Welcome to the afterlife

Wrote this in an hour. thought id have a shot at the competition!


1. Welcome to the afterlife

The bright white light shone eerily down the endless tiled corridor as Dr. P. H. Patterson made his way through the ward. It was unusually quiet for ten o clock at night; normally the institution was alive with the sounds of its insomniac patients, although rarely ever did they utter coherent words. The noises consisted more of disturbed mutterings, sometimes a fingernail or two painfully screeching its way down a door, or the familiar sound of teeth on bars, some of the patient’s futile attempts to escape the life of hospitalization that drew out before them.


Then there was the sound that came from room 265, the very room he was passing now. The poor tormented souls were taken to this room in an attempt to purge themselves of the sins and disturbances of their own life; a kind of cleansing routine if you like and probably the most traumatic part of the whole treatment process. Never before had Dr. Patterson heard such sounds as he had heard come from room 265.  The howl of a small boy as an electric shock was sent through his spine, or the desolate wail of an elderly woman as her teeth were snapped in half by metal pliers one by one, a punishment for her being a devout member of a charity that helped the homeless. The work that was being done here was very good, he thought to himself. Very good indeed. People in the real world would be proud of their efforts, although of course the mere humans that lived there would never know. Not until their time came.


An anguished howl suddenly came from a cell adjacent to where he stood. Part two of treatment, where patients are subjected to everything that went badly in their lives on a large screen; all their failures, misgivings, and worst nightmares played out right in front of their own eyes. An emotional form of torture, if you like. Inside one of the patients sat, his eyes held upon by two workers in white coats, whilst a third scribbled notes on a worn piece of paper. The man’s skin was yellow and papery, his eyes bloodshot and red. He turned to look at Dr. Patterson with a look of desperation; a look that cut so deep Dr. Patterson had to hastily turn away. There were always those patients who thought they could somehow miraculously escape the natural fate of emotional death. However their attempts were futile, and those that tried usually had their eyes gorged out or their hands cut off, or something of the sort; for it is a well known fact that prevention is the best form of cure.


‘Newcomers in ward 5, I repeat newcomers in ward 5’. An automated voice boomed out of an intercom situated in the top corner of the ceiling, followed by the sound of an elderly women weeping as two men in masks carried her along the corridor, on the way to room 265 most probably. ‘God bless their souls!’ she screeched. ‘God bless them!’ Her eyes were yellow and her hair grey and tangled; so long it trailed around her knees. The foul smell of mould and decay clung to her and the silver overgrown toenails on her feet scraped the sterile floor as the men dragged her.


Dr. Patterson turned his attention back to the intercom. Ah, the freshly buried, he thought. Sent off by their loved ones in a flurry of soil, ashes and rose petals. Little do those innocent priests know where they are actually sending their charges. He took a left turn down another endless corridor towards the newcomer’s ward. They looked fresh in comparison to some of the older patients, such as the weeping older women he had seen earlier; clumped together, they stood scared and bemused at the future that lay ahead of them. Probably wondering where that God everyone talked about was, or when the flames of hell and the devil would spring up. Dr. P. H. Patterson sat down in front of them and switched on the projector, ready to present the welcome PowerPoint that he practically knew off by heart now. ‘Welcome, dead ones. You have reached your final destination. I’m afraid to say there’s no such thing as heaven. In fact there’s no such thing as hell. There is only the now, where we will work to make you into better people through a series of intensive treatments. Eventually you will have no recollection of your previous lives, happiness or what is right or wrong. You will become like everyone else here; myself included.’


And with that, Dr. P H Patterson peeled off the skin that made up his human face to reveal the most horrifying reality of what lay underneath. Bit by bit, things were replaced. Two blue eyes merged into two endless black holes boring through a bare skull. A tanned shiny skin tone became withered papery flakes, dotted over the yellow bone. Thick luscious hair became straggled black strings, which clung damply to his skull. He pulled out each of his teeth one by one, each one giving a bloody crack as it dropped and hit the white tiled floor. Then, with an empty stare, Dr. P H Patterson raised his head, and smiled:

'Welcome to the afterlife.' 



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