Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story Tweeners

Tweeners by John Pirillo Fantasy short story

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I suppose you could call it a Parliament of Souls, for that's what it looked like to me as I swung in from the shadow zone into the in-between.

The in-between is a kind of suppository of lost souls that collect together for mutual benefit. They have decided to stay close to earth, so they don't go into that fab tunnel of light you see on television and the movies. Instead, they conglomerate around their own personal gripes and needs, complain, get nasty and generally make each other more miserable because they don't have physical bodies any more.

This brings me to the next part of this expose. They are called ghosts, discarnates, lost souls, wraiths, night shades, and numerous other names depending on the time period or culture...or temperament of the viewer or experiencer of these disgruntled and lost souls.

Now, I'm not saying they're pure evil. I don't believe in evil as such, only in beings or people whose motives are wrong. Just plain wrong. Don't like life, jealous if it, want to consume, annihilate or tear it apart because of their small minded natures.

And don't go telling me you don't know someone like that. They exist everywhere. Policemen. Teachers, Parents, friends, neighbors, politicians...don't even go getting me started on them, but mostly they are people...on our planet at least...who just don't get it.

They think life is about them. It's not. And they get whacked one day by life's short clauses...tuberculosis, cancer, car accident, heart attack, murder, etc....and they come up short on their self expectations.

Well, when you got that many people and there's quite literally billions of them and counting. And when you get that many of misguided souls, afraid of going into the Light, of finding a new life...instead of a new body...then you have chaos on Earth. And don't tell me you don't see that either. Murder. Violence. Cruelty. Perversion. Selfishness. Most of those vices are practiced and influenced by the angry souls of that in-between against those still lucky enough to get their act together.

Me, I'm just a lone soul who has been blessed, or cursed depending on which day of the week it is, to seek out and stop those engines of destruction from ruining or destroying the lives of the humans who still have a chance at doing some good in their lives.

I'm called the Shadow Man. Not because I'm some kind of supernatural hit man, or an occult magician who can raise clothes from tabletops. No, I'm simply a man who quite literally lives in the shadows. I can travel anywhere on the planet by stepping into one shadow and out of another. That can be quite disconcerting if you happen to step out into the wrong place. But I won't go into that aspect of my life at this time.

Suffice it to say that I'm a detective of sorts. I detect problems and do my best to solve them. Am I an angel? To some. To those I detect and remove. Not so much.

But one thing you must understand. Just because I fight against those Tweeners, doesn't mean I hate them, or want them to suffer. No I am just trying to stop them from heaping up more bad karma on them. Because one day they will have to go through that tunnel of light, willing or not, and then the weight of their choices must be faced. Good or bad.

I got up this morning with a bad on, which is probably why I've dwelled so long on the shadowy side of my life and those I work with, but it doesn't negate the fact that I'm a busy guy. I don't have a job like the rest of you. A nice eight to five or maybe an eleven to seven. No, my job's twenty four seven. No time for sleep. Rest or recreation.

How do I put up with it? Don't bother asking, I'm too tired to answer most of the time and even if I gave you a straight answer it might not make sense to you. Let's just say that I'm like a battery, but instead of getting charged up by electricity, I get charged up and sustained by my travel through the shadow lands.

I felt a slight shift of the shadows I was moving through at the speed of shadows. You laugh. You say shadows have no speed. Actually, they do. It's just shy of the speed of light, because it's always just this side of Light. It can't overtake Light; it's usually just right behind it, just like me right now.

I step forth from the travel lane I was in and stand in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard. A taxi veers to avoid striking me where I stand in the shadow of a stopped tourist bus.

“Whoops!” I curse, then slip back into the shadows and make a smaller hop.

There he is. The kid I was impressed to find and help.

He's alone, holding a balloon he obviously got from Circus Circus. But he was nowhere near that place. He was on the busy streets of Las Vegas Boulevard. Dangerous streets for a child of six.

He looked frightened and scared.

I saw someone standing near him, egging him on. It was an older child, freckle faced and angry. It had died a long time ago and was jealous of this younger one. It was its brother come to take its place in its family and hated the fact. It had stayed earthbound, an inbetweener in the Parliament of Souls, to keep an eye on its sibling and quite frankly kill him if possible.

How can a young boy think such thoughts? And you've never? Imagine if you could have such thoughts and actually act on them and no one could put you in jail. Well, that's how these Tweeners think. No repercussions. No good deed goes unrewarded, because they're not about good deeds, but instead about getting their way. And in this case it was having his younger brother get lost from his parents and step out into the street and get run over by a bus or car.

I leaped from the shadow of the bus stop I had landed at, scaring several older women sipping on their drinks from the casino, and flew across the street, dodging honking cars. I made it to the other side and snatched the young boy to safety.

He began to cry.

“Don't worry, Mom and Dad, will be here soon.”

He kept crying. I felt helpless. I'm not much of the hugging type, but I relented and held him close. A shadow fell across me. Actually two, the inbetweener and the Daddy, who looked both frightened and grateful.

I stood up and handed the child over. “God, thank you!” He said, his voice breathless. Evidently he had spotted his child about to be stuck the same time as I had leaped in and saved him. “I don't know how to thank you.”

I smiled and looked at the older inbetweener child who was drilling holes in me with his angry eyes. “Just remember to send love to your lost child. It'll help both of them.”

And with those cryptic words dangling in the air before the Daddy, and the inbetweener giving me a stunned look I began walking away, instead of stepping into a shadow.

I didn't see the inbetweener begin to cry as his father teary eyed said. “I'm sorry if we haven't sent you love as much as we could. Forgive me.”

The inbetweener child began to cry and behind him a tunnel of white light opened up.

Yeah! I didn't see all the holy glory going on behind me, but I felt this charge of energy in my body that more than made up for it. I missed the sight of the inbetweener stepping into the tunnel of Light and being greeted by all those cool beings on the other side.

It's not that I didn't want to see it, it just wasn't part of my plan I guess. But somehow I knew it was happening and felt better for it until I saw a shadow ahead, safely hidden from others. I stepped into it. A man's job is never done. And vanished.


To see more of John Pirillo's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit John Pirillo's Website.

Images used for the story are from John Pirillo

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I suppose you could call it a Parliament of Souls, for that\'s what it looked like to me as I swung in from the shadow zone into the in-between. The in-between is a kind of suppository of lost souls that collect...

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