Friday, September 23, 2011

A Complicated Question

Some people say that when you die you go to heaven or hell depending on rules in a book.  Some say you get reincarnated into a higher or lower form of life.  Some believe that there is nothing after and we need to make the best of what we have.  I guess I’m about to find out.  The evil that has payed us a visit cannot be allowed to leave.

I looked into my wife's eyes, the memories flooding back.  Our first date at Eat n’ Park, as high class as I could afford.  Our first kiss at Mt. Washington overlooking the city.  Our marriage, the happiest moment of my life.

“Go down to the basement, to the far corner of the house.  You should be safe there.”  I said giving her one last kiss.  “I love you”

She didn’t say a word.  With tears in her eyes, she went to the basement.

I walked out to the living room and stood beside the front door as the men walked onto the porch.  As they reached the door I pulled the stick of dynamite out of my pocket.  When the knocked I lit the fuse.

The fuse burned slower then I expected; on TV the fuse always burns so quickly.  This was much slower  The three inches took fifteen seconds to burn.  I expected my life to flash before my eyes.  I expected to feel afraid.  The only thing that did go threw my mind was that I was doing the right thing.

I saw the explosion, but it was just a flash.  The stick in my hand disappeared.  I looked around and the only thing I saw different was the front door had opened.  I walked out to see two men sitting on the porch.  These were not the same two men that had just knocked.

“I’m telling you the truth, the guy that lived here before blew it up.”  the first man was speaking excitedly.  “He thought two men that were walking up to his door were some kind of evil, so he pulled out a stick of dynamite and blew himself up.”

“He sounds like a whack job”  The second man said, still not believing the story.

“I’ve seen the police reports.  I have a copy, thought it would be nice to have a peace of the house’s history.”

“Who were the two men, police, FBI?”

“I don’t know, that part was classified” The first man said, shrugging.  “But the amazing thing is, they survived”

“But the last time you told me this story, you said they were right on the other side of the door.  How could they survive that?”

“Don’t know, but here’s the kicker.  The man sent his wife into the far corner of the basement to protect her.  She died when the house collapsed.”

Hearing that last part I turned and looked back into the house, my house, but it wasn’t my house any more.  The furniture, the decorations, the layout itself was fading away into something completely different.  There was one thing I did recognize.  My wife, my love stepping out of the basement.

I called out to her, but she didn’t react.  I ran up to her, but she just stared right threw me.  I reached out and my hand passed right threw her.  When she started to fade away I realized that when the men said was true.  We were both dead.  I weeped for my lost love.  Please god, let her go to heaven.  I’ll go to hell myself, just let her go to heaven.  With that she vanished entirely.  I fell to my knees and cried.

I don’t know how long I stayed there, but after what felt like hours, I looked up.  I was no longer in the house, but in the middle of a forest.  The trees were so thick, they blocked out the sun.  The wind was blowing and the sound of leaves could be heard, but nothing else.  A sent of apples was in the air.

I stood up and looked around.  A short distance behind me was a wooden gate.  Beyond that was a farm.  I walked up to the fence and could see corn fields and a farm house in the distance.  I looked back to the forest, an overgrown path could be seen leading up to the gate.

I opened the gate figuring I’ll head up to the house to figure out where I am.  As I walked threw the gate and man appeared before me.

“Who are you?”  I asked.

The man smiled.  “That is a complicated question.  What’s the last thing you remember?”

I was at my house, but it wasn’t my house.  My wife was there, but she just faded away.  I... I think I’m dead.”  I said, letting the truth finally sink in.  “If I’m dead, does that make you god?”

The man smiled wider.  “That is another complicated question.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say I’m Death.  Come”

We walked to the farm house.  I expected to see a kitchen inside, or a living room, I didn’t expect to see a room with many doors.

“Choose one” Death said making a wide gesture.

I looked at Death, he still had a friendly smile on his face.  Deciding to find out what’s going on, I picked the second door on the right and walked threw.

I stepped out onto a balcony overlooking a forest full of pine trees.  I was at a cabin on the side of a mountain.  I could see the snow much further up, but I was still low enough to be in a comfortable temperature.  The view was breathtaking, the sun was rising just on the other side of the forest, the sky was an amazing shade of yellow fading to deep red.  This must be heaven.

I felt euphoric.  I stood there taking in the view for seemingly an eternity, but there was a nagging doubt; where were the angles, where were the pearly gates?  Shaking of the euphoria, I turned and walked back threw the door where Death stood watching.

“What is this place?”  I asked.

“It’s for you.”  He responded.  “You can come and go as you please.  These doors are all yours.”

I didn’t understand, but who was I to argue with death.  Opening the next door in line, I saw a lake.  Beside the lake was a picnic table with a fishing rod and a tackle box on it.  I remembered this lake, it was where my grandfather took me fishing all those years ago.

Another door had a sandy beach.  I could smell the salt water on the breeze coming threw the door.  I even saw other people walking threw the waves.  Good, it’s not a beach without a view.

The third door I opened showed me something different.  It was a pool, but in the pool was a
skeleton.  I’m not a chemist, but I could see that the bones were melting, that wasn’t water in the pool.

Stunned at the seen I saw before me, I watched as the skeleton floated by the door.  When it was right in front of me a bonny hand reached up out of the acid and stretched towards my throat.

I slammed the door shut, my heart pounding in my chest.  The fear grew as a possibility formed in my head.  This wasn’t heaven, but hell and the other doors were were just hiding the horrors.

“Where am I?  Am I in Hell?”  I yelled at Death.

Death still had his friendly smile.  “That’s a complicated question.”

“It doesn’t seem so complicated to me.  Ether I am or I’m not”  My fear was starting to get the better of me.

I ran out of the house and threw the valley leading back to the gate.  I risked a glance behind me to see if Death was following.  I could see him leaning against a post on the porch.

Reaching the gate, I saw that it was locked.  I grabbed the gate and pulled, ripping the lock from the old wood.

Behind me came the friendly voice of Death “He won’t let you go back.”

I turned around, shocked to see that Death was behind me.  Ignoring him, I turned and started running down the path threw the forest.  I could see a bright light in the distance.  Out of the light came a black horse in a full gallop towards me.  I slipped on the leaves trying to stop and fell to the ground.  The horse was right in front of me.  I closed my eyes and raised my arm to protect my face, but the attack never came.  I opened my eyes preparing to run, but the horse was just looking at me. 

I slowly rose to my feet.  The horse didn’t react.  I slowly started walking to the side, hoping I could just go around the beast, but the horse stepped to the side and blocked my path.  I tried several more times, going slow, going fast, even trying to step to one side and quickly running the other.  The horse blocked me at every turn.  I even tried jumping onto the horse, but it bucked me off.

“I told you he wouldn’t let you leave” Death said suddenly behind me again.

I was exhausted, unable to fight any more.  “Fine, you got me.  I’ll go back to hell”

Death chuckled.  “Heaven and Hell are such black and white concepts.  Dying is much more complicated then living minds can comprehend.”

“So I’m not in hell?”


“No”  Death said shaking his head.

"And I'm not in Heaven?"

"No"

"Purgatory?"

"You're still thinking in black and white terms.  Come, you will understand with time."

The fear was completely gone now.  We walked side by side back threw the gate and to the farm house.

A thought came to me.  "What happens to really bad people like rapists and murders?  Do they see what I see? Do they see the potential nirvana that I saw?"

Death smiled.  "That is a..."

"Complicated question." I finished.

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A Complicated Question by Christopher S. Little is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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