Everlasting Truth

One day, Alice finds herself transported not only from her life, but from her world. She finds that those who die can be resurrected and have special abilities. The M.A.C.E.S., a group of ascended beings, both from Earth and other planets, have chosen Alice to help defend her world from the evils that lurk. With the help of her mentor, Frank, and her friends, James and Emma, Alice finds that her second life is more interesting and challenging than her first.

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2. Resurrection... Among Other Things

        Am I dead? I thought frantically. Is this humming noise coming from hospital equipment, or is this biting cold from dirt in my grave? 
        Calloused hands shook my shoulders, waking me from my deep sleep. I squinted as a bright glare from a florescent light blinded me. The hands grabbed my shoulders and shook again, this time more fiercely.
       "Come on," a voice said, frustrated, "you're supposed to be her." I took a deep breath and tried to sit up, but the only movement my body made was a faint rise and fall of my chest.
       Why can't I move? I thought. As I opened my eyes wider, the blinding light was blocked by a man's head that hovered over mine.
       "Oh good," he said as he noticed my wide eyes, "you are her!" He smiled, his brown beard reaching to the edges of his hair.
       I tried to speak, to ask, Who's her? but my mouth wouldn't open. The only thing I could do to express my confusion was wrinkle my eyebrows.
       He smiled again. "Don't worry. It usually takes a few minutes for paralysis to wear off." He moved out of my sight, and the light blinded me again.
       "I hope we have enough time for it to fully wear off. I've been trying to wake you for a while now." I heard a screeching noise of metal being dragged against the floor as he pulled up a chair and sat next to me. I turned my head to look at him, feeling sick at the movement.
       "Ah, I see you can move your head. Anything else?" I tested my legs and they twitched slightly. I could bend my arms, but not lift them. The man kept pushing me to move my limbs, while he constantly checked his watch.
After a few minutes, I was able to swing my legs to the edge of the table and push my body up. 
       "Where am I?" I asked, looking around the room. Bleached white tile covered the floor, sterilized equipment lined the countertops, and a door that said EMPLOYEES ONLY in big black letters stood ajar. 
       "My dear," he replied calmly, "this is a morgue, and you were pronounced dead just hours ago." 
My jaw dropped. "But that's ridiculous. I must be in a coma or drugged or something. This isn't happening. I did not die."
       "No matter how impossible it seems," he said, "you have survived under very rare circumstances. Rebirths, like yours happen maybe once every thousand years. Yet the universe has seen two in the last twenty three years."
I laughed. "A rebirth? Really? What tricks is my mind playing on me now?" I reached out and touched the table, running my hands along the knife marks and stains, "Surprisingly life-like, yet not." 
"I know you don't believe me, or will not for some time, but I need you to. Somethings after us. I was pursued through the Eagle Nebula and managed to shake them off near Orion, but they know the direction I'm headed, and this is one of the only habitable planets in this region."
"So you're an astronaut?" I asked dreamily, as I pinched the skin on my arm. 
That doesn't work as well as it does in the movies, I thought. Maybe I'm not dreaming? I shook my head, trying to shake off the feeling that things seemed more real than they normally did in dreams.
"I'm no astronaut. Actually, I don't travel by any ship you've ever seen, but enough of this right now," he picked up a leather bag from the floor and placed it next to me, "I suggest you get dressed." I looked down at myself and blushed.
This is definitely a dream, I thought. Why else would my body be covered by a thin sheet?
       "Come on, we haven't got all day," he said and turned around, allowing me to change in private.
       I decided to humor him, and pulled the clothes out of the bag he gave me.  
       "There must be a mistake," I said, holding the garment up, "I haven't worn a full length dress since graduation. I don't wear dresses. Why would I wear one in a dream?" I looked closely at it, "Especially a pink one." 
       "Something wrong with dresses?" he asked.
       "Do you have anything else? Like, pants or shorts? I'd even take a skirt, just please, no dresses."
       "I'm sorry," he said over his shoulder, "Where I come from, women wear dresses, and men wear pants." I mumbled a reply and put the dress on. 
       "Done?" he asked a few minutes later.
       "Mmhmm," I replied, slipping the last shoe on.  
