Submitted into Contest #136 in response to: Write about a character giving something one last shot.... view prompt


Suspense Fantasy

     Palmer knew that he didn’t have much time left to reach the light, he could feel it. His mind was now preparing itself for what could be his last attempt, maybe his one last shot. Because of the blinding bright light, he couldn’t see what he believed to be was a wall, but he could feel its rugged surface when he had reached out to climb towards the light. He tried hard and it seemed to him like he had climbed high, but he didn’t make it. The light faded and he found himself back in the bed he had left.

         The sense of what he had to do had overwhelmed him and he somehow knew it was a matter of heaven and hell, just as he knew that life or death wasn’t going to be his choice to make and when he entered the hospital, he knew then that he most likely wasn’t going to leave alive. He was almost dead already and being sent to the hospice wing had confirmed that.

         Each previous time he saw the light he would attempt to reach it before it faded and before he would wake up surrounded by doctors and nurses with concern on their faces, even though they had successfully done their jobs and brought him back.  It was his wife’s face as she sat in the corner of the room scaring at him, that gave him the most concern. He saw it almost each time he had awakened from the failed journey he so much wanted to succeed in.

         Each time he had started his journey up that wall, towards the light, the light that he now knew really did exist when one was faced with death, he would feel a sense of awe, joy, wonder and relief. Each time he turned to look down, he felt an overwhelming sense of fear and depression come over him.  He could clearly see the flames rising from a pit that was once the bottom from which he had started his climb. It was Hell down there and he knew from that vision, what any child would have known… DON’T FALL!

         Whenever he made it back and the room finally cleared and if his wife was there she would try to comfort him. For encouragement she would sometimes tell him to stay strong, keep fighting and keep hope alive. Sometimes she just said with the softest most beautiful voice, “You made it back, my love”.  Palmer thought once or twice to himself that she was leaving out for his sake, the words she didn’t want to say but was surely thinking …. “This time”.

         His disease had ravaged his body to the point that he and everybody else knew, there was no return to the good life he once had.  He felt that he really couldn’t complain because whenever he looked back at the whole picture. He knew that he at least he had a good run, with a hell of a wife and family. In his mind now, there was only one thing that mattered, hoped, and could ask for. That he reaches that damn light.

         On one of the last times, he had attempted to reach the light the flames seemed to be closer than they had ever been before. He even thought that he could feel the  heat and he knew for sure he had heard voices, voices that were in the form of screams. Screams of pain and suffering. He said to himself that if he didn’t make it to the light this time, the next time he had a chance if there was one, he would come with his own scream. A sort of rallying call to himself “HELL… NO!... I won’t go”

         For palmer he had long come to the point of accepting his situation.  Now the most important thing was to be able to make sure that his soul’s final destination was heaven. Every time he was taken for a test or surgery, he found himself hoping that he wouldn’t return, that he could get another chance on that damn wall and finally reach that light and whatever was beyond it. He wasn’t afraid of dying, just afraid of Hell.

         Most nights he had laid in bed just waiting for another chance and then nothing would happen or it happened or as before, he returned. He had the attendants push the bed to the window and situate him to a good view, one that would allow him to scan the heavens without any obstruction. This would also allow him to lay there and pray as he took in the vastness and beauty of the sky. He played a game in his mind that consisted of trying to figure out what part of the universe, God would send him to.

         On the last night before his death palmer got his last chance to reach the light. This time he wasn’t in surgery or unconscious due to tests. He was just lying-in bed looking out the window when violent shivers rocked his mind and body. He could feel his eyes involuntarily closing as he lost his ability to move or control his bowels. When the light shinned again, he thought for sure this was it.

        This time he didn’t just reach for wall he did a running leap towards where he thought it should b,e in an attempt to get a good start up.  Then when he was in what he thought was midair, something caught his leg. He knew instantly that it was a hand from hell, and it was pulling him down into the heat.

         He fought hard for he knew there was not going to be a tomorrow. He could feel the fear of those that started to appear all around him. He could clearly hear the screams of pain from what could only be lost souls. He knew that this time there was no one in the room to revive him, save him in the nick of time. Nobody except maybe a thing called Death standing over his damn near lifeless body…waiting.

         He regretted his failed attempts to reach the light and he began to understand as though he was being enlightened, that maybe it was never meant to be.  Maybe he never had a chance and that one’s strength and chances to reach the light were based on the good they had done during their lifetime. Something you accumulate and then written somewhere in a book. The good he had done would not have taken up much space. He knew that this time when he failed to return to his body and take that breath of air, his wife would be the only one to shed tears and regret later, that she wasn’t there when he passed.

         It was all a realization that hit him hard because he knew now, that Hell was always going to be his final destination and the first of his torments, was going to be forever knowing how close he had come to the light. Now as the light started to fade above him and the darkness began to surround him, his flesh seemed to burn. He suddenly began to realize that he was now also screaming and that his screams were blending in with the others who had no faces. There wasn’t going to be a reason to express any awe, joy or wonder and there wasn’t going to be any relief for him, just pain and suffering as an unforgiven sinner. He had given that light one last shot ….and failed as he did in life.

March 11, 2022 03:24

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Michael Hemmings
02:22 Mar 17, 2022

Hello Darrell; It was an interesting re-design of the story-the intro of a hell- of the tunnel of light that some people seem to experience when they are about to die. But, could the story have turned out differently for Palmer? Would there have been room for a benevolent God to allow him a few moments with his wife to try to make amends, even if he does go to the underworld? My only other comment is there were some missing or misspelled words, which could be easily pruned out through editing.


Darrell Grant
04:28 Mar 17, 2022

Thanks for reading michael and the for the comment I usually do a dood job editing but must have gotten a little careless


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