Death Begins Me
Life bites hard and then you die, I thought as I looked down at my body. The air felt solid whilst I felt strangely light floating above. The mass of bone and organic tissue, that lump of flesh left on the hospital bed that was once me was suddenly alien. So, who or what am I now? My atomic self? Or am I just a figment of my own imagination; synapsis still firing in a brain that doesn’t know it is dead yet? Whatever, I guess this is the after-life.
I didn’t feel dead, just somewhere different. I was in a place where gravity didn’t exist, but I recognised nothing; space was blank around me. My body was no longer solid, just a mass of whirling colours and sparkly flashes of mini lightning bolts. I should be grateful that at least I wasn’t in physical pain caused by a wracked body and crushed heart, riddled and overtaken with incurable suffering. I was still an unhappy soul though.
Loneliness is a disease that kills. Alone is a curse that haunts, even in death it seemed. These were my thoughts as I looked around for the angels or tunnel of light to guide me home. Alas, nothing. I felt ripped off. Death offered me no solace from perpetual misery and loneliness. Perhaps the imprint of my earthly way of being was now echoing in the afterlife to continue to experience this for the whole of eternity. I could not think of a worse hell. I wished I could cry, but it seemed that was a pleasure known only in existing as a human. Well, at least a human in a breathing body. How strange to think of tears as a gift of being alive.
Space around me suddenly morphed to a dark dungeon and I experienced falling hard onto the dank and disgusting concrete floor. A monstrous figure wearing a black cape with ugly scars all over his face appeared in front of me. His gleaming red eyes stared me down. I cowered against the wall. I didn’t have a body that could hurt anymore, but what about my soul?
“Who are you?” I croaked.
“I am Rageous Dementus”, he said with a growl.
His red eyes paralysed me as he walked towards me. I was too dumb struck to grasp the meaning of his ridiculous name. I gulped and he smiled. His teeth were razor-sharp like the barbs on his cloak.
“You are afraid? You should be. Fool you are for summoning anger and rage like I’m your friend”, he said with venom.
I was certain I was about to die. Again. His cloak rose and swallowed me in blackness. The dungeon disappeared and I was walking in a dark tunnel towards a faint flicker of light. The tunnel opened to a chamber, where sitting at the foot of a golden throne was a weeping female child, dressed in black rags. Her slumped shoulders were over her knees.
She stared at me with red tear-soaked eyes. Her face was streaked with years of dirt and her hair was an unruly mess, looking neglected as if it had never been brushed. When she lifted her head, I saw the hole in her chest, as if a grenade had blown her heart away. Shuddering I tried not to lower my eyes in fear and disgust. It was the least I could do to prevent hurting her more when she was already shattered.
Unexpectedly, she snarled at me as I approached. I took steps back and retreated from her but was halted by a dazzling light approaching. A goddess floated towards me and stopped at the throne. Clearly it was hers, but she hovered beside it with each strand of her hair floating around her incredibly beautiful face. Her power and grace were tangible. When I was about to bow reverently, she entreated me instead.
“Heal me”, she said.
“Me? How?”, I asked in bewilderment.
I was so confused. Words echoed through the cavern. “Lost, lost, lost” as if my thoughts were being amplified through a stereo. The room started to spin, the vision of the goddess and child blurred. I was back in the dungeon. The monster Rageous was gone, but I shrank before an ugly old woman who was wearing a shapeless smock, with thick stockings and shoes that did nothing to hide her ugly k-ankles.
“Not you!” I gasped.
It was my primary school teacher, the dreaded Mrs Crank. Ugh! I hated her, the cranky old biddy. I suffered under the sharp whips of her ruler when she made me stand on the desk in shame, whilst all the other children laughed at me for getting a question wrong.
You’ve got to be kidding. Welcome to my private nightmares, dreams that continually refuse to charm. I wanted to shake my fist at the deceiving devil called death, who seemed to have a dark sense of humour at my expense.
