I’m breathing my last on a hospital bed. It’s been a good run—traveled around the world, wrote some books, ate a lotta pizza—I’m okay with what’s about to happen. My heart monitor goes BEEEEEEEP and suddenly I’m floating above my body. The nurse by my side wrinkles her nose in disgust. She turns to her coworker and says, “You smell that? Had to fart one last time before he died. I never said anything, but did you notice how this guy did his damnedest to hotbox us with his ass whenever we had to care for him?” I laugh in delight—hotboxing nurses was one of the last pleasures left to me as an old fogey. Refuse to give me extra jello? Choke on the old-attic mothball stank that comes flooding out my colon! (I’ve heard that that’s actually a true description—check out Bill Burr’s podcast where he has a hilarious encounter with a flatulent geriatric on an airplane flight). But now that I’ve done my last hotbox, it’s time for me to bid a fond farewell. WHEEEE!!! I jet through fantastic dimensions, looking through all the possibilities presented to me for reincarnation. Maybe I’ll spend a few eons as a disembodied concept or a benevolent spirit; I don’t know, all of it looks fun…suddenly, as I’m rocketing through the gamut of planes, I see a hand throw something at me. It looks like a ball of jagged black static, and as it flies in my direction, it expands into the rough form of a red-eyed crow, its features and outline fluxing in a blurry, black-magic crackle. When it gets close, it expands its wings around me, and transforms into a pitch-colored cage. As I tumble through the ether, now imprisoned, I see that the bars are made out of strings of tiny black pentagrams, their centers marked by hideous, chittering spider-heads. Cripes! And then my Ex reveals herself. She’s wreathed in a lurid red glow, and her flame-emblazoned eyes fix me with a malevolent stare. “I’ve planned this for a while now, Kent.” I say: “But you’re still alive! How are you—” She cuts me off with a shrill caw. “I cut a deal with the Lurker in the Dark. Small price to pay to see you imprisoned and at my mercy. And now I’m gonna use a psionic invocation to make sure you reincarnate as a rat that’s riddled with bot-flies and other hideous infections.” She claps her hands together and draws them apart, instantiating a horrible-looking sigil that’s all discordant angles and covered in pustules. As my Ex’s sigil snakes through the bars of my cage and begins threading its way through my psyche, she begins laughing maniacally. Black lines are creeping through my astral body, just like when you see people about to turn zombie. Oh shit—I do NOT want to spend a life as a gross little beast that plays host to an array of nasty parasites. One last chance. If I can just re-instantiate my bestselling book about cyborgs and wizards….I close my eyes and reach deep, deep DEEP into my psyche. Then I feel a small weight in my hands. I open my eyes, and I see that I’m holding an eReader. I open it to Echo. Magic flash. Suddenly, my astral form begins bulging with muscles, slightly gross chest hair, and a luxuriant mustache and beard. My Ex is gaping at me. “What the…what…” she stammers. I smile at her as my muscles continue to ripple. Denim begins crawling across me, forming into a jacket and a pair of eighties-tight jeans. “It’s a backup personality,” I say. “Gonna kick the crap out of your invocation.” Her eyes are as wide as dinner plates. “A backup personality??? Of who?” The denim forms into a sleeveless jacket as the last of my Ex’s psionic infection withers and dies. I level a steely glare at her. “Of Chuck Norris.” My mustache flies off, grows a pair of tiny legs, and begins roundhouse-kicking the hell out of the bars of my cage. Howls erupt from my sentient prison, and as its ceiling dissolves, I take a knee, focus my intention, then blast off, both fists extended above me like I was Superman. As I soar through the ether, I hear my Ex screaming, “DAMN YOU KENT WAYNE!!!” I can’t help but grin. Music to my freakin’ ears.
When you’re about to go for a ride on The Greatest Adventure, make sure that you don’t get trapped in a parasite-ridden rat body by a vengeful Ex. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle