Carl returned in a matter of minutes. I nearly let myself fall asleep enveloped in the comfort of the feathery sofa when he cleared his throat to awaken me.
“So, what did you find out?” I asked yawning.
“You can have a Cinderella deal. No other timelines or eras, but you can have something unusual happen to you that would otherwise be found in a movie.” Carl said looking at me in a ‘I still can’t just tell you’ sort of way.
“So if I said fighting a dragon, or fighting demons that only I can see while wearing angelic armor, or vampires then I could do that?” I asked.
“So glad you have an active imagination Gemma.” he said almost annoyed.
“well, I might end up charbroiled by a dragon and that would suck. I’d be put in a mental hospital by the end of the day fighting demons only I could see, which also would suck. So… what about vampires. The word up here is that they are totally real.” I blathered out.
“Yes, they are real. And you would die. But, you’d have to decide to follow the rules about that and I don’t know that you could withstand that kind of temptation.” Carl said.
“I don’t understand.” I said mistified.
“It’s not my decision. I asked on your behalf and God said yes. I don’t think he means for you to understand until it’s the right time either.” Carl continued.
“So, I can be killed by a vampire this time?” I asked.
“Apparently so. Just keep your head on straight. That’s all I can tell you.” Carl told me as he stood and revealed a scaly black old fashioned key in his hand. “Follow me if you please. I can’t just let you drift off for this one. You have to go through a mirror door to access this kind of death.”
“What does a mirror door do that’s different?” I asked, hesitant.
“To make this one happen, you’ll have to be temporarily resurrected. So you’ll have to be alive for real, only to die at exactly 1:23 am.” he said.
“So, I’ll be alive as I am now? No pneumonia?” I pressed on.
“Yes, no illness, no tent on the beach, no backpack with money. Just the shirt on your back and the way you are now. Keep in mind that you’ve been gone for years Gemma. Don’t visit your family. It won’t end well.” Carl told me.
“I wasn’t going to. I think I’d just make them feel worse if I did. I’m doing this for me.” I said.
Carl put the key in a mirror behind the door to his office. It rippled like water until a slow sunset on the sandy shore of home came into view. I stepped through the mirror onto the cool sand, still damp from the receding tide and breathed the salty air.
For the first time since dying repeatedly, I felt at peace and at home.