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A short story of a man finding himself in the afterlife having to come to terms with his previous life.


Submitted:May 26, 2011    Reads: 27    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


It all happened so fast… My mind is completely full of thoughts and images that it seems as if I had none at all. I might not have a thought at all except of my inability to have thoughts. I just don't know… Pain struck through me as flashes of deep reds and thick blacks. I had no real sense of what hurt or where but it felt as if it was everywhere… Voices and noises blasted about and all around I can barely hone in on where they all are coming from. I remembered faces, some faces dashing above and around… "He's coming back! We're going to take care of you Stephen!" Stephen was my name. I know that much. The pain is unbearable. It feels somewhat as if my skin was on fire. I just don't know. Where am I? Who said my name? I feel as if I am barely squinting through one eye. It's definitely enough for me although there's too much light. That seems to hurt too. So bright I feel as if I'm taking the heat from it all, all that white fire. "You are going to be just fine Stephen. Just try to relax." That voice again. I guess my thoughts are my own and not exiting my mouth at all, although I would not notice the difference. This pain is terrible. I can hear the screams of another patient who is close by. They sound like I feel right now. What happened? We had dinner. "We know you're in pain Stephen we are working on it. Just a few minutes and you will be feeling better." How does he know how much this hurts? That patient won't stop screaming, I think they should have someone help them out too… "This is a total mess." Well I feel a little bit better although still the crushing and burning sensation I can feel is just distilled throughout my body. What's a mess? I'm guessing my "good" eye is completely swollen shut now or something. All I see is pain, pain showing itself through colors. That's kind of odd. It makes me feel like some kind of robot. Like a sensory unit flashing to show some sign of trouble from within my own body. It is definitely distilled I know that much. "I am going to need Dr. Roberts in here with me." "I'll get him" "Thanks." Alright so we got doctors picking at me needing more doctors. Guess I will just watch the rainbow of pain. What happened? We were at dinner. We left the restaurant, and. Oh my god we had a car accident. What about Susan and Kelly? Hey, Doctor where's my wife and daughter? Oh my god, are they alright? Oh please god, don't tell me I killed my little girl. Please god. Please… "Were losing him doctor!" "I know. I know. Get the defibullators." What? The pain is nearly gone. I'm okay! I'm okay! Let me see my wife and daughter. Please, you have to! "Clear!" Didn't you hear me? THERE'S NO PAIN. I'M OKAY! I NEED TO SEE MY FAMILY… What's this? Where am I now? The light is even brighter here. But it doesn't hurt to look at. Hey both my eyes are fine now. That light, it's brighter than staring right at the noon high sun. Although there's not even the slightest urge to squint here. It actually feels relaxing sort of like how the sun feels when its rays beat on your skin at the beach but actually a more nourishing feeling from this. Such a great feeling throughout as if I am some part of this entirety. What about my family though. I must be dead. I must have died at the hospital. If they died too would they not be here also? It is a good thing that I seem as if I alone. But, I don't totally feel alone. I can't really begin to explain the feeling of a million faceless eyes on you. Ha, I'm trying to explain my own feelings to myself. This has to be the great beyond. But, there should be more shouldn't there. Especially if I am accepted here then there most definitely should be more. Those eyes, I can still feel those millions of eyes that must be blanketed by the light. My skin, my skin is transparent? This is kind of neat. There's nothing inside though. My arm shows clear through with only the light lining of where skin should be but absolutely nothing inside of it. No bone, no veins, no blood, just light. It's solid to touch. No hair, no feeling of skin. A kind of gel like feeling mixed with the touch of light. Ha, if I even knew what light felt like! No hair on my face, or my head. All those times Kelly griped about me whining about having to shave, lord if she could see me now. Poor Kelly and Susie, she was only four she didn't have to lose her father! It's just not right. Not fair. So angry and sad but it seem not much of a meaning here. I don't feel as if I could even cry in this place. It feels too comfortable and welcoming. But, that doesn't make things right. "You have no right to take a child's father away!" My voice seems endless. Not in the fact that it seems as if it travels forever but whereas it seems as if it is received by millions, millions of those watching eyes. "What do you want from me? You took my life! Killed my family! What? What is it that you want?" Forget it. Feels like the millions of faceless eyes are just children incomprehensive of anything I have to say. I can almost feel the surrounding innocence through the light. It sort of makes me feel ashamed in a way. Ashamed I couldn't have gone through life with that feeling, that projection. Ashamed to be the man I am. What am I talking about I was a good man. I did right by my fellow man, right by my family. