My eyes are open but I cannot see anything other than an unfathomable darkness. I try my hardest but I cannot seem to take oxygen into my lungs. I raise my arms, but they hit off a thick silk padding above me. There’s a tingling sensation in my fingertips, but I’m unable to manipulate them properly. It’s as if my whole body has fallen asleep from lack of circulation. I press my hands together, the pressure being the only thing to let me know I’ve even moved them at all. What is happening to me?

darkness

A strong sense of dread starts to eat away at me, but I do my best to cast the feeling aside. I stay unmoving, and everything seems so unreal. All I can do is listen to the deafening silence of this place.

Time drifts by unnoticed while I focus all my energy on bringing about my most recent memories. The last thing I can recollect is crossing the street with my family near my house and a blinding light barreling down upon us. There was a terrible screeching sound as the light made contact with my body. I try to remember more details, but only the same tiny fragments come to me. My mind has gotten lost in a terrible fog.

****

A frigid air snaps my concentration as it seeps through a paper-thin crease going down the side of this—I’m not even sure what it is I’m trapped in. The darkness makes it impossible to decipher the interior, and my sense of touch is far too dull to give me an idea of what it’s made of. I let out a very hoarse yell, but the only response I get is more silence. It’s starting to dawn on me that I’m truly alone in this place.

It’s getting so cold, yet all I can feel is complete and utter sadness. I’m grief stricken—as despair hits me in the chest with the weight of a sinking anchor dropped deep into the ocean. There’s no way out of this. I’m forced to stay in this nightmare until I finally perish. Only then can my soul soar free from this prison.

The thought of dying in here makes me realize how claustrophobic this place is. I know I should be panicking, but the pace of my heartbeat won’t quicken. Suddenly, it occurs to me: since I awoke here, I’ve heard nothing but the sounds of my body shifting around.

I listen for my heartbeat, but there’s nothing to hear. I wait a few more seconds and notice that I can’t hear the sound of my breathing either. I can’t be deaf as I’m able to hear my own movements. I snap my fingers to cement the fact.

Could my subconscious be blocking out the thumping of my heart for self-preservation? Wouldn’t I go mad if I had to endure the constant beating of my own heart in this cramped space? I must be logical.

Rarely does one think about the sound of each breath taken in and out. The same can be said for the delicate thumps of one’s own beating heart. The more I ponder the situation, the more I begin to rationalize it.

On one hand, if my heart weren’t beating, I’d be dead in a matter of minutes. Therefore, I should be hearing it. On the other hand, if I were always aware of the continuous pounding of my heart, I’d go insane. The harmless noise would build into such a booming cacophony that it would overpower my weakened senses.


“What is happening to me?”


This could lead to me causing unjust harm to myself. I’m now positive that this is the explanation for this strange occurrence. The brain is magnificent in the way it deals with such intolerable circumstances.

I begin to feel a bit calmer and am thankful I still have my wits about me. But as time passes, my mind is again engulfed by a dense fog and the eerie silence creeps upon me once more. It’s so cold—so dark. My eyelids grow heavy—and my consciousness starts to drift away into the blackness.

****

The gentle sands of time trickle down as I remain imprisoned inside of this tomb. Now, staring deep into the pitch-black void in front of me, I can’t help but wonder if this is how I’m to spend eternity. I try to shift my weight, but nothing comes of it. It’s as if my whole body is now paralyzed, and all I can do is lie here—face to face with oblivion.

It feels as if the life inside of me is slowly escaping—leaving while my body withers away. Is this what death feels like? I try thinking back on joyous times, but my concentration waivers. The overwhelming bleakness of all this cripples my mind—making free flowing thought impossible. Sullen and terrified, I can’t do anything other than stare into the blinding abyss of this never-ending night.

While the passage of time crawls along, the demons of emotion finally have their fill. I now understand that I’m to die in this place. There’s no need for panic or regret. I simply choose to wait for mind to catch body in the race to death. I choose to exit the living realm in a state of peace with my dignity intact.

Accepting my fate, I stay completely still as a part of the all-encompassing shadows. I lie here with my eyes open, gazing into a vacant nothingness. Then I see tiny white specks start to dance around in the darkness. They dart side to side—and I must admit, the slightest smirk forms on my face. I’m tickled pink by this strange occurrence—tickled enough to feel a minuscule amount of joy. It’s enough to let me know I’m still alive, still able to feel.

Then a thought occurs; what if I’m hallucinating? What if this is the final stage of my life passing from this world? I close my eyes but still see them. They’re like shooting stars racing across the cosmos.

The light from the specks intensify, but my body is still in place. I know I’m still a member of the living. So, could this be a dream then? If so, I hope I don’t wake from it. Or, could this be what heaven looks like?

When I was a child my mother would often tell me stories of heaven. Beautiful images swim through my head as I reminisce about her many tales. I’m completely at ease as my mind starts to drift away from this world. Then the exquisite snowflake-like specks start growing larger. Or rather, I’m getting closer to them.

Faster and faster they come as a great wind passes right through me. It’s like I’m hurtling through the heavens at impossible speeds. I can no longer see what’s passing by me as everything begins to merge into a single white light. An immeasurable level of jubilation flows through me, for this is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced.

As fast as it started, my journey comes to an abrupt halt. Have I finally reached my destination? I look around and everything has a wondrous white hue to it. I see a woman’s smiling face ahead of me; she’s standing at a distance with a white dress fluttering in the wind. I want to call out to her, but I’m only able to keep my gaze transfixed to her smile. She looks much like the pictures of my mother when she was a young woman. An overwhelming sense of excitement and adrenaline pump through my veins. I begin taking long strides towards this woman. I’m sure I know who she is now.

She appears to be saying something but I can’t quite make it out. Her smile is infectious and I can’t help grinning ear to ear. With each forward step, the incredible yearning to be with her intensifies.

heavenly-smile.jpg

Everything else vanishes from sight, and all I want to do is embrace this woman—to hold her in my arms for as long as I can. A deep love burst forth from within my heart; I don’t want this feeling to ever end. I’m so close to her I can smell sweet cherry blossoms permeating from her hair. A wave of pure excitement hits me as she is now within my grasp.

Right as our fingertips touch. something grips me from behind. The woman’s smile fades away and I’m pulled backwards. With incalculable speed, I’m catapulted away from her. The white light becomes more and more distant until it disappears behind a wall of shadows.

I fall with rapid speed back into the darkness. There’s no more great wind on my body: no more flying, no jubilation, only an empty sense of falling into nothingness.
There’s not even an impact. I open my eyes and realize I’ve returned to the darkness—have returned to my prison.

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Intro

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