TRAVELER — PART IV, Learning to Fly


Learning to Fly

“We all have someplace to go, Tommy,” Earl said while the valley of silence between us grew. “Just a matter of figurin’ where that is.”

“Donna.” I said at last. “I need to find out if she ended up like us or…”

“Or if she passed on.”


While Earl was annoying in every way a backwater hillbilly can be annoying without a truck with a lift kit, firearms and a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, he seemed right on board with looking for the spirit of my wife. If our situations were reversed I’m not so sure I would have been so willing to help, the thought of it shames me back to silence.

In keeping with my theory, I begin willing myself to move, rather than physically trying to propel myself forward. I begin to feel, in the most abstract sense, the energy of my form begin to coalesce. It feels a little bit like trying to push out that stubborn turd a lot more than I want to admit with the way I have to strain to focus, but it works and I begin drifting forward. I am sentient energy now; the electrical shadow of a man named Thomas Killian who died along with everybody else who was on Earth when it evidently exploded. That man had a wife, named Donna that should be found if she’s out there.

There was a good chance that this was going to be a futile search. With any luck, I would never find her. She will have died and moved on to the Afterlife, whatever that actually is. Maybe it is actually nothing. Perhaps she and six billion other people simply ceased to exist this morning. Either scenario seems preferential to my fate with Earl Fontane, his beat up baseball hat and his banjo bravado.

“I thought we was looking for your wife, Tommy? Stop floatin’ around like a fart in a tornado and let’s get to it!” Earl barked out.

“I…shut up Earl.” I probably looked ridiculous as I glided around in an attempt to acclimate myself to this new mode of movement. “I need to know how to move, before we go anywhere. I’m not even sure how we can find her?”

“Yeah, that’s a pickle innit?” He replied. “Maybe because we do everything else by thinking, maybe you can do it that way too?”

Earl had another in a chain of disturbingly logical ideas. At this rate I may have to throw out the idea that this is actually Hell and he’s a demon spirit here to punish me with stupid. I still wasn’t very good at ‘flying’ yet but it was enough to manage. I wasn’t going to get better if I didn’t move more. It also surprised me that Earl could move so effortlessly. Then, it occurred to me how that might be.

“You didn’t die with the explosion, did you?”


“How did you die?”

“Fell into a combine about a week ago, while reaching for beer number 53. Woo! Wouldn’t recommend that experience twice!” Only Earl would find death by combine even remotely exciting.

“I generally steer clear of farm equipment.” I muttered before focusing on the task at hand.

I was almost afraid that I would find her.


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