I sit here today, old and feeble staring down at my lemonade and the sun heats my balding, wrinkled forehead. The old, wooden chair
that I chose from so many held my body perfectly and the view of the lake made me dream of what was to come. I am alone, all my
friends have passed and I have no family to speak of. I did not choose such a place to shelter me in the end. If anything I put myself in
harms way hoping to die earlier but the thought of suicide scared me and made me think my passing would be halted.  Years before, I
was found wandering the streets of Chicago, when I was picked up and eventually brought to Morris home for the aged. I was easy
pickens to become a ward of the state. I was brought to the farm. It makes me ill to sit and watch my neighbors wander around
aimlessly and be treated, as infants when inside them are great souls. It pains me to be with them at group session and listen to them
complain of getting old. The body is weak and the link to the soul gets strained but it is still linked. The strain is only the soul attempting
to leave early. That is why many elderly forget who they are or who their families are. The soul is strong and ready to go on. See there
is a god and a tunnel of light. All the skeptics who laugh at people who mention the tunnel are just misguided and proud of their
diplomas that hang over their common leather cheap sofas. A lot of the elderly imagine when they were young and wish for the past to
be the present once again. I on the other hand am excited and stubbornly resolute about looking towards the future when my spirit, or
my essence leaves the machine that broke down and showed me no mercy. But it doesn’t matter. The past for me goes back about
thirty years, because thirty years ago is when my life began. Before that, it was only speculation and false hopes laid into me from a
pastor that I had barely listened to when I was young.
I’m not saying I was born again or even lost my faith, but a chapter opened in the book of Samuel L. Cragle. I was let in on knowledge
that maybe I should have never learned. Knowledge not meant for any man to know. Once you are aware, life doesn’t matter. Sure the
way you live matters, but to want to live doesn’t. It was a horrible but beautiful day. It was the day when I, an FBI agent with a
specialized degree in biological weapons and a certain Interpol Captain named Louis Oliver, met the secret sect known simply as the
Houdini Ten.
It was all by accident that we came together. A certain US congressman sent a group of us over to Europe to infiltrate terrorist groups.
We were split up to avoid detection but we knew we would regroup later. I was on assignment in Paris, France with Louis and we were
investigating a known terrorist group by the name of Mill Petit. I was forty at the time and Louis was a young thirty-two. He was thin
and had a bulbous head covered in curly black hair, kind of like a nerd with a gun. We got along great though. We already had
information on thirty-five known anarchists or terrorists in Europe alone. Now we were on to a militant group out of Barcelona who
recently changed their location to Paris after a bloody shoot out with Spanish police. We had maps of various locations in Paris, and we
were simply meant to investigate them, kind of narrow it down for the regular police to find this group. But it wasn’t the Mill Petit’s
that we found. Instead it was even a greater mystery. It was the Houdini Ten.
It was around July 2nd when we first heard of the Houdini Ten. We were searching the state hospital for a man who had a brain tumor
and was dying. He checked in under the name of Paul Banyon, but we knew him as Leonard Guateau. He was one of the shipping
directors for the Mill Petit, and coordinated with others in Prague and London. We heard from our informants on the street, that
Leonard lost favor with the head of the Mills by the name of Pierre Gondel. Leonard ran and hid and in that time an undiscovered
brain tumor took its affect and put the old man in the equivalent of hospice. He was there for a short time until his death. Now we
knew he was there by accident. One of our informers was there visiting his dying uncle when he noticed him through a doorway.
The building was small and run down. It showed perfect neglect and it made me wonder how they treated their dying. Louis showed his
badge and we were let inside the special care unit. It was a bone white hallway with several doors on each side. It was cold and damp
and the dim light made it look stark and abandoned. Death hung in the air.
A small nurses station was at the end of the hall and a young brunette sat in her chair reading a magazine at a desk covered with papers.
Her nurses outfit was the only thing clean in this hospital.
“Pardon me,” Louis said to the nurse who looked up at us and closed her magazine.
“Yes,” She replied. She was quite young to be around a ward where everyone basically dies. She was alone too, probably taking care of
everyone herself.
“You have a Paul Banyon here?”
“He left this morning with his doctor to a different special care unit.” She replied. We looked at each other stunned.
“Did this doctor show his ID or anything to allow him inside?” Louis asked.
“Yes, he signed the book. His name was Lyndon Hills. He was taking Mr. Banyon to the Placeton Hospital, some private hospital
downtime.”
“Thank you,” Louis said. “We will show ourselves out.” We walked down the hall, Louis looked disturbed.
“What is it?” I whispered.
