An excerpt from To Live Forever:

I always came to in the same New Orleans drinking place, my journal adrift in a puddle of stale booze. I couldn’t recall what happened on those pages. A record of another failed assignment, the words faded before I could capture them. Fleeting images on stained paper, encased in leather. I colored in a few words here and there, before they vanished. Became nothing. A palimpsest of another job already forgotten.

But I always remembered my life.

Two shots should have finished me.

One through the head. The other in my gut.

Some folks said I killed myself in the early morning hours of October 11, 1809. Others were sure I was murdered. I couldn’t remember what happened. Someone tore out those pages. Erased those images. Took the final moments that might have given my soul peace.

But the sensational nature of my death did more than destroy my life. It relegated my name to a footnote of history. Buried my remains in an unmarked grave for a half century. Forever bound my memory to the phrase “Lewis and Clark.”

It led me to Nowhere, another chance for souls hovering between life and death to perform a good deed for the living. A place to recover our reputations. To restore our names. To re-write our histories.

To be remembered the way we wished to be.

Sounded like a good deal, when I took it.

But my Nowhere was a continuation of my downward spiral, the misunderstandings that haunted the end of my life. I couldn’t salvage my name, but failure didn’t destroy the urge to try again.

And again.

Until I just wanted Nowhere to end. I craved Nothing…….

*****

Rest in peace, Meriwether Lewis. I don’t know what possessed you to pick me, but I hope I’ve written a story that redeems your memory. 

 

 

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