Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 46

46 | Psychopomp Magazine

In her eyes or in his heart, Heinrich discerns many questions. Is this what you needed? Does it make any difference now that you’ve read it? Now that you know who you are supposed to be, or rather, who you were?

Finally, Heinrich says, “There are no bees.”

He recognizes the truth of his words only after they are outside his body. It isn’t, I haven’t seen any bees, or I haven’t noticed the bees at all.

There are no bees.

“Then bring them back.” Salomea shrugs. “Or don’t.”

At three a.m. the Director’s wife shakes him from his sleep to tell him that his assistant is on the phone.

Jonas has crashed into the concrete median barrier on the highway. Jonas is dead. The Director sits up in bed and rubs his eyes.

His assistant’s voice breaks as she recounts the details that were recounted to her—the bottles that clinked on the floorboard as they removed Jonas’ body from the driver’s seat, the hood that was crumpled and compressed in on itself like an accordion. The Director hangs up the phone. He is later unsure if it was the tears or the specifics that he did not want to hear.

He arrives at the lab an hour later. Already a list of names has been compiled by the project manager and awaits his selection. There is some debate over whether or not the programmers could simply reenter Jonas’ DNA and receive a new Jonas. But time now contains two Jonases—the Jonas of history and the Jonas who was alive just hours ago. Ultimately the possibility for paradox is ruled too risky, and the Director instead opts for a new name.

The bones of Max Theiler are located and upheaved, and two weeks after Jonas’ death, young Max appears to replace him. Max, like Jonas, is a brilliant mind, and more importantly, Max’s mind lies inside a body devoid