Before we die

What happens on the verge of death? You glimpse the afterlife, a haven to those who only accept it. But for those who aren't ready to die, get ready to run.
* For the after life competition*

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3. It's the name of the game

 

The reflection cast along the breaking ripples of the indigo lake causes me to squint as I gaze across, blinking my eyes as I attempt to adjust my vision to the abrupt blinding illumination that spreads across as we clamber out across the mouth of the cave, glancing around warily.

“It’s gone,” he whispers reassuringly, edging me forward, “Most likely to pursue others.”

I follow hesitantly as he speeds swiftly along the grass, and I pick up my stride as he gestures with wave of a brisk hand to keep pace. Raising a palm to shade his vision, he points across, and attentively I instantly follow his gaze, shaking my head, “It looks like some boulder or something,” I say, shrugging half-heartedly as I eye the rigid rock surface that stretches high in the distance.

He nods, sweeping back the lock of dark hair that slips across his forehead, “That’s where we’re headed; we need to get up there.”

 

At the brief far off glance from the distance I‘d initially assumed the structure to be much more coarse, to feel jagged and uneven at the sensitive brush of my palm against the surface. But no, as I tentatively rake my fingers along the towering exterior the smooth sensation causes me stare with surprise. During the furtive amble dread for the climb had gradually threatened to consume me with each nearing step but as I gaze up at it now I wonder what kept Kent from not accomplishing it earlier, why he needed the assistance of another to overcome such an obstacle.

“It’s not as easy as it looks, “he remarks dryly, seemingly reading my concealed inner thoughts as reaches my side, wiping a palm against his forehead to clear the growing perspiration, “Go ahead.”

 I pause, observing it intently before hesitantly ambling forward; splaying my fingers I curiously stretch out, tensing my hands at the briefest hint of anything unusual. Nothing. Grasping the surface of the rock in the secure grip of my fingers, I force myself aloft, my trainers planting firmly on a foothold but before I can breathe my relief, just at that moment the base under the soles of my shoes dematerializes from view, causing me to abruptly sway in mid-air, suspended by nothing, a cry of surprise emitting from my lips unintentionally.  But I manage to miraculously clamber on for another split second, attempting to lift myself nearer to the peak, before the sturdy grasp under my fingers also disappears before my eyes causing me to topple down against the flooring, wavering uncertainly on my feet. He looks around at me, “See what I mean?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” I reply, wincing at the pint of pain on the tips of my fingers, then glancing around dubiously I add defiantly, “There must be another way up.”

“Don’t you think I’ve pondered that?”

I shrug, “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. So many have cheated death, I mean how many people have regained conciseness after accident or something? It shouldn’t be this hard. There has to be another way.”

He shakes his head, shoulders momentarily sagging, “I don’t know anything more.Doors materialize sometimes, but they’re hard to track.”

“So what do we do, genius, wait around. I’m sure one will show. Eventually.” Then, noticing the suppressed look of hurt vaguely flashing within his dark irises, I divert my eyes away, “Look, I’ll guess we’ll just have to keep trying, that’s all.” I stare back up at the looming expanse with obvious doubt betraying my expression, stabbing the ends of my teeth against my lower lip with frustration. “Come on then,” I say impatiently, masking my moment of uncertainty and that’s when I see it. The abrupt flash of movement in the corner of my vision and I know immediately who’s presence it conveys. “Kent, run!” We split instantly; I take the right fork, swerving uncontrollably as I veer into a sudden sprint, not daring to spare a glance over my shoulder as I run. But I know it’s not after me but Kent, the awareness of being closely shadowed by a pursuer is a sensation which doesn’t bare down on me now but I still keep running. And a door materializes. My heart quickens exhilaratingly, pounding so loud against my own chest that I imagine that I’m almost deafened by the sound. My palm rapidly makes to grasp the door knob but at that moment I look back and I see him, still sprinting onwards death lagging behind, and an unexpected hesitance engulfs my senses. But I can’t go back, so with one final glance I step into the door, back into the world of reality.

 

The unmistakeable stench of antiseptic lingers vaguely in the stale air as I stir unexpectedly from my slumber, my eyelids beginning to flicker, as the palm of my hand unconsciously slips along the side of the plain mattress, and as the unanticipated welcoming surface of the soft bedcovers brush along the tips of my fingers, I frown feebly in confusion. The recent past rushing back along my senses and for a moment I vision myself once again staring at a vast of darkness that casts before me. I groan, forcing myself to prop uncomfortably onto my elbows as I gaze around the hospital dormitory and only then do I register the presence of another in the oblong room. The woman gaits over impatiently, leaning across the bed, she eases me back down, grasping my hand in a way that I immediately recognize, her lean fingers softly enclosing around my palm, whispering words of reassurance that at first I can’t begin to decipher. “Mum?” I whisper in a word so soft I can barely find it audible to my own ears, “What happened?” My voice slurs deep as I continue and for a moment I pause, my tongue darting along my parched lips to restore the moisture.

“You had an accident, darling, you remember that?”

I shake my head half-heartedly, blinking my heaving eyelids as I attempt to clear the double of my wavering vision. Then a name hits me, so swiftly that at first I can’t catch onto my own response, “Kent,” I mutter, jerking myself up in sudden anxiety, “Kent Adams, where is he?”

My mother observes me in prolonged silence, the confusion glinting in her irises, “You need to rest now,” she whispers, running a tender hand along my features as she slowly eases up from her seat, “I’ll call the doctor.”

I force a breath as she leaves, and I look around again, this time more closely and I notice another hospital bed against the far end of the room, the figure apparently motionless beneath the covers. I dart cautiously over and at the sight of the familiar face as I peer around causes an unexpected tear to form in my eyes. He’s still unconscious. “Keep running Kent, you’ll make it.” 

 

 

 

 

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