So this is part 2 from yesterday’s story “When a suicide goes wrong, or the short life story of Ben Taylor”
It might need a few more touches, but overall this is it. It’s a bit long the whole story but, reading it in two parts, I find that easier.
So enough babbling from me, enjoy reading, and feel free to comment, give tips and all that comes to your mind.
Part 2: The man who was tempted by both life and death, ends up in a rather strange place – the “to be continued” from yesterday.
Ben felt like he’d woken up from the longest dream. And like many times before he could still sense the presence of it, pictures from it even sounds or words. From this particular one the last thing he remembered was falling from the roof of his building and remembered closing his eyes just before the impact with the ground. It was so real, the tears in his eyes from the wind and the speed, his body flipping over like a paper doll while flying, his troth hurting from all the screaming. It wasn’t the usual “flying” type of dream. It was a nightmare, Ben realized, getting fired, being dumped and deciding to suicide himself. “I am definitely under some serious stress, resulting in crazy dreams…maybe I’ll call Frank and tell him I’m taking a few days off” Ben thought.
A person would need just a few seconds to shake off from the feeling of sleeping and dreaming , but in Ben’s case it took him a little bit longer than that. He wasn’t in his soft bed at home, lying on his pillow, but on a cold and hard ground. To reassure himself he turned to the left, arm reaching to touch Cat’s hair, but he gripped air. There was nothing there, no body, no unpleasant sound which she used to make when he woke her early. His hand started searching the ground blindly like a man who had lost his glasses, but he only felt the cold, cold touch of the stone. Ben had opened his eyes by now, but there was only darkness surrounding him. He came to the rapid conclusion he wasn’t in his home, and this was when the sleeping/dreaming scenario went to pieces and Ben panicked, standing up on his elbows, then jumping quick on his legs.
He was dizzy. It’s interesting what thoughts run through a panicked persons head when he finds himself trapped somewhere unrecognizable. Ben thought he might’ve been drugged and kidnapped for ransom. Yes that seemed right to him. It explained the dark room, the absence of Cat; the drugs explained the weird dream. This idea seemed clear, Ben was about to question why isn’t he tied up which gave him some hopes of getting out when a raspy voice spoke up:
– You done thinking and panicking? Come over here, I do have an eternity to waste but you are one of many to waste it on. Get over here you human. To the left- Ben went still for a moment, before slowly turning to the left from where the voice came. There was a door, wide opened, and he was pretty damn sure that door wasn’t there a minute ago. Smooth red light was coming from it, and at the entrance someone was standing, looking like a black silhouette.
This man, because the voice belonged to a male, seemed to be letting him go. If not Ben was going to push him aside and run until he finds the exit.
– Ah yes, no point in pushing me and running for an exit, because there is none. Come one, come on let’s go Mr. Taylor.
Now Ben had stopped moving at all. This guy knew exactly what he was thinking and of course knew his name. The other man sighted stepped into the room, and with two steps stood right before Ben, much taller than him. The room had become brighter, visible walls and ceiling, but Ben didn’t make a notice of that because he was concerned on how the other guy looked like. He had dark brown skin, orange eyes, a black pointy beard, and long black hair which he had tied. He was wearing a coat, and had sharp black boots with flames on them. Without speaking anymore he walked behind Ben, and pushed him towards the door.
There were lots of people in the other room, sitting, staring into nothing, different races, and different ages. They all had empty eyes, lifeless eyes. The sight scared Ben. He turned over to the other man wanting to ask him about them but he interrupted him, reading his mind again:
– My name is Iril, and I am as you may say your social worker at this moment. So this is what you do, don’t mind all these people just go and sit right next to those two over there, holding the red cards with the letters R.S. and I’ll sort things out for your… stay here. – Iril coughed to cover his little laughter.
– Wait, wait…where am I? What the hell is this place? And what are those letters? – Ben started asking, but Iril just putted a finger on his lips and said- Go sit there, I’ll be right back- he walked off with a wink.
