Afterlife, by Alderon Minx
The pain I experienced in the moment of death was surprising. I always imagined that it would be over in the blink of an eye, one moment alive, the next dead: heart stops beating, brain stops functioning, dead. But it wasn’t like that. I breathed my last breath, my lungs stopped taking in air. My heart stopped beating, but my brain continued to function for longer than you’d figure. It was likely still only a blip in time, but in the space between life and death, time loses all meaning. That last instance of brain function seemed to linger, and it hurt. Blood isn’t meant to lay still, the weight of it in my veins was excruciating. And then it was over.
The afterlife isn’t what I expected. To be fair, I never really had many clear thoughts about what might occur. I was never one for pearly gates or brimstone, but I was also not a believer in nothing ever after. Still, this isn’t what I thought it would be.
I exist in a somewhat familiar vessel, bipedal though my gait is less responsive than I was accustomed to in my living body. There must be an easier mode of transport that I have yet to discover, these lower limbs are probably not designed for the human movements I force upon them. This vessel I move in experiences very few physical sensations. There is only one scent, and it is intoxicating, but not constant. I have a very limited sense of touch. I can’t feel the vessel I’m in well enough to take a full account of how I must appear, but there is an awareness about myself that tells me that my lower limbs are moving when I want them to, that my upper limbs are moving where I aim. However, I sometimes find my forward movements hindered and it is only logical reasoning that tells me I’ve bumped into an obstacle and need to navigate a way around. Obviously, my sense of sight isn’t great either, though I’m not sure I even have actual eyes. I can detect movement, but still objects are difficult.
I feel as though I’m in a waiting area, a calm purgatory. I feel like I’ll come to an understanding, an epiphany of sorts, and when I do, something will happen. Something freeing. That isn’t to say that I feel trapped, I don’t. This just doesn’t seem to be what all the hoopla over death was all about. After the epiphany, that’ll be the hoopla.
I’m pretty sure I caught the flu on the return flight to Toronto from Florida. Someone a few seats back was coughing the entire trip. There was an 8 day incubation period and by the time I started to feel ill the news was out that a pandemic was afoot. Something about the pharmaceutical companies and their shitty drugs, big surprise. I went to the hospital designated for people who thought they had the flu in question and checked in. No visitors of course, but a lot of phone calls and email and video chats. I had diarrhoea and chills, a cough that shook my lungs. They pumped me full of drugs as shitty as the ones that created the flu in the first place. I watched a lot of TV on my computer, all illegal downloads, I normally wouldn’t do that, but I figured, what the fuck. And then I died. Not just like that, but pretty much. Uneventful. 17 days from the first sneeze to my last breath.
When I became aware again I was lying down in a dark space. I exited awkwardly, unused to my new form. I felt as though I fell for a moment, or bumped into something large before I was simply upright again, in a more well lit area. Very soon there was movement and a heavenly smell. Then music, music that made me wonder if indeed I was in heaven. I reached out until the movement stopped just in front of me, that and the near tickle in my limbs was enough to convey that the moving song was in my grasp.
I asked where I was, what was this place, but the song of reply contained no answers. My limbs offered little in the way of exploration, neither did my vision. I suppose the reality of this place doesn’t rest in touch or view. I could smell it though, I could hear its song, there was only one other sense I knew to explore. I don’t know that I have a real tongue, but had I been in my human body I would simply say that I licked it. The taste was unlike anything in my memory, so tantalizing, so compelling. Its song became louder and even more wondrously joyous, and I understood what it wanted. I ‘bit’ at it, and was filled with the warmest, sweetest, silkiest sensation. I had eaten from the tree of knowledge, tasted the gods’ ambrosia. I consumed the wondrous fruit until the song faltered and ended.
Time does seem to pass here. I know that this vessel has changed slightly since I first became aware. I know that sometimes it is very dark around me, and sometimes it is quite light. But I don’t know how the time is measured or if it’s measured at all. I’ve met others like myself, but haven’t yet learned to communicate with them. I know that they are aware of the liquid song, as I once found another feasting upon the same entity as I was. I feel no threat of scarcity, I know, I just know that there are more than enough for all of us.
I didn’t have any real beliefs when I was alive, but I am certain now, that if I keep finding the warm fruit, the ambrosia, I’ll reach my epiphany.
Alderon Minx has been eating small pets for the last 10 years, and as such has been banned from the both the Humane Society and the ASPCA.
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