I Will See you Again

The only destination for the living is death. Death is the only thing anyone should be afraid of. My name is Eve. I am already dead. But I am still afraid.
Someone came to my grave and told me I had to keep my promise. That I had to figure out the truth about what happened. The person said to me... I will see you again.

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6. Degenerate

Flashback #3: Let's call it the day before I died

            It was raining before I even made it out the door. I could hear Audrey screaming, she tried to keep her voice down but she couldn't. I had to get away. I went to the church. The cool wetness of the raindrops and the lapsed time didn't diffuse any of the anger bottled up inside of me. The church was basically empty, but I was able to get in and find the elevator without any trouble. I rode up to the highest floor and took a ladder to the roof.

            Opening the door to the outside, I could feel the fresh air beat on me like a powerful fan. I move to the edge of the building and look down. The sight made me feel sick in the stomach, but I couldn't deny the view. A gust of wind pushes me closer to the edge and I make and effort to step a few paces back so I don't fall. I could smell smoke. I turn to the side and try to figure out where the smell is coming from.

"You aren't going to jump are you?" a voice declares loudly. No. I didn't want to jump. I couldn't.

            I turned toward the voice and see a boy, my age smoking a cigarette.

"Hey," I say, "you go to my school don't you?" If he hadn't spoken I wouldn't have seen him. He was hidden between two walls. He nods in response and I walk over to him, "The only way I would jump is if I didn't have anything left to live for."

"Jeez," he laughs moving over so I had a spot on his wall, "That was deep."

"Shut up." I lean on the wall, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm the custodian for this place." he says before stiffening up, "Don't you dare tell anyone that I'm up here. I swear to god I'll-"

"Don't swear in church." I joke, "Don't worry, I'm not going to get you fired. What kind of person do you think I am?"

            The clock was ticking. 11:58. 11:59. Slowly the things that I last remember where starting to blur. Becoming lost in the see of memories I will never get back. Thirty seconds left. I'll ask for a cigarette. The boy will say something about me being a good kid. Twenty seconds. I'll convince him I'm not the person he knows me to be. Ten seconds. He'll hand me the cigarette.

"Have you ever smoked before?"

"Just give me a light, I'll be fine."

          Two seconds. He's taking a match out of his pocket. One second. He lights the match and brings it to me. The dim light showed me his face and I couldn't help but wonder if this boy is the one. Did he kill me? The cigarette is lit and the match goes out. That's it. My last memory. After that there is just darkness. An empty pit of nothing. Can't go back and change it, this is the end the story of mine has. All that comes after is an epilogue that just drags out the end. No one wants to read an epilogue, they don't want the story end. But that is the way a story works. There is a middle a beginning and an end. It would be better if we all understand that now.

 

Present Day

"That's all I remember."

"That's not what I meant." Michael sighs. He starts to walk away.

"Wait!" I stop him, "Then what did you mean?" I want to understand him, to know what he is thinking and feeling. I want to understand him like I used to.

"I don't know." he throws his arms in the air. He turns back to me biting his lip trying to keep from shouting, "There is an essence to living, something other than what you can feel in death. Some type of emotion, or thought of the future." his eyes search me for some type of sparkle.

"I don't know." his eyes, I don't want to disappoint him, "I don't know? I was standing there, with the boy, I was leaning against the wall-"

"No, that's not, not good enough,"

           I don't want to disappoint him. What else? Think! Why won't my memories listen to my demands. Seeing Michael walk away I find my thoughts leave me with worried rush, "My fingertips were cold. I curled my toes from inside of my shoes." What else! There had to be something better! "The energy from the matches flame looked more alive and flickered. Cars were racing by and some were honking. The rise of my chest when I breathed... The breeze moved my hair out of place which annoyed me. And... and, as I was holding the cigarette I couldn't help but think of all of the things that would change after that."

            I am out of breath. I can't think of anything else. I don't know what Michael wants to hear. The medication, and the dullness... transparent color of the world of death was clogging any memory of feeling or color. I couldn't seek out those feelings.

"What could change from you taking a cigarette?" Michael smiles. Did he think it was funny?

"Shut up." I catch up to him and we make our way back to the dorms.

"No, I'm really curious about what could change from smoking for your first time."

"Everything." he takes my hand in his own and we walk downtown, "If surveys asked if I ever smoked, I would have to say yes from then on."

"You know you can lie about that stuff right?"

"I couldn't do that."

            We make it to our dorms and I quietly enter my room. Emily is sound asleep in her bed. I could hear her shortness in breath. Something tells me she lied about how much longer she had here. I should have told her not to play. No kid should be allowed to gamble. But it's the only way any of us have a chance. An envelope sits on my side of the desk. I forgot Emily said I have mail. I take the envelope and walk outside of the dorm and sit outside the door along the wall.

             I take the envelope and take out the compact device. An odd little thing. It holds all of the messages that have been sent to me from the world of the living. The messages are sent from the grave. I don't know how the messages manage to get to me, but they do eventually. I can search through past messages and play new ones. I usually get messages from Audrey. These must be from her.

            I press play.

"Hey, Eve, it's me. Audrey. You know that though I'm sure." there is a pause, "Listen, I'm sorry. I'm so so so so sorry. I wish something could have been different. The way things are just don't seem right. Say hi to mom and dad for me. And Jacob." I could hear her sigh. The words didn't matter. The breath told me everything she was feeling and how she was living now that I was gone.

            I hit the stop button.

            I can't do this.

            I keep the rest of the message for another day. I move back into the room and lay down in bed. I forgot I couldn't sleep the hours away. I miss sleep.

            I can't believe time is still relevant in death. Some stupid little thing like time, created by people who didn't even know they were ruining the lives of everyone else. I would hope that in death there would be no such thing as time but eternal life. Or nothing, so there wouldn't be a need for keeping track, of minutes, hours, or seconds. If we weren't so hung up on time I'm sure we would all be happy. Or at least the people in death could be happy. I can understand the importance of time in the World of the Living. But not here.

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