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“Come with us,” two burly men in gray suits grabbed me by the arm and handcuffed me. “You know what you did.” But I had no idea what I did. The last thing I remembered was being shot at the wedding... I hit my head and everything faded to black. I woke up in a waiting room, the most boring one I’ve ever seen.

The dim lights flickered and buzzed as a weatherman’s report droned on endlessly. The mumbled static infiltrated my ears, annoying as ever. After hours and hours, I finally sat down. A cold, hard, black plastic chair in a room of whitewashed cement was the only option. The scent of the room was not the stale smell typically associated with this building. The room smelled neither stale nor sterile, it smelled, to put it simply, of nothing. Emptiness. Devoid of anything interesting or colorful, much like the room I sat in. Waiting and alone. For hours I did nothing but twiddle my thumbs and click my pen. My crisp black tie and white suit coordinated with the room. I adjusted my itchy collar, wishing I could wear something other than the stiff suit. Chairs surrounded me, but nobody else came. It was empty, and then it wasn’t.

Like a beautiful bird she came, colorful scarves draped around her. She didn’t seem to belong in the room. A flowery scent pervaded the air. Her flowing scarves, filled with patterns, seemed to embody the essence of her spirit. Indeed, she was a much needed break from the harsh lines and neutral tones. As these thoughts flashed through my previously dormant mind, she gracefully plopped herself beside me. She reached her hand out to shake mine. I tried to look at her face, but the scarves blocked my view. I got a glimpse of swirling colors, and I thought it was scarves, not her face. I grasped her hand, which felt wrinkled and also smooth. Her hand was a deep, rich brown, not the swirling colors I had seen on her face. 

“How did you get here?” she asked. Her voice echoed like a thousand voices squished into one voice. 

“I don’t know how I got here. The last thing I remember is…” I scoured my brain. “I was at a wedding… we had just finished the ceremony and…” I shivered, but pressed on for the sake of the flowy woman. “The bride pulled out a gun and randomly shot people… I… I thought I had died, but I must not be dead if I’m in this hospital…” my voice trailed off into nothingness. She nodded her head. 

“Yes, young man, you died.” She said it as though it were no big deal. I involuntarily gasped, my face paling. “And this is not a hospital.”

“Why am I here? Are you dead too?” the questions seemed to pour out. “Who are you? What’s your name? Can I see your face?” 

She spoke once more, her odd voice filling the room. “I am still alive…” she looked at the floor and under her breath muttered, “just barely, thanks to you humans,” she shook her head as though she was disappointed in me. 

“Why am I here? And what’s your name?” I asked more forcefully this time, pausing to let her answer my questions. 

“My name?” She asked. I nodded. “Well,” she continued, “I go by many names. My personal favorite is-” The doors at the far end of the room crashed open, interrupting the exchange of information. I stood, eager to find out the reason I was here in this unfamiliar place after I died. I shivered, unused to the idea of being dead. I barely had time to wonder at the absence of whoever opened the doors when the flowery lady called out my name. I quickly whirled around.

“How do you know my name?” I stared suspiciously at the scarves, confused by her sudden change.

“It does not matter. My name is Mother Nature.” She removed her scarves, and the swirling colors stopped. Her face was the deep brown I had seen in her hands, but her eyes… Her eyes were endless. Her green, grass-like hair spilled across her shoulders. “Go! She is waiting,” I stood stock still, staring at Mother Nature. “You cannot stand here gawking all day!” I nodded slowly and ran through the doors.

At the very end of the hall, I saw a light shining. I ran down the hall, almost like a tunnel with it’s short ceilings, and tried to reach the light at the end. I kept running, not wanting to keep her waiting as Mother Nature had said. I could hardly believe my eyes, but I needed to focus on reaching the light. Faces started to appear in frames on the walls. My deceased mother’s picture was next to my father. Further on, I stopped running. My sister. She had been at the wedding as well, when the bride lost her mind. Tears flowed down my face, but I ran on. Finally the light began to be brighter, and I reached another set of double doors. Seeping from the cracks and crevasses around the door was the brightness. I opened the doors and walked in. I was in another waiting room, but this time I was not alone. My sister was in there, as well as countless other faces I did not recognize. I ran to my sister and sat down next to her. She looked at me and smiled before pulling me into a hug.

“Mother Nature told me you would be coming. She also said you were told to rush so I did not have to wait long. I wish you hadn’t been hit too…” Simultaneously we started talking about our encounters with Mother Nature. I discovered that my sister had also seen my face while running down the hall. We both found solace in the fact we would be embarking on this odd journey together, but we still wished we were not dead. Our disappointment waned as Mother Nature walked in. The two burly men who had dragged me here stood on either side of the door with Mother Nature between them. She clapped her hands commandingly, and everyone quieted down. Every eye in the room landed on the colorful flowing scarves that remained off of her face. 

“Hello everyone! As you all know, everyone in this room is no longer alive on Earth. Luckily, there is a fun surprise for some of you!” We all smiled at Mother Nature. “Those who have been chosen will be returning to Earth, miraculously coming back to life. No time will have passed there,” she grinned happily. “Unfortunately, not everyone will get to return. The rest of you will go… somewhere else,” her smile turned into a frown as she pulled a piece of paper from her hair. 

“I hope we were chosen,” my sister whispered. I nodded assent before returning my attention to the presence at the front of the room. Everyone else murmured as well but quickly stopped when Mother Nature began to speak again. 

“I will now read the list of names who were chosen to return!” We all clapped, though the room was tense. “Alvarado, Leigh!” A young girl walked up to stand behind Mother Nature. “Burkley, James!” the list went on until it was at the place where my sister and I would be. “Pearson…” We held our breath. “Hmm.. I can’t quite read this. One moment please…” she pulled a pair of spectacles from her hair and opened her mouth. “Ah, that’s what it says. Pearson, Elisabeth!” My sister slowly stood and walked to the front, longingly looking back at me. Mother Nature raised the list once more, and I got ready to stand up. “Snider, Allen!” I sat down, humiliated and extremely disappointed. Tears flowed down my face as the rest of the group was called up and walked out of the room.

I, along with many others, stood up and tried to leave. The two men in gray suits blocked the doors, and we slowly started to fall to the floor, one by one. My only thoughts were of Elisabeth as my vision slowly grew spotted and went dark.


July 25, 2020 19:47

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4 comments

Holly Pierce
19:56 Jul 25, 2020

I wrote this for another prompt, but didn't finish it until the day after the contest ended. I still wanted to post it, so I changed the story a bit :))

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19:44 Jul 28, 2020

This was an amazing story, Holly! I really liked the idea of Mother Nature. The way that he died was tragic, and unsettling. The fact that Elisabeth was able to have a second chance warmed my heart, but when he had to completely die it was upsetting. Definitely keep writing and stay healthy! :) -Brooke

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Holly Pierce
19:53 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you Brooke! I'm glad you liked it! :))

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20:47 Jul 28, 2020

My pleasure!

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