In life, we are plagued by the uncertainty of an afterlife, and it is often expected that when we die, everything will suddenly make sense. But when a group of strangers, similar only in their time of death, find themselves in the afterlife, they are faced with more questions than ever before. Are they in Heaven or Hell? If they’re in Heaven, why is there a Nazi wandering around? Why are there no children? If they are in Hell, what universal law did they break? Is there a way to repent and move on to a better eternity? At least one man seems to have some answers. Marcus, a Roman dead for 2,000 years, gains the group’s trust by leading them through the perils of their new reality. But soon it becomes clear that Marcus is only telling them half the story.
L. A. Barnes is public librarian in the southern US. She is a Nerdist podcast listening, South Park loving, Twin Peaks conspiracy theorizing, Stephen King reading and Joss Whedon worshiping geek. The Pit is her first novel. She plans to explore the Watchmaker’s universe through four more novels.
THIS STALEMATE WOULDN’T LAST long. Marcus whispered to the nearest guard the code word for the next battle plan. The guards asked for the amount of each guard’s body he needed. Marcus told him to get fingers. Then the guard passed the word along. Meanwhile, Marcus set about distracting Alex’s Tribe.
“Heinrich,” Marcus began. “This is silly. You aren’t like me. Deborah can’t want you to be. You know you won’t hurt me. You really should let us go. The pain on your conscience isn’t worth hurting me.”
Since Heinrich knew Marcus spoke German, he didn’t bother trying to answer in English. “I’ve already broken my promise to Deborah.”
“Yes….” Marcus rushed to agree and then suddenly realized what Heinrich must be talking about. “Did you promise her not to hurt anyone? You did, of course. She would be disappointed if you hurt us—”
“No, I broke that promise an hour ago,” Heinrich interrupted. “Now you’ve given me the opportunity to make it worth breaking.”
The loose translation of Heinrich’s German dawned on Marcus. “Well, we are fucked then, aren’t we?”
Behind him, each guard broke off their pinkie finger, wrapped them all in a handkerchief, and slipped the bundle into Marcus’ back pocket. With that Marcus gave the final signal.
All twenty guards rushed at Heinrich. The Japanese rushed to meet them. Five guards made it through the collision to throw Heinrich to the ground. Meanwhile, Marcus ran to the Pit wall and then along it, intending to make his escape up the 12 o’clock stairs.
Nadia and Sid saw Marcus escaping and rushed toward him. Nadia did three hops over bodies before tripping and falling on her face. Sid fared better, arriving at the Pit wall as Marcus mounted the stairs. Before Sid could catch up with his prey, Hiro slammed a guard into the Pit wall, blocking his path. By the time Sid made it around them, Marcus had disappeared up the stairs.