ash says, "That’s a new one to me, what’s it mean?" Ash who was more patient than most told her, "Give it some time and see if you can figure it out." Devon didn’t protest, and says, "If I can figure it out your going to ask Ginny for the black widow and it’s mate."

Ash who knew how Devon liked dangerous things wondered what her intentions were but agreed all the same. He figured he could always feed the black widow to the scorpions. The thought made him laugh just a bit at the joy he would find in feeding a black widow to a scorpion. Devon who was used to hearing him laugh about things that he kept private didn’t ask what he thought was so funny. She just smiled and went about her day of putting on black makeup and painting her nails a shade of black that went on so shinny you would think it matched her pants.

The weeks passed and they received news that their apartment in London was ready for them to occupy, they were both very happy about this news and made arrangements to have the two boa’s that would be staying in the New York penthouse to be cared for and watched until they returned. Ginny was all too happy to stay in their flat while they were gone. In the meantime they took the private jet from New York to London and neither of them set their watches back from New York time, they just did the math in their head.

The place in London was nice, and they had brought two of the boa’s with them into the country to live at their London home. They had a mutual friend who would be watching the place while they were in New York. The apartment was cold right around sixty five degrees, Ash felt at home there, Devon was so tickled with how well they were doing she started to write some poetry about white mice and their new best friends penny and benny the boa’s.

Then one night in bed a few weeks after Ash had remembered the riddle, Devon whispered the answer in his ear almost so hushed he could hardly hear her. "You got it right, how did you figure it out?" Ash asked her in a hushed voice that only she could hear. "Simple, I realized what you meant by having a glass of water. The answer wasn’t in the glass of water it was upon the table. You got any more riddles for me?"

Ash who was impressed with her answers, thought carefully and says, "You can have the spiders, but if you ever get bit they both get squished." Devon knew what he meant and she says, "You have a lot of faith in me, don’t worry I won’t play with them outside their jars." Ash who says, "I learned the hard way not to place them on my face, that is such a bad idea." Devon laughed and says, "You know how I died the last time right?" Ash who didn’t have to think long and remembered reading her profile says, "It was a black mamba, you didn’t last two minutes."

They fell asleep holding on to each other for dear life. They woke up the next morning still alive, not miserable, but not happy. It seemed that Ash had some bad dreams that night and wasn’t feeling himself as they had given him quite a stir. Devon who shrugged it off told him to not talk about his dreams unless it was absolutely necessary. He didn’t tell her, but it was difficult to keep the dark terrors to himself. He started writing in his journals on the side when Devon wasn’t watching.

The time past quickly, before they knew it they were meeting with their friend ’Dustin’ who would be watching the London flat while they were gone. They gave him the feeding schedule and told him when to water the plants. From their it was a twelve hour flight back to New York. They landed safely and after taking a private Lincoln town car to their penthouse, when they saw the changes that Ginny had made they didn’t know what to think.

The two glass cases which held the boa’s that were now in London had been converted and housed two of the most dangerous snakes known to man. Devon must have called Ginny from London because Ginny had brought the black widow and it’s mate who were in separate jars and placed them upon the dinning room table. Ash thought of eating with those two spiders at his disposal and thought it would work well for dinners for eight or perhaps sixteen.

It was the eve of a new moon that they made plans for the next day to have fourteen guests present in their New York flat, dinner was being served and so was strong drink that left one feeling heady. Devon had decided that the dress code would be black on black. They ate with gothic candle holders which burned for almost twenty hours, when the flames died down, so did the guests leave one by one. They all enjoyed the festival of watching the black widows mate and devour her mate afterwords.

Neither Ash or Devon mentioned the rather rare poisonous snakes that Ginny had acquired for them, although it was without them asking for them. Ginny knew what they liked and could get away with it. She was as devious as Devon only perhaps not as quick she had to think about things a bit longer than Devon did.

Ash and Devon liked Ginny and her boy friend ’Danny’ though he was a famous artist in his past life, he was humble and rather lost in this life. He didn’t know what he wanted to do or if he had any talent what so ever. Ash spent some time with him giving him guidance and good advise for how to plan his future lives. This was rather news to Danny who didn’t know that you could plan a life ahead of time, Ash who says, "Much of this life for Devon and myself was planned before we died in the 21st century." Danny who took this news in and digested it says, "That’s heavy, how did you figure it out?"