“Lyndon Hills was a name I hadn’t heard in years. He’s no doctor, that’s for sure. He was a man in a book by Leslie Lorry. The book
was about a man who got to talk to his soul. It was a rare book put out a long time ago, caused a lot of stir to the Catholic Church. It
mentioned how the spirit and the soul were two different entities, the spirit being the essence and the soul being the substance. It dealt
with accounts of past life recollection. It was banned by the Vatican.” Louis turned around and went back to the desk. The nurse
looked up surprised.
“Yes?” she said.
“Can I use your computer for a minute love?” He asked.
“Sure,” she said opening her laptop that was sitting closed next her. Louis signed on and went to a search engine.
“There,” He said. “Was this the man who came to pick up Paul Banyon?” She looked over the web page briefly and her haste to
answer his question made him sure of who it was.
“Yes,” Louis looked at me and turned the laptop toward me. A mans picture, kind of like a yearbook picture, stared me in the face. He
had a thick curly beard and hair brushed behind his ear.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Leslie Lorry.” He replied. “Come on, let’s get an address on this man.” We went to walk away when the nurse called to us.
“One more thing inspector,” She said. “He’s taken other patients as well, since last year. All of them were very close to death with no
family.” We looked at each other and continued down the hall.
“What have we stumbled upon?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” He said.

It took us awhile to actually find an address for the author, but when we did it was in a huge warehouse, that was once a medical
building. It sat amongst many other abandoned buildings and junked cars lined the side of the street.  We decided to take along two
officers, one was Howard Killinger and the other was Jean Hunte, both veteran police officers who we could trust with our lives, should
this be the main Mill Petit Head quarters.
We left around three in the afternoon. We told the officers to stay with the car and Louis and me would go inside. If we weren’t out in
30 minutes then they should call for backup.
“You ready?” he asked.
I checked my pistol and made sure it was loaded.
“Yes, let’s go.”
We walked nonchalantly up to the double doors on the side of the two-story building. It was enormous and had many windows, most of
them boarded up. It must have been impressive at the time. Louis picked the lock while I looked around for any suspicious people. We
entered easily and found ourselves in a small entryway. The entryway was empty except for the webs and bugs around the floor. I could
see ahead there was a door down the hall with light illuminating from underneath it. To our left was another door, to which it was dark
under it. We picked the one with no light, thinking we might have a look around first. We opened it gently and it squeaked. We
hurriedly walked inside and found ourselves in another hallway. A dim light bulb hanging from the ceiling made it easy to see hospital
beds lining the hallway. They all had the straps and sheets left untidy on the surface of the bed. The hallway continued down for a
hundred feet or so, with a turn in it that led down some steps. We nodded at each other and took the steps down into the basement.
The smell crept up on us like death on an old man. I felt afraid for the first time. I didn’t want to walk in on the Mill Petit during a big
meeting or something armed with a pistol while they had machine guns. The steps went down two flights before we came to a big, dark
room. We stumbled through the dark to another light coming from under a door in the distance. We got up to the door and Louis put
his ear to it and then nodded to me that we would enter. I turned the knob and we both went inside. We were in some kind of a lab.
Computers and huge machines lined the walls, humming from the fans cooling them down. Long wires ran from the ceiling and
connected them all together. A freezer with all kind of different colored liquids was across from us and in the middle of the room was a
bed, with straps for holding down someone. All kind of hospital monitors were next to the bed, along with IV’s and monitoring
machines. An impression of the last person to lie in the bed still remained with the sheet and the mattress.
“What is this place?” Louis asked. “Look at this shit, did we just enter Doctor Frankenstein’s Lab?”
“Morphine, saline, tranqs, you name it. They have everything here.” I said looking at the freezer. Another door was across the room
and had a diagram of the human body on it. A strange flag hung on the wall, that was all white and had a top hat, cane and strange
symbol that almost looked like a number eight on its side.
“I found a journal,” Louis said. “Seems the patient was Paul Banyan. The doctor mentions how they waited almost an hour before the
patient died.”
Then the door opened up and Leslie Lorry stood with two men carrying guns behind him. He looked just like his picture on the
computer. He had a curly brown beard that covered his long white coat. The men who stood with him worm old black sweat suits and
new white sneakers.
“I knew I couldn’t do that forever. I knew eventually I would be caught. I thought we would have gotten caught for taking the young
boys. But, what do you know.”
“What are you doing down here and where is Banyan?” Louis asked.
“He didn’t make it.” Leslie said. “See he was test case number seventy six. After he died we tried to transplant his soul into one of the
young men, but he chose the light instead.”
