You look pretty healthy for someone who died

Walking in through the door she encountered the familiar chaos of the department. Waiting patients, harassed staff and the grim hospital décor instantly made her feel at home again and ready to get started. 9780957243293She was missing the work, the dailychallenge of fighting death and pain, but with her new plans to investigate death itself, she couldn’t have felt fuller of energy.

You look pretty healthy for someone who died

“You look pretty healthy for someone who died,” came a harsh, female voice from behind her. Nathalie recognised it instantly and turned to see the source of it. There stood her good friend, the senior nurse and the person she relied on most in the department.
“Michelle Payne, you are a sight for sore eyes,” said Nathalie as she hugged her friend.
“Damn good to see you back,” replied Michelle. “We’ve missed you, without you around Steven seems to be even more of a dick than usual.”
“I thought you all deserved a little break from me,” laughed Nathalie.

An excerpt from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series

Awareness of her surroundings began…

When Nathalie awoke, it was an awakening like no other that she had known. A warmth seemed to surround her, wrapping her in contentment and bringing her a feeling of utter bliss. Even with her eyes still closed she could see the bright, white light that enveloped her, adding an extra layer of comforting co9780957243293ntrast to the icy darkness she had last known.

Awareness of her surroundings began.

She was lying down, yet she felt nothing underneath her, no force supporting her of any kind. She felt as if she were floating in infinity, wrapped in this calm, soothing and warming light.
Then sounds came to her. They were initially distant, almost like an echo, but slowly they took shape and became recognisable. First it was shouts, the sound of people exclaiming loudly, their fears, their elations. Then came screams, loud and terrible and Nathalie’s eyes snapped open and she sat up.

An excerpt from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series

Goldfinger

There’s an old myth about body painting being dangerous, as it supposedly doesn’t let your skin breathe, so-called epidermal suffocation. This was the gimmick used in the James Bond (Sean Connery) movie Goldfinger in 1964, when std-2012_0609wnbr20120057-bcthe girl Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), was covered in gold paint and apparently died a terrible death from suffocation.

This is an entertaining fantasy, but the skin on the human just does not breathe in the same way we might imagine by comparing this organ with our lungs, and if you can breathe through your mouth, covering your skin in a safe paint will make no difference to you.

Goldfinger myth

I suspect the origin of this myth goes back to the days of the Judy Garland movie, The Wizard of Oz in 1939, when the actor playing the Tin Man (Buddy Ebsen) role became seriously ill and was hospitalized because of inhaling dangerous metal flakes from the unsafe aluminium-based paint make-up, which was used at the time.

Today’s body paint is safe and fun to use, although it’s still worth pointing out that one should of course use body paint made for the purpose, and not just any old paint one happens to have to hand. Kids put paint on for fancy dress parties, and WNBR protest activists wear body paint to both attract attention to the cause and to have fun.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Can I help you?

Ian looked at the grey building in front of him. Recessed from the rest of the street and just a few minutes walk from some of Edinburgh’s most notorious strip clubs, this didn’t feel to Ian how a Catholic church should look. It seemed almost unassuming, hidden even from the rest of the world.9780957243293A sudden sense of caution came over Ian as he approached the main doors. How would they react when he told them what he had seen? Would they even believe him? He wondered if he should tell them about Nathalie and Angela and about their return trips to the Gates if they didn’t.
As he stepped through the doors, the church seemed to open up and grow, as if he had stepped into a grand cathedral, not just some dull unassuming building on a side street. Wooden pews stretched to the altar at the far end and large murals, taller than a person, ringed the room, depicting the Stations of the Cross. A plaque by the door told the story of their restoration and Ian smiled and thought of Angela when he read that the paintings were originally by a Bavarian artist over a century ago.
He took a seat near the back of the church. The pews were mostly empty, but there was the occasional person sitting by themselves nearer the altar. He looked at the pulpit on the left, which was empty. He felt awkward, even clumsy as he sat there, not sure of what to do now, or where to go.
“Can I help you?” asked a voice from behind him that seemed to hauntingly echo the tone of the angels. Ian turned round and he saw what he assumed was a priest, a man with a strangely friendly face and dressed in clerical clothing. Ian stood up to greet him.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

"Time for me to die…"

“Time for me to die,” Angela responded with a smile. Nathalie kissed her forehead and placed the mask over her face. Nathalie and Ian both took one of Angela’s hands in theirs as Nathalie began a short countdown.
9780957243293

“I’m dropping you in five…four…three…two…one…” Nathalie hit the button to release the board and as it slid into the vat she felt a sickening twist in her stomach at Angela’s scream of pain as the freezing water consumed her. She looked at Ian who had himself turned pale, shaking and sweating with the same fear as she was. She grabbed his hand and held it tightly, fighting to control her stomach and even her bladder as the screams of pain from Angela slowly began to subside.

Angela’s eyes snapped open the moment she felt awake again. Immediately she felt a sensation resembling bliss, of floating freely in utter peace, but it quickly turned to a pang of elation when she realised she was enshrouded by a familiar haze, and that they had been successful. But the elation quickly gave way to a sense of urgency about her planned experiments and she leapt to her feet and looked around her. It was just like the last time, with people emerging from the haze to be greeted by pairs of angels in white robes. Her two angels approached her, smiling the same bland smile worn by all the angels.

“Hello Angela,” the first one said. Angela ignored him, she was already focusing on the experiments they had discussed. She reached down to her arm to pinch it, but before she could do that she realised something unexpected.
“Oh, I’m naked,” she said. The angels thought she was talking to them.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

Your turn, an angel said

9780957243293

“Your turn,” an angel said to Paul. Nathalie grasped Paul’s hand and squeezed it for a second, then released it as Paul stepped forward. He instantly felt the gaze of the evaluator on him and he waited, shaking slightly with fear of his judgement. The evaluator held the gaze for a few seconds before shaking his head with a wicked smile.

“Oh dear,” said the evaluator, and Paul was consumed by a tongue of fire that emerged, wreathed in smoke from the mist around them. Nathalie heard Paul scream before it faded to silence and the fire withered to nothingness.

Now it was her turn and she braced herself for her fate.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo