In Our Image: An Eternity Of Night

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Summary

Wade Saunders is about to take the greatest journey of his life, the only catch is that he takes it only once his life has ended. In Our Image : An Eternity of Night, is the detailed account of Wade's experience in what he understands to be the afterlife. He details the exact purpose and reason for the creation of the First Born and other fascinating and horrifying truths of what happens after humans die.

Genre:
Fantasy / Other
Author:
NoctisDraven
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
2
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Memory Or A Dream?

My name is Wade Saunders. I had spent my entire life lost— in every aspect and every way, lost. From schools to jobs to relationships and everything in between, I was the definition of lost. I guess we all are in some way until life forces you, one way or another, to make a choice and to walk said path. All along my path I never considered myself religious and, even now, I still don’t.

This piece you are reading and will read, should you continue, is not one of discovery; it’s not my path to God or finding peace. This is about finding the truth or, at least, what I know to be the truth. As much as I wish I could say it freed me— or some other typical and inspirational tale you could find of someone who claimed to have visited the other side— this is not it. In some ways, the truth can be more fantastic than fiction, but just as unsettling, as well.

This will absolutely be widely brushed aside and criticized. And I damn sure hope so, because it is that exact mindset that led me here to this moment and writing. I never took what I was told for granted; I never simply believed just because I was raised that way or was told to do so by my parents or whoever was supposed to be the authority. I never adhered to the school of “just believe and don’t question.” It always seemed like a cop-out to me, same as when your parents told you to do something and when questioned, they replied with the classic, “Because I said.” It’s a way to say that you don’t have an answer or that you won’t understand, so just do as you’re told.

All throughout my existence I had been told explanations for things that, while nice and pleasing to the ear, did little to make sense in my mind or give real answers. Why is this so? Why is this the way? The reason given is always because it says so in the Bible or the Quran or insert religious reason or authority. But don’t you dare question it.

It was never good enough for me, but I still played along well enough. The moments in my life I found myself in church, I would bow my head when appropriate and say amen. If dating someone who was religious, I would respect their beliefs and it got me through. I even tried to believe and prayed in my own ways when life kicked me down and I felt the need to reach out to a higher power for help.

It’s funny how, every time we pray, it seems to always be to ask for something for ourselves or someone else and I was no different. I ignored religion until I needed help or something. I don’t fault us for that, I just found it amusing. My point in all this is that one night that was particularly un-extraordinary I went completely insane. I say insane because I hope with my deepest sincere hope that I am insane. The events I am about to describe are going to sound like nothing but mindless nonsense. Nonetheless, I cannot ignore them.

Judge them as you may, judge me as you may. I accept all that comes with this writing.

First things first, when it comes to religions, beliefs, spiritual followings, God or Gods, and even atheism… they are all right. You are all correct. All of them are real and you are all on the right path, because they all exist. To those that believe nothing, you are also right; there is nothing beyond this life. I know, trust me, I know how insane that sounds and how little sense that makes but I am about to reveal what I learned.

‘Why’ is unimportant, ‘how’ is unimportant. What happened after I decided to take my own life is what this tale is about. Was there warmth or calmness? No. Was there a light and was I met by all my loved ones? No. There was nothing of the feel-good afterlife and pearly gates. No open fields and bright skies, no feelings of joy and complete happiness so great that I can’t describe it. There was also no fire or hell or judgment. There were no angels, no light at the end of a tunnel, and nothing that I had expected. Does that mean these things do not exist? No. In fact, I’m sure they do. Just not for me.

So what in the hell happened to me exactly? Where did I go and what is my truth? The answer is I went everywhere. I traveled through a fluid time loop, making what I’m about to tell you lot more unbelievable and complicated. In the limited ability I have, I will do my best to explain. From here on out, I will use terms more commonly associated with the Christian belief system. I will use terms like ‘God’ and ‘Heaven’, simply because those are the terms as an American that I best know to describe what happened. I do not in any way mean that in fact it is the Christian version; it is just the best way I know to describe the… being and those similar. With that being said, I will continue.

I left my body. An out of body experience is the best way I can describe it. I could move, yet I had no legs and no arms. In fact, I had no physical body at all. For the younger generation who may be reading this, imagine you pause a video game and place the camera in free roam mode. Where you are able to leave your avatar where it was and float in any direction in the game world as just a pair of eyes. You can go up or down, left or right, and through walls and objects. This is the best way I can describe it.

