Life wasn’t much else.
I didn’t expect death to be so similar.
The two were polar opposites, yet existed together.
The push of death.
The pull of life.
A game of tug-of-war.
Where did that leave me?
Perhaps, balancing on the tip of a knife.
If I slipped, where would I fall?
Which was preferable?
I was tired of floating, of balancing.
Earlier I called this death.
Was it death?
Death always seemed peaceful, the promise of heaven, of a destination.
Where was my destination?
Was this my punishment?
Why didn't I slip?
I wanted to fall.
Time had no meaning anymore. Nothing had meaning.
How long had I been here?
I wasn’t sure, I had no hope. I would be here until…
There was no until, nothing that I could countdown the days for - I would always be here.
Please, let me fall.
Let me die.
I was at a constant imbalance, an impasse. A waiting room between life and death.
But suddenly...I wasn’t anymore.
Although I was floating, Falling. Pushing. Pulling. Balancing.
Although my very existence felt blurred almost. A smudge on an otherwise clean piece of paper. A mistake.
My view of the universe...shifted. I had always seen the world like a fast-forwarded movie, time passing so rapidly that I hardly registered it.
It almost...had meaning.
Was that too far?
Was I falling?
I felt like I was twisting. Turning. I could feel. What a strange way to describe this sensation...I hadn’t felt anything for far too long.
What was this? A new sensation?
My system was shut down for far too long...I didn’t recognize it at first. The feeling settled in. Coursing through me. At first, it was a relief. I could feel it, I could feel something, anything.
Did I fall?
No. This wasn’t falling, this was…
I could hear the most satisfying click, the snapping together of two thoughts, the realization. I was in pain. I hadn’t been in pain since…When?
Could I scream? I wanted to, I needed to.
Head. I could separate it from the rest, the most demanding. What did it feel like?
Heat. It felt warm. Too warm. Blistering. It spread.
How was I burning?
As if in response, a memory, warped and tattered pushed its way to the front of my consciousness.
It ended as suddenly as it came.
My body contorted-
-It jerked backwards-
Was I...moving? Impossible.
-trying to escape the memory.
Memory. That much I could account for.
I contorted, I jerked backwards to escape the memory.
A shock jolted through me. I was aghast that I could feel...It felt tingly almost, it felt like…
I had nothing to compare it to.
It hummed along my...self? I felt like I was being sucked, I was being dragged. I wasn’t falling...falling was effortless, easy. This was excruciating.
It felt like...a cord, something tying to my form, something taking me back.
I wanted to scream. Could I?
Down, down down. I knew that.
I heard a noise.
Did I? That was impossible.
A large bang, a yowl of pain that cut off abruptly with a loud slam.
Not completely. A strange almost whistle-like tone filled the air. Somewhere deep inside, my human intuition recognized it.
Breathing, through gritted teeth.
Control. I could sense it. The ability to be in charge, to be able. I was able, I could move.
No. I wasn’t going to. I needed to know where I was…
The problem was, I hadn’t been anywhere in….how long? I was essentially a toddler. At least I knew what that was.
I could sense...moisture. Almost like a veil of...fog. Clammy and uncomfortable.
The whistle-like sound became ragged and uneven.
Somewhere deep inside I knew...I was underground. Human intuition is fascinating.
Do I try to move?
There was no try, as soon as I put thought into the action...it happened.
My eyes opened.
I was no longer in pain.
Control...what a fascinating sensation. I had this once before, this power.
I wasn’t sure who said it, the voice pierced through the still air. I had no recollection of it as soon as it was gone. Expert for new-found determination. The body’s hand curled into a fist-
No, my body’s hands curled into a fist. I felt it, I knew it. Even though I was unable to see...
Know your surroundings. The voice said.
My fist slowly reached outward, I was shocked when it came into contact with something hard and rough.
Wood. The voice murmured. You're surrounded.
My hands shot out and slammed into more wood. On all four sides.
A coffin. I laughed darkly, hysteria bubbling up inside of me. Of course…
I was in my body. The memory, the plummeting, the pain all made sense.
I relived my death.
I knew what to do. I was on my back, I pulled my knees up in front of me, how amazing it was to be in control. I aimed for the center of the plank, and slammed my feet into it, feeling the weak wood crumble from under my foot.
The wood chips showered down on me, along with six feet worth of dirt. My instincts kicked in, panic pounded through my body like blood. I convinced myself it was only instinctual, nothing could hurt me now, I was dead.
That did not help.
Although it was time consuming, I clawed my way out, sliding through the earth like a fish in water. Dirt stuffed it’s way down my throat, in my eyes, through my ears...and in the large bullet hole lodged in my brain.
I barely noticed.
My body could bend in weird ways. Occasionally I would hear the snap of a bone, so frail after being underground for so long...
It didn’t particularly slow me down. I was out within minutes.
My field. it looked so different through human eyes.
I could hear. I could smell, I could see...It looked so different through human eyes, empty corn, stretching out for miles. This was the place, the place where I was shot and killed, the place I was buried...
The gunshot rang in my ear, even after all this time.
I didn’t die...oh no. A single bullet to the brain, while killing me instantly, my neurons still fired, I could still..think.
What I would give to have died in that moment.
I made a choice then, one I couldn’t unmake. To float, to sink, to push, to pull, to balance….to stay.
My mouth opened, feeling cool air lick the inside of it for the first and tasted the scents that washed over my tongue.
I could taste the world around me, the rich earthy scent of the dirt coating my figure, the husky smell of the corn surrounding me on every side...
Another memory forced its way into my vision.
A face. Hazel eyes, long swooping auburn hair dangling over them, a soft, joking smile…
Eyes like fire, blood red hair, sneer lined with a strange hunger…
They were the same, yet so different.
Even after all this time, I still felt the somehow familiar pang in my chest. It turned to blood lust almost immediately and I had a hunger of my own. One that couldn’t be quenched.
Or could it?
Everything I had ‘felt’ in the past resurfaced. Anger so powerful I felt like I was being burned from the inside out.
I might as well have.
I lurched forward, driven by my own madness. It was fascinating how little thought I had to put into moving, my feet seemed to know where to go, the cord that pulled me back here was now pushing me forward.
I knew what my purpose was, I knew why I was brought back. The longing stewed inside me causing a choked sequel of laughter to fizzle from my throat.
I could picture it...his last moments, watching as the light faded from his eyes until they became glassy and unfocused like mine. Feeling his frail bone’s snap from between my fingers until they were nothing but fragments, like mine. Watch his skin turn ashy and pale as his body deteriorated into the ground like mine. The best part was, I would be able to watch. Every. Single. Day. Maybe I would shoot him in the head...no that was too quick, maybe he would make the decision, the one that I did.
My bloodlust flared up and consumed me as yet another tug from my cord made me realize...
He was here.
This was the decision I made when I died, the opportunity I took when I died.
The opportunity for revenge.
The voice in my head chuckled blacky at my realization.
I ignored it and let the cord carry me.
My cord pulled harder making me trip. Pulled me towards him.
I was going to kill Karl.
The person that killed me.