Ben eyed Iril as he walked to some other massive black door, and disappearing into it, then turned to the left than to the right and started staring confused at the long, long line of people obviously waiting all of them holding cards but with different black letters written on them. On the far end to the right, there was only a wall and two men, who didn’t look much like men who were guarding what seemed to be only a wall. Ben dared not look at them again, for he did not understand their nature, and was unable to think very straight right now. A few steps back from where he was standing there was a high desk on which a woman sat. She had this dark purplish color and pointy ears that stick out too much from her head. Her eyes were black, all black just like her afro resembling hair. She was cracking some little bugs with her right hand, before eating them. For Ben’s surprise there was a sign on her desk which said “People distribution agent- Ura”. He was tempted to go and ask her what the bloody hell was going on, but she gave him a terrifying look making a pause to her awful cracking bug’s action. Without hesitation Ben turned the other way and looked at the two men Iril had pointed him to. They were talking, and laughing, and were sitting in the middle (if that line had a middle at all) of the line. The room had to be very fast, for all those people to be in it, and yet again it didn’t seemed that big to Ben. Maybe it was some sorts of optical illusion, but since he presumed this is the real dream, it seemed right for this impossibility to be possible. The walls were dark red, blending into black at the top. There was a chandelier, bringing the light; huge and sharp all the way round. And of course the chairs which made the line, made out of dark wood. After he’d made his quick observation of the surrounding, Ben, seeing no other thing to do, or no one else talkative enough to ask, he walked to them, and again for a surprise found out that there was one place empty. For him.
– Ello- one of the man said to him as he sat down- I’m Nate, this is Phil.
– Hello…I’m Ben…Listen what is this here? I might be dreaming, but no harm to ask even if it’s the weirdest thing – Nate and Phil gave each other a look before sadly smiling and saying:
– No mate, afraid you aren’t dreaming. Your dead- said Nate.
Ben just looked at the ground speechless at first. He didn’t argue with what the other man said, perhaps because deep down he knew he was right.
When you die you don’t expect to hear that you are dead. You don’t hear a thing. You are a corpse in a casket, lying deep in the ground. So how do you react when you hear you’ve died? You just stare blankly, eyes fixated on some random point. You don’t cry, or yell. Ben couldn’t move. It wasn’t a dream after all…the falling. The sound of the wind passing by, waving a goodbye to him, his reflection on the windows of the building as he fell, and then the screams of the people who saw him falling, or maybe his own scream blending into theirs. Oh how scared he was, how he begged for it to be unreal. His eyes saw once again the concrete becoming closer and closer, some people running away, until he saw nothing more. Now he was here. Some afterworld he thought, where the dead hang out.
– You all right mate? He hasn’t overcome the shock yet- Nate said to his companion Phil- It’s hard at the beginning…we are ones to know that for sure. No, don’t think about your family or friends, or how the birds sing, or how the sun shines. Don’t think about the things you used to do, you used to like. It’s pointless since you are dead, and if you make a lot of fuzz the guards will come and take you or you’ll get some extra years on your record. I’ve seen one or two today. Not a pretty sight – Ben stared at Nate with amusement, and did not understand how this man was so calm.
– Aren’t you dead too? How can you be so calm about it? – Ben asked.
– Accept the fact. What’s done is done. You can’t turn it back, now can you? And yes I am, but because I wanted so. You know I killed myself.
– Liar. You just screwed up like me – said Phil with a deep growling voice.
– Shut up! I did want it- Nate defended himself.
– Then why do you have those letters on your card? – asked Phil on his turn.
– Well… It’s a mistake, and I am waiting for them to fix it. That’s all.
– Yea true my ass…- opposed Phil but Ben interrupted them.
– What are those letters? What do they mean?
– Reconsidered Suicides. Means you wanted to kill yourself, but then hesitated on doing it, possibly even gave up on that idea, but on some wicked turn of events you actually killed yourself- explained Phil.
– Doesn’t that make it an accident? – asked Ben looking puzzled.
– Probably it would, but in our R.S. occasion we died exactly the way we intended to do, even if it was an accident in the end- Nate nodded in approval to what Phil said.
– I didn’t want to die. I reconsidered, and wanted to walk off the edge of the roof but I think I slipped and…well fell – said Ben with a sad expression.
– Yeah me too…But I hanged myself in the garage. I was about to take off the rope and go live my life, but accidentally I kicked the chair and you can figure out the rest.
– I died because I wanted. I wasn’t such a coward as you too, clinging onto precious life…bullshit that is! All I’m saying- continued to say Nate
– You sat on the train rails and waited for the train to smash you. If that isn’t pathetic I don’t know what is. – said Phil in return crossing his arms on his chest.
– But I sat there until it actually came. And I wasn’t having second thoughts- Nate made pauses between every word he said, putting a high meaning in them.
