Travels into the Breach (Excerpt)

The Lost Soul

It’s painful, perhaps too painful at times to be alive. In fact, at times he felt drenched in it. Odd how negativity so completely drowns out gentler emotions — love, hope, even joy.

The fear feels like a raging animal filled with pain and madness, desperate to alleviate it, somehow, any way possible.

He breathed in sharply, the emotion clinging acutely somewhere around his spine, specifically the lower back region. The solar plexus was usually where the more primal emotions were housed though he felt it everywhere.

Whoever said emotions weren’t physical, well, was more than mistaken. The intensity of it made him ill.

He walked into the hallway of the apartment building. The ceiling was high, the floor a black and white terrazzo pattern — small blocks — rather nonde­script, the doorways painted white, wooden.

Again, there was a wave of that intense emotion punching into his gut. How could anyone bear to live here?

“Numbness,” his companion commented to him. He glanced next to him, a tall stately, ebony skinned young man dressed in his 19th century English garb. Simon Tull was his sometime companion and his full-time spirit guide. He would see him, normally, when he traveled astrally – whether in dreams or as now on an excursion, an out of body excursion.

He was Malachi McKellan – primarily an esoteric author but from time to time a sort of paranormal investigator. He was in his mid-60s and was feeling more often than not that he was getting too old for this business. “One would have to be pretty numb to ignore this level of emotional disturbance.”

“Most people achieve a cultivated numbness, dismissive of their own feelings, or rather worse attrib­uting them to incorrect sources.”

Another wave of fear hit him acutely right in the middle of his stomach. It was true that if he didn’t understand this intense emotion did not belong to him that it would be extraordinarily disturbing to his peace of mind. He tried to clear his thoughts, separating himself from the unchecked negativity. But it was challenging. The place was thick with the cobwebs of unfiltered emotion. “It’s difficult,” he murmured.

“Yes, of course,” Simon grimaced; continuing to walk beside him but letting Malachi take the lead. Simon never relinquished his role as a mentor, or perhaps more aptly put guide. These exercises, though often disguised to help others, were still his learning ground. Simon’s function was to nudge him, at times strenuously nudge him, in the right direction, and also in the direction of Malachi’s personal evolution.

He stopped near the end of the long hallway staring at a wooden door — one with a bold number eleven painted in black on its white surface. “Still alive?” he asked.

“Unknown,” Simon answered.

And quite jarringly, even for those operating from the astral plane, the door flew open. Malachi stumbled backward a bit at the force of the action. In addition to the jolt of his sudden appearance, the man now before them was perfectly frightening. He was a young man, early twenties, skinny, grizzled, unshaven, eyes wide with terror, face with a nearly yellow pallor. But it was the blood that was so evident, still running from the slashes he’d made on his wrists — some dried, caked on his clothing, but most still fresh dripping out of the wounds.

“Are you the paramedics?” His voice rasped with fear. “I called days ago,” and then he frantically clutched his wounds. “I can’t get it to stop bleeding.”

Malachi took in a breath that felt like a knife of pain in his stomach. No, this one was definitely not alive, and that would make it much more complicated. “How long?” he murmured to Simon.

“About half a century,” he answered softly, clearly not trying to further agitate the monstrously agitated young man.

Good Lord, imagine being trapped in your own psychodrama for half a century.

Two days earlier

“It’s an older building, right on St. Charles Avenue. I’ve no idea how long it’s been there.”

Malachi sipped his blueberry tea. It was purported to be good for his nerves, though at the moment he couldn’t really attest to that. He’d been stuck somewhere deeply in the abyss of writer’s block when Adele Blanchard had dropped by unexpectedly to jar him further off course or perhaps just distract him a bit from his intended purpose.

“And your friend who looked at an apartment there, did she find something somewhere else?”

Adele seemed to perceptively bristle, straightening up in the rattan chair across from him on his screen porch. “Well yes, she found a lovely place off of Henry Clay Avenue, but it’s more than clear something is very wrong in that apartment building.”

He nodded, noting her blueberry tea still remained untouched on the glass coffee table in front of her. “You went there?”

“I was curious.”

He put his mug down and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes for a moment. “You were able to go inside?”

“Yes, I called, told them I wanted to look at the place.”

“To rent for yourself?”

“Well yes Malachi, otherwise —”

“Otherwise they wouldn’t have let you in.” He opened his eyes, feeling a dull throbbing somewhere in the middle of his forehead now.

“There is something very wrong there,” she muttered.

“No doubt, clearly you lost quite a bit of energy.”

“Do you think so?”

He shrugged. “Tell me what you felt.”

“Let’s see. The place was large, two-bedroom, high ceilings but window units. Not so unusual for an older building.”

He could concretely see the place in his mind as she described it. Quite unconsciously, it seemed that she was somewhat adept at transferring visual images. “No Adele, please, how did you feel there?”

“Oh yes of course, well it did feel cold, oddly cold since it was such a warm day outside.”

He could sense within the image the cold spots she’d felt. “What else?”

“I—” and she hesitated shifting a bit in her seat, “I felt strange as though it was difficult to breathe.”

It was clear that she’d tapped into others’ emotions there — powerful, tangible, negative emotions that translated physically. “You know you really shouldn’t seek these places out.”

“I thought you’d want to know Malachi. You know you’re very gifted with these sorts of things. Maybe you could do something to help there.”

“Not everything can be helped. Sometimes you have to simply let things be what they are,” he commented, perhaps a tad too dryly as he sipped his tea.

She did look a bit stunned, surprisingly as though he’d reached out and slapped her across the face. “But you’ve been given such abilities Malachi. I truly believe you should use them.”

He leaned back in his chair with no comment. How could he possibly explain this to her? Somewhere along the way his optimism and belief that he could fix and help every situation had dissipated. It had evolved into a sort of world-weary acceptance that every soul was involved in its own self-created drama, and yes at times its self-created hell. And the truth was that there was very little on the whole that he could do to make much of a dent in the misery in this world.

“You must understand, Adele, that acceptance is often a vital part of life. People choose their own paths for varied amounts of reasons, not the least of which is learning. We should invariably spend much less time judging what is good or bad but rather accept. We must allow others to go through life their own way, instead of trying to force what we believe should happen upon them.”

She sat up even more straightly, though he had not believed that was possible. Bristling further, yes perhaps that was an apt description here. “Malachi, what are you here to learn yourself, if you don’t even try?”

Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Klebert