The Pellegrine

Soul Lark

Book VI
Magi at Work

Chapter 8
A Better End on Uranus

© The author reserves all rights to this work.


This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.

NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.

Date: 13 February 2674, Friday

As if he had read my mind, I heard Boris’ voice and his hand on my shoulder.

“Hi there Max, couldn’t wait for dinner to meet me?”

I turned around to see his smiling face. He lost his smile when he saw me. “What’s wrong, Max?” he asked.

I realised then that my eyes were wet. I saw Boris’ tender eyes and I realised that I had taken advantage of this nice man. I started sobbing harder. Boris put his arms around me to comfort me. I cried myself out and felt better. However, I had not said anything to Boris. I realised that like Heath, I had to face the truth. The truth never binds unless it is hidden. The truth may hurt but it also frees.

“I have a confession to make, Boris,” I said quietly after looking up at him.

“I’m not a religious man, Max.”

“No, I mean that I need to tell you something that I’ve kept from you.”

Boris frowned, “Well, we’ve just been friends for less than twenty hours, I wouldn’t call anything you haven’t said as keeping something from me.”

“This is something that I should’ve said right at the beginning,” I insisted.

“What is it?” Boris asked gently.

“I came here to die.”

Boris had a look of wonder in his eyes. I presumed he didn’t understand what I just said.

“Boris, I came to Uranus because I knew that it would be easy to obtain OCMA. After lunch I bought myself a batch of the pills, intending to take them tonight after our dinner together.”

“What? … Why? …” Boris asked and stood up. He was looking very agitated. His manner made me more disturbed that I began to weep again. Boris saw me weeping again and calmed himself down. He sat down beside me again and asked, “You’ve changed your mind, haven’t you?”

I looked up at him, dried my tears and said, “I don’t know. Look Boris, I was fed up of life. I was empty inside. I had kept myself away from people because I was so afraid of being hurt. I smiled when someone smiled at me and was courteous but for a long time, I daren’t make any close friends. All that changed when I reached Uranus. Boris, they called me friend. In a span of about twenty-four hours, I have become friend of two people and another person who thinks that I’m someone good.”

“That would be me?” Boris asked.

“Yes. I’ve never met anyone like you. I admit that I wasn’t attracted to you one bit last night but during lunch today, I felt so utterly comfortable with you. I’m afraid Boris. I’m afraid that I won’t be the friend you think I am. I’m afraid that I’m not the person those two men think I am. The truth is, I’d never come forward to help anyone in this manner before. I’d never been so forward with anyone before. Perhaps the thought that I was going to end it all gave me some strange courage that I hadn’t had before. Before, everything I wanted to do had to be thought of carefully. Since arriving here, I’d nothing to lose, really, in acting without careful thinking. Now I think I stand to lose this feeling of being accepted as who I am, of being part of someone’s life if I just give up.”

Boris looked at me and his eyes were beginning to show evidence of tears. He hugged me tightly and said, “Max, I know how you feel. I know what it’s like to be hurt. I know what it’s like not to be accepted for who you are. But think, we’re two fellows in the same boat. What’s more, we’re comfortable with each other. Please don’t give up. I, myself, have contemplated suicide before but I couldn’t find the courage to do it. Like you, I’d nothing to look forward to. There was very little meaning in my life. I was getting older and was becoming the dirty gay old man. I didn’t have a partner, no relatives who’d accept me … no one. When I met you yesterday, my life suddenly had meaning. There was someone who was able to accept me as I am. I had a friend! Now that you’ve revealed yourself to me, I find even more meaning. We’re meant to find each other and help each other through life. We’re friends. Don’t leave me, please.”

“Boris,” I said, “I don’t want to leave, too. At this moment, I don’t know if you still want to be my friend.”

Boris smiled. “Of course! I needed someone and you appeared. Now I find that I’m also needed by the person who answered my need. This is a real blessing for me!”

I just broke into a smile and hugged him. Somehow, I felt liberated. It was not the same feeling of liberation I felt when I made my decision to end my life. This was different. It was sweeter and it felt better. It felt like a beginning, like the anticipation of good things to come. It was nothing like the definite end kind of liberation I felt when I got onto the flight for Uranus.

“Perhaps, it would be good to talk about what happened since you arrived here on Uranus,” said Boris. I began my story …

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

Jorg appeared next to Jacques and Heath as Boris and Max were in conversation. The trio looked at the direction of the two men and communicated through psychic means.

*Do you think that we managed to pull it off?* Jacques asked.

*I think you did. I can only sense relief in Boris and a sense of release from Max,* replied Jorg.

*The question’s whether they’d be able to sustain each other from now,* added Heath in a very pensive mood.

*That,* indicated Jorg, *will depend a lot on how they work out their problems and their relationship.*

*Do you think it will blossom to love?* asked Jacques.

*What do you think?* Jorg turned to Jacques.

*I hope so.* replied Jacques. *I think they make a cute couple, even though they are quite mature.*

*Love, in any form, friendship or couple love, needs time and effort to develop. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it isn’t. The little performance that we gave was a real eye-opener. It gave me a lot of things to think about,* Heath commented. *Jacques and I went through some tough times because we cared enough about each other. I think that we do take each other for granted sometimes and this experience has made me realise that we shouldn’t take each other for granted.*

*That is very sagely advice Heath,* remarked Jorg.

*It’s just my experience,* replied Heath. *The Heath that I portrayed had many elements of the real Heath. There are things that I’d thought shouldn’t be said because I didn’t want to risk an argument or a conflict. I’ve just realised that there’d be even more trouble if I wasn’t honest.*

Jorg sighed.