– I heard Iril saying different. You panicked when you heard the horn, and tried to run away, but in fear and confusion about the big old heavy train coming you froze, unable to move and it hit you. That’s reconsideration if you ask me
– Is not! Telling you I wanted it!
– Poor thing you wanting to believe your lies so bad… I have news for you, we are in Hell and no one gives a damn about what you say- continued Phil
– Listen you…- Ben stared with opened mouth the two of them arguing over who wanted death and who didn’t, and listened as their voices became louder and louder with every single word they said. They reminded him of little children fighting over a toy.
– I’d wish you to go to Hell, but since your already here, I SINCIRELY wish you receive the hardest of all punishments until you are rotting through eternity.- said Nate
– And I…- argued back Phil, but this time the lady-thing behind the desk shouted out to them
– Oi you two lot, keep it down! Or better yet, shut up.
– This isn’t the library to shush us down, this is Hell. I’m going to do whatever I want- said Nate with attitude which Ura didn’t seem to like.
– This is the lobby smartass Hell ain’t as near as you think. So if I tell you to shut up, you better do it or I send a report for a few more centuries of hard ass labor to be signed to your record. Understood? – She cracked another bug, and ate it slowly and demonstratively for the personal displeasure of Ben, Nate and Phil.
– Whatever… Yes, yes understood. Will keep it down.
– This isn’t much different from when we were alive. Rules, rules, rules. I always pictured Hell as a mayhem place- torture, fire, demons, devils and all that. Not waiting in lines with some cards, and having a… don’t know what she is with a sign sitting on a desk. And a social worker? Where’s the train to Heaven? – Phil said.
– We missed it, when we thought of suicide- Ben said, unexpectedly, and the other two turned their heads towards him- We are sinners. So we belong here. Even if we didn’t do anything bad in life, taking it before the time had come is a sin.
– You some sect member? Or just happen to know how Hell works?- asked Nate
– I can think. Logics that’s all. How long have you waited in this line? – Said Ben turning the conversation in another direction, which he hoped would take his mind off Cat and her pretty smile, or her green eyes which he wouldn’t see anymore. Or her body which he wouldn’t touch ever again. And then he thought about her crying when she finds out he’s dead. Love him more or less she would share a tear. If he could cry now he would. But he found out he has no heartbeat, no breath coming out of his mouth. Corpses don’t cry.
– Don’t know actually… seems like hours now. For me that is. They don’t really have a clock pinned to the wall – replied Nate pulling him out of his thoughts.
– Seems days to me. I’m the first to get a card like this. Weird huh? I think this is a new category, Reconsidered Suicides. Iril said I am one of a kind in this whole century. Guess not anymore- Phil smiled
– What about the rest of the people here?- asked Ben
– Can’t say about them. They’re all too traumatized to say anything. Not very social. Killers, rapists, thieves, drug addicts. I’m not very keen to interact with those. I…we differ from them- answered Nate
– They look like they’ve been here forever. So numb and silent. I can almost feel their emptiness. They don’t have any thoughts either. They are hollow except for one feeling which fills them up, a feeling from which they are made now. It’s sorrow. They know what they did, and it lives in them. But they will not find redemption here, only punishment. What else to do except to put up with it and wait for the doors to Hell to open and devour them with their black souls. They are doomed, just as we are. We are not that different from them, only seen brighter days. – said Phil, looking at the line to the right. Nate was silent, Ben too. He knew he wasn’t like those poor souls, but what if one day he became? Here in Hell? What if he forgets about Cat? Forgets he was ever a human? Then he would have lost it all, he would have let go of the one thing that made him walk off that edge. This fear grew in him as he watched groups of people walk to that guarded wall, disappearing into it, as if going through an invisible wall. They didn’t come back, but instead of that more people were greeted into this “lobby” from the room he’d walked out of.
– What are we then? In the end? You two arguing about who, how died, laughing and talking as if we’re at some bar. And me… still wanting to be alive. No I can’t cope with this. I can’t understand it.
– For everything waiting is the easy part. It gets you nervous, but it’s always easier then what comes next. We feel human right here, right now and we appreciate it I suppose. Cling onto it. Pretend. Chose to ignore what it really is. Make a laugh out of it. Name it whatever you like. Hell is a few steps away perhaps, but while I wait in this line I feel like I am…alive. I feel able to talk and laugh and discuss and argue. Maybe I crave the need to it, because of the surrounding. You think we’re not scared? Are you scared Nate? – asked Phil, looking at Nate who for a moment wanted to say no.
