Life after Life

by Aline de Chevigny

Sam cursed. “You have got to be kidding me!”
“No Samantha I’m not, you died twenty minutes ago at Saviors of Mercy.”
“But he said it was routine, the worst that would happen was I’d have a larger scar.”
“He was wrong, he waited too long to operate.”
Sam glared, some Guardian Angel she ended up with. He stood there, looking sheepish wearing his scuffed cowboy boots, tired Stetson, black tee and tight fitting jeans held up by the largest, shiniest silver buckle she'd ever seen. Normally she’d sit back and enjoy the view, today she was pissed. Not to mention Dead.
“Where were you, the Rodeo? You buddy are supposed to be my Guardian Angel!”
“Yes, I am.”
“Don’t you mean yes you were?”
“No I am! At least until I get you to your after life.”
Sam looked him over; “Maybe I should ask someone else to escort me there. I mean you haven’t exactly done a bang up job so far.”
“Now that’s a little unfair don’t you think?”
Disgusted, Sam turned and walked away. After a few moments she realized that she hadn’t gone anywhere and her Guardian Angel still stood two feet in front of her. His ocean blue eyes twinkling with mischief while he grinned at her. Crossing her arms she glared at him.
“Why can’t I leave?”
“You haven’t chosen a destination yet.”
“Okay Cowboy, what are my options here?”
“What do you want? And please Samantha call me Austin.”
Sam snorted at him. “Austin?”
Seeing his frown she threw up her hands in self defense. “Okay, okay sorry. So my life wasn’t perfect but I liked it and I want it back.”
“Wish I could darlin'.”
“Then what else is there?”
“You could start over, rejoin the pool.”
“Reincarnation? You mean do the baby thing again, risk getting stuck in a worse place that I just left? No way. Forget it.”
“But you just said…”
“Yeah my ADULT life wasn’t bad. The childhood thing was hell on earth and I’m not doing it again.”
“How about another level of the wheel?”
“Are you suggesting I should go down the evolution chart or up?”
“I could see you as a feisty mare, pampered by her Cowboy.”
Sam glared at him, “You’d have sores on your backside that would never heal.”
She watched as Austin threw back his head and laughed at her sally. “How about entering the Elysian Fields?”
She watched him wave his hand over a section of the white wall where a window appeared. Looking inside she watched as people lounged about laughing and talking. The world looked green and soothing. Not exactly interesting or intriguing in her mind.
“No thanks, it looks awfully dull down there.”
She could feel Austin’s eyes on her, as he weighed and measured her. “Then how about Atlantis?”
“Atlantis? Do I look like a fish to you?”
“Look before you decide.” He motioned to another section of white wall space.
Sam looked in. She saw regally dressed couples walking around, nodding formally to one another and shuddered. Too structured, too polished. She wanted fun, not strict rules of conduct.
She looked at Austin mischievously. “How about your world?”
“Yeah, I could do the whole Guardian Angel thing and I know who I would want to guard over.”
She'd intrigued him. “Tell me who would you guard over Samantha?”
“Wanna-be writers. They could use a Guardian Angel to watch over them. Someone to whisper encouragements when they falter. Someone to nudge them when it’s needed. Someone to put ethereal arms around them in comfort when they get their first rejection.”
“You can’t force anyone to listen to you. It’s not as easy as it seems.”
“You think, Cowboy?”
“Listen Samantha, I’m sorry about not being there. It was your time. I wasn’t allowed to interfere, only be here for you when you arrived.”
“Looking like that?”
“One of the rules, that we bent for you.”
“Rules? What rules?”
“Well I passed on at a Rodeo. So I go through my afterlife wearing what I had on when I died.”
Sam narrowed her eyes at him, “Forget it Austin, I am not going through my after life in a hospital gown.”
His grin made her want to punch him. “What?”
“You weren’t wearing the gown during the operation. So…” He continued quickly before she could scream at him. “I chose your favorite outfit from life, exactly what you’re wearing right now.”
“I’ll go submit your petition, you think about alternatives in case they say no.”
Sam sat there looking around. She couldn’t tell how big or small the room was or if it even ended. So she decided to take Austin’s advice and try to choose an alternative. As she walked through the hall windows would open as she passed giving her a glimpse of other afterlives.
Some were hot and tropical, some looked like party central. One even looked like a nunnery she noted. A shiver ran through her at the thought. But in the end she couldn’t choose, she wanted to do something with her afterlife, not fade away.
Austin returned hours later, she thought it was hours later, but in here she couldn’t tell. “So tell me what did they say?”
Austin grinned at her and nodded towards the door that had appeared next to him.


“I can’t do this guys, my writing sucks tonight.”
“No it doesn’t, you’re just tired. Put it aside and try working on it tomorrow.”
“No I think I…..”
‘Don’t even think about it young Lady, I know you have talent and you will finish that chapter tonight even if I have to Nag at you until it’s done.’ Sam whispered into her charge’s ear.
Sam watched as her charge smiled and bent back down to continue writing. “I love this job.”
“I knew you would.” Austin told her with a grin. “You died for this.”

Originally published in the e-zine Deep Magic's July 2005 Issue 38