Chandler watched as the woman leaned into the blue light, levitated slowly, then poof, vaporized. He shook his head, thrust his hands into his jeans and stepped back from the glowing cone in the Arizona desert. Time to rethink.
An attractive woman to his left watched with a frown. The man was having second thoughts, perhaps a hesitant? She stepped forward and coughed, causing Chandler to turn.
“I’m confused.” She said, timidly. “Do I step into the blue circle, or just let myself fall into the cone? By the way, I ‘m Magdalena.”
He smiled, “Of the Bible? New Mexico?”
“Call me Maggie.” The dark-haired woman with the angular face and large green eyes replied lightly.
Chandler explained that the brochure recommended stepping into the circle, though one could just lean forward. There were those who turned their backs and let themselves topple rearward into the cone, and then elevated twenty or thirty feet in the blue light before vanishing. They traveled to a parallel universe, or so the literature claimed.
Maggie nodded and looked at the blue light, a large circle one hundred yards in diameter that gently sloped upwards about thirty feet before fading into the night sky. The inverted cone was set against the McDowell Mountains and a gateway that transported one to a higher dimension where new life was transcendent with unbridled happiness.
As Chandler stared at Maggie, he had second thoughts about taking the journey. Rachel had left him and the stock market had gone south, leading to drink and an oxycodone dependency. But standing there in the cool desert air with this attractive woman he felt a flicker of hope.
“You know,” Maggie said, interrupting his musing. “I bought a French Burgundy to toast my visit to Blue Cone and my ascension. But I couldn't drink alone.”
He nodded and smiled.
“Since we have time, why don’t we share a glass of wine or two? We can return here later. The gateway isn’t going anywhere.” She added lightly.
Divine intervention, Chandler thought to himself. He needed to sit on her patio, study the desert night, sip wine and then reconsider his decision to travel the Blue Cone.
“Great idea, “Chandler responded. “ I have a corkscrew on my Swiss army knife.”
He followed her through the chilly desert night, winding around the eerie saguaro cacti. The intimate complex was northeast of the Scottsdale McDowell-Sonoran Preserve. For the affluent, rental casitas were within walking distance of the blue cone that glowed in the night sky, appearing as a vessel from a far away system. He felt revived as he saw Maggie’s neat, white adobe dwelling set among the desert scrub.
Chandler awoke with a slight buzz from too much wine, but felt reincarnated, alive and ready to forgo traveling to the parallel universe. He turned over in the bed and flung out an arm for Maggie. He heard a door open and sat up on his elbows as she exited the bathroom in a white terry-cloth robe, her left hand held a towel to her black hair. She smiled, and then reached into the pocket of her robe, pulled out a snub-nose .38 and shot Chandler in the chest. He fell back with his eyes wide and his mouth working. Maggie came to the bed and shot him again in the forehead. The room was quiet as the gun smoke floated in the cozy room. She sat on the bed, working her wet hair with both hands.
That evening Maggie emerged from the room and she paused on the stone walk as the cleaning crew arrived. “Don’t forget the letter.” She called. “Send his relatives the usual… ‘He went happily into the Blue Cone to a new life of success and bliss.’”
Later as Maggie prowled the base of the cone, she spotted a man ahead of her in slacks and a sports coat who muttered, and then took a step back, shaking his head at the blue light. She noticed with a pang that this was where she had met Chandler, but she quickly shook off the remorse. There could be no undecided, no dropouts; there was no going back, no refunds or the Blue Cone Enterprise would collapse.
The wavering man looked around and spied Maggie.
“Excuse me, “she asked shyly, “Does one lean in to the blue cone, or are you supposed to step in boldly?”
The man let out a breath and gave her a smile. “Let’s compare notes.”
She mentioned her French Burgundy and the man accepted a glass of wine with pleasure.
Maggie smiled. There was work to be done.