A STRANGE JOURNEY BACK TO LIFE
It was a strange day. The skies were overcast. Ominous clouds hung low obscuring any sunlight. The wind lay still. There was an unusual silence and calm that I had never seen before. It was unusual not to see any birds about sitting chirping in the trees. Even the neighbor’s dog who usual barked all day long was unusually quiet. I picked up my cell phone to call at work to tell them that I would be late but I discovered that there were no signals. This was getting pretty eerie, so I moved to use the cordless but there was a loud buzz and static and nothing more. This was getting weirder by the moment.
As a bachelor living in a rented portion of a house within a posh residential area in Lahore, Pakistan I had no one else living with me. I was perturbed by the unusual circumstances. Stepping out of the house, I noticed that it was nearly pitch dark. There was no movement; not a soul stirred. I looked at my watch to see the time but it had stopped working. My next move was to shout and holler. Stepping out of the house onto the road, I rang the door bell of my neighbors but there was no response whatsoever. I peered over my next door neighbor’s gate expecting the pit-bull to jump at me. Alas nothing of the sort happened. Even the guard that sat at the entrance was strangely nowhere to be seen. I ran down my lane ringing door bells and shouting all I could but there was only silence and more silence that greeted me. Panic and fear gripped and took a hold of me. I stepped out onto the main road but there was not a car or vehicle in sight and not a soul to be seen. I ran back home and opened my car. Luckily the car came to life when I put the car keys into the ignition and turned it. The roar of the car engine was a momentary relief for me. I pulled out my car and headed onto the main road. It was nearly pitch dark.
A swift breeze had now picked up. There was a distant rumble and streaks of lightning cut across the sky. Driving down a main road in the posh residential area of Defense, which on any other time or day or was full of traffic, I hoped to find someone I could talk to and yet there was not a soul to be found. I tried to tune into the local radio channels but only a loud static and sharp wailing sound pierced my ears. By now I was anxious and fearful. I parked my car outside a close friend’s house.
The gate was strangely open. Even the front door of his house was wide open. I rushed inside screaming and hollering, announcing my arrival. But nothing happened. I made my way to my friend’s bedroom and opened it. My friend and his wife lay asleep in their bed. I shook him up and shouted and I may even have slapped him many a time but there was no response. Were they drugged or were they dead? I felt for the pulse of my friend and wife. They were alive. However they seemed to be in a deep sleep. Even after throwing cold water over them using a bucket in his washroom, there was no response or reaction; not even a whimper.
By now I was shuddering in terror. What had happened to the people? Where were the birds and insects? I had found my friends Siamese Cat all rolled up asleep on their sofa in the sitting lounge. Much to my shock and dismay, I found that even the cat was in some state of deep sleep from which it would not awaken.
As I stepped out of the house, I espied at the heavens. The slight breeze had now turned into a tempest. Sheets of rain obscured my vision. I was quite wet by the time I reached my car. My next move was to head for the shopping center near my house. The shops were open. However stepping inside different shops, I found people in a state of deep sleep. Some sat sprawled in chairs looking as if they had moved on to the next world. Others had slumped to the ground where they had once stood. Lying motionless upon the floor, their belongings lay strewn about them. And there was silence and only more silence all around.
Was I asleep? Was this my dream? Was this just a bad nightmare? There had to be answers and yet I was bamboozled. I was by now quite thirsty. So I proceeded to a nearby store and just picked up a can of coke. I opened the can and sipped the coke but I was shocked to find that the taste was quite bltter and bland. It was so bitter that I could not drink it anymore. So I proceeded to pick up another can of coke but the results were still the same. Next I moved to take a small bottle of water and drank it. However I found that it had done little to quench my thirst. It was only after drinking about four 250ml bottles of mineral water that, I my thirst was quenched. There was something dead wrong; it was a mystery; a nightmare and I was in the middle of it all. By now the skies had cleared a little but it was still dark. Where was the sun? It was neither cold neither hot.
As I espied at the skies, the color changed from a dull black shade to a rosy blood red color. The heavens seemed to be alight on fire. Looking skywards, I saw multiple colors throbbing spasmodically forming different shapes and forms. I saw creatures that I had never laid my eyes on before. They would appear and then disappear in a flash. Some of them glowed and had unimaginable beauty. Others would come in forms so hideous and scary. Some of them spoke in soothing musical tones, others spoke gibberish in harsh and husky tones. It was strange to see images of people, alive and dead light flash across the sky. So many hidden emotions and memories associated with my dead parents took a hold of me, as the heavens displayed their images before me. I was made aware of my entire life; all my actions and deeds, with the minutest details flashed before me. Soothing calm and peace held my body after every good deed was displayed. However every sin, small or large was followed by a terrible grating sound; a sound that filled my heart with lots of terror and remorse. I felt my limbs shudder in fear and terror. Though I tried speaking out, I could not. I wanted to scream and shout but I could not. I saw lights; bright lights descending from the heavens. I felt as if they were angels for they spoke in my language and what I understood from them was that they were my guardian angels. They stood about me encircling me. And I espied a few hideous beings appear on the horizon making their way for me. The angels informed me that those hideous beings were the disciples of Satan who tried to mislead men and women into committing acts and deeds that angered God. They are the messengers that spread greed, anger, jealousy, hate, spite, adultery, envy, stubbornness, arrogance ,deceit, treachery and every ignoble act and deed that would lead man astray from the right path. It was their duty to spread suspicion and doubt in the hearts and minds of men and women alike.
And the descending hideous creatures then assumed the shapes and images of people I had known all my life. I saw my dead parents and grandparents appear out of thin air. Were they alive? I was overjoyed. However a soothing voice resounded from one of the angels stating that it was all a lie; another act of deception. The heavens then resounded with a beautiful recitation of Surah Al Baqarah. The evil spirits that had taken the shape of my parents had now changed back to their hideous forms. They were writhing in agony and spectacular balls of fire enclosed them as they disappeared.
One of the guardian angels spoke to me and said ‘Your recital of the Holy Quran in your life earned you the mercy of God and has protected you from the evil and harm that Satan and His disciples intended for you. Where was I? Was I dead? What was this?
What had happened to the people? These thoughts flooded my conscience. However one of the angels seemed to read my mind and said ‘No you have not passed over to the other side as yet. It is not your time to die as yet. You were involved in a ghastly road accident and you were injured very badly. This place is limbo; a place that lies between life and death.’ There was a swooshing sound as I was hurled at light speed through a vortex of light. I think I passed out. However when I opened my eyes, I found my vision to be intensely blurred. As my vision improved, my eyes fell upon a worried doctor that stood next to the hospital bed on which I lay. I tried to speak but found it difficult to do so. My head ached and there was intense pain in my jaw. The doctor seemed to be ecstatic and ran away screaming ‘He has awoke’. My wife ran in. She was happy; tears of joy rolled down her face. She said,’ I thought that I had lost you. You have been lying in a coma for the past two weeks.’ I had no recollection of what had happened. Apparently I had lost control of my car when one of the car tires burst and my car had flipped over. Only wearing a seat belt had saved me from immediate death. However excessive head injuries had caused me to enter in a deep coma. I was lucky to be alive.