“You’re new here I see.” The glow from this spirit had barely faded from the bright orange that cast every inter-quantum object around us in glaring relief.

Not fully in control of its collective energy the being undulated in amoebic pulses. “Where am I? Am I dead?”

“Dead? No, you’re not dead. But,” I paused to shift to the side away from the blob of crimson light that formed this person’s current expanse of fear. “You’re not technically alive either.”

The two of us sat, if sitting it be called, on a park bench along a path bordered with daffodils and crocus flowers, buds from the willow trees just starting to show above us; spring was busting its green head up and out of a dull grey winter.

“Where then?” she asked. It was female now I could see, her pulsing glow tapering off.

“This is Inbetween. A kind of quantum limbo your soul shifted to when your body died.” She reacted badly to that last word, as I knew she would. It’s better to shock them hard at first I’ve found, otherwise it takes them eons to adjust. Pow! You’re dead — but not really! Sadistic? Hmm, I prefer to think of it as being cruel to be kind.

“I remember… Wait. I can’t remember anything!” In her reaction she’d expanded her quantum perimeter enveloping the path, flowers and a tiny finch pecking at the bare dirt amongst  green stems. “I feel sunlight, and a breeze, and I have wings! And I smell the loam and pollen and, I’m floating!”

Her adaptation level surprised me. Most folks can’t interpret the sensations of the sub-atomic energies streaming out from all life’s physical matter. If it lived, it leaked.

“Slow down there sister. I want you to concentrate on the bare hum you feel. Can you hear it? Can you feel that susurration deep within your being? Focus on that.”

Her flare-up dwindled, she shrank back to a roughly humanoid shape. “I’m dead. I really am dead.” She held out her hand and found she could gaze right through it.

“No, not dead,” I corrected. “Once life, always life. What you are is transformed.” I could see her fringe starting to vibrate again, so I sped up my speech. “But that’s a good thing. Some say the best of things. Yeah, I know you can’t remember anything. Yet. But you will. The energies of your past experiences will catch up with you. They’re,” I searched for a phase that would be meaningful, “spread out.”

Around us humans walked and jogged and rode past, unaware. Mallards swam in a pond behind us, dipping their heads to browse. Gold-black bumblebees thrummed in the throats of flowers. The sky shown achingly blue. Once you got used to it you could concentrate and see past the air and clouds and see out into the galaxy, the universe. I sometimes drifted out that way. But lately, during my wait, I’d taken some solace in helping the newly arrived, adjust.

“Follow me,” I said and willed her quantum state to parallel mine. If you remained in limbo, as I have, you learn you can control more than just your own subatomic tunnels.

She continued to amaze me.

“This can’t be the afterlife can it? You said this was some sort of limbo.”

“Quantum limbo. Exactly. We’re in between attachments of our life state. You could call it ‘after body’.”

Her orange glow had shifted into a warm yellowish hue. She moved what she imagined as her feet in a walking fashion and noticed that I simply glided along. She quit her stroll but continue to keep up. “Wow,” I said, “you really are a fast learner.”

“I’m a teacher. I mean, I was a teacher.”

Her memories began to stream in now. Her color shifted yet again, now into a vibrant green.

“You’ll find that what you remember from your past life can be pared and shaped to suit what your current spirit finds pleasing. Forget the bad. Remember the good.” We’d drifted up above the tree tops now. The skyline of buildings and roadways fading as we moved out of town, out across the surrounding hills and out over the nearby mountains.

“How long have you been here?” she asked. “I mean, if this is in between, then what’s next? Are you stuck?”

I’d paused our passage at the top of a surrounding hill. I looked down and witnessed the millions of spirits, souls if you will, escaping their physical confines, lives ending, lives continuing on. From the tiniest insects to the largest mammals, from the smallest blade of grass to the immense oaks and pines. It had taken me enormous effort to learn to see these threads of energy. I doubt very much she could see them, as fresh as she was.

“I don’t know why I’m here. Or how long I’ve been this way,” I admitted. “I’ve tried, as best as one of my kind possibly could, to rationalize my situation. I’ve determined that at some point, after I’ve assisted as many people like you to assimilate, I keep a running count, I’ll move on as well.”

“Move on? To where?” Her questions now formed the telltale sign of the first stage of enlightenment. Her time here would be brief.

“We’ll that’s the question isn’t it. I’m pretty sure I’ve come to this spot having traversed thousands of physical bodies. Each one contributing nuances to this collection of quantum energies that exists before you. But to what end?” Without her realizing, or maybe because her own awareness had already subsumed the event in its entirety, we had lifted high above the planet surface floating out to where we could enjoy the graceful curve of the sphere below us.

Her color throbbed deep blue now. Her time, near.

“Will I remember this? Talking with you?”

“Perhaps.” I shaped my arms as an open hug and with my influence guided her aura into my embrace.

“Oh,” she exclaimed at last. “We’ve met before haven’t we? Many times before. I remember now.”

As her color shifted off the scale, through indigo and beyond, I guided her on to the next universe in her circuit. As we separated I pinched a tiny bit of her spirit to keep as my own. She’d never miss it; she headed off to gather vastly more of her own. “Yes, we’ve met often. On your next return you’ll almost be ready.”

“Ready for what?” Her whisper fading with her transcendence.

Six-million, seven-thousand, three-hundred and ninety-one, I counted to myself. “Ready to take my place (I hope).”