Some Say

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Some say your life flashes before you when you die. Others say you remember all the things you did and did not do. However, we can all only say...unless you want to find out for yourself.

Submitted: June 05, 2017

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Submitted: June 05, 2017

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I sat in the cafeteria with my buddies. We were jumping between sudden bursts of short conversation and quickly devouring our lunches. Some people would be disgusted with how we ate, but everyone around us was doing the same thing. That's what happens when your lunch period is only 25 minutes.

"So, Thomas," my friend Carl said through a mouthful of food, "How did that Psychology test go?"
Carl was one of my very good friends. In our little circle, he would be considered the science nerd. We never called him that, but he said it wasn't offensive. He actually took it as a compliment. I, myself, was more the analyst of our group. I spent a lot of time just figuring things out and seeing why certain people acted the way they did and stuff like that. Hence, Carl's curiosity in my Psychology score.
I looked up from my phone to answer him, "It was easy. Almost a repeat of Fidget Causation."
He sighed, "I totally bombed it. There's no way she didn't throw in trick questions."
"Relax...it's just Psych," Another friend of mine joined in, "It doesn't matter unless you're goin' into the field like Neuro-boy over here."
That was Adam. Another great friend of mine. He never had the best grades, but he was always easy-going and looking to have some fun.
I turned to him after that comment, "I think you're just a little salty because SOMEONE not only beat, but demolished you in a certain chess game for an easy $20."
"Like hell you demolished me! I had you on the run for 5 turns and you know it!"
"You had a pawn on the run from a knight and somehow couldn't corner him."
"You were clearly sweating!"
"Anyway!" I cut the argument short, "Do you guys have anything going on after school? I've got 20 bucks to spend if you guys wanna join me."
"Bastard," Adam whispered, smiling.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?"
"Nothing, you're highness."
We went our separate ways after lunch and finished up the rest of our classes for the day. I ended the day with a lecture that felt like the teacher had a bet with the TA on who would fall asleep first. After the life was finally restored in my body, I packed up my stuff and went to my locker. Adam and Carl both texted that they had things to do "right away" after school. I knew they were just slacking because of the test, but I decided that it didn't matter. As I made my way to the door with everyone else, I was pulled aside by my English teacher.
"Hey, Thomas, mind coming with me for a sec?"
"Sure thing, what's up," I asked, a little confused.
"Don't worry, I don't got anything on you."
He lead me back to his classroom. I was used to the monstrosity of random school projects from who-knows-what-year sprawled across his desk. The only difference from usual was a large, open book laying on his keyboard.
"Whatcha reading there?" I asked.
"That's the reason I asked for you," he said.
"What do you need me for?"
"Actually, I was hoping you'd help me clarify some of this."
"What's it about?"
"It's a story of a criminal who was sentenced to death. He was going to be hung over a bridge, however, when he dropped, the rope snapped and he escaped into the water. It goes on for a while, but basically it just ends with him actually dying by the rope and everything he experienced being a dream that existed only for that fraction of a second before he died."
"So what do you want me to clarify?"
"You're the psychologist guy, does that actually happen to people before they die?"
"Well...there are theories that suggest it could happen. There's that old saying that your life flashes before your eyes right before you die. It's all just speculation, though. No one can really know for sure unless it happens to them. And those who may experience it can't come back to tell us."
"I see. That's quite the synopsis. Now I ask you this. Existentially speaking, who's to say we aren't living in a world created just before death right now? Who's to say which of us is experiencing it right now?"
"Well I believe that I'm real right now. If that really was happening that would mean you weren't real and I was the one experiencing it."
"Ah, but I, too, believe that I am real. It would then come down to which of us believes the other. Because I can say that I am real. I can feel and think that I am real, but to you, I'm just saying that. You have no proof from me. Nothing to confirm my claim. And to me. I have no proof of your claim. To both of us, the other could be a figment of our own mind."
"If that were the case, how would the figment be able to hold this conversation and say what you've said?"
"I could be the part of your brain that is trying to tell you what is happening to you. Or you could be the part of my mind telling me that I'm messed up," He laughed as he said that last part.
"Is this why you called me in here? Just to have a deep conversation sess?" I used sess because he liked to say it as short for session.
"Somewhat. I did want to get your take on that story, but I also knew that I actually could hold a good convo with you around," He said. He also liked to say convo in place of conversation.
"Well I hope that I helped."
"Definitely. Hopefully that convo opened up your world a little bit too."
"You never take any insight without offering your own do you?"
"Never in my life."
I swiftly left the room after that. It was definitely an interesting conversation, but I had to get home. Luckily, I had my car with me that day so I didn't have to worry about busing. I went to my locker, put in the code, grabbed my bags, and started heading down the hall. As I was just about to descend the stairs to the main floor, I heard a scream come from the other hall. I stopped abruptly and looked down the hall. I didn't see anything, but I was sure of what I heard. I dropped my stuff by the stairs and started walking towards the sound. I moved slowly, making sure not to make too much noise. I only heard the scream once so I couldn't pinpoint which room it came from. I put my ear against the doors to listen for any movement inside any of them. I heard nothing in the first few rooms I checked. I worked my way to the floor's janitor's closet. I waited quietly, listening for any noise. As I waited, I heard a slight shuffle. It was faint. I couldn't tell what exactly caused the noise, but I was sure someone was in there. I braced myself. Once I felt ready, I burst through the door as fast as I could. I frantically looked around for who had screamed and who had caused it. Nothing. I couldn't find anyone in the room. I was very confused. I was sure I had heard someone there and yet I just couldn't find any evidence of it. I decided that I must've been stressed out from school and hearing things. I quickly picked up my bags from the closet doorway and made my way home.