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but I feel it. I really feel it. It's starting to make me sick. As sick as I think I could feel in such a place as this. Maybe if I had a look around and found one of these "children." The ground seems safe enough if I could even call it a ground. More like an air of light abyss, whatever that is. It defiantly seems stable enough to hold whatever possible weight I have to offer at this spot. But, who's to say that one step won't drop me to depts. I fear not to reach. This aura is welcoming enough and if this is an afterlife then who's to say there isn't the opposite of this somewhere, down there. Even so I think I should try. My feet look the same as my arms and hands along with my legs. Some kind of gel and light formation mix of some exterior embodiment that use to be skin. Still no sign of bones or blood within. Not even muscle formations. God forbid I take a step and fall to a gel puddle. Boy wouldn't that be a sight. Enough thinking it's time for action… Or not, okay I am a jellyfish type humanoid in a world of light where I am immobilized. So this is a dream. I was in a car accident. The doctors are still working on me. My family is fine. I will come out of this drug induced hallucination and I will tell my family all about it when I am well and we will laugh and order take out for a month. That has to be it. Ha, that will be a great laugh for everyone. So… I guess I will just stand here and wait to be revived at the hospital then. This is actually pretty boring for a hallucination. It would be more exiting if I was some kind of half mouse being chased by some giant human type cats. Pretty nice my back pain and the pressure from my knees are gone though. That's one thing I won't miss. That's what I'll tell all the guys at the construction site to get them jealous. All about my stable jelly knees, the feeling of strength with no muscles and no back pain at all. I might even embellish some too, heck this is a hallucination mine as well make it all up to be something much better than this. "I am a golden god!" Ha I remember that's from some movie but I can't remember which one. I think the guy was on some drugs or hallucinating or something like that. I bet those "children" enjoyed it gave me a laugh. Seems my arms work unlike my legs. Maybe if I shake them about enough I will just transform into some kind of octopus man and fall to the ocean below… Nope. But those innocent eyes seem a little more confused. Seems odd that they find me so indifferent when they are my hallucination, if I could only figure out how to get one of them to show their face or something but, what if their hideous? Four heads twenty eyes? If I am made of jelly then they could be anything. They could feel innocent then next moment could rip me apart. Man I would give anything to just sleep until the doctors are done. Why do they have to pump you up with so many drugs just to fix you? They wonder why their always treating addicts, yeah well I know why. I'll tell that doctor just that when I get out of here. I wonder if I could just sleep like this just rest my chin on my jelly chest, ha. I couldn't sleep with my mind racing like this. Oh my god! I am a jelly man who has lost his penis! Man, what kind of drug gives you a Ken doll stub down there? Those doctors better not of cut that off or he's going to have quite the lawsuit on his hands afterwards. Must have an icepack or something on me otherwise I am a real horrible tripper. Look to your heart. That wasn't my thought. Felt like someone right in front of me was talking right to me. I don't see anyone amongst this light. Felt like someone was right here, right in front of me talking with me. Those doctors better hurry up or I might not come out of this with the right mind set at all. What if I come out and have no idea who my wife is, who my daughter is, lord that would destroy them worse than me dying. Look to your heart. Those eyes feel so intent as if they're surrounding me within inches. Is that them, some kind of telepathic children? Maybe that's their way of greeting people in their fake world. "I don't have a heart! I don't have blood! I don't have…" I do have a heart. How is it that everything is gone from within me except this beating heart? It's much redder colored than I would imagine. I thought most hearts were actually like a deep red look mostly because of the blue which is the actual color of blood except when it hits the air and it turns to red. See I paid some attention in school wasn't completely daydreaming. Lord, daydreaming look where it has got me now, hallucinating on my near death bed. Look to your heart. "I'm looking to my heart. I don't know if that's what you mean literally or not." I take it back I actually wish I was the only jellyfish in this pond. Wait, what is that, a black in the red, a black in the heart? What is that doing there? A flash. Flashes of life flying through my mind playing over my life's scenarios in front of my very eyes, I'm watching my life but it looks like only chosen portions of it. It feels as if I am really there again, this time though I am an outsider to even myself. I'm ten again, the feelings overwhelming just watching myself at a distance. As if I'm really there again, as a ten year old me. The same old house we grew up in, the big front yard with the giant rock at the roads edge. Man, I haven't seen this house in ages. That's me all stumpy after the spring I spent putting on double my weight. Thanks mom's home cooking and televised wrestling. Ha, that took me years to loose, just one spring of my life at the cost of many years. I got my frog bucket too. I know what I'm up to, its frog fishing time. I'm pretty sure I was one of the best at catching them. I even use to bet myself that if they had some kind of frog fishing contest I would win in both pounds and amount. Ha, the things I use to be good at. He walked right by me. He doesn't even see me at all. He's so stumpy looking. I guess I will just follow humpty dumpty down to the pond. Ha, this is actually turning out to be a pretty good hallucination. It's nice to be out of that jellyfish form and