Ash says in return, "I spent a lot of time on the edge of madness but seriously tapped into reality of God." Danny asked him how to plan his next life and what he and Ginny needed to do to make such arrangements. Ash told him that he and Devon would help the two of them make some kind of arrangements but told him it comes with a heavy price that you sometimes have to pay the devil for.

"It’s better to be humble in what you ask for or you risk selling your soul to the devil." Devon says as she overheard the conversation that Ash and Danny were having. Danny didn’t understand everything about Ginny as she was slightly further on the edge than his comfort range would allow. That night over dinner as the four of them dined upon rare meats and delicious things of all kinds Devon asked Ginny and her boyfriend to move in with them. There were three extra rooms and they figured that it was the best option that they could offer the two of them.

After Ginny and danny had discussed their goals and says, "Yes" to both Ash and Devon, Ash took the black widow which was in a jar on the table and fed it to the scorpions which were in a small glass case also upon the table. Ginny who started to get pissed and says, "You didn’t even wait for it to lay an egg sack." Devon who understood Ash’s thinking says, "Relax, were going with a more dangerous spider in the months to come. But we don’t want any black widow offspring running around the house." Ginny chilled out and says in a curious voice with almost a vice, "Can I get the spiders for you?"

Ash spoke first and says, "I get to pick them, but yes you can get the spiders for us and the food that we will feed them." Ginny was so happy she almost spilled her water glass.

Chapter Ten

When You Understand

Ash asked Ginny to make the arrangements for the new spider room in the third bedroom complete with a four walled glass room and a side door for feeding. Ginny was good at knowing people who built such things and she started to work on it right away, before she started though she did ask, "What kind of spiders do you plan to house in the case?" Ash who knew he could trust Ginny from the get go says, "Rare poisonous tree spiders, you know the ones that get real big and carry their mate on there back?" Ginny smiled from ear to ear and says, "It will take six weeks to get the spider room ready and another five weeks to find those kinds of spiders, they are rather rare."

Ash just walked out of the room and didn’t say anything. He had a new riddle for Devon to guess and thought now was as good of a time as any. He sneaked up behind her and placed a small coin on the back of her neck like something in the room had dropped down upon her. She didn’t react, not one iota. "Dear Ash, I heard you the moment you came into the room, you will have to be more quiet to sneak up on me." Ash who felt slightly sad about not being able to get rise out of her, says, "I have a riddle for you, would you like to hear it now or later."

Devon who wasn’t too busy says, "Oh good something I hopefully don’t know?" and Ash says, "Well there is a chance you know it, but it’s only a slight chance. I burned this one before anyone could read it." Devon who got curious says, "Ok lets here it." Ash recited the words, "Broken, Ashes, dust, Days, years, Together forever, What worked Is broken. Now buy a token." Devon hadn’t heard this one before and really got curious and says, "Oh do tell me the answer to this one, I want to know."

Ash asked her to think it over for a while, she agreed and asked, "How long until the spider room is ready?" Ash thought about it and says, "We should be up and running in eleven weeks. It’s the best Ginny can do right now. She says those spiders are very rare and hard to come by."

They had a regular routine, they dined with candles that had a ten hour lifespan and they served as two uses to their lighting for supper, neither Devon or Ginny cooked, nobody in that house cooked. Food was brought in from outside at some of the finest restaurants there were in New York. ’Ashes to Ashes’ saw to it that they had what they needed, everything was paid for and they didn’t have to worry about a dime.

They dined for hours at a time in fine talks about life, the beauty in life although you sometimes have to look for it. They talked about their philosophies and the things that made a difference in their lives.

There really wasn’t anything to do, life was rather boring for all of them. The workers were all carefully screened and brought into the third bedroom to perform their work on the glass spider room that the tree spiders would be housed within. It took them almost six full weeks to finish the job, they tested it with smoke to make sure it was air tight and that they didn’t have any gaps in the glass fittings. Then they installed the air pipes that would put oxygen into the glass room and remove used gasses also.

