Doctor Allen Halsey, Dean of the Medical School at Miskatonic University, had told him of someone who had theories similar to his own. Halsey was a narrow minded fool who had thought Ellery’s theories implausible, (what little he knew of them; Ellery was careful not to share his full ideas with small minds. Only Marcia had known their full extent), but he had told Ellery about someone else who may prove useful. Ellery stalked out of the hospital on borrowed crutches, his twisted leg rendered near useless, and when he got to the nearest pay telephone and found the man’s number and address (so close by! Please, God, let this work!), and he called him, and the man answered, and as soon as he understood the situation he rushed over in his car, picked up Ellery from the phone booth, and took him back to the hospital, and then Ellery went back inside and insisted on seeing the body that had been Marcia Ellery alone, and that was when he injected her corpse with the syringe he had been given by Herbert West.
The knowledgeable reader may have an expectation as to what will happen next, but he is encouraged to keep it private lest he spoil things for others. He will also likely find that he was mistaken. This was not the reagents made by West in his later career, which would work their full, though fatally flawed, effect on their own. This was only a preservative. But my god, what a preservative.
Later that day, Ellery was allowed to take the body of his beloved Marcia home. West helped him to move her. West was interested, preternaturally interested, and Ellery, in a fit of protectiveness, snarled at him to stay away from her if he knew what was best for him, and West decided that it was best to leave Ellery to his own investigations, and to keep an eye on him from afar, as one does with academic rivals.
Ellery set up an elaborate facility in his house to care for the now vacant body of his beloved. He kept it cold, far below freezing, in a container he commissioned for just this purpose, in the cellar of his house. The reagent prevented any freezing of the blood, lymph, vitreous humor, or other bodily fluids. Her corpse was preserved better than any other corpse in history had been. A Pharaoh would have been jealous. Alarms were rigged to the room; if a change of even one half of one degree occurred in the temperature, Ellery would be notified, much less if anyone had opened the chamber door. Ellery had kept her there for four long, agonizing years, as he set up what was needed. His other experiments fell by the way side. He stopped taking on assistants; he couldn’t entrust what he was doing to anyone else, it was far too valuable. He read forbidden books far more often than before. Indeed, it seemed they were the only kind of book he read these days. He even fell behind in his reading of the journals of Chemistry, and had to give up his position as an editor on one and a reviewer on three others. His dreams, wherein he had been a passive or perhaps active observer, he now took on the role of an active seeker. He sought out new locations, new peoples, new individuals to question and learn from. Interrogate, really. He was desperate for any knowledge that he felt would aid in his attempts. In his dreams he spoke with many creatures. Fungus based beings that reminded him of the stories of the Abominable Snow-Men, and which complimented him on his preservation technique, and told him they could have helped him if he had come to him before she died, but that now they were as helpless as he. Beings shaped like Yule trees that referenced conversations yet to happen and could not remember ones that had already occurred. A man in a yellow cloak who seemed to delight in his suffering. He glimpsed a series of bubbling spheres whose size he could begin to estimate - it could have been the smallest bit of froth in a beer, or the largest thing he had ever seen - until one of the spheres passed in front of a star and blotted it out, and another passed behind it at the same time, and he saw it was larger than any sun. And then one day he heard a thin piping, and met in his dreams a tall, dark man, dressed like unto a Pharaoh, who finally told him what he wanted to hear. The thing called Nyarlothotep told James Ellery the location of Heaven.
Heaven is in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists know, or will know it, as an inordinately dense and large conglomeration of Dark Matter. Souls, being also made of Dark Matter, are unable to touch anything made of normal matter, once the life-force connecting them uniquely to a single brain is severed. The energy from this severing, like that of splitting an atom, pushes on them - it breaks them free of whatever orbit they were in, and then they are pulled towards the largest object around. In the Milky Way, that is the enormous cluster of Dark Matter at its heart. That is where the soul of every living creature that dies in our galaxy goes: the enormous Black Hole at the center of the Galaxy. That is Heaven.
Nyarlothotep told James Ellery other things as well. He told him how to make a device which would let him see to the center of the galaxy. Like a great telescope - and indeed, he built it by building attachments for the Miskatonic University observatory’s telescope - except that this would not merely magnify the things visible in the distance by means of the light particles which were already traversing to them. Instead, this creation would open a portal from where it was to the location upon which it spied. This would allow one to directly observe the center of the galaxy. The portal would not allow for the transmission of ordinary matter - only Dark Matter, and ordinary light. This meant there was effectively no danger in opening the portal: the air wouldn’t be sucked out of the room, nothing on our end could end up in the center of the galaxy. All that could happen is that we could observe, and that something could come here from there.