now to be reliving great memories is a wonderful treat. "Alright stumpy where here, how many are you going to catch today?" Ha, I bet this day I caught ten at least, all mostly bullfrogs. They were so big at this pond. I think I was the only one who went fishing for them, at least I never saw anyone down here in the time we lived here. There you go stumpy get right in there, ha. Man now this is a relaxing way to pass the time on the operation table. I kind of wish I could talk to myself though. Ha, listen to me telling myself I want to talk to myself. Ha, the longer I stay in this state the more I might actually lose my mind. "Mrs. Thomas, were sorry but your husband is fine but has come out with some brain damage." Ha, that a boy stumpy already you have to have about six, seven now. Man I really wasn't messing around when I went fishing. I wonder why I didn't do it more than I use to. The pond probably wouldn't be able to upkeep the bullfrog population that's probably why. It all lies in nature that is all. Oh looks like I'm done for the day, time to head for home. It's funny I never got into fishing at all. I only did actual fishing like twice in my life I remember how much I hated it and didn't want to do it at all. I wonder why when I was such a natural at such a young age. Ha, maybe it's because they all cheat with a pole when all I needed was my hands and a bucket. That rock, it always brought back the feeling of home and everything long before the sight of the house. Maybe it was because it was the first thing seen from the road; I guess that is probably it. I know I have my skin back now cause its goose bumping all over. I'm starting to feel sick to my stomach. "No stop stumpy! I mean Stephen! Stop!" I know what's next. I remember now. I remember how much I hated it. Every week I would go down to the pond and I would fish up some frogs a whole bucket full and I would then make my way back home and stop at the giant rock. Every time I would take one of the frogs usually the largest and would smash him on the rocks. I don't know why I did it. I could never explain it. Even long after the first time I knew what happened. I knew how I felt after. Even after all that I still chose to do it again, and again and again. I don't know why. "No Stephen!" Ugh, the poor boy. "He doesn't know what he's doing or why?" It's not fair. Why did I have to watch this again, of all the possible memories? This is what I have to think of in reflection of my life, so stupid, so pointless. And I just dump the rest out onto the grass after momentarily staring at the shattered bullfrog on the rock. I remember I feel the overwhelming sensation of guilt and confusing that I felt then. Even now I know not why I did it. Even the first time it wasn't to see what would happen. I knew what would happen; there was never any question in that it's just something I chose to do. I don't know why. Now the poor boy will just run inside and swamp himself in a guilt he knows no home for. It's not right. It was never right, never fair. I didn't kill the frogs on purpose. I even hated that I felt so guilty to not even bring the rest of the frogs back to the pond. To bring them all back home after knowing that I had just murdered their brother. I don't know why. I just don't understand it at all. A flash. Now I'm thirteen. I don't want to see anymore if it's all going to be like the previous. I just want to wake up. "Someone wake me up! Please!" I forgot how much I loved this house. I liked the last and living there and all but there was something about this house that gave me some kind of feeling or sense of personality and upbringing that the rest didn't. The hallway is just as I remembered it, even the bookcase of the encyclopedias down at the end. I use to love those encyclopedia's more than I think a young boy should. I always had some thirst for a quick hit of rounded knowledge that those books provided, not to mention the naked statues and paintings that I seemed to enjoy through those years, ha. I think I just grossed myself out. I can hear my sister crying from within her room, and my father yelling back at her from down the stairs. I think I remember this night. I don't wish to be here at all. I know what's coming. I remember I was bouncing from my room to hers for a moment to tease her or annoy here in some manner long enough for her to yell for my dismissal. I would exit long enough for my parents to yell up at her to go to bed. Though she tried to argue in her defense through the floor it fell on deaf ears. And I being the antagonizer I kept up my manner. It was something with how she reacted most times I found to be a joke. I never seemed to understand how someone could be so touchy about anything so I found it in myself for some reason to antagonize that alien nature outright. This back and forth silent banter of mine kept up long enough for my sister to be yelling and crying with my father growing more infuriated with each moments pass. My sister would not stop her crying as I was now sitting in my room silent as a mouse just listening. I remember that at this point hearing my father's growing anger I relinquished my antics and started wishing that her cries would stop being heard through the floor downstairs, but I remember that I could clearly hear them through my next door wall. I remember actually realizing at that point that this regular occurrence was not fair. That I had not seen near the wrath that she had seemed to take on from our father. Not to say that I hadn't seen any parental wrath at all, but mine was totally warranted and usually given from my mother. Some weird dynamic from being adopted later on than my sister to my father I think but never thought too much into it other than that night. He was charging up the stairs now the fury sounded in his shoes on the stairs with