The Story of Olivier Part III

I

The entry back into the World of the Living was a lot less painful than I had expected. Although I could not remember my initial birth into this world, I can remember the cries of discomfort from my brother when he was born. Despite my lack of memory, I was certain I was no more happy than he was about the entry. This arrival was less extravagant than my other trips across the worlds. I guess it was because I knew what to expect this time . . . well, mostly. There was no pain involved at all with the transition. There was no loud noises or real change of feeling in the surroundings. Of course, since I had once been alive, the World of the Living was not a big surprise.

Like my arrival into the World of the Dead, everything was peaceful and quiet. After all, I did not immediately enter into my torture and pain that was my due. The haze of weariness and agony from my quiet times in the World of the Dead remained with my spirit, but it did not increase as I stood there. I would soon learn to ignore it. I still was horribly chilled, but I knew there was warmth on the outside around me. If I could escape the aura that enveloped me, I could step back from my being into that comfort. I sighed inwardly. I was dead and damned. What right did I have to desire the warmth of the living? Michael and the Guardian gave me more than I deserved. All the same, I was like an opium addict. The more I received, the more I wanted. I would have given anything to bask in the warmth of a summer day again.

I clutched my shirt at my heart at the memory of my brother and all that he had given me. I would never be with Michael again. This was his choice, his wish. I should grant him that. The authorities of the dead would see to it that his wish was carried out. The corners of my mouth quirked. I could still make him proud of me. All I had to do was get his son's signature upon my contract. If Alteng could forgive me, I would be pardoned. I would not have to face my tormentors again. Michael still said he did not want me around, and he could not forgive me. Yet, I think that if I succeeded in gaining forgiveness for my greatest crime, then a part of him would let the hatred go.

If I remain conscious when I return or even continue to exist, maybe, Alteng will visit me once he dies. Maybe, he will tell my brother that I was not such a bad being after all. I shook my head fiercely. I was getting ahead of myself. Yet, it was completely incredible to me that I had got this far.

I forced my mind to concentrate on where I now stood. The sensation is hard to explain. I knew I was underground, and if I could breathe, I would find the air close and stifling. Somehow I was aware of this and shuffled my feet. I bit my lip and reached out my hand to touch the rock, but it was almost like moving through open air. A tickling sensation moved through my hand and wrist, and I frowned. I held my hand. I was solid to myself, but the world around me was not. Although the feel was not hurtful, it was foreign. I did not like it. I would avoid doing such things in future. I shuddered at the thought of what it would be like to pass through a living being.

I swallowed hard and turned my face forward. Although I could smell the must and the soil of the underground, a barrage of other scents assaulted me. In the World of the Dead, I could smell few things and they were often faint. I could not smell other souls though. It was as if the World of the Dead was surreal and nothing truly existed there. The claws and the whips were real enough. I drew in a deep breath for strength. I would not have to face them for a short while yet. I forced a smile. Maybe, I would hear cheerful voices and be wanted as a friend and a family member here. I just needed to be strong. The Tönnins were unknown to me before I sought their forgiveness. I had made a friend of the Guardian, and he was a stranger before I had died. I clasped my hands together and let the hope wash over me.

From the indication of my senses, I knew someone was not far in front of me. How could I explain this? It is true his scent was in that menagerie of scents. Yet, I was not used to what was what to properly interpret these, and they seemed rather distant as if I was smelling them through a curtain. No, I knew that this being stood not more than five feet ahead of me for a different reason. It was like the tingle of energy washing over me. It was like the shock that one feels in winter when touching something metal, but it was not near as painful. The tingle was steady and ruffled the incorporeal hairs of my body in a pleasant and warm way. I wanted to draw nearer to the source and touch this person. Was this what it was like to be alive? I wanted to be bathed in the warmth of life, but caution held me back. I knew what I was, and I would not be welcomed.

I bit my lip hard. I suspected I knew who stood before me. The authorities of the Dead and even the Guardian were always direct with me about what they had planned for me. With no experience with these new sensations, I needed not guess who was here. It had to be my nephew. I dropped my hands to my sides and clasped them into fists. A tremble ran down my throat and shook my whole body. I knew in my heart that this reunion would not be a good one.

He gasped suddenly. I wanted to take a step backwards. The strange immaterial, uncomfortable feeling of the solid object ran up my back. I was against a wall. I refused to have that feeling run through my whole being, and I did not want to be lost in solid rock forever. I might as well face my tormentors again.

My insides churned. Although this was my whole purpose in being here, I greatly feared this confrontation. Yet, I could have had a thousand years to prepare for this moment, and I would still not be ready.

Ever since I was told that Alteng was to have been my heart's desire in the World of the Dead, I wanted to beg my nephew's forgiveness. Now that I was here and given the chance, I was afraid and did not know where to start. It was all so ridiculous. I mentally cursed myself. I swallowed hard and straightened my back. I had to do this. I was obligated to do this. It was my own stupidity and paranoia that had caused his hardships and permanently marred his perfect body. If my repentance was true, I had to confront him.

I reached out my hand and stepped forward. His presence seemed so far away, but my hand made contact with his shoulder. He gave a sharp cry and pulled away from my touch. He was solid to me! I held my hand and turned my face towards him. Were all living beings solid to me? Could this be because they had soul and I could touch the spirit? I furrowed my brow. Did my touch hurt him? Did it freeze him like I had heard a ghostly touch will? Why would the authorities allow me to hurt an innocent? Alteng was not at fault for my crimes.

Swallowing hard, I took a step backwards and bowed to him with every inch of my body trembling. If I had been alive, I would have completely lost control and collapsed before him. Gathering what little courage I had, I spoke. "Hello, Alteng."

Silence followed. Could he be afraid of me as much as I was of him? I shook my head fiercely. Alteng was never a coward like me. He could not be possibly afraid of me.

"O . . . Olivier!" he stuttered. "It can't be. I-I killed you! You're . . . You're dead!"

I forced myself not to run or approach him. The former would have been a more logical solution. I could have ran away and I would not have to face this confrontation. Of course, this action would neither let me have my say to my young nephew nor would it get my contract signed. With an effort, I stood there before him wringing my hands. I opened my mouth to explain why I was here when I really should not be, but I did not get the chance.

Sharp pain cut across my shoulder into my chest. His presence was soon gone with his running feet. I grasped the inflicted wound and crumpled to my knees. After all I had been through, I was completely surprised the affliction touched me at all. I squeezed my eyes closed. The pain was ten times worse than anything I felt in the World of the Dead. That is saying quite a bit after the horrors they did to me after the Elysium Fields and the increasing of my pain levels.

I hung my head. What was I to do? I had made contact with my nephew, but he was afraid of me. Yes, I was a ghost, or, at least, that was what I figured I was. I had died at his hand. I should not be in this world at all, but I meant him no harm. He had nothing to fear from me. I curled up into a ball and rocked back and forth. How was I to achieve my goal?

I knew I should try to follow him, but I could not right away. I only sat in my misery and wept about my situation. I did not know what I could say to him to amend things. I was completely at a loss.