New Years Day 1939
“So, we have no control over the events that take place, but we are able to assist the living and others like us who delay from entering the light?”
Stanley and Archie were sitting beside the glowing fireplace in the red reception room at RoYds.
“It's all about balance,” said Stanley. “Try to think of it this way; if one lived in a dimension where all was light and happiness, what would ever truly be experienced and learned? How would one know right from wrong and appreciate the difference? Within both life and death exists choice. There are those on the dark side , who also desire the continuance of light. It is why the world of the living is so attractive to them in the first place.”
“I see,” muttered Archie. “So who or what causes the problem?”
“There have always been those who wish for total darkness, not only in their own realm but also in that of the living. They whisper dark words and thoughts. Poison and plague so that only darkness can be seen everywhere and in everything. Here at RoYds we like to do our bit to ensure that the balance is maintained.”
“I see,” repeated Archie.
Stanley contemplated exactly how much to impart to Archie. He did not want to overburden him at this early stage. Thinking back to the time of his own crossing, he remembered how difficult it was to accept that there was no going back to the old way of existence.
“Oh, no need to worry about that, old chap!” said Archie gaily. “There never was much of an old life for me, you know. I think that is why I delayed in the first place; I couldn't see what could possibly be waiting for me on the other side of the light. Then I saw you and my choice was made there and then!”
Stanley laughed lightly, “That’s another thing I meant to tell you, but you will no doubt pick it all up as you go along. We have different abilities on this side. There are those who can read thoughts, others feelings. There are those who can do both and much more besides. It all goes to make life, or perhaps I should say delay, more fun!”
Archie gave a great big belly laugh and reached over to tap his old friend on the shoulder. “Can’t tell you how much I missed you, old pal! Good to have you back!”
“Same here!” replied Stanley before continuing in a more serious tone. “As you would expect there are downsides too. Although we can frequent the world of the living, walk amongst them and interact as one of them, we cannot return to our old way of life. Apart from extremely rare occasions, we either appear as strangers to the ones we love or not at all.”
“I’m sorry, old chap! That way with Edwardina, is it? Must be hard…,” Archie lowered his eyes. Stanley knew Archie was aware of how deeply his old friend loved his wife.
“She's never once acknowledged my presence, although she senses I am with her in some way or another,” Stanley confided. “I spend every night with her; I know how afraid she is of the dark.”
For a while, both men remained silent and then Stanley announced, “There are others here too, Archie, those you may have only read or dreamed about. Every kind of being that has ever existed in the minds of men. Some are even members of our own small group!”
“Like what?” Archie enquired, sounding fearful.
“Ah! That would be telling,” sighed Stanley. “Tell you what though. Why don’t you try to read my mind?”
Labels: 1940s, Billy, Fiction, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Stanley, Web Fiction