Meanwhile, 4,000 Miles and a Dimension (or Two) Away...

Galway, Ireland
Five minutes later

Declan MacLyntire’s last sensation was the stuffiness of the hospital room as doctors crowded around him. Then he fell.

He fell through the deepest chasms that he couldn’t see, then skimmed across the surface of a limitless flat black ocean before diving underneath. The material invaded his body and inflated, suffocating him—but not painfully; there was no feeling to it. Suddenly the material evaporated and he was left swimming underwater, in real water this time. He thrashed his arms until he found up. His hand grasped at a rocky ledge as he pulled himself onto dry land.

Declan found himself in a small grotto that glowed with a soft blue light. There was a simple table and two chairs a few feet away—one chair was occupied by a woman. She stared at Declan, as if waiting for him to move.

There was a momentary silence as Declan lay belly-down on the damp stone. The woman raised her eyebrows.

“Take a seat, Declan. Let’s talk death,” she said.

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