I retained all of my thoughts, all of my emotions and memories. Even my worries and fears were intact. I was me; I was still very much me. I even imagine my age was locked into place. I was everything that made me who I am without the limitations of my physical body. What kept me at ground level, I do not know. I felt no legs to give me mobility. I did not float or bob up and down. I was simply stationary at about the height I would have been if I was standing in my body. I imagined this was due to muscle memory and years of knowing where my sight would align.

Movement was strange, yet far more efficient. As if you were in a swimming pool and kicked off of the side wall. I could feel myself gliding through my home. In any direction I willed, I would travel. Instead of around the bar leading into my kitchen, I was able to move over it or simply through it. I could see the granite and wood particles and splinters as my vision and self passed through it. I could see nails and studs and insulation in the walls as I passed through to one of my spare bedrooms.

I began to feel a sense of panic; I realized I was indeed dead. At least, in the way we all know it to be. Confusion set in as I was now unsure what would happen. Wasn’t some light supposed to come and guide me or wasn’t I supposed to be sucked into some vacuum to another plain of existence or something? Where were my loved ones to welcome me or Jesus or the warm light and presence? Hell, even the devil would be welcome. Don’t just leave me to wander aimlessly in this way.

I moved into the bathroom and made sure I was in front of the bathroom mirror. As I suspected, I had no reflection. It was empty as if no one and nothing was standing there. Though, oddly enough, I could clearly see the mirror. Confusion added to more confusion. This was becoming common in whatever existence this was.

After moving around my home and realizing life is going on, I calmed. I watched the clock on my stove continue to move in the normal way it does. I could even hear the neighbors getting home and car alarms sound off as they locked their doors. Everything was still moving in the fluid way it does. Everything except me.

It wasn’t long before sound stopped, and I do mean all sound. It was dead silent and something felt off. As if what I was experiencing wasn’t enough. I moved back to the kitchen area and watched the hand on my clock begin to twitch and jolt forward an hour and then backwards several. I watched the hand spin forward wildly and then stop and twitch in between hours and seconds and then reverse direction. Through my kitchen windows, I watched the sun rise and set and rise and set again; rapidly bringing light and dark until I could no longer keep track of what days and nights had passed or returned. Only when I heard a knock at my front door did the sun return and stay.

I moved through my bar and counter and when I reached my front door, I stopped. The knock came once more and I did not reach for a handle. How would I…? I moved through my heavy wooden door to my front porch area. There before me was an old man. He stood about five foot five and had an old worn out blue hoodie on. It was not expensive and did not sport a design— just a plain old hoodie. Atop his head was an old veteran’s hat; the kind you see older veterans wear to display their courage and place of service. His face wrinkled with time and his faded blue jeans barely hung onto his thin waist; sagging just a bit further down on his right side than his left. He wore his hoodie zipped up with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. As I took more details in, I began to feel a mix of confusion and fear set in. Realizing, not only could the old man see me, but he wore the same exact tattoos on his arms that I did and had the same familiar scar above his right eye as me. This made no sense as I was in my bedroom, dead. At least my body was. And I was in my mid-thirties, unlike this man of at least seventy-eight or older.

“Yeah, I know. It’s all a damn mess and makes no sense does it?” the man asks.

I heard his voice; it was mine, though clearly aged. Most curious of all is that he never actually spoke, in that his mouth never moved. His voice was in my mind. Having no mouth from which to speak, I did the only thing I could: I simply thought hard of my response, as if I were talking directly at him.

“What’s going on? I don’t understand any of this.”

He nodded his head and spoke to me again within my mind, “Well, it seems you finally did it. You went ahead and ended your life… our life.”

I was baffled.

“Are you telling me that I am you? That you are me?”

He smiled as his voice entered my thoughts with an edge of sarcasm, “You don’t think someone out here got exactly the same ink in all the same places that you did, huh? But I guess you wouldn’t recognize yourself as I am because you never made it this far.”

I began to understand what he was saying.

“So…you are me, then.”

He nods his head, “Well, I would have been, had you lived out your life till its intended end. Then, what you see before you would have indeed been you. However… you did not. So, in certain circumstances, it is I who comes to guide you.”

Every time a question is seemingly answered three more spring up in its place.

“Wait, in these circumstances? What do you mean? How is it normally supposed to go?” I asked, puzzled.

He pulls his sleeves down and turns towards the street. “Come on. Walk with me and I will fill you in on the way.”

“Where are we going?”

