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A man commits suicide, and then realises what he's missing.
I am 18 years old, and in October will be studying radio, film and telelvision with English. I love writing, and my ambition is to become a writer for telelvision, or a novelist.
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (4)
Hidden Reality (Short Stories) Christina's lunch-break is not quite as it seems. [736 words]
I Closed My Eyes (2) (Short Stories) After committing suicide, a young man realises what a mistake it was. [1,356 words]
On The Other Side (Short Stories) This is a story about a young girl who is tired of being pushed around. She takes matters into her own hands... [1,134 words]
Window-Shopping (Screenplays) A window cleaner falls in love with someone she notices as she is working. How will things work out? [16,218 words]
I thought suicide would be harder than that. Well, we all do, donít we? We tend to imagine that thereís going to be pain, lots of pain, and why not throw in a little suffering too? The reality is that I closed my eyes, and I was gone.
Not quite gone. Gone from being alive, yes, but still around, sort of dangling, not really knowing what I was supposed to do because no one told me. There was no heavenly chorus, and my family wasnít waiting for me, and I was lost, alone and confused. So, I looked down, and there I was, just lying there, stock-still and pale, surrounded by empty bottles of alcohol and one almost empty bottle of sleeping tablets.
It was a shock, thatís