Chapter title: The man who came back from the dead
As the camera started rolling, a title appeared: "The man who returned from death." After the title faded out, light lit up a nicely furnished reading room. Old and new books stood in line on the bookshelves, following a pattern that went from the biggest to smallest. The books also followed an old-to-new order. In front of it was an old leather armchair, which have seen better days, as it creaked at every movement of its occupant.
Huddled into it was a man, around the age of twenty-five to thirty. His messy hair and restless, brown eyes were clear signs of his unease, as he kept silently rubbing his knees. The uneven stubble on the man's face have shown that he stopped caring for himself.
Suddenly, a voice cut into the silence.
"Please, tell us your experiences again." Said the tender voice, which belonged to a woman. Her voice was calming, understanding even, but firm.
"I have already told it... So many already asked for it, is it really necessary?" Asked the man, breathing a bit faster. His nostrils expanded.
"Please, it is very important that..." The man didn't let her finish.
"Of course, of course... I understand." He obviously had this conversation many times, and it was clear that he is being fed up. "It's for a very important study, tells a lot about the importance of life."
"It was dark. There wasn't even the tiniest speck of light. There was nothing. I didn't feel cold, nor warmth... Not even in between." He drew in a shaky breath, hugging himself as he tried to build up the courage to say more.
"Did you see anything?"
"I have told you. There was nothing. Only emptiness. No wind, no sound... Nothing." The man leaned back, bringing one of his legs up in the armchair which creaked loudly in protest. He let himself go, only to hug his leg at the next moment.
"I couldn't move, I couldn't speak... l-like being in a sleep paralysis, with my eyes closed, and my nerves shut off... I was just there, like... like..." This time, the woman was the one who interrupted him.
,,Like nothing?" The man nodded vigorously, swallowing hard.
"I... I knew that I was there. I knew who I was, and still... there was nothing. No light, no sound, no one was there... Only nothing." His other leg also got pulled up and hugged, while he leaned forward. He started to breathe faster.
"Please, give him a minute." Came another woman's voice, a firm and unforgiving one. Its owner did not like the interview.
The man, whose name turned out to be Edward, started to calm down after five minutes. His voice was quiet and emotionless as he spoke up.
"I can't decide..."
"What can't you decide?" Asked the interviewer in the same, quiet voice, but with a hint of curiosity. Edward haven't said this to anyone before.
"About which one is the worst..." Breathed Edward, tightening his hug on his legs, as he slowly started to rock himself. The interviewer sighted, clearly being frustrated that she has to pry the answers out of him, but didn't make any comments about it.
"What can't you..."
"Being there..." Interrupted Edward suddenly. "Being there, in the empty void. J-just existing, with my memories! I remember everything, every little detail! The warmth of my mother's womb... Her heartbeat that lulled me into sleep... The taste of milk in my mouth, the first days when I went to kindergarten, then to primary school... My first love... I remembered and still remember everything." The man suddenly stopped rocking himself, and for the first time, he looked into the camera lens. Eyes bloodshot and still. "I remembered every little detail, but that was all. There was nothing else, only my consciousness, in the void..."
"And what did you mean about the other place?" Asked the woman, clearly intrigued by what Edward was saying.
"Being here." Came the silent answer, followed by a loud swallow.
The room became quiet, with the slowly approaching dark clouds being the only source of noise, coming from outside through the open window.
"What... what do you mean, by 'being here'? Aren't you happy that you are alive?"
"I am happy that I am alive!" Came the sudden, loud answer from Edward. The camera rocked a little, the person being behind it probably didn't expect the sudden outburst. Edward tightened his hug on his legs again, but only for a short time. "But I'm terrified. I'm terrified that I find myself there, again, in the same nothingness. Every time I go to sleep, who knows if I end up there again? How does being alive mean anything, if at the end, the only thing that remains are my memories in the void, forever? Seven years..."
"You were only dead for an hour."
"It was seven years!" Said Edward with a sudden glint of firmness in his eyes, as he looked next to the camera, probably at the interviewer. "I thought that I will go mad. I needed to keep myself in check. So, I started counting. I counted the milliseconds, the minutes then the hours. Hours went into days, then weeks, months, years! I was there for seven years!"
Silence came to the room once more, this time with unease lingering in the air.
A pendulum clock's sound broke the silence.
"What is so important about life, if there is nothing after death? So many people think that life is short, you have to enjoy living as long as you can, but at the end... What is the point? What is the point, if after all, only the empty void awaits you?" No answers came for his question.
"Please... let this be enough. It was already a long day for Edward. He needs to rest." Came the voice of Edwards caretaker, as she also appeared on the video. She went to Edward with a blanket, and put it around him, hugging him gently.
"Thank you for hosting us, Ms. Harringson, Mr. Edward."
The picture went black.