The tree spiders came from South Africa and they could only get five of them, two female and three male. It was Ginny who wanted the honors of placing them in there new home. They were tired from their long trip and were easy to manage into their new house. When she came to the last one she found it hadn’t survived the trip, she was so sad that she cried for a week. Devon gave her comfort about how things are meant to be and that everything is for a reason.

The spiders ate large grasshoppers and crickets, and a wide variety of snacks that could easily be obtained by Ginny. It was a pleasure to all of them to sit on the leather sofas and watch them spin their webs and live their lives. Ash spent more time in the spider room than he did at supper table, which was really saying something, meanwhile Devon had failed to find out what the riddle meant and she was so anxious to figure it out that she took to reading very old books from the 21st century at an almost frantic rate.

Ten weeks after the spider room had been installed and fully operational, Devon gave up on the riddle and told Ash, "How did you manage to keep that one secret?" Ash who was silent a long time thought before speaking and says, "It’s a warning to those who use books like the one we wrote together, those books will all work for a long time, yet someday they are all bound to break." Devon almost broke into tears and says, "Why would something like that happen?" Ash who knew the answer says, "Don’t be upset about it, later there will only be one book by which to live by, that one being the book of the wizard and his friends. It’s very secret what the Gods have done."

Devon didn’t understand and wanted to ask more questions, she knew the name of the writer who Ash spoke of, he truly inspired billions of people. "Ash, how have you come to know this and why didn’t you tell me about it sooner?" Ash didn’t have to think he knew the answer, "It wasn’t safe to speak of it then, it’s hardly safe to speak of it now, yet I knew I had to tell you sooner or later."

"Though most of the answers were in my journals and poetry, I never really spoke of those things, if everyone knew they could share the writing of their own lives in advance it would be chaos, and someday when things have reached that point the magic of those writings will break, leaving only one book that can still be lived as though it were real life, however things will change and we won’t have to rely on those books forever, the goal is to make the world a better place, not screw it up."

Devon thought for a long time and says, "Our book was good for five thousand years right?" Ash who knew the answer says, "Before we sealed it I added an extra chapter, I think you will like it." Devon who didn’t know this stared to cry a bit and says, "Why would you do that?" Ash spoke right away and says, "I had something else to share with you that we can only discuss when we get there, it’s about the future. The changes were safe, and I knew you would agree to the extra bit of time that we would be getting."

Devon dried her eyes and came to right quick, "How much time are you talking?" Ash says, "Just a few days, but they will be the most important days we ever live, we have options that we won’t be able to decide upon until the end." Devon who was surprised as much as in disbelief says, "Ok, I trust you on this, what’s the price we will have to pay for this extra time?" Ash joked and says, "Nearly eternal death."

Devon knew his sense of humor and didn’t smile, "That bad?" Ash who was ready with his next words says, "No not that bad, only thing is were going to have to make a decision for all humanity that will have long reaching effects, we don’t really want to screw this one up. That’s why it’s at the end of the beginning." Devon who walked over to Ash and curled up next to him, he could hear her heart beating and knew she was starting to panic just a bit says, "You know our book is good for at least five thousand years, no one would ever find it and it’s sealed in enough wax and concrete it will never rot or be damaged as long as it remains secret, just don’t ever tell anyone about it."

Devon thought for a while and says, "Are we really going to help Ginny and her boy friend make a similar book?" Ash who had debated for a long time says, "I think we should help them, they were friends of ours that will continue to be good friends even in other lives. Why not?" Devon who was a little jealous of Ginny being in the same house, though Devon was prettier, she still wasn’t certain that Ash would stay true. She thought it over and says, "I will help Ginny make a book that is more tailored to her needs, she may not always want someone like danny."

Ash didn’t say that Ginny could do better, but he did say, "If you need any help you can ask me at any time about what secrets the book must hold to work." Devon says, "Yes I remember most of that and the ritual that must take place after the book is completed."

Then in that hour they fell in love all over again , remembering the writing that the book contained which they would never dare speak.