I opened my front door and set my bags on the floor along with my shoes. I decided I needed a quick break from my mind and went up the stairs to my room to take a nap. I hit my pillow and immediately woke up. I had heard of that before. I called it "Blink Sleep" since it seemed to be morning right after you blinked. I checked my clock. It had been about 2 hours since I had gotten home.
"That's probably long enough," I said to myself.
I went back down the stairs to my main floor and grabbed my bags from living room. I brought them back upstairs and began my homework. I decided to start with Pysch since it was something I knew. The first question was strange to me. I hadn't had the chance to look at it during class so I couldn't ask questions about it, but that wasn't the problem. The question read: Who would be real? He who asks if the other is real, or he who answers? That was a little trippy, but I just guessed that maybe this was why my English teacher asked me those questions. He must've been just helping me be ready for this assignment. I answered the same way he answered me when I was confused. I decided to call up Carl to see if he needed help with that question too. It only seemed fair. I got out my smartphone and called him. I heard the ringing stop and his voice chimed in.
"Yo, Thomas, need something?"
"Nothing really. I was checking to see if you needed help with that first Psych question we had today."
He took a moment to answer, "Oh that. Nah, I figured it out. It was just a trick question. I put down: Both believe they are real, but neither can know for sure if the other is real."
That was exactly what I had written, word-for-word. How? I wasn't surprised that Carl could figure out the answer, he was a pretty smart guy. Just the fact that we both had it so exact was strange to me.
Suddenly, Carl started talking again, "You know, maybe you wanna go check in with Jake. He seemed pretty clueless at lunch today and I'm sure he'll be stumped with this one."
"Oh yeah, he kept asking us questions the whole time," I laughed a little.
I said goodbye to Carl and proceeded to dial Jake's number. I didn't have him in my contacts, but luckily, I remembered his number. Once again, I listened to fake dial tone get cut off by Jake answering the call.
"Hey, man. How's it going?"
"Hey Jake. I was just seeing if you needed some help on the assignment today."
"Oh man, I wasn't that needy at lunch, was I?"
"Nah, it was fine. Adam took most of the attention of you with the chess rant anyway."
"That was pretty funny though," I heard him laugh through the crappy phone speaker.
"Anyway, do you need help?"
"Actually, I think I'm doing fine this time. I made a guess if you want to check it for me."
"Sure, read it to me."
"Both believe they are real, but neither can know for sure if the other is real." He read out loud.
At that point, I was beyond confused. It wasn't a big deal to get a similar answer, but for all of us to get the same thing, word-for-word, it just didn't make sense. I flipped the receiver down on my phone and threw it back in my bag. I skipped the rest of my homework and went to sleep. I figured I would just do it in the morning after I let my body rest.
When I woke up the next day, I felt like I was doing better. I wasn't feeling the same confusion and anxiety that was plaguing me the last night. I went upstairs to my kitchen and grabbed some food. I went through my regular daily routine and packed up for school that day. I rushed out the door and hopped in my car. As I was driving on my way to school I thought over the previous events to try and see if I could pinpoint when things started feeling off. I began to think that it might have been the scream I had heard as I was leaving the building. However, nothing felt off back then. Everything really started feeling off when I had gotten home and was talking to my friends. I decided I was going to get to the bottom of everything that day. And my gut was telling me that it had something to do with that closet.
I parked and rushed out of my car to the building's entrance without even locking it. I raced up the stairs and found the closet again. The door was closed again. I remembered that I had never closed it when I left the day before. I ran over to the door and burst through it again the same way I had done last time.
It felt like I had been yanked out of a pool of water. Suddenly, I could feel reality again. It was clearly different from what I had just been experiencing. It was like waking up from a dream, but I hadn't opened my eyes or moved in any way.
And then I felt cold. I looked down and found a knife in my stomach with an arm holding onto it. I followed the arm and found the face of my assailant. It was a girl from my grade. I remembered seeing her, but had never actually talked to her. The only thing I had remembered about her was her curiosity in Psychology, more specifically, the theoretical part of it. She had always been asking what any scenario would feel like and be like, but she never got any answers because there was no answer. All this came into my head at once. She looked straight at me the whole time. She opened her mouth to yell.
"WHAT DID YOU SEE!?"
I tried to ask her what she was talking about, but I couldn't speak. I was finding it harder and harder to even breathe.
"TELL ME!" She shrieked, "WHAT DID YOU SEE!?"
I couldn't answer her. I tried to figure out what was going on. Was she the one who had screamed the day before? Why did she wait here this morning? How did she know I would show up here again? I thought all of these questions for only a fraction of a second before I saw my answer. While she was yelling, she had raised her free hand in hysteria and I caught a glimpse of her wristwatch. It read: 3:34 pm. Suddenly, it all made sense to me. I had never left the room the previous day because it still was the previous day.
All my senses were fading as the girl kept screaming at me. She got more and more hysterical the longer it went on. Eventually, my vision went black and I felt like I was going back into the water I was just pulled from. Though, I had a feeling I wasn't going to be pulled out of it this time.
 
