Looking to escape your old life and start a new one? Then you need to visit me. Who am I? I’m Richard LaFayette and I’m the
director of Eternal Escapes Funeral Home. Wait, don’t panic. Yes, we offer the traditional services for those who have passed, but
we also offer additional services for those who need to escape this life. After all once you’re dead, who can come after you?
~ * ~
“I’ve managed Eternal Escapes for several years now. To the outside world, it appears to be a normal funeral home, one that has
been in the LaFayette family for generations. The original building was part of a church and the long ago member of the LaFayette
family, who established Eternal Escapes, had the grounds blessed not only by the priest before he left New Orleans, but also by
several priests and priestesses of different local religions. There are stories handed down in the oldest journals that say the great
Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau herself had a hand in casting the magic that this place uses.
“Funeral homes here in New Orleans have long faced a challenged—the water. There are places in this city where you can’t bury a
body in the ground because of the water table. Well, Eternal Escapes offers a different solution—internment in a different time and
I paused and looked at the young woman sitting across from me. She was dressed in a tattered dress, wooden shoes and her blue
eyes were wide—both with fear and excitement. She had appeared in the coffin room after I returned the sarcophagus that had
been used for the Egyptian style funeral of an elderly woman who believed she was the reincarnation of some forgotten temple
priestess of Bast. Her linen wrapped body was safely interred with thousands of cat bodies in the Great Tomb at the Temple of
Bast. A minor mystery if anyone ever realizes there is a human body with all the cats and other predators interred there.
The girl seated across from me continued to watch me with those luminous blue-eyes. The universe had been telling me for a
couple of years I would soon have to retire by bringing ‘replacements’ here to train—just as I had been brought here from my
place in time to become part of the LaFayette family and director of this unique funeral home. There was none of the terror I has
seen in the eyes of the boy who had been the last one brought here. There was fear—yes, but there was also excitement and
curiosity. Good signs. Maybe my time had indeed finally come.
“What is your name?” I asked.
I nodded. “Messenger.”
“To fit into this place and time, we should change it.” I held up my hand before she could protest. “I had to do the same when I
was brought here Lieke. Before I became Richard, I was Sorley—which is a summer traveler in my native tongue.” I hadn’t
thought about it before, but it had been summer when I had been brought here.
I paused for a brief moment and saw the tiny nod she gave me. I wanted to keep her name tied to her home, but wasn’t sure how
to translate Lieke. Then it hit me—flowers. The Nederlands was renowned for their flowers, tulips in particular, but also: “Lily,” I
Lieke, now Lily smiled at me. “Lily LaFayette,” she said. Even as she said, her speech changed slightly, adopting a delicate southern
accent. Not heavy like Hollywood made them, but soft, gentle—just like a flower—like Lily.
I had one more thing to tell her. “Right now, you still have the option to go home. Until you actually agree to stay and become the
next Director of Eternal Escapes, you are not required to stay. However, if you agree to stay you will not be able to leave until you
have trained someone to take over after you. This place is a blessing for many, but it is also a trap.”