Going Back

Follows the events in Going Underground and Going Above and Beyond. A one shot story. Tom is given the chance to return to his home town. What will he find there and will he want to return ?

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1. Going Back

‘You have ten hours to explore before you need to be back’

The mechanical voice filled the bright light space eerily appearing to be coming from every direction. The metallic sound resonated in my brain.

‘Yeah and what happens if I want to stay’ I said to myself.

‘I will come and get you’ another voice said.

This time it was Seth’s voice beaming right into my mind. I slipped the anti-telepathy filter on, annoyed at myself for lowering it in the first place.

‘Seriously Tom, you need to come back, we’re letting you go back to record some video for our files. We could have sent a drone, but I thought it might be nice for you to go back’ Seth reiterated.

I sighed. It was nice of Seth after all that had happened to let me leave Afterworld and go back to my own town if only to update the vid channel. I was strangely looking forward to walking the streets again, checking out my old haunts even for such a short time. I was due to arrive in early morning when I could materialise without scarring anyone. Someone had once materialised in front of a street cleaner and shocked the poor bloke so much he had a heart attack there and then. Amusingly a few days later they had met in Afterworld and became good friends until they were both sent for rebirth.

‘Checking the location for animates’ The mechanical voice said.

This involved a small drone, the size of a small fly, out to check the area for people. The terminology animate was a slang used to call the living. It wasn’t particularly liked by many, except those in power, I winced at its use now. In spite of the revolution that had happened, somethings hadn’t changed.

‘Area clear, initiating transfer’

I closed my eyes, anticipating the leap. I knew that it could make me disorientated for a while. The arrival in Afterworld had been traumatic but I’d been assured this was nothing like that. As I stood I heard a whooshing as the coils providing the stasis field warmed up to their operating temperature. A slight crackling of electricity and then a sudden bang.

They were wrong, the transfer process was akin to being sucked through a funnel a little at a time and then being reconstituted at the other side. I now know how it must feel for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. As experiences go, it wasn’t the most pleasurable I’d had in my life, or even death. I felt the white light intensify even through my closed, clenched eyelids and then blackness.

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