Chapter Eleven

Fallen Angels

The joys of Ash and Devon were countless, they were truly very happy together. Things weren’t always by the book so to speak, yet they had a sense of calmness and peace to their lives that very few really ever have. They spent a good deal of time entertaining guest and showing off the rare tree spiders they had acquired with the help of Ginny. There were candle lit dinners every night of the week that went on for hours upon hours, and they often went to underground clubs that were mostly friends of friends and those who knew Ash was alive.

Everyone wanted to know the secret to living again and again. Yet Ash and Devon kept their mouths shut about the secrets to life, they had good reason too! Not everyone was ready to live again, too many people would have a difficult time with it. It wasn’t easy to carry such memories within the mind and not snap at some point or another.

Though there were many that knew Ash and Devon, there were only some one hundred members of ’Ashes to Ashes’ of which all knew the heavy secrets to life and death matters. They were all present in the underground room the night Ash MoonBlood became the first person to live again with the proof and memories of having done such. The secrets Ash carried with him was safe from ever being discovered. Things were going rather well for everyone.

Ginny was one third of the way through her secret book that would enable her to live again in ways the normal people have never dreamed. It was her wildest fantasies that would make the next five to ten thousand years worth living for her. She had followed the advise of Devon and chose to only live a handful of lives with danny, she felt she didn’t want to spend all her lives with just one person, Devon kept a close eye on Ginny’s writing to see that she was playing by the rules that Ash and Devon had set out.

"Hey you guys, come in here right away!" Ash hollered from the spider room to those who were in the dinning room working on the secret book. Devon hollered they would be right there and took precautions to hide Ginny’s book from anyone that might come in. It was a minute later, but the show was still on, Ash was standing in front of the spider glass house pointing to the two large tree spiders that were mating.

"How long until you finish your book?" Ash asked Ginny and Devon in a hushed voice. Ginny says, "Looks like another three weeks to fill at least a five thousand year time frame." Ash looked at Devon and she knew what he was thinking, she just winked once with her right eye and Ash knew what she meant. Ash let them take their leave to finish Ginny’s book while he watched the rare tree spiders. He thought about taking a snap shot of the two of them while they were mating and sending it to the ’Ashes to Ashes’ group. He knew that one bite from one of them and it would be his death.

He took his camera and inspected the door area to see where the other two were, they were far enough away, yet they were very fast spiders and the room was full of webs by now. He opened the door and stuck the camera into the area and snapped five photos. He shut the door right quick just before one of them ran to see what had moved the web. Then he made a count of the spiders, all four of them were still within the spider glass house. He thought that was good news and went to print his photos out.

Mean while Devon and Ginny were working on her book and the things that she wanted to do in other lives and how she wanted to live. It was a few hours later after Ginny and Devon had put Ginny’s book away that Devon found out Ash had opened the door to the spider house. She wasn’t pissed, she didn’t bitch him out, she says, "That’s a nice photo, were you on safari in africa for that one?" Ginny saw the photo and says, "You know better than to disturb them, if your bit their is no antidote." Ash took it with a grain of salt, he says, "Once was enough, those things are really fast."

Ginny says, "If they mated today in less than four weeks we will have a few hundred of these rare tree spiders, the door must never be opened again." Devon made Ash swear he wouldn’t open the spider house again, with some strong words from Devon he agreed. With that out of the way their dinner guests would be present in less than two hours to see the scorpions eating crickets upon the supper table all the while they dined on fine foods and strong drinks.

Over supper one of the guests who just happened to be Marco who had been at the club that first night before Ash had become Ash MoonBlood, Marco asked, "What are the names of the scorpions?" Devon replied "They all have names after those who were villains." this peaked Marco’s curiosity, he says, "And which villains do you have in mind?" it was Ginny’s turn to speak and she says, "The unfaithful spider that bit Ash in the 21st century is the big one named: "Bob" and the snake that bit Panos is the smaller one named: "Sandra". This caused a round of laughter among those at the table, yet Marco asked, "And how did you manage to track those two vermin down."

Ash who was in turn to speak says, "That is a great secret, we used witch hazel and johnny walker until they confessed. Have you ever seen a scorpion dunked in witch hazel?" it was Devon’s turn to speak and she says, "Maybe it was the fact that we held those two out and made them watch as we squished every last one of them, it was simply a matter of deduction as to who was the guilty party!" another round of laughter then Marco asked if they had any plans for their spiders.