The next device that James Ellery built using his dream-given inspiration was one which could allow for the momentary cancellation of gravity, and even the induction of gravity in a different direction. It was horribly difficult, expensive, and inefficient. It had taken him enormous, agonizing efforts to be able to make it able to pull 22 grams at Earth gravity rates. But damn the costs, Ellery was going to put all of his effort and resources into it, and all of Miskatonic University’s, if that was what was needed. Given that he had canceled his other experiments, his total budget was only slightly larger than it had been in previous years, and the administration had not yet noticed that he had stopped publishing. The head of the astronomy department, for his part, had objections to the bulky equipment taking up space in his beloved observatory, but when Ellery shared with him some dream-given insights into the structure of deep space, which careful observation confirmed (though Ellery of course did not say the source of his startlingly accurate conjectures), then he changed his tune. Insights like that did not come along often, and they were well worth sacrificing some storage space and the occasional night on the telescope.
And this was one of those nights. Ellery knew that in order for the portal device to work, for its strange beams to successfully reach the center of the galaxy, an enormous number of celestial bodies needed to be alignment. He had finished the dream-inspired gravity device - the probe, as he had taken to calling it - over two years ago. He had then taken to working on modifying his electro-magnetic brain stimulation devices and attaching feeds for them to the combined probe and portal device. They would be attached to the brain of Marcia’s corpse, and then their feeds would be receiving data from the probe. The stars would align, the portal device would open the portal to the center of the galaxy, the probe would find Marcia’s soul, cancel the gravity pulling it in towards that most final of resting places, and slowly, gently, pull it back into her body. A complicated apparatus of electrodes surrounded her body, which was being warmed back up to 98.6 degrees fahrenheit (though still with West’s preservatives inside of it, so it could stand the warmth without decay). A few electrical needles even punctured her skin and were inside of her muscles, but Ellery comforted himself and assuaged his guilt at this desecration of her body by repeating to himself that needles were used in medical procedures all the time, and that he knew she could handle the pain - she had pierced her own ears so that she could wear the ear rings he had bought her, when he had thought that she would look good in them but hadn’t realized that her ears were unpierced. They had been massaging her muscles electrically, making them twitch and limber up, strengthening and flexing them, preparing them to be a worthy vessel of her mind once again. She was naked, to give the machines the best possible access to her body, but her favorite outfit was lying gently folded over a chair nearby. It had been professionally cleaned just a few days prior. Everything was in preparation. Last night, Eller had turned the portal device on. It didn’t generate the portal immediately, it took time to warm up, power on, and search the heavens for the location it was intended to be aligned to, and then within that to search for her soul. The souls being swept towards the center of the galaxy were made of Dark Matter, and so of course were invisible to the eyes of mere mortals, beings composed of ordinary matter. So Ellery had hooked up the scanning mechanism of the portal device directly to Marcia’s brain. Everyone’s brain is uniquely attuned to their soul - this is why your soul controls your body, and not another, and no one else controls your body - and so by allowing itself to be guided by her brain, the scanner could automatically find her soul, sorting it out from the billions and billions of others that must be working their way towards that great and terrible mass in the center of the galaxy.
Today was the day when the heavenly bodies would align, when the stars are right. Today was that day. The hour was approaching. Ellery had a small radio controlled device in his pocket that would sound when the portal device had identified her soul, which was why he felt comfortable doing inconsequential things like eating pastry with students. The reason he had left her side at all was because, in all of his concerns about her soul, the portal, and the devices, he realized he had forgotten something crucial: the reagent to counter the preservative that West had given her! The preservative, which had kept her body in pristine condition all this time, was something that no living human should have to endure. The reagent that he had developed, building off of West’s work, would flush West’s from her system, and leave her body as regenerated and invigorated as possible. If it worked as it should, it would not only remove all of the toxins in West’s formula, but also leave her body fulfilled and restored to health. She should wake up feeling like she had taken a long nap and eaten a hearty meal. Ellery had forgotten to bring the formula with him, and so he had gone home to search for it, not found it, and was now looking for his office to search for it there. Something seemed strange about his mood. He realized that with the alignment of the planets and stars coming so soon, he ought to have felt panicked, to be horribly upset with himself at having forgotten something so important, but a strange calm had descended on him. He moved as though in a dream. A thin piping, like an uncanny, monotonous flute, was ringing in his ears. He couldn’t remember where he had heard it, but it was thoroughly stuck in his head, and its unearthly tune soothed him in some odd way, giving him the sensation that the universe was aligning itself along his purposes. Nothing could stand in his way.