every step. I couldn't make out all the yelling obscenities being so concentrated on the emotions and thought I had that very moment from within my room. I remember hearing him come up and I wish that somehow she would suffice her crying tone and he would just open the door and yell some more before retreating back downstairs, but I knew that wouldn't be the case. He entered her room in a rage and the sound from the hallway was just as bad as it was in my room that night. His yells were blanketed by the sound of his hand hitting her skin along with her screams bleeding out between her tears. The mix was chilling to just be around. It was only a few minutes but it seemed to last forever. I remember each smack heard and bloody scream made me blink and nearly shiver. I was never touched but I felt as if it was me being hit that night. My father left my sister weeping in her pillow with one last order to go to sleep before retreating back downstairs. Then still feeling sick to my stomach once again I watched myself slowly exit my room once again and creep to my sister's door. I remembered that even in the moment I knew not of why I was doing it or even what I was doing. I remember that at the time I felt that I could rush in and hug her to sleep and tell her I was sorry. But, all that washed away with the opening of the door. It almost felt like I had to fully play the bad guy role that I had preceded to obtain such an outcome. It was a sick odd feeling that accepted none of, yet I accepted it enough to open her door enough to see her blood red cheeks rested lifeless on her pillow with the barely dried forked tracks of tears strung down her face. Her pillow pooled with fluids that were not sweat in any bit. I seized that moment to stand a fool and proceed in an imitation of hysterical silent laugh while occasionally pointing at her helpless soul. I still remember in that moment I felt as if it wasn't me. Just as when I was with the frogs and the rocks. I cannot replace responsibility of my actions on things unknown in certain moments. It had been me; it was always me, but another me. I watched myself retreat from the room closing the door slowly and silently and returning back toward my room. As soon as the door shut the persona faded and my glum face and slump returned as I reentered my room and shut my door. I remember I returned to my bed wanting to cry just as hard as my sister had but couldn't pity myself enough to do so. A flash. "I can't see any more of this Christmas carol nightmare bullshit!" I said it with great command but I felt and knew that it fell on deaf ears even though I had my eyes squeezed as shut as I could possibly keep them. Even though I didn't see my sister's face or eyes in the reenactment from the hallway, I could see them in my mind; I could feel them in front of me. And it hurt more than anything could remember in a long time. I could hear the faint sobbing and low chatter from people surrounding me in my closed eyes dark domain. I did not wish to open them at all. I wished to see no more of what this strange hallucination had to show. A wash came over me as if heat passing through my body telling me I had to open them, that I had to see these events just as I had to see the ones before. I had to feel, see, hear, witness, relive all these blanketed memories of the past. It felt not of some kind of sick subconscious pleasure trip but more of some kind of inner growth. That's the only way I could explain the sensation to myself, but I didn't know how I could open my eyes, how I could relive anymore events such as the last until I somehow summoned the will to open them myself. Just as soon as I had opened them I wanted to shut them just as tight if not tighter. Yet, some kind of will from within demanded me to leave them open. I knew where I was. It was probably the last place I would want to see again other than having to witness my child or wife's death or funeral but it was pretty much equivalent to even that. I could see the casket as clear as I saw it on that day in the past. His lifeless body pale as can be laid in the half open casket. Just the sight of his whiter than white closed eye lids weakened my knees once more. Everyone was standing about just as I remembered. Some were sharing in their own tearful silences, as some others chatting quietly with each other, some about his life, some about theirs. And me, I was twenty-two on that day but felt as if I was three years old. I was standing in the back with my nose in the corner of the back wall opposite the casket. I remembered I had just entered the viewing room not moments before. I had taken one look at the lifeless body of my best friend and found only some kind of solitude within the baby blue corner. I dared not to take another look for such a long time, some kind of outrageous hope filled me in that corner hoping that he would just pop out and his voice alone would be the only thing to turn me back around. He was so young and so alive it seemed outrageous to think that he would now be there in that moment the way he was. And I was filled with more than regret, more than shame, all from the last remembrance of his living days. It was only my proudness, my own fixation that I was more and should be more than I was; asking more of him than I even did of myself in times past. Our friendship was a quick and thorough growing one. We had known each other little over a year when it seemed we were bore from the same womb. We were inseparable as much as could be, even chasing after a set of twins together. Though he landing the luckier one and actually gaining his girlfriend while I turned up shorthanded. It was shortly after that, that the growing feeling of losing the one I had come to know as a brother both in time and space due to the longevity of the boyfriend and girlfriend nature took