Ginny broke the news to them that they had successfully mated and that their was at least one egg sack in the spider room. This impressed Marco a great deal. "Very clever, Ash if I might have a word with you on the side about some plans for that spider house it might be useful later to you." Ash agreed and they planed to speak of the matter. It was Ash’s turn to speak and he says to Marco, "Thank you very much for bringing me out of the blindness that was intoxicating my life, you saved me! Yet how did you produce such a book as you did that was such a total fake?"

Marco thought for a bit and says, "We have through the years had a number of copy cats in your name, those who wished to make a name for themselves upon your name. We simply used one of the better ones to find those who might understand that there were deeper secrets." Devon spoke and says, "Ash, we waiting too long to come back, we should have been here sooner." Ginny who’s turn had arrived says, "We would have never given you such a book if wasn’t for that wench Becky, if she would have thought it was the real book you could have been in danger."

Ash who had been waiting to speak says, "Non- sense, if it wasn’t for Panos I would have waited a full five centuries before coming back and as far as Becky goes we know she got what she deserved, Ginny, just where did you send all those crickets that were living in your back yard?" Ginny smiled and blushed a bit, then she says, "Oh you know someplace in the desert where they wouldn’t be missed."

They all knew that ’Ashes to Ashes’ had a delivery truck fill Becky’s new apartment with the crickets that Ginny had been raising just for such an occasion.

Chapter Twelve

Sudden Silence

Ash and Devon were on their way to London for a few weeks of peace and quiet, they would no doubt play with their boa’s and take motorcycle rides in the country side at speeds much faster than usual riders dared ride. They arrived safely and the Bentley was waiting for them, they didn’t have much luggage, everything they would need was already in London. They found that their place had been well looked after and that the snakes were well fed and happy.

They spent a lot of time reading some of the poets of the current year, though most of the ideas were things they had already seen in the past they kept an open heart to new writings. Devon asked when they were in private, "Are you attracted to Ginny?" Ash didn’t have to think about it, he says, "We both know your better looking and that in a duel you would win hands down." Devon thought patiently waiting for him to answer her and then says, "It’s ok if you do, but don’t you dare think of cheating on me in this life."

Ash knew what she was talking about, he still had a lot to make up to her for all those years she spent alone while he was with Becky.

"How do you want me to make those lost years up to you?" Ash asked in a casual voice that left Devon melting. "When were both ready I want both of us to tell the truth about who we are." Devon says in a less than casual voice that Ash understood how serious she was. "Were not ready to do that right now, we need at least another year together before we make it known." Ash says in such a way to make Devon believe him and the need to wait a bit longer. Devon however says, "Were close to being found out as it is, we need to know what our game plan is going to be."

Ash thought about the logistics of all of this for a minute and says, "Pick a date and we will move forward and live with it." Devon who pulled her calendar out on her phone and looked up a date in the future that she felt would be best and says, "The next blue moon on Thursday December 29, 2314, does that work for both of us?"

Ash thought about it and says, "Sure, if we make it that long." he didn’t really have any doubts, yet he knew that surprises will come in life.

"That gives us seven months and a bit of change, what do you want to do until then?" Ash asked quietly... Devon thought about it for a minute and says, "We need to have some serious fun." Ash thought about it and says, "The dinners are going very well, were having a good time with keeping company up to snuff. What else could you want?" Devon thought for a minute and says, "You haven’t seen my new costumes yet have you?" Ash says, "You know I don’t go through your stuff, what did you get?" Devon takes Ash into the bedroom and shows him the naughty outfits that she couldn’t wear out of the house.

Two weeks later. . .

They arrived in New York to find Ginny had finished her book. She was ready for the secret ceremony for embalming her book in wax and concrete which would cement her future lives within the goals outlined in the book.

Ash didn’t read it, he was merely the high priest of the proceedings, Devon on the other hand did read it, she wasn’t’ disappointed but she felt that Ginny was encroaching upon her territory, Ginny had written of being with Ash in one of her lives, Devon let it fly she couldn’t blame the poor girl, and Devon knew there was room within their relationship for this too!

