Meanwhile, back in the cemetery, souls start disappearing at an alarming rate. Amidst the chaos, Vollman and Bevins rush out of the chapel, passing Lieutenant Stone and Elson Farwell, who are in the midst of a seemingly never-ending fight, one that threatens to continue into eternity. Moving on, Bevins and Vollman can’t help but feel “shaken” by Willie’s words. Skimming across the grounds, they watch as Betsy Baron flickers and manifests as all her past and would-be future forms before departing, her husband begrudgingly following her closely behind.
Lieutenant Cecil Stone and Elson Farwell’s battle serves as yet another representation of the conflict between abolitionists and slaveholders in the real world. That their combat seems fit to go on into eternity says something about just how steadfast they are in their beliefs, a reflection of the ideological impasse at which America finds itself during the Civil War. On another note, it’s worth recognizing that Bevins and Vollman are faltering in their efforts to remain in the Bardo. Although Willie has merely articulated what they surely already knew (that they’re dead), they now find the prospect of staying in the Bardo noticeably more difficult.