“What are you talking about? Where are the other Mill Petit?” I asked angrily.
“Mill Petit? Gentlemen, you stumbled into the wrong place. This is the house of the Houdini ten. We are not some unorganized militant
group seeking front page headlines for a massacre. If anything we are saving the world. Now tranq them.” He said and the guards shot
their guns and Louis and I fell into a deep slumber.
I awoke without my pistol in a sort of a cell amongst many cells. Louis was nowhere to be found, but others, mostly young people were
in the other cells. Next to me was a young girl who leaned against the bars and stared at me. Her brown hair tied back into a ponytail
and it hung down on her plaid shirt.
“Where are we?” I asked barely getting up. I was groggy and my mouth was dry.
“We are at the Houdini’s Ten laboratories. That’s where we are.” She said lazily.
I rubbed the dirt out of my eyes and focused on her. “Who the fuck is the Houdini Ten?”
“Ten men, very old men practicing surgery and old ancient customs.”        
“I don’t understand.” I said.
“All I know is one day, a boy named Brad was here. They took him away and when he came back, he was someone else. He talked
different and acted different. From what I heard, they are trading souls with younger people. Old bastards are being reincarnated into
younger bodies.”
“She’s right you know.” Said Lorry as he strode down the hall between the cells. The girl put her head down and shut up.
“You know in the bible, Elijah reincarnated into John the Baptist. And In John 3, Jesus himself mentioned the notion to return. ‘Man
should be born again.’ He said. And you know In 1907 A Dr. Duncan Macdougal discovered you lose ¾ of an ounce when you die,
the weight of a soul. We all have souls Cragle, ¾ of an ounce that is the soul. We have measured it and know it exists. We are gods
amongst animals. We watch our children starve as states war on and presidents make millions. We have seen every error and have done
nothing. We are the horseman and this is the start of the apocalypse. Except there are ten of us.”
“What do you do here Lorry?” I asked.
“Look at these people. Look at what we have weaned, Young punks smoking dope, murdering each other. No leaders, no genius, only
cowards and idiots, billions of idiots. We are the ten most intelligent people in science. That’s who we are. We will save the world by
eventually ridding it of any parasite that attacks the host. Only we need time and our bodies are dying.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.
“Because I know of you Samuel Cragle, PHD in Chemistry, Recommendations from Dr. Henry Drake, PHD in Biology.. You are FBI,
highly educated and you are old. We will give you your freedom if you help us. We can also give you another body if you want or you
can wait till you get older.”
“No!” I yelled. “You’re killing people.”
“How many times have you investigated a child murder over drugs or a random drive by where a sweet old lady was killed? And for
the seriously ill who we practiced on, they were dead anyway. The meek shall inherit the earth it is said, but what is the fortune in
inheritance if it is polluted or wasted.”
“Where is my partner?”
“Listen, we kill both hosts, it’s only a matter of telling the one soul to leave and the other to enter. When we master it we will be eternal.
Your partner did not come back.”
“Guards, bring him to the lab!” Lorry yelled. The guards opened my cell and escorted me through the screaming young men and
women. We entered the lab and a young boy lay strapped to the table. He had tattoos running up and down his arms, which also had
different tubes sticking to them. An old man lay next to him on a rollaway bed.
“You see, reincarnation has been a myth to the masses, but the science has always been there. There have been 1200 cases of
reincarnation since 1913 of young men and women in Africa recalling events that happened thousands of miles away. They had no
influence of media or religion. They had nothing to gain in such a tale. Madeline, Michigan a boy was born in 1987 with a tattoo of a
ship from world war two! Chico, California, A young baby was born with a similar tattoo. There was even a boy born with a mustache
in India.”
Men shuffled into the room, some old and some young, ten in all and they all stood against the wall.
“We have to hurry doctors. The police are outside and we still have Crane, Barrister, Angol and myself to do before the experiment is
over. Now the rest of you that have completed the experiment can meet at the designated place.”
“What we discovered is the tunnel to heaven and the light. It is beautiful and longing, but there is a different path; One that brings you
back. Now sure you can come back, but you are not the same. You recall nothing and you are born as a baby. Well, we discovered that
indeed you can be born into a freshly dead body and recall everything. See science and religion are the same. There are trees, hollowed
out trees, millions of them. You simply crawl inside one and you are reborn. We figured out which tree to choose and also how to avoid
the angel that silences you. We deserve to go on. This cretins who will bring nothing but pain to others don’t deserve their souls.”
“This sounds ridiculous,” I said. “Why would I ever want to come back?”
“Knowledge my friend, to seek the truth. Gnosis truth. We know there is a tunnel and angels, so science has proven it.”
