Dying for Eternity

In this affecting, expressive collection of four stories (along with one personal essay), author Allen Coyle introduces us to a distinctive cast of characters you’re unlikely to forget.

At once moving and nimble, with lyrical musings and vibrant dialogue, “Dying for Eternity” blends humanity and humor with horror and heartache to paint a dynamic, resonant portrait of the human spirit. 

  • Midnight Sonnet:

A young couple struggles to connect emotionally against the mundane backdrop of their everyday life. When one is feeling expressive and romantic, the other is mired in the obligatory ritual of household chores. Love truly is a two-way street, filled with romantic buoyancy and humdrum routine, and sometimes the hardest part of staying in love is staying on the same page. 

  • Permanent Detention:

Since age seventeen, Paul has been serving a life sentence in Permanent Detention, a special prison for enemies of the state. His crime? Possessing a banned book — one he inherited from his long-dead rebel father. 

Now approaching thirty, Paul’s life has devolved to an empty, meaningless and very lonely routine. But one evening, his life takes a sudden and unexpected turn. For the first time in twelve years, he meets a woman — a fellow inmate named Pam. And though their encounter is brief, Paul falls deeply, profoundly in love. 

Flushed with emotions he never knew existed, Paul dreams of Pam at every waking turn, envisioning the life they could share if only their lives were their own — if only they were free and far away. 

Only Paul must cope with the fact that his life, like Pam’s, belongs to the state … and that no amount of dreaming can penetrate the prison’s thick walls. And when he’s told he can never see Pam again, Paul is forced to grapple with the emotions surging inside him … and to find meaning in a life over which he has no control. 

Set in a dystopian future in which liberty and privacy have become relics of the past, “Permanent Detention” depicts a young man’s resolve to find beauty amid bleakness, and to dream of love in life’s darkest hours. 

  • Dying for Eternity: 

Two college students, Andrew and Matt, awaken in a mysterious compound with no memory of how they got there. They encounter a strange woman who tells them they’ve entered a spiritual realm … a halfway point between heaven and earth … because the unimaginable has happened: 

They’ve died. 

However, for Andrew and Matt, death is only the beginning — the beginning of a murky and twisted reality that feels more like purgatory than a peaceful afterlife. And when it seems the spiritual realm they inhabit might not be so spiritual after all, their priority morphs from resting in peace to running for their lives…. 

  • Souls Gone Astray:

Aaron and Rachel are a young couple who are deeply in love and engaged to be married. But the morning after Aaron proposes, he wakes up alone. It’s not that Rachel has left him. It’s that she doesn’t exist — at least not in Aaron’s world.

Aaron eventually learns that he somehow has crossed into an alternate dimension where he and Rachel are no longer together. Each day, in fact, brings a new reality and a changed set of circumstances. Untethered from the life he knows, he’s left bobbing adrift in an endless sea of parallel universes. 

With nothing but true love to keep him afloat, Aaron somehow must find a way to return to his own reality — and to his beloved soulmate — or else risk losing himself across the massive, wide-sweeping reaches of the multiverse.

  • Where I Was From:

The author returns to his childhood home to find it in shambles, with an inexplicable canoe sitting in the living room and a doghouse that his dad built deteriorating in the back yard. With an introspective look at growing up and going away, this heartfelt essay shows that while you always can go home again, the home you remember may not be the home that remains.