Back at the bank, we sat down with Analise and Triana to discuss why we had just seen our daughter make someone disappear. By now we’d worked out that Triana was being trained as a deliverer, but it hadn’t really sunk in until now what the job actually involved. I thought back to the woman whose aura Triana had described to us on the street – when she realised Triana was watching her she reacted like she’d seen a monster. Now we knew why.
“I’m sorry if that scared you,” said Triana. “I thought you knew that was what I’d be doing. You do understand that I didn’t hurt him, don’t you?”
“As deliverers, we can only move on people who know in their hearts it is time to go,” explained Analise. “We don’t get to make judgements, persuade spirits or hunt them down. When they are ready for us, we are called to them.”
“So you’re basically Death?” said Steph.
“In a manner of speaking,” Analise replied. “But that’s not all that we do. We keep an eye on spirits generally and help them on their way when we can.”
“It’s all about energy,” said Triana. “Remember when I said that without mess there is no life? Well, all those little quirks and differences people have, the connections they make, all the funny things they do and think they have to make excuses for, it all generates life energy. When that energy runs down, the universe moves you on to somewhere new. Eventually you find the place where you create energy forever.”
Analise smiled like a proud teacher. “I told you she was special”, she said.
“That man you saw?” said Triana, “his name was Gavin. When he was alive he’d run away from his family. He’d had some bad debts, couldn’t stand the pressure, thought they were better off without him, started drifting and self-medicating. At some point he died, but it wasn’t even an event for him at that point, he’d long since checked out. When he got to this plane he carried on wandering, tried different jobs, had a few adventures and eventually hit total recall. That was when he remembered the wife and daughter that he’d left.
He told me he’d always wanted to go back to them, to reconnect, to see his daughter grow up, but never felt like he could. And now he really couldn’t, he wanted to even more. He asked me if I thought she missed him, what her life might be like, whether she would resent him for leaving. He had come to believe that one day they would be reunited, but knew that it wouldn’t happen here. In short, he was begging to move on, to be released from this plane.”
“How did it feel when he disappeared in your arms?” asked Steph.
“It sounds weird, but it just felt right,” said Triana. “This huge feeling of cosmic resolution, of a chapter reaching its end to make way for another. I felt that way when we died too and wasn’t sure what to make of it. I should have been horrified, I’d just died in a brutal car smash before I even had the chance to be a teenager, let alone an adult, but I somehow knew it was leading to something, especially when I realised you were here with me.”
“What about us?” asked Steph. “How long are we here for?”
“Ultimately that is up to you,” interjected Analise. “But I hope you’ll at least stick around to finish bringing up your daughter.”
“Of course,” said Steph. “We couldn’t imagine being anywhere without her.”
“Here’s how I see it,” said Analise. “Triana would have been homeschooling for at least another 3-5 years, so I suggest we carry that on. She won’t be able to sit exams or gain qualifications because of the whole no-schools thing, but you can still study the same subjects and we’ll help out in every way we can. I will continue to train her as a deliverer, eventually she’ll find out where exactly she’s meant to be. She’s always going to have the appearance of a twelve year old girl on a plane where she’s the only child – I’m not sure how the universe will work that one out because deliverers usually hide in plain sight, but I guess we’ll find out together.”
“Won’t it be difficult having no other kids around?” I asked.
“You mean all those other kids I went out and socialised with on absolutely no occasions ever?” said Triana sarcastically. “Seriously, Dad, I’ll be OK.”
So for the next few years we carried on as we had done. Steph and I took turns ostensibly homeschooling Triana, who continued to blow our minds daily at a cosmic level. At least once a week she would come to work with us to spend the day with Analise, who checked on her progress and taught her the things we couldn’t. Meanwhile our day to day work at Charon Bank was like being in a control room looking out over a city of dreamers, all following their own little paths, all with unique stories to tell. I may not have been able to read auras, but I definitely saw patterns; once you knew about custodians and trinities it wasn’t hard to pick out the spirits concerned.