*Why the sigh, Jorg?* asked Jacques.

*Your partner has said something very true and yet it’s incomplete,* replied Jorg. *Honesty’s usually the best policy but the truth is something very delicate. Sometimes, withholding the truth may be more important. Sometimes the most honest thing to do is to withhold the truth. The truth’s a double edged sword. It can slice both ways. The important thing’s to see whether the truth’s really needed in a situation. Sometimes the truth brings more harm in the end but most of the time it hurts in the beginning and liberates in the end. There must be a lot of thinking if the truth’s likely to bring about a very complex situation.*

*Why do I think that I’ve just gone through another lecture from Jorg?* Jacques asked looking at Heath.

Heath smiled because he knew how Jacques felt. *Because he’s our instructor. We’re in magi training with him. Whatever we do, we’re like his apprentices. We’ve yet to become complete magi but we’re getting our powers increased very quickly.*

*It was a good thing that Talia told us about Max,* Jacques said, *or else he’d be another statistic in the newspapers.*

*How did Talia know that Max was going to kill himself?* Heath asked Jorg.

*Three years ago, once I discovered who both of you really were, I asked my contacts to trace three different DNA patterns: one real and two dummies. Max’s profile fit one of those profiles.*

*So you mean that Max is a distant cousin?* Jacques asked.

*Could be …* Jorg answered mysteriously.

Jacques and Heath knew better than to ask for more details because the eavesdropper was still at large.

*I put a tab on some of the profiles detected. Max was one of them. Talia moved into his neighbouring flat just so as to monitor him. Talia had always sensed a loneliness and melancholy in Max, but two weeks ago, she discovered that he’d this air of finality and certainty in him. His melancholy had left. She thought that maybe Max had met someone. A little checking told her that that wasn’t the case. Max had closed all his credit accounts except one. He sold his vehicle and made a will. He’s leaving everything he owned to Rick’s son and daughter. His old friend still keeps in contact with Max but Max avoids saying more than necessary. In many ways, Rick still cares for Max but as a little brother. When Talia noticed that he did all these within a few days, she smelled something fishy. She followed him mentally and found out that he was planning to buy the OCMA pills here. With a little help, we managed to close down the operation here and get two of our friends to help us with the ruse. Even if Max had swallowed the pills, he wouldn’t have died. However, I think that if Max were to have swallowed the pills tonight, we’d have failed in our mission and Max would’ve been dead, figuratively speaking.*

*So, is this what magi do most of the time? Saving people?* Jacques asked.

Jorg nodded.

*But there are many others who aren’t saved,* protested Jacques.

*True, we can’t pick and choose whom we save. If the person’s known to us, we do it. Most of the time, we don’t know, and we can’t possibly invade people’s minds just to save them. Even in Max’s case, we couldn’t just change his mind. He’d to change his mind on his own. We just showed him the best possible route and maybe pushed his cart a little, but he still needed to decide. When magi start deciding for others, it can become an abuse.*

*You mean that we intrude on their individual freedom?*

*No. The magi’s idea of freedom is not just a freedom of choice. It’s also the freedom from the wrong ideas, freedom from being trapped in a certain ways of thinking, freedom from circumstances that causes wrong choices. Magi abuse this freedom when we bind people to a certain way of acting.*

*Didn’t we just do that with Max?* asked Heath.

*No. We freed him from his narrow view that his life was worthless and his life was meaningless. We knew why his life was meaningless: he made it so by shutting out people from his life. We merely showed him what including people can do and he chose what he wanted. We didn’t condition his mind nor force him to think in our way. When he made the choice to live, it was because he realised that he was bound by wrong ideas … They’re coming round. I think it is time that you made a final appearance,* Jorg said.

‡ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ‡

Jacques and Heath walked towards Max and Boris.

“Sorry for interrupting,” Jacques said.

“You weren’t interrupting,” said Max. He cleared his throat and introduced his new friends to one another. “Boris, this is Jacques and Heath,” and turning to the couple he said, “Jacques and Heath, this is Boris.”

“You’re the guy at the bar last night,” Heath said with a grin.

“Yes. I’m very pleased to meet the both of you,” said Boris.

“What bar?” Jacques asked.

“Well, after the Pink Flamingo, I needed a drink. I brought Max to the bar at Sector Zeta seven.”

“You mean the gay bar?” Jacques asked with his eyes wide.

“That’s the one. I wanted to get drunk but Max wouldn’t allow me. That’s when he really started to help me,” said Heath. “You aren’t angry, are you?”

“No, just surprised. I didn’t think you’d know the place,” muttered Jacques.

“Stick with me, pal. You’ll learn a lot more about me,” grinned Heath.

“I plan to,” said Jacques with a smile.

“Sorry for the side-track,” said Heath to Boris. “I’m very pleased to meet you again.”

“I’m pleased to meet you too,” said Jacques.

Boris was grinning at the two of them. He turned to Max. “You’ve done well, Max. They’re talking just like two married men, married to each other!”

Jacques and Heath blushed.

“Let’s not embarrass them, Boris,” Max said finally. “Why don’t we get ready for dinner. Boris and I were supposed to have dinner at seven, why don’t the both of you join us. It’s only five. We’ll have plenty of time to get ready for dinner.”

“You’ve got to dress formal,” Boris informed them. “We’re going to dine first class.”

“Isn’t that going to be expensive?” Max asked, knowing that he did not have much money.

“No problem. I’m giving the treat,” said Boris.

Thus, Max Cole, unaware of what had been happening, changed his mind. He came to Uranus to end his life, seeking release from his troubled life. He found a better end to his troubles by truly living his life. In the end, he found a better end in Uranus.

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