       "Good," he said as he turned back around, "Now, I know you must have a million questions. Am I really dead? How did I wake up? Who are you? The list goes on. I can't answer them all, so I'm going to answer two." He looked seriously at me.
       "I can pick two?" I asked. He nodded. "Okay, um, Who are you? And how is it that I'm not dead?"
       He sighed. "I'm Frank, and your other question takes a while to explain."
       "So explain,' I said as I crossed my arms, "If this really isn't a dream, then I want to know how I woke up."
       "Long story short. You died, The Maces brought you back."
       "But who-"
       "You only get two questions, remember?" he said, looking amused. 
       "Fine," I uncrossed my arms, "now what do you want with me? Can't I just wake up? I've paraded around in this nonsense for a while, I think I deserve to wake up, or at least switch dreams."
       "This isn't a dream. You were shot. You died and were brought here for an autopsy. The coroner was about to open you up when I got here, and locked him and his assistant in the storage closet."
"Sure," I said, "You just conveniently came here around the time I was supposed to wake up? I honestly don't believe you." 
  "Alice, I will erase all your doubts, I promise. But right now, you need to trust me."
       "How'd you know my name was Alice?" I shook my head, "That almost confirms that this is a dream. How else would you know my name?"
He sighed. "If this is a dream, don't you want to see how it plays out?" he put his hands in his pockets, "Just humor me. If I am a figment of you're imagination, aren't I supposed to teach you a lesson? Reveal some quality or truth you didn't know?" 
I shrugged my shoulders, "Maybe, but this is a strange dream."
"Yes, it is," he held out his hand, "Now can you trust me? Can I trust you? Even if it only lasts for the extent of the dream?"
I stepped back. "If this is a dream, I'm unwilling to trust you. Because I can't place my trust in someone if I don't know the full truth about them. I'm sorry." I turned towards the door, "Maybe, if you could just tell me why I'm experiencing this? Why I couldn't just dream about Hawaii or skiing in the Alps? Why did it have to be you and me?" He laughed.
Is this from the drugs? I wondered. Whatever hallucinogen I've been given really needs to wear off soon.   
      "If you leave, Alice, you will never know the truth. About who you are, and whether this is really a dream or not. If you leave, you can't go back to your life. In this dream, you're dead, remember? No one knows. No one can know." 
       "How do I know you're telling the truth? My dream might last forever, but I'll wake up soon. I know I will." I reached out to the door knob and grasped it.
       Could I really be dead? I wondered, looking down at myself. Is this some hallucination I'm experiencing? What if my mind has set limitations on this dream, can I really never go home?
       "Please, Alice, don't go. You're my only hope," he whispered. I sighed and looked back at him, standing in the middle of the room, with his hallow eyes, and cloak hanging limp around his shoulders.
       "I'm sorry, I need to wake up," I said and turned the knob. 
The second I opened the door, I knew something was wrong. Seven black orbs floated ominously in the doorway, projecting an eery light onto my clothing. I stared, engrossed in their every detail. 
I didn't hear the ticking, or see the figures standing in the hallway. All I felt of that moment, was a pair of hands grabbing me from behind as the orbs flashed a dazzling white light. 
       The force of the shove combined with the impact of the bomb threw me to the other side of the room. As a dust cloud settled over me, I coughed and looked frantically about. Frank sat against the far wall, stunned and incapable to move with a cement column pining his legs to the floor. 
        I took a deep breath to get air to call for him, but little came. My ears were ringing, a sweet, pure sound. I pushed myself up and noticed my left arm had a gash running from my hand to my shoulder. Blood dripped from it to the floor as I stood mesmerized at the scene before me.
        Is this it? I wondered. Was I supposed to listen to him, to believe him? Is this my mind's way of unleashing its anger at my ignorance? 
        I looked back at Frank who seemed to be screaming something. But all I heard was the high pitched ring.            
The cement rumbled around me and I looked for the source. Figures blurred by my dusty eyes walked through the door, where I had stood earlier, ready to leave. The ground shook again. Cement-encrusted tile fell from the ceiling, warning me of an imminent threat.  
But what is it? I wondered. Is this what Frank was saying? Is something really chasing him? 
I turned away from the door in time to see Frank, forming one word with his mouth, run.
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