The creator-overseers were easiest to spot, being as they were at the head of their respectives organisations. Even in the mortal plane there would always be someone similar to a maintainer, the doer who stood knowingly in the background while making everything happen for the public figurehead of the company. The deliverers were a little harder to spot – as Analise had mentioned, they hid in plain sight. So the main way we got to know them was when Analise took Triana to meet them as part of her training.
Triana approached these meetings in much the same way as she had during her project on religious leaders. They were a diverse group of individuals who shared a penchant for deep, dark philosophy and a sense of responsibility both to the people around them and to some kind of universal higher power, so Triana had common ground with them straight away. Some were openly religious towards one faith or another, others merely spiritual in an open agnostic manner. They all were accustomed to reading auras, so upon meeting Triana they immediately knew she was one of them and wanted to help her find her way – they’d all had to come to terms with becoming agents of death, knew the loneliness the job entailed and were glad to be able to help others on the same path.
One of the more religious deliverers ran the office at Morior Studios. Her name was Susan, she was a devout Christian who frequently spoke in bible references. Not in an evangelical way – I never got the impression she was trying to persuade or convert anyone, but it was important to her that she could frame her role within the understanding of her personal faith mission. Triana later told me she sensed a morbid, visceral streak in Susan which she, Susan, wasn’t particularly comfortable with, so maybe bible study was her way of denying that. She followed God in order to consciously reject the Devil.
Susan also had something else to offer Triana in the capacity of her ‘front’ job.
“As part of the resources we offer visiting film companies, we maintain a database of spirits willing to work as extras,” she told us as we sat in her office. “It’s sporadic, casual work, but there is particular demand for certain types, one of which is people who can convincingly play child roles. As you know, there aren’t real child actors here or children generally, so the spirits on that list mostly died as young adults in their late teens or early twenties with petite builds and baby faces. Obviously you, Triana, look the part better than any of them, so if it’s something you’re interested in I can put you forward to casting directors. Be careful what you let on, you’ll freak everyone out if they realise you died as an actual child and are a deliverer to boot – but it’ll give you a chance to get out, interact with regular spirits and practice passing as normal.”
Triana loved the idea. She’d never thought of herself as a performer and had no daydreams of movie stardom, but wanted the chance to do an actual job where she could work with other people. We’d been on the post-mortal plane for a good few years at this point, so even though Triana still looked like a twelve year old girl she was approaching eighteen in equivalent years. It wasn’t a conventional job, but it had come at the right time and was particularly suited to her.
“Don’t forget,” said Susan. “Analise will have told you this already, but be careful what you say to the other spirits you go to work with, especially the ones who haven’t hit recall yet. I’ll be around to keep an eye on you, but you cannot tell them anything about this plane that they haven’t already worked out, including the fact that they’re dead. Don’t tell them you’re a deliverer unless you’re sure they can handle it, if that happens it’s up to you whether to take them into your confidence. If in doubt check their auras and come to me or Analise if you have any concerns at all. We’re here to help you through it.”
“How many spirits have you told?” asked Triana. “Before you saw them on business, of course.”
“Not that many,” Susan replied. “The first was a woman named Aisha who was working in this office when I first started here. She hit total recall soon after meeting me and worked out how everything worked shortly after, including what my true role was. She was a very spiritual person, very big on the concept of death and rebirth, and helped me a lot in coming to terms myself. Lately another couple of ladies came to work here who have what it takes to process the truth, I can tell they’re close to working it out and aren’t fazed by it. You’ll come to treasure these kinds of relationships, but they really are rare and if you try to push spirits into that role you will cause a lot of trouble.”
“What about us?” asked Steph. “Should we be keeping out of the way?”
“There’s no harm in you being around to help,” said Susan. “I could even put you on the extras list yourselves if you want. But remember Triana will be mixing with adults playing child roles, so don’t be too parenty. Give her as much independence as you can.”
We heard from Susan again about a month later, inviting Triana to come and take part in a film being made on their premises.
“It’s a simple non-speaking role among a group of other child-playing extras, so it’ll be a good chance to learn the ropes,” she said. “They’re filming in the main house at Morior so I’ll be right there with you. Are you ready to go?”
Triana was absolutely ready. It was time for her to start her new front job.