A Strange Confession

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A strange letter found in the possession of a deceased individual, apparently wanting to get some final things off his chest. A sort of deathbed confession it seems.

To whom it may concern:
If you are reading this it means that I have passed away. I must let be known the truth which I have secreted for many years now, which no one would believe if I told it while I were alive, and most won't even when I'm dead, but maybe some, realizing a dead man has no more to gain by telling lies, may consider the veracity of it. I write now because I must unburden myself of this tiresome weight.
I am not originally of this world. It is the same as my world up until the time when I was nine years old, but from that point on it diverged from that in which I first grew up. For having grown up in my world I came to regret the path my life had taken. I brooded over this much until I had finally identified the age at which my life went wrong as nine. I started wishing I could go back and do it all over. So pathetic was my state that I was scarcely living in the present anymore. Without going into the long details of my adulthood, my struggles, success, subsequent fall from glory, and the despair that began growing inside me like a cancer from that time onward, suffice it to say that I ended up completely insane. I cut myself off from the world around me and retreated into a fantasy world, a dream land. In that dream land, I re-lived my life the way I wished I had, not the way I really had.
One day, someone in my household couldn't stand me anymore and put poison in my dinner. I guessed I had died and was crossing over the river Styx or something, the place I was in was bright and hot like a terrible fire. I was scared. But then a wonderful being of light met with me and offered me a choice: she said I could let go the past and move onward into the light or else go back and do things over just like I'd been doing in my fantasies for all those years already. Although I had regret about the way I lived my life, somehow she made it clear that the right thing to do was to let it go and move on. It was clear in a way that is impossible to describe. But I was scared of going forward. I felt horrible guilt about how I'd lived my life and was afraid that hell was what lay ahead, even though everything about the being of light seemed to indicate otherwise. I knew that the courageous thing to do would have been to just go on, leaving it all behind right there. She was able to offer me that choice somehow, though it seemed impossible to me. Anyway, I took the cowardly option, to go back, as I had desired for so many years. Disappointed, yet graceful, she accepted my choice and sent me backwards. And backwards through the tunnel I went.
The next thing I knew I was standing in the grassy playground of my elementary school, in my childhood body, with my childhood classmates, in the middle of recess. I was totally dumbfounded and stood there stupidly until a rubber kickball hit me in the head and some kids started yelling at me.
I actually got what so many people wish they could get, a chance to do things over. A blessing! Right? That's what I had always imagined. But now that I was really back in my childhood body, in fourth grade again, four feet tall, under my parents' authority again, I remembered all the pains of childhood that old age and sentimentalism had whitewashed over. It's hard being a kid! And time moves so slow! But I could only remember my earlier life, the one I had lived before coming back, as if it were a strange dream. While sitting in class learning the multiplication tables or history, I knew that in that dream I knew all this stuff already, but it was inaccessible to me now. The memories of my past life became like a novel I had read once, with parts I could understand and parts I couldn't, only the novel starred me.
And the most important thing in that novel was an event that would occur very soon. I knew what was going to go wrong and that I had to prevent it this time...
I had all but forgotten though, so vague was the knowledge, until I found myself actually there. I was hanging out with a class mate, Mike, biking around a certain area with a big pond out in the woods. We encountered a girl by herself out there, playing by the waterside. Suddenly, like deja-vu, I remembered the part of the book where this happens. This was the most horrible thing that the star character in the story regretted all his life. The way he remembered it, Mike and him start talking with the girl, then Mike turns all weird and starts telling the girl to do things like undress. Somehow she ends up naked, and Mike is holding her down on the ground. She is struggling and Mike convinces me to help him hold her down while he pulls his own pants down and then rapes her, though I didn't know what that was at the time. Afterward we leave her alone there crying.
She goes to the same school as us, though she is one grade below, and we see her there, but apparently she never says anything to anyone because we never get in trouble. But a few years later, in middle school, she doesn't show up. We hear that she committed suicide. I know that her blood is on my hands. I am guilty of her murder. Mike and I murdered her by the pond that day. It just took a while for her to actually die. But more than that, I'd murdered myself, too. I was dead, just a body moving around, eating, talking, doing the things living people do, but totally dead inside. I knew that someday when my body quit moving around, I'd find myself burning in hell where I would suffer as I deserved, as I'd caused her to.
Perhaps that deadness is what enabled me to be so successful in business. For not having a soul, and expecting eternal damnation anyway, I had no scruples when it came to running other people over in business. I became a monster with no morals. I gathered much so-called wealth, but never acquired happiness. As I've already told you, the despair caught up with me and I started retreating into a fantasy world. Finally I began obsessing over that moment when everything went all wrong and wishing I could go back and change things.
Well, I'd gotten that wish, and here I was back at that moment. It was odd, remembering what was happening before it happened, so I didn't really believe it. I resisted it for as long as I could, until I saw Mike forcing this girl onto the ground again, and then it overwhelmed me; it was like years of pent up righteous anger suddenly bursting forth, I did what I knew was the right thing. I picked up a big heavy stick and swung with all my might at the back of Mike's head. The stick cracked in half and Mike's body dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I helped the girl up off the ground and back into her clothes. Mike was on the ground bleeding, not moving. I told her she ought to get out of there and she did.
If you never heard her testimony it's probably because she was embarrassed and I would never tell about her involvement because I would never embarrass her. Even if it exonerated me, I'd caused her enough suffering in the last life and was resolved not to cause her any more in this one. If she is ever going to tell it will be her choosing.
At my murder trial, for killing Mike, the judge was disturbed by my lack of remorse, but since I was only nine, they couldn't imprison me for more than twenty years.
So here I am in prison, more of my sentence lying behind me than lays ahead, still remorseless for my 'crime'. The girl, whom I still won't name has come and visited me. She asked me why I didn't tell the true story of what happened and I told her the truth. I told her what I have just told you. You might expect she would think I was a nutcase, but she believed me. Somehow, like she could also dimly remember that other world, too, she believed me. She tried to thank me even, but I wouldn't accept it. She said that if it were true, if I really had participated like I remembered, that I'd made up for it now. I convinced her she should let my false story of how things happened stand, that there was no point in telling anyone what really happened.
I think she intends on telling anyway. I sense it was a hard memory for a while, but she has grown up, is strong now, and can handle it. She doesn't want me in prison for a murder that was really committed in her defense.
Personally, I feel like I'm carrying out a sentence I still deserve. Can I ever really make up for what I did? And maybe there was a way to fix things without killing Mike. But I'm glad I saved her. It was the right thing to do at the time.
Sometimes when I think back to that being of light that greeted me after I died, I fancy the voice was her voice, though I couldn't see her face. If so, what does that mean? I don't know, and I don't know what awaits me when I die again. Will it be hell? Or will she be there again, giving me the chance to move on further into the light? According to the doctors here, I may find out very soon indeed. They don't know what is wrong with my body, it's not a specific disease they know of. It's like things are just shutting down for no reason. I have a suspicion as to what it is, though the doctors wouldn't believe it, any more than they would this story: old age.
I'm tired, but I am at peace now. I am ready to go. And if you're reading this, I suppose I have.
Tell Mike's parents I really am sorry, but I had to do what I had to do. And the girl, or rather woman now, you know who you are, I'm still sorry. Though for what it's worth I would have you know that I'd smack down a hundred Mike's and serve a hundred life sentences for you.

Submitted: June 28, 2012

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