I looked down for a second to reply to a text, and when I looked up, headlights blinded me. The next thing I knew I woke to a horrible stench, like rotten milk mixed with burning flesh. Cool marble pressed against my back. Plaque coated the ceiling and clung to the walls. As I sat up, a shadow in the corner of the room rustled. “Hello?” Am I in a coma? 

“Rise,” the shadow’s voice came out garbled.

I stood, the joints in my legs popping. The woman shuffled forward out of the darkness, revealing bluish green skin and a black smock dress. The smell grew stronger the closer she got to me. God, am I dead? 

“Yes.” The woman held out her bloated arm to me. “But I’m not Him.”

The dark room around me couldn’t be Heaven, but it also wasn’t hot. So, could it be hell?

“This is not Heaven or Hell or Purgatory. This is eternity.”

“So this is all there is?” All of those Sundays in church for nothing?

“It wasn’t for nothing. There are other worlds. Maybe your God has a kingdom in one of them.”

“And how do I get to those other worlds?”

The woman took a few steps closer. “Take my hand. My mansion has many halls, many doors. Behind one of them you may find what you seek.”

“And if I refuse to go with you?”

Her hand fell to her side. “Then that is your choice.”

“But what will happen?”

The lights flickered and the woman turned to leave. “Eternal darkness. An eternity of nothing.”

“Wait.”

She didn’t.

I tried to walk towards her, but my legs wouldn’t move. “I haven’t chosen yet.”

The plaque ran down the walls and spread across the floor towards me. Solid darkness descended from the ceiling. I felt her voice whispering inside my head, Remember when you wanted everything to stop? When you crashed your car on purpose but woke up in the hospital? In your heart, you decided a long time ago. 

 

Fiction

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