in effect. I found myself growing more and more angered with the time apart that I was forced into from his growing relationship. As time went on I separated myself more and more. I lost the desire to even be courteous and friendly in even the short moments we did share together other than taking them as I once did. I even took it into the effect of turning him against me and ultimately angering him to a public outburst against me. It was the same feeling in that moment as the frogs and as my sister cried. I wanted to pull the strings and wanted to see pain. Some sick desire I could not push away. One that hadn't been felt for ages before then or so it felt that way. Ultimately I even washed away the chance to graduate next to who I received as my best friend ever. I remember that summer he attempted to contact me time and time again. Each time I refused to even answer one single call. I was some kind of daemon in search of pushing anything and all away including that of Jason. And now filled with every second thought emotion I stood ashamed and unworthy in my corner. The people around friends and family all looked to me as being his separated twin. His mother even giving me his blanket that his grandmother had made him along with his worry stone, the stone his mother gave him to rub his worries and angered emotions away, which he always did. I was even asked to talk at his ceremony, me the betrayer of all friendship. Still I did as was asked. I stood before all those who loved Jason throughout his life and never once asked for more of him than they gave and I recited how much he had meant to me. It shouldn't have been me. It should have been anyone but me. I could not come close to dignify what kind of a man Jason was. I had not even come close to half the man he was. I pushed him away time after time out of jealousy until he was truly gone. There was no coming back from what I had done then. There was no saying sorry, there was no hug, there was no washing of the hands, and it was over. How it was laid was now laid forever. A stain of life I could never take back as long as I lived and it never once crossed my mind until that fact was reinstated with his passing. "I don't want to see anymore! You hear me? No more! I get it! I was a horrible person! I took advantage of life and I was selfish and uncaring. I don't want to see anymore!" A flash. But there was more, and more, and more. The images all of moments throughout my life I had long forgotten or tried my hardest to do so, such as when I was five years old and tried to burn my sister with a hot light bulb. Moments like when I refused to talk to my girlfriend hiding in some kind of silent misery ultimately sending the love of my life away just to live in the despair of her absence. Some were great moments in my life that I relived in my head over and over. Some were just moments that passed in that moment never thinking twice over of its effect or reasoning. Some were times of when I cut off other drivers when I was in a hurry, and of times when I gave someone else the finger out of frustration. All were moments and times in my life that didn't build to be the person I saw in the mirror each day. But they were all moments that built a stain within my life and my being. Moments that altered and shaped my soul as and entirety. I could feel each moment just as it was a stain upon my own soul, a stain that pained my very heart within my chest. The flashes of life's reenactments flushed quick and fluidly throughout my mind's eye for what seemed to be my entire lifetime in itself. Before even nearing the end I began to seriously doubt the self proclaimed "good man" or even "decent man." It felt as if nothing could make up for all the despair I had put out in my lifetime, no matter how big, no matter how small some were. They all balled to become this great stain. At the end of the journey through memory lane I felt so light headed I wished I could sleep the rest of my being away. The last images washed through me like a tidal wave of air and light. It awakened my eyes which I had not noticed beforehand had been shut. From the dwindling paining sensation from the sockets it felt like I had them stapled shut the whole time. The oddest feeling was that during the images it seemed as if four lifetimes had passed, but upon my awakening it truly felt that it had only been mere moments, if even moments existed in this realm. I was back to being a jellyfish. But I did not feel like one now. I did not feel like this was a hallucination or dream of any sort. This felt real, it felt true and intended. I did not know that I could even cry in this body form but it was apparent from the tracks and the amount down my entire body that I had wept the entire time I had my eyes closed. Look to your heart. The voices came back in my head. They didn't sound like innocent children anymore. They still had the pure innocence feeling in them, but they felt fuller of years, experience, and life. I looked down at my heart but I could feel it well before the look, even before the voices, that the black was gone. This taint of life that I welcomed upon myself had been washed away by something much greater than me. More than just my sorrow and despair in my life's actions, more than my wanting to fix what had been broken by my will, I was washed of my black. "You are accepted here, brother." The voice was the same and knew all too well. Just the sound of Jason's voice nearly brought tears to my eyes before I could pick up my head, but he odd feeling was that even in a moment that any other time I would cry in I felt that the tears themselves never formed but the essence that carried in them absorbed their energy within my own self. All I could do was smile with the raise of my head. A flash.




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