Epilogue
"Reports came in today of a murder within a local high school. Student Thomas Lee was found dead by the janitor late last evening along with the body of his, assumed, killer, Jamie Hart. I have police chief Henry Montgomery on the scene right now. Can you tell us exactly what happened here?"
"We haven't confirmed it yet, but we have a descent idea of what occurred last night. According to security surveillance it seems the young student, Thomas, entered the closet looking for someone. After that, we only have audible evidence. What we heard was a strong yell followed by a sudden collision which we believe may have been the student being stabbed. The killer proceeded to scream phrases like, 'What did you see?' and 'Tell me.' Soon after, she began wailing which eventually became silence. After a few minutes, she yelled 'This is it' and fell silent again, followed by another collision. In short, we believe this was a murder suicide."
"Quite horrific. We thank you and your men for your hard work, Chief. Working along with other investigators to find the cause of this incident, I have Dr. Marvin Monroe of Psychological Study with me today. Dr. Monroe, what insight do you have about this incident?"
"Well, we believe that the presumed killer was driven by a twist of insanity and curiosity. From what we could pull out of this student's records and from those who knew her, she was quite interested in Theoretical Psychology. Actually, 'interested' isn't quite the right word. She idolized it. She apparently spent all her time trying to find answers to questions that even the world's best psychologists haven't been able to understand. We believe this desire for unanswerable questions was met with constant frustration that eventually drove her mad. Causing her to resort to...irrational ideas. One of which was to try to learn what a human actually experienced in the moments before their death."
"You're sure this was a premeditated experiment?"
"Absolutely. She had begun talking to her friends about the idea, which they had all thought was some sick joke. She had written the plans in her notebook and had even stolen a pointed butcher knife from the school's kitchen."
"Well...that is truly a disturbing story to hear. Well, Dr. Monroe, what are some of these theories about pre-death experiences?"
"There are some interesting ones, but I'm more inclined to explain the more plausible ideas. We have a theory that, if a human were to be aware that they were dying, meaning that it wasn't done immediately and by surprise, then their brain would create a scenario in which they do not die and go on to continue their life. However, while this concept has been toyed with in some classic stories, we believe that if this were to happen, then the brain would behave as it does during REM sleep. One of these behaviors is altering reality. If we were able to view this experience as an outside party, we might see the alterations in the reality of the one experiencing this. For example, we would notice the subject finding objects in one area that they may have placed somewhere else. We may also see their objects change into different forms as a similar item. The subject may also experience false memories. When you dream, you may notice, after you wake up, that you had memories of events or people that may have never happened or existed. Perhaps, this could be forgetting ever having a certain family member, or remembering a friend that had never previously existed. You see, when you dream, nothing exists beyond your allowed senses. So when you turn away from something, it doesn't exist in your thought anymore and could change when you turn back to face it."
"Very interesting, Doctor."
"Thank you."
"Well hopefully we'll have more information on this story tonight at 9. Tune in later to hear the rest..."


© Copyright 2017 Zachary Meras. All rights reserved.

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