Mrs Crank laughed like my humiliation was her greatest thrill in life. Sicko.
She said, “Time for your test. I’m going to enjoy watching you fail like you have always done. Choose your weapon. The one that will help you defeat your foe”.
Materialising in front of me were five different objects. Examining each one, I noticed a magnificent jewelled sword, a cup of poison, a flaming torch, a bag of gold, and a mirror. I hate doing what I’m told, especially by her, but seeing the sword the thought of cutting Mrs Crank down for once gave me guilty delight. Really, though? Death is about this? A chance to become a slayer of personal demons? My mind was too discombobulated for its usual caustic comment. Selecting the sword, I faced Mrs Crank.
“Oh no, not me dearie”, she snickered.
She quickly locked me in a stairwell, with stairs that go on for miles. Bracing for a long climb, I sighed. Geez, living in the after-life is hard work. As I climbed up, I was thinking of who my unknown opponent could be. I had so many people I loathed for hurting me. Mrs Crank was merely one of them.
At the top of the stairs what I found was no person. It was a tidal wave! The wave wasn’t water, it was a murderous blackness out to destroy me, to suck me into a vortex of pure destruction. Looking at the sword, I realised it would be useless against this oncoming nothingness. I had no way of killing what had no form. Just like water, a blade would have no effect upon invisible fears and their force to overwhelm, overtake and doom me to helplessness. I had to admit the truth that even with a lethal weapon I could not slay my nemesis. Perhaps it is seeking to destroy it that is futile? How ironic. Nevertheless, I swung the sword towards the wave with all my rage and was horrified when it buried deep into the gaping chest of the child from the throne room. Oh my god. I realised Mrs Crank, the horrible witch, was right. I failed.
I was whisked back before the five choices of implements.
“Damn”, I muttered.
So, here I was again, trying to… what? Pass a test I haven’t studied for? Not knowing what it was all for is the worst. I turned to the other implements.
Money to buy my way out of death? It makes me laugh at everything I thought money had the power to do for me. Poison? Poison myself trying to escape through death? Wait, I’m already dead. Duh. Set it alight with the torch? Yeah right, like that will work with a giant wave.
I think I’m going crazy when I hear poetic thoughts run through my mind,
“Ponder all the weapons to protect myself in my arsenal,
Perhaps I am merely destroying myself in this bizarre carnival.”
In that case, the only one that didn’t fit was the mirror. But, what could that do against a tidal wave out to get me? Oh well, illusions were obviously real in this place that was full of nonsensical reality. Maybe it is a magic mirror of truth or something? I took the stupid mirror and ascended the stairs.
At the oncoming tidal wave, I held up the mirror. It didn’t stop the wave. I saw the tidal wave engulf me. I couldn’t defeat an oncoming tidal wave of fear and misery, but somehow, I could survive it. I am light, which is endless and boundless. I am a child of the universe, a tiny part of a never-ending cosmic consciousness, made of stardust and pure energy.
If the mirror was showing my reflection, a realisation hit me hard. Of course, what else do you see in a mirror but yourself?
Could the tidal wave be my fear, my rage, my own force for destruction? That means I am my own foe. I am both my worst nightmare and my greatest saviour. Oh boy.
I felt strangely lit up. Miraculously, I stopped feeling like I was a toy being played with by the nameless, faceless god of the after-world merely for his amusement. I felt a flicker of gratitude for the lesson. Hah! Why now? It was too late to appreciate my life when I had goddess-like power to overcome my fears.
Not being happy being me, no one or nothing could have hurt me more.
Before me suddenly appeared a gateway, a soul crossing. I was awestruck. It was magnificent. My choices were clear; go back to stay the same - or choose a new soul path and move forward to a different life. I became curious and chose to discover who I could be. This time to live with a heart full of love for the gift of creation and with a mind open to life’s wonder.
I heard a gentle whisper, “You let go of the pain of the past. Thank you for healing me. Death begins me”.
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