– Yes I am. None of us damned souls knows what’s coming for us. We can only guess, and I prefer not to. That’s what we are. Souls. – said Nate, changing his cockney “I don’t give a damn” mask with his real face, which was of a man, terrified.
– Yes gentleman, you truly are damned souls. Soon to be bound by chains, dragged into the Pit, to serve there for eternity. As for the rest of them, but you are a bit more special. They all live with doubts, they all want to be alive, but sadly they’ve all been dead long ago they really died. You know what I mean, don’t you? Once you overstep some boundaries, you lose the human in you once and for all. We just bring that up here, face you with it over and over and over again until you can no longer feel anything. One of Hell’s purposes.- Iril had shown behind them, with a grin on his face which made the three of them shiver, and shift uncomfortably on their seats. He kneeled and whispered to them- This line has no end, but you are lucky to be at its very beginning. The ones further away, have waited for a few centuries now. Like I said you three are special, because right now you are one of a kind. Reconsidered Suicides group. Has a ring to it doesn’t it? So one of the Dukes of Hell wants to have a look at you for his own pleasure and curiosity before you get destroyed by the rest of the souls. You should be up to go in… a few years so enjoy your sit here. Ah, almost forgot, Mr. Taylor here is your card for pass. Would enjoy to say congratulations, because you are on the winning side here, for at least some time more, but…I see you are still very, very confused, I tend to leave the “champagne and celebration” for later – Iril gave Ben the same card, red with the letters R.S.
– Excuse me? I thought you said wait years? What does that mean; we are just to sit here, doing nothing but…becoming dull as those lads here? – said Nate pointing at some man next to him who only moved one of his eyes to look at Nate. Iril’s eyes shinned brighter orange, on his dark face. His friendly smile was gone now, replaced by a grin showing sharp teeth.
– Hm, maybe the Duke will be satisfied with only two of you, and I take you to meet my dog. I’ll watch her eat you. Then spit you out, than eat you again. Torture ride can start early for you.
– Erm… no thanks, I do enjoy sitting here chatting up my mates. I was just asking, no big deal. Sorry. Shutting my mouth now. – Quickly replied Nate, and Ben and Phil nodded agreeing to that, reassuring their own skins.
– Very well then. I will get to feed you to my dog in a few years time – Nate’s eyes were wide open. Ben could bet he was picturing some dog eating him up, piece by piece while he stays conscious.
– Iril? – the demon turned to face one of the guards, 7’6 tall monster, with a hood on his head, only the mouth visible, no chin only sharp teeth showing and saliva drooling on the floor. He was strong, very strong, with big muscles, and multiple scars, and burns on his torso and missing some fingers on the right foot. He was holding the largest and heaviest lance Ben had ever seen. And there was some blood on it. He stank like dead, like flesh. And was breathing hard, like an animal. Iril nodded and waited for his report. The guard was speaking unknown to Ben language.
– Thank you, you may return to your post. – The guard bowed and walked back, with heavy steps – Ura, change in schedule. Varoumin had gone wild again gulping the last set of souls that got in. Someone needs to tie him up better, or feed him more often, or he’ll start eating all the souls. The Master won’t like this. I am taking the next one.
– Can you take those three with you they’ve been giving me a headache for some time now. I’d appreciate if you rid me of them, thank you.
Iril looked at Ben, Phil and Nate, and smiled. This was probably; no this was the last smile the three of them saw. And it stayed imprinted in their minds.
– My pleasure. Gentleman, this way – A little hesitating, but they stood up and started walking with the rest of the people which were before them in the line. Ben knew he was walking into his final and most true death. He knew he was about the feel pain he never imagined, and he knew he would feel it forever, until he starts looking like one of the monsters inhabiting Hell. He put his hands in his pockets, trying to find a comfortable place in his head. There was none. For the second time today, first while living, now while dead Ben Taylor wanted to be a natural born idiot, to be unable to understand what was happening to him. And as the gates to Hell, twice as big as his building opened and a path with no end covered in flames shaping themselves like faces and bodies was revealed , Ben wished for the last time this to be a dream, and sent out one final prayer to the God who sent him the enlightenment on the rooftop. As the first flame touched his face, burned him and hurt him, he knew no one would hear him, he knew no one would wake him up. He was in Hell now.