He stops with his back facing me. Even through his additional decades of aging, I recognize my own posture and figure.

“Does it matter? It’s over for you here. So your choice is to float around this place or you can come with me and make sense of it all.”

I thought for a moment. He was right. There was nothing here for me anymore. Hell, I ended it all for that very reason alone. I fell in beside him as we moved down the now-empty streets. Everything was as it should be, except there were no living creatures now. No people, animals, birds, insects… nothing. Just a nice breeze, an old man walking, and whatever I was moving beside him.

“Ever see someone bake cookies? Not the break and bake kind. I’m talking the kind made from scratch. The ones that take time and love to come out right… The good ones,” he asks.

Weird question, but what wasn’t weird about this whole damn thing?

“Yeah, a few times,” I answered.

He smiled and continued as we moved further through the neighborhood. “Well, every single cookie is the same; each one is made up of the same mix, I mean. Each one is the same inside, but different on the outside. Whether it be an indention from pressing or a different crispness on the sides or the edges are shaped different, even if in the slightest way… They are all the same but they are all just a little bit different, if you get my drift.”

He looked over at me and nodded. Without his lips moving even still, he continued, “You see, each and every one of these cookies—down to the very last—was made with the same goal and intention: to be eaten and enjoyed. But that’s not what always happens. Sometimes a cookie is half eaten. Sometimes one is dropped or broken in someone’s hand. Sometimes a cookie is sat down to be eaten later and is forgotten, crushed, or left out too long and it goes stale. The point is, while all these cookies are made with the same end game, they don’t always reach their end as intended.”

I understood his analogy, but that just led to more questions.

“You are saying we are the cookies, and that God {Remember God is just the title I am using to move the sequence along, I do not mean in any way this is the Christian God or even that they are male or female.} made us all with the intention to live a full life and to fulfill whatever our destiny is, right? If that is the case, I thought God was all-knowing and that if we died prematurely for whatever reason, then that too was his intention.”

He shakes his head and explains, “Almost, sure. Like the cookies, we all were created with the intention of living a long, good, full, and happy life, but, because of the choices of others, ourselves, or the flow of life in general, that is not always how it plays out. Free will of men and fate, itself, is in play and, in these circumstances, not every cookie makes it to its goal. You understand?”

I began to. Drearily, but I was starting to.

“So, that’s what you mean by “in these circumstances” you come to guide us,” I said.

He shakes his head in confirmation.

“Yes. In rare situations, yes. For infants or the very young, it is they, themselves as they would have been, had they lived to their end that retrieves them. For those older or those who you would call believers or even those who have a strong idea of what they want the afterlife to be, it is different.”

“How is it different?” I asked.

“Well, let’s say a strong, Christian, church-going human dies, whether prematurely or they reach their end the natural way. They are guided in the way they always wanted or imagined. For some, it is the bright light with warmth and love that you are wondering about now. For others, it is family or a family member who welcomes and guides them. For those who lived a bad life, so to speak, they are taken somewhere else or left here entirely,” he answers.

I glance over at him. “So, what makes me a rare case? Why are you here? Or, should I say, why am I here to guide me?”

“You and those like you are not satisfied with what most accept or want to believe is after life. You died knowing what others said would happen and part of you wanted to believe it, because it felt good to believe those versions. Deep down inside though, you didn’t know. You didn’t really accept it was so cookie-cutter and simple. I believe your exact thoughts on it over several conversations you had with others was, and I quote,

Heaven feels like it sucks to me. Everyone is just all happy and filled with joy. You just float around some cliché pearly gates and golden roads with robed Jesus… the classic Jesus in robes and a beard. All everyone does is sing and praise and worship, knowing nothing of pain and suffering and overcoming. Seems to me, Heaven is filled with a bunch of junkies that are drugged with some kind of heaven juice that makes you mindless drones and zombies forced to worship and praise all day. How do you know good if you don’t know bad? How do you know comfort if you never know pain…? It’s a false and invented happiness and joy. I’d rather have real with bouts of good and bad than a fake, manufactured, constant, and forever joy and ignorant bliss.

So, instead of the typical afterlife usually sought out, you went in blank, always asking what the truth is. You were never satisfied with what you were told. What made you and others like you unique is that you did understand that there was something after, that there was indeed some kind of power greater. You just didn’t know what it was. In these cases, when someone of your mindset is lost prematurely, then it is someone like me who guides you. That is what I meant, to make things clear.”

I was about to ask where I was being guided to when I stopped in my tracks.

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