A Heaven To Follow: Prologue
Every choice matters. But not every second counts. Two timelines with nothing in common, both finding themselves victims of a war they can't bring themselves to fight. Doctor Thomas Greene in the late 1800's finds himself coping with loss while Sabirah Pirani tries to prevent it thousands of years later. Altruists lead to cold sadists, each the hero in their own story. But who - or what's - reading the book? Written below, Darian Magee's prologue to her debut novel A HEAVEN TO FOLLOW. Keep an eye out for the kickstarter.
“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
It was the summer of 1884 and Thomas Greene was 60 years old.
Thomas Greene had once been a doctor. He had treated patients from all over the world until his retirement 10 years ago. His hair was a brilliant white and his eyes a dull grey. They had once possessed a dazzling spark, but it had since faded. Thomas missed that spark. The woman at the candle shop often called him "A silver fox", usually followed by a sly wink on her end. Thomas wasn't sure what to do about that. He thought she had perhaps developed a nervous tick.
"Sorry sir, there's a bit of blockade on the road" the cabbie pulled him out of his reverie and halted to a stop. Down the cobbled streets, Thomas noticed a crowd gathered.
"Bet a shilling on lucky number 9! This magnificent cock is hungry for blood, he is! Can we even call this match a fight?"
The cobblestone was stained with blood from the previously defeated, surrounded with eager boys and men with pocket money to spare. Thomas retched into a handkerchief and waved the driver to continue, but he seemed quite fixated on the events unfolding before him. Two roosters circled each other. Lucky number nine indeed. He was a brilliant red, chest puffed out, beak snapping furiously. The smaller black one shrank back. He looked wretched! Thomas wondered when it had eaten last. It looked like it could barely stand, the poor thing. The larger rooster spared him no mercy and it seemed like all was lost for the gaunt underdog, til one of the handlers threw food in the rink. The black one snapped and Thomas watched in horror as it viciously tore apart the red, angry men in suits throwing down their hats as they grieved over lost money.
"Give em something to fight for and anything can happen, eh? It's the starving you've got to watch out for"
Thomas Greene did not respond and hurried the cabbie along, making his way to 1903 Edgemont Road, where he lived alone.
He also ate alone.
And brushed his teeth alone.
And slept alone.
And woke up in the morning alone.
But he was just fine with it, thank you very much. He didn't need anyone else. He had Rose. He smiled as he thought of her, walking into the kitchen to fix himself dinner. His heart skipped a beat as he recognized an old friend lurking in the shadows. Such a fright he gave him! He gave a friendly wave and was pleased to see it returned. How had he gotten in here? Thomas rushed about the house - every host should offer their company a drink. Ah there it was. His finest whiskey. He was saving it for a special occasion, but surely, this was as good as any. Thomas asked his friend to 'Say when", but it didn't look like he'd be stopping him anytime soon so he just left the bottle. Thomas joined him and took a mouthful. Then another, and another. By the time 4 o clock came around, he felt reasonably sleepy and perhaps just a bit drunk. That was all right.
His friend looked through Thomas's drawers and pulled out a revolver. It was one of the newer ones, fashioned more for show than anything. He had once used it to shoot rabbits in the garden, but had grown bored of the toy after they stopped showing up to nibble on his begonias.
Thomas tangoed with the gun. He placed a tender kiss atop its head and let his fingers dance across the trigger, caressing the hilt. He thought of Rose and how proud she would be of him, to have made it this far. Thomas looked at his friend one last time in the polished silver framed mirror resting atop the mantelpiece. Rose was sitting beside him. In the picture she was grinning, scarf billowing in the wind, eyes crinkling at the corner. His friend beamed back. There. Now it looked like they were smiling together, maybe laughing at a joke Thomas could not remember. The frame of Rose stood alone, there were no portraits of children to decorate the house with, no one to share his name with. Mother Nature had robbed him of that pleasure.
A shot was heard round the neighborhood. Flocks of bird were not roused by the noise, no babies cried in the distance, no, nothing like that. His neighbor Ethel thought to herself "I should check on Mr. Greene this evening", but in the end decided against it as she was hosting a family dinner tonight and could not spare a minute to step out of the house.
It was the summer of 1927 and Thomas Greene was dead.