• The Organ Pipes of the Soul

    A Theodicy of Love and Reincarnation in a Desperate Afterlife

I have been writing on and off since high school, eventually getting my BA in English with a creative writing emphasis. But life had other plans and instead of going into teaching, I found work in publishing. Along the way, the Twin Towers fell, my job was shipped to India, and due to that outsourcing, I had a chance to return to school at 62 years old, thus making me a late-life Master of Arts recipient. I wrote a whole new novel for my MA thesis, did more writing than I ever had, and started to teach Freshman English. I find myself at 67 a happily married spouse, a parent, a grandfather of two, and much to my surprise, a Deacon in my church. I have a modest media presence and a modest publication history in four of the volumes of my school’s student/faculty publication, University of Indianapolis’ Etchings.

Meanwhile, this novel kept reminding me not to forget it, and the current pandemic has increased my motivation to get this story out. In my last editing pass, I finally knew I was ready. I hope you are pleased with this story. I hope you find it intriguing. It is meant to be thought-provoking but entertaining. I think you will find it both.

Robert Springer

The Organ Pipes of the Soul: A Theodicy of Love and Reincarnation in a Desperate Afterlife is a story about good and evil, reincarnation, and meeting God — a story about second chances and second-death in a dangerous afterlife where the dead must reincarnate or perish — set in an afterlife that is under attack from a man who wants to end reincarnation using a machine that can create anything, and from a rogue caretaker who wants more than the shadowy immortality Arthur’s afterlife can offer him. It’s a theodicy about discovering destiny, about the moral dilemma of reincarnation, about faith and doubt and the victory of love.

The Organ Pipes of the Soul is a story about Arthur, an amnesiac who washes up on the Isle of the Dead, only to discover as he recovers his memories that he is largely responsible for much of what goes on in this afterlife and why everything is going wrong. It’s a story of his search for the one love he waited thirty lifetimes to make his own. It’s a story about that love, Elle, a pianist “back home,” who arrives on the Waking Shore unsure whether she should reincarnate because Arthur had broken her heart in their short life together. Her story is her discovery of how her own strength and courage become the path of her transcendence. But The Organ Pipes of the Soul is also a story about a warrior woman who calls herself Coyote who wakes up in the afterlife with a hole where her heart should be. Coyote is a woman who never belonged anywhere in life, and who doesn’t feel she belongs in this afterlife, but in time realizes she is essential to its salvation. Hers is a story of her discovery of her own worth, and her discovery that love is possible even for a Coyote.

Chapter 1
The Lighthouse Keeper

IN HIS FIRST THIRTY LIVES he had survived when the torpedo blew a hole in the hull of his freighter, but this time it hit the engine room. The bubble of air and debris rushing out of hole below the water line sucked him into the icy sea and tangled him in sinking wreckage that pulled him ever deeper. He fought the need to breathe, fought the searing pain in his empty lungs.

Make it to the surface…hold out…don’t breathe don’t breathe don’t breathe…

He sucked in water, felt the sudden relief of giving in then the thick wrongness of it, tried expelling it without breathing in, pulled more water in again. Then again.


He heard a deep note. Soothing. Calming. Its low vibration shook him, began breaking him apart.

He started floating up. A light flashed in an arc a few feet above him. He broke through, fought a wave that engulfed him, struggled to stay on the surface and make headway toward the shore.

Chapter 2
On Hades Beach

ELLE awoke sitting on hard ground in a thick cold fog with the smell of water nearby and knew she was dead.

How could I forget the fog? I’m back. Hades beach. I forgot about this place when I was alive. Everyone does. I’m dead. Suicide. Passively wasting away.

She got to her feet. She wore her formal white concert gown. She spied a brown hair on the white gown — her hair color before Arthur left, before it began falling out. Her hands weren’t as thin now, not as skeletal. Starvation no longer showed. Best to forget starving myself. I’m going to forget it when I get home anyway. If I go home.

She heard a foghorn, faint in the distance, and spied a flash of light out of the corner of her eye. She strained to see it again but couldn’t. It could keep me from wandering in circles. That’s something to hope for. Funny to find hope here when I had thrown hope into a drawer back home.

Chapter 3
A Coyote with a Hole in Her Heart

COYOTE examined the hole in her chest where he heart should have been. She’d have worn her vest if his cat hadn’t pissed on it. The bullet to her left leg she remembered. She hadn’t noticed the blood, dried now and covering the inside of her thigh. Must have hit an artery. It should have taken me down. She remembered the hit to her leg, remembered returning fire. But she didn’t remember getting hit in the chest, and that big bullet hole wasn’t as bloody as the one in her leg. No way I should be walking around with a hole like that unless it hadn’t gone deep enough to hit my heart, and even then…. She poked. Nope. Almost all the way through. This is weird. She touched the bullet hole in her thigh. She could feel the wound, but felt no pain when she poked it. She cautiously touched hole in her chest. It doesn’t hurt. I should hurt like a sonofabitch, if not from the bullet then from the breakup with…. No name, but I remember the argument. His cat was just the latest. She couldn’t remember whether she had kicked him out or packed her things and left. All jumbled: all the boyfriends who left her and all those she left. No faces or names came to mind. Too many.

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