“We-We have to talk…”
My father was a man of formidability, an aura of severity and irascibility rarely prone to timidity, but, at this moment, there was an unusual quiver of apprehension to his voice.
His lips retracted, eyes momentarily wincing until they closed. “Your Grandfather, as in his own parlance, Requests your presence.”
“Uh-Uh-O-Ohh…” I was stammering, fear intensifying, unable to recognize a single moment when I saw my own father this…distressed.
“Look…” My father’s nostrils pulsated, those caverns expelling a thrashing, flaming air borne from some netherworld inferno. “This…This is the talk. You’re twenty now. Four years ago, your Grandfather told you about this day.”
“Oh…Yeah. I remember.”
The helicopter hovered, the pilot aligning with the landing pad of Grandfather’s estate.
Below me, one of my Grandfather’s assistants, Thorsten, stared up, waving to me.
Soon, the helicopter settled, its whirling propellors slowing.
Thorsten opened the door, extending an escorting hand. “Good morning, Sir…”
I smiled, staring at my Grandfather’s home, this three-story colossus of an Alpine chalet, with its soaring, peaked roof, was impeccably preserved and unblemished since my earliest childhood memory. Numerous small balconies whose railings were adorned with ornately carved wooden boxes, bulged with fluffy, pastel florals.
As I walked the brick pathway to the house, the entire estate, with all its gardens and trees, was blooming with summer splendor, the distant, private lake, glittering with Bavarian sunshine.
“Your Grandfather is in the backyard…”
“Thank you, Thorsten.”
My Grandfather was standing at a serving table topped with a pewter ice bucket, his hand selecting a bottle of beer from the clumps and wedges of ice. “Ah, my, lad…” My Grandfather turned, extending the bottle. “Have a Paulaner. I ran almost eight miles this morning, so I’m treating myself.”
My grandfather was slender and silver haired, a man of intimidating, masculine beauty, one who was granted youthful immortality by an alien god, according to my Father.
He’s always looked like that, the sonofabitch. He can strut like some Hugo Boss model, while at the same time, slashing your throat like an Annie Rice vampire…
“I’d ask how your father is, but he’s a seething, perpetually perturbed misrerabilist.” My Grandfather gestured to a small table surrounded by leather chairs. “Sit…Sit…”
“Uh…You know, he’s just like you said.”
My Grandfather reclined in his chair, gazing across his acres, eyes alighting on the lake. “It’s rather remarkable this afternoon, isn’t it?”
“The lake is beautiful. When I was flying over, I was remembering all the great memories I have of being out there with…” My mind stumbles. “I forget her name…She was rather pretty, but all of your lady friends are.” I smiled. “No offense.”
“How old were you at the time of those memories?”
“I was like five or six, it seemed.”
“That would have been Ariel. She was a former Italian porn star. Gorgeous girl and a splendid, accomplished yachtswoman. Her father was a sniveling little bitch. An unremarkable scion of a Sicilian banking family. Nobody cried when he ended up dead in Basel.”
“Ah…” I sipped my beer.
“You will have many more of those ‘Ah’ moments this afternoon, my lad…”
My Grandfather offers another bottle of beer as he settles into his chair.
“Your father is a doomed fellow, my lad. He’s always dreaded this conversation because it signals an epochal phase of our family’s existence: you, the final offspring, the final controller of Human souls on this planet, will soon succeed your father. Which of course, means that Humanity itself, is beginning its long, tormented final chapter. But your father, unlike myself, will now have to reckon with not only his earthly presence, but that of his afterlife. And, I warn you, you are not exempt. Though, your personality is the antithesis of your father’s. He’s an incorrigible, snorting brute. But, it’s of his own actions. When he was young, as a symbol of rebellion, he anointed himself some sort of artiste. Aspiring to be a brilliant, revered painter. But, as I told him, and as you know, our family has a very vital, yet simplistic function on this planet, one that is cruel, but fundamental to our Master’s doctrines. Yes, this existence affords us infinite privileges and pleasures, but, for those that seek some sort of earthly, human fulfillment, this life will only devour and destroy you.”
I nodded, reaching for my next beer. “He would never talk about his work.”
My Grandfather smirked. “He’s always been, excuse me, pissy.”