They took the book and the three of them took the private jet to the California desert. They drove to a little known cemetery where first a coffin was prepared where the book was placed upon a five inch layer of wax, then Ginny made a small cut on her first finger of her left hand and let the blood flow upon the book and the wax. Since Devon gave Ash the go ahead he too made a small cut and let his blood flow upon the book and wax then Devon made a small cut upon her finger and let the blood flow upon the book and the wax.

Then the coffin was filled with hot wax some twenty inches deep, the book was within that coffin that was covered with the blood and wax, after which the coffin was lowered into the tomb and it was filled with concrete.

The dirt was placed back upon the tomb they placed flowers upon the grave and knew that they would never speak again of such things. They made the return flight back to New York and went about business as usual. Which really meant feeding the snakes ever three days and having supper with scorpions devouring crickets upon the very supper table. Also the rare tree spiders eggs had hatched and there were quite a few tiny spiders that were making homes for themselves in the flora and fauna within the glass spider house.

They gave up on giving each of them names until they got bigger, they didn’t know which ones would make it or which ones wouldn’t. Time would tell. Ginny was very happy to have seen the hatching and waited patiently for them to get bigger. Ash however was bored with the tree spiders and was focused on Devon and the outfits she was buying at the time. It meant good times for both of them.

Meanwhile no one had seen Ginny’s boy friend for some two weeks, they were starting to get worried about it. Devon had the ’Ashes to Ashes’ group start looking to find him. They didn’t need any surprises, not at this point in the game. They knew they were safe as long as everyone in their circle kept their mouths shut, and danny was missing and who knew what he was up to.

In the mean time Ash and Devon had decided to replace the scorpions with ferrets and squished those two scorpions under foot. They took great pleasure in sending them to hell. Ginny had already gotten the ferrets with ease and had a nice area prepared for them, they were of course without their scent glands. They were much more fun to watch than the scorpions and even more fun to watch them eat. So very fast that they moved with ease.

Devon was much happier, she never liked the scorpions anyways. Ash didn’t take the loss of the scorpions too hard, as a matter of a fact things got better between him and Devon in big ways. She had finally felt like Ash had made those lost years up to her and they discussed the ways that they would find each other in different lives. Ginny was getting lonely, and sought to find a new boyfriend right away, though she had to take someone that was of the ’Ashes to Ashes’ group because they didn’t want the secrets of Ash and Devon getting out.

It turned out that there was someone that liked her, and Ash and Devon approved, so it was all good.

Chapter Thirteen

The Blue Moon

Ash was pissed off in big ways, it started last night and carried through today, it didn’t look like his mood was going to change for a while. Ginny’s x-boyfriend had sold Ash and Devon out to the media for some one million dollars, being that he had photographs of the new tomb stone in Colorado and the print out of the DNA match from his previous life which was an exact match to his current body, it was all the proof anyone would ever need.

The day was done, the sun setting in the west with dark over tones that didn’t bode well with Ash or Devon. They weren’t in any trouble, but the secret of life after death was as good as public. Ash wasn’t happy about that , too many people weren’t ready for that kind of knowledge, he feared too many people would be irresponsible about their way of living. Ash who knew he took risks with life did so in a responsible way, too many others were irresponsible about their lives.

So too their lives neared the end, the moon was almost full on the eve of a blue moon, there was not much they could do. They had planned for many months for what was to come in the days that followed, Ginny was in London caring for a sick boa and they new they would be left to their own devices upon the date of the blue moon. There was nothing more to think about, it was all very clear to them. There were the giant tree spiders to think of and their pet snakes to be looked after, they knew Ginny could find new homes for them.

There was a great deal of mystery left behind, there were no writings of Ash MoonBlood in the 23rd century to be found anywhere. Everything had been burned or destroyed through other methods. Even the journals of Devon were never found, yet there was one note written in haste that they did find, it was cryptic and more of a riddle than anything else, it read: "Thought Ash wouldn’t burn, yet in hell there are no flames too hot." whatever that means, no one ever figured it out, the secrets that they shared between them they took to the grave with them.