“You’re killing children Lorry!” I yelled. “Children that have the divine right to go on and change what they are doing!”
“Soulless, evil monkeys, that’s what they are. We will cure the world of those who are worthless to society. Earth will eventually be
unpolluted, peaceful and resourceful all because of the Houdini Ten.”
He turned back to the men on the beds. The boy opened his eyes and seemed to talk in his drugged out condition. The doctor who
would take the boys body laid still.
“First an injection of morphine into the good doctor, enough to put him to sleep.” He said injecting the man in the arm. The man
smiled through his combed white beard and mouthed ‘thank you’ to Lorry. Lorry held the man as he passed out.
“He will die in about a minute. Then he will be in the tunnel where he will take the alternate route and end up in the forest. Now we
will eliminate the host and also inject him with Te315. The mixture will make it possible for the now dead, Dr. Huckle, to locate the
right tree quickly. Then when he crawls in, having avoided the angel many of you have already seen before, he will awaken in the boys
body.”
The boy’s eyes opened and he turned his head towards Lorry. “It is I, Dr. Eric Huckle.” The crowd erupted into clapping and then
silenced down as a gunshot was heard in the distance.
“Quickly, get the others tied down! We must work fast! I will be last!” The remaining doctors scrambled to their beds and the guards
shuffled the other prisoners to their beds. In a matter of time, the doctors were all in their host bodies.
“Everyone except for Dr. Marcus must go now! Do not get caught. I will torch this place as soon as I am done! Get me my body!” The
young doctors and engineers ran from the room out back doors to escape the impending police raid. Dr. Lorry lay down on his bed and
the guards strapped the girl down.
“I will help!” I yelled. “Count me in!” I said I running to the girl’s side to prepare the needle.
“Pretend to die.” I whispered. She shook her head yes.
“Give me the Te315 to inject in her!” The doctor handed it to me. I pretended to inject her, putting the needle near her arm. The
doctor bumped me and the needle went into her arm a bit injecting her with a little of the solution. I pulled it out quickly.
“Lorries Gone!” Dr. Marcus yelled.
Lorries soul drifted into the tunnel and floated about the swirling white-clouded tunnel. He felt warm and at peace as his body floated
toward the light. He almost kept going had he not remembered his promise. So many men before him just kept going. Men like Dr.
Ash and Peter Yu, both of whom were the keenest in their field decided to continue into the light. He wasn’t sure why they left, but
now he felt what they felt and the thought did cross his mind. He saw dark clouds entwined with the white ones and knew it was the
passage. He fell into it.
He awoke, body and all in a tight forest of beautiful oak trees. Each one had a deep hole, extending from the ground up to about four
feet. He knew the trees were representative of people and saw many in the distance that had withered. He saw the sky above him was
an eerie blue, darker than when he was alive.
“I have no time to wonder and meander. I must find the purple hued tree.” He thought to himself. He could see the branches move
without wind and he knew what it meant. He had no time. He ran through the thick trees looking at everyone. One caught his eye and
he stopped. It had the dullest hue and was smaller than the others, but he knew that was the one. In the distance he could see the many
folds of white linen, probably the robe of the angel who came to greet him. Looking around one last time, he climbed inside and
immediately the hole closed and his soul transmigrated to another host.
Eight months later, the Houdini Ten were gone, the warehouse they were in burned to the ground shortly after the raid and even the
Mills Petite were disbanded. All was well for the world, even for officer Samuel Cragle.  Today he was at the hospital to see Kathy
Reggis, the one girl he saved from the Houdini Ten. She played dead and Lorry took the shot and must have gone into the light. Either
way, one survived because of his talent and now eight months later, Cragle was in the hospital to see her on the day she was to give
birth.
Inside the room, doctors encircled her as she breathed and sweated. She was in pain, but it was nothing. In a matter of minutes, her life,
saved by a cop, would bring a new life into the world and she would raise him to be smart and wise and to help people. She lay in pain
waiting for the head to emerge. It was a good pregnancy with no problems, so everything was going fine.
“Here comes the head,” The doctor said as he held the emerging head. Kathy screamed a bit as it crested.
“Ok, the heads out. Now with a turn, the baby will slide out. Okay, perfect.” He said as he slid the baby out. Kathy let out a pleasant
sigh and her head fell back. The nurse lifted the baby up so Kathy could see it. It was bloody and discolored. Kathy looked at it lovingly
as it turned its head towards her.
“You tricked me,” The baby said in perfect English. Kathy screamed in terror.
The Houdini Ten

By: Anonymous