“He only ever grumbled about you being the one who had this scared knowledge of our family and all of human existence. I could never tell if he was being flippant, ironic or sarcastic, until one day he screamed, One Day You Will Know!”
My Grandfather nods. “As you know, through your daily mediation, a mediation that is very specialized, you’re in direct contact with your soul. You’re well aware that this body of skin and bone is a very intricate, protective vessel for your soul. My soul arrived on this planet thousands of years ago. I was enlisted by our Master to essentially clean up the mess that planet Earth had become. Over many centuries, Earth had been a laboratory for warring and meddling—and I use this in earthly terms—alien races. Earth, once a solitary, naturally evolving planetary organism, was transformed into a fractured and chaotic experiment. Generations of alien races had imported various animal and plant species, tweaking and fiddling with their genetics until abandoning these experiments, allowing everything to spiral into disarray. But, for my Master, there was a particularly intriguing species that was developing, one haphazardly discarded by Earth’s previous alien scientists: humans. Humans are an artificial and ignoble strain of alien experimentation, a boorish group designed as slave labor. When their alien creators became bored with their civilization building, rendering these primitive humans useless, they decided before leaving Earth, to indulge in a little debauchery and procreate with their inventions. Left to their own devices, this alien/human abomination began to…mature. Along the way, various alien races intervened, splicing and refining their humanoid DNA. Eventually, their evolution progressed from mindless fornicating slaves to rudimentary hunters and gatherers. At this level of evolution, they were now at the appropriate stage for soul holding. My master is a soul trader, which is an entity responsible for monetizing the universal spirit. This devious, entrepreneurial career comprises capturing the soul as it departs a body and then stowing it into another body until it has been sold. At the time, pure slaves—that is, slave souls and slave forms fully blended on a natural and cosmic level—were demanding high value as various alien races were building and evolving their civilizations. There was also numerous galactic wars that had obliterated the much needed slave population. Now, combined with a planet populated with forms created for the specific purpose of slave labor, and a market seeking pure slaves, my Master sought to maximize his profit through an efficiently operated and controlled slave planet. Now, here, my lad, is where it becomes complicated. Our Supreme Being endowed all souls with sovereignty, but, The Universe, designed by our Supreme Being, is also of free will. The Soul, should, ideally flit through this vast universe, visiting planets and inhabiting alien forms to experience our Supreme Being’s creation. Because The Universe is free will, souls, once inhabiting alien forms, have the autonomy to create their own cultures and philosophies and if you happen upon a planet that you either tire of, or, for example, perish on, your soul is reincarnated to The Universe to continue its experiential journey. Your soul, it’s journey and sovereignty, can never be impeded. If it is obstructed, those responsible will incur the wrath of our Supreme Being. But…” My Grandfather ceases his story, a finger raised and pointed toward the sky, his lips contorted into a sneer. “My Master, in order to monopolize his slave trade, employed me to create an infrastructure that would circumvent the reincarnation cycle to entrap souls on Earth and create a thriving, interesting, experiential planet that would be enticing to new souls to visit and ultimately, become trapped. Of course, I was brilliantly triumphant in exploiting the free will universe to perpetrate the worst crime of our Supreme Being.” My Grandfather looks up into the sky, closing his eyes. “I’ve had a long, beautiful, experiential existence, my lad, so I’m comfortable with my free will decision.” He lowers his head, turning toward me. “Your father’s bitterness originates from the knowledge that as an accomplice to my creation, he awaits the same punishment from the Supreme Being.”
I take a gulp from my beer, staring across the Alpine landscape. “But if we have free will, what is stopping my father, and even I, from just walking away, pursing our own dreams, not being part of the family business.”
My Grandfather smiles. “Your father is an original, trapped, slave soul. He’s only ever experienced subordination. He knows nothing else, hence, his volcanic, existential pain.”
I sigh. “If my father is tormented by such pain and guilt…why couldn’t he just commit suicide to escape your creation?”
My Grandfather bursts with laughter, “Excuse me, but he doesn’t have the balls to initiate it, or confront the consequences that await him in the afterlife.”
“So what about me?” I ask, the skin of my neck quivering with the chill of a looming presence.
My Grandfather laughs, “Business is very good, my lad. Especially in this economy.”
When I turn in my chair, my Grandfather’s assistant, Thorsten, is standing behind me.