This left Ginny in an awkward situation that she didn’t know how to deal with. She stayed in London all the rest of her days. The ’Ashes to Ashes’ group was dissolved never to form again, Ash and Devon were on their own from here on out in future lives. It wasn’t a question of Ash making a difference in other peoples lives, no one really cared if he lived again or not. Too many people didn’t care if they lived again, most felt safer with the knowledge that one death was all they would ever have.

The rather rare and dangerous tree spiders in Ash’s flat was moved to the New York public zoo, where there were over a hundred fully grown spiders which attracted thousands of visitors a year. The ferrets were well cared for by Ginny’s new boy friend and he even brought them and the two boa’s that were Ash and Devon’s to the flat in London for Ginny.

The memory of Ash MoonBlood died forever, he never used that name again, though some thought it necessary to keep his poetry around, Ash no longer cared if anyone read it or not, he was done with being Ash MoonBlood and Devon too knew she must take new forms and new names to survive in the world full of hate and ignorance where those who lived again would never tell another soul of life after death again. That is what the secret of the ages truly is, we never tell a soul that death is our only friend we survive through and come out kicking and screaming.

Ash knew that other lives would be better and worse, the only meaning he ever found in his life was that he meant the world to Devon, and likewise she to him. It was some five hundred thousand years later that the book Ash and Panos wrote together in the 21st century was found by historians, they were were in as much awe as shock at how closely the lives of two people through out history had matched the words found within the book incased in wax and concrete and buried in a place few would have gone in the early 20th century’s, yet became a thriving city of billions some half a million years later.

The real secrets Ash and Devon kept to themselves all their days through every life to ever be lived, they weren’t living for selfish reasons, rather they had a plan that would make life better for everyone some day in the future. There was that life that Ginny got what she wanted, but that is some other tale.

Chapter I

Poetry Intro

Poetry

Don’t hate spiders, love them just a little.

If you hate them you will come to fear them.

No one ever feared anything more than what they hated most.

Chapter II

Dear Goth I

Dear Goth:

Cold black night, awaits

Walk among the tomb stones in the rain

Set before you a pillow of dark thoughts

Night terrors go hand in hand with loneliness

you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Morbid thoughts come with the territory;

no one that thinks and has lived before

would disregard death.

You would live and die a billion deaths

each time for one more shot at life.

It’s not life you hate

or god if you believe that way.

Know the moon;

It’s phases and times.

note the cycle of dreams in it’s shores.

It’s the lies the world wants you to believe.

those lies you hate.

Fire within the heart.

burn it into the tomb.

Listen in patience.

never waste words on those who will not listen.

Those icy hearts are not ours.

you wouldn’t trade your compassion for a dime.

Befriend those without friends;

beware of those with too many friends.

beware of false friends, those who lie.

In the humble places of darkness,

dwells the greatest of minds.

Sometimes we look like normal people;

yet the well of dark thoughts runs deep.

There are four enemies;

despair, depression, greed, hate

I know you will stay true; I have hope in you. Like the truth

that a rose will always fade.

you always come back to balance the darkness;

and tell those that lie

to shove it!!

Chapter XXV

Riddle

Riddle:

Two circles the first one empty,

the second one full.

What is dark made from light?

Chapter XXXIV

The Tree

The tree of which

Borne a wild hawk, which

In it’s youth grew strong

Now in old age, looks to

Inherit the earth it came from.

The hawk now turned to dust,

Maybe twenty years ago, the

Tree a wise friend who remembers

Him well. Never complained of

The lonely hours he could count.

Seems he is aching to be, like that

Hawk a man again. To crush the dung

Beetle that was the man that cut him

Down. Seems somehow karma’s justice

Will suffice, just enough.

Just like me. ’o hawk in the night;

This world is a fright. It’s futile

To demand. Judged once and left aside.

When a man swears to avenge himself,

They all say that’s wrong. But when a

Man swears god will avenge him, it’s just.

Even when the mad man swears god will

Punish someone to excuse (verb) his glib excuse (noun),

’oh how blind they have become.

Someday we will see again. That nature

Is just, that somehow it’s cosmic game,

Which throws luck out the window.

Is anywhere better than here?

-winter 2015