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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2126650-Where-The-Dead-Go
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Death · #2126650
A dream-like story from the other side.
Gazing at the nighttime sky, I could see myself as a child. With naïve innocence, I peered directly into my own eyes. A star twinkled brightly on the horizon. As if possessed by something no different than a former version of me, I closed my eyes to make a wish. In that moment, I was clueless that the nebula that appeared so radiant, was long dead.

The sobering reality of the here and now jarred me to present. Drained from the efforts of constantly pretending to be something other than myself, I took a final whimsical glimpse at the sky. The star was gone now. Perhaps it had returned to its own infinity.

I always knew that I would die by my own hand. Details constantly fluttered in and out of my mind. Fatal plans ebbed and waned inside my head like movies.

Journeys through heaven and hell often thickened the plot. My own twists applied to both and varied from fantasy to fantasy. I didn’t profess to know what happened after one died, that’s what made it so much fun to think about.

Bottles of psychiatric medications adorned my nightstand. I must have been prescribed at least fifteen different pills. Due my bedtime dose, I proceeded to take the handful of medicine, as I did every night with half a thought.


But tonight, an overwhelming whim ceased me. I really did believe that I lived my whole life only to die, after all. Why prolong the inevitable? Now was as good a time as any. So, I emptied bottle after bottle into my hands and swallowed them as if they were candy.

I really loved the bath. To me, it was a source of comfort and peace. It seemed fitting that I would spend my final moments there. A wave of excitement passed through my body as I ran the water.

I slipped into the tub and poured some of my favorite scented bubble bath. Feeling content and relaxed, I began to feel drowsy. Sinking into the warm water, the realization of what I had done cast a slight trace of fear in my thoughts. I dismissed it, and allowed myself to relax.

I could feel my surroundings. In fact, I was part of them. A dull but comforting thump-thump sound, spoke in a language I could not understand, nor did I need to. A dull red light peered through the cracks. A universal harmony held me close.

A small opening in the distance glowed white light. My contentment whirled away as my sanctuary became alive with a relentless effort to push me through a wormhole.

Sparkling warm water surrounded me. It was almost pleasant. Sunlight smiled at me, lovingly. I couldn’t see anything but the water… shining with colorful confetti.

I glanced behind me as a tidal wave approached. Terror pounced on me with savage rage. I took a breath and braced myself.

The wall hit me and pushed me through a tunnel. At the end of that tunnel, appeared a glaring florescent light. The closer I got to the opening the more aversive that light grew. Soon there was no buffer between here and there. People dressed in green, papery garbs cooed at me and made fish faces at me. I let out a wild scream and wailed in horror.

Once upon a time, in an ordinary realm, a rather unremarkable child peered into the night sky. Twinkling orbs twirled gracefully, while a chorus of crickets sang hypnotizing hymns. The evening, cloaked by enticing springtime illusions, whispered sweet love nothings in her ear. A deceptively perfect night attempted to charm her into contentment. In the distance storm clouds draped the western sky and rumbled angry roars. The chill ran straight to her core.

Several minutes later or several years later I found myself in a hallway with many closed doors. I opened the closest one to the right and watched as I prepared for my first day of school. The classroom smelt of chalk and lavender. Never had I been around so many children my own age. They were mean, whiny and just as terrified as I was. I missed my mommy.

My parents took me to school but I had to ride the bus home. As the end of the school day approached, horror slowly crept on me and took over. By time to go home, I worked myself into a frenzy.

The lavender smelling teacher helped me find my bus. I found a vacant seat and clung to my belongings with a death grip. As the bus started on its way, I held my breath and I don’t think I exhaled until the bus passed my house without stopping. Terrified, I screamed “you passed my house.” I didn’t know what to do. “cry baby.” Chanted the other kids on the bus. The name stuck.

I closed that door and walked along the narrow hallway until I saw a red door with a doormat that read, “enter at your own risk.” Curious, I slowly cracked the door open. Pain escaped from the half-opened door. I considered closing it without entering. But my enquiries prevailed.

My first thoughts of suicide crept into my ten-year old mind. The void could never be filled. Alone, and afraid I welcomed a permanent escape. I picked up the nearest object that could be used as a weapon: a sharpened number two pencil. I proceeded to jab the sharp lead into the veins in my wrist. Never could I live that moment down. “Crazy” was my new name.

I was friendless, with the exception of a girl I met at the ice-skating rink a few years before. I lived in my head ninety percent of the time. Fantasies of a different life occupied me. A fine line between real and pretend ruled my existence. I closed that door.

The hallway narrowed and the light dimmed. It forked a few doors down but in order to enter the crossroads there was a threshold that must be crossed. That entryway loomed ahead. My heart grew heavy. The door was much smaller than the others, and stood halfway ajar.
So, there I stood, silent and in shock.
A relentless dread pounced on me. I didn’t want to go there. I tried to turn around but the hallway behind me disappeared and was replaced by a brick wall.
There were three directional options: left, right and straight. With no additional information, how was I to make this decision?

After an undefinable interval of thought, I decided that because I was left-handed, I’d go that direction. So, I ambled slowly on that route. It was a long empty corridor that went on for many meters. Towards the end there was a passage that oddly resembled the gate to my current apartment. Recollection seized me. Dread overpowered me, stopping me in my tracks. But I was compelled to keep going by some invisible force.

I realized that I was visiting myself in real time. My body lay drowning in a bathtub. I watched myself struggle to breath. The human will to live is very powerful. Especially for someone who wanted to escape so badly.

The original passageway was gone. In its place, a dense fog with no beginning and no end retained ownership. Sorrow lived here in this empty eternity.

A feminine figure emerged from this wailing wall of suffering. It wore infinite darkness as a cloak. It floated towards me.

She was pale and wore a hood. “Follow me.” She said. A blanket of dread wrapped around me. Nothing had ever felt so ominous but nevertheless, I trailed the shadow along a winding staircase.

We circled our way around an unending hole for what seemed an eternity. “Who are you?” I asked her. “What is going on?”

“I’ve come to collect you.”

Somehow, we were at the bottom and the stairwell disappeared. There was nothing; nothing at all. Only darkness. Yet out of nowhere appeared a black door. Beneath it a dim red light leaked through.

Before I could inspect it further, it was gone. Replaced by running water and artificial light. I was paralyzed and couldn’t breathe. But my “soul” or energy or whatever was alert.

The abyss finally seized me for good. I felt myself choking beneath the overflowing bath All my life, I longed for death. Now I summoned her for the last time.

The condensation from the hot bath, rendered the air so thick with steam that I could no longer see. Slowly it turned dark, the door was the only thing visible, taking on a life of its own. It was massive and foreboding. Beneath it a red light escaped. The hooded lady from the passageway arose from the darkness.

“Come with me, it’s time.” She said holding out her hand to me. I glanced back nostalgically at my dead body in the tub. The water deceptively rippled with warmth and glimmer. I turned back to her and took her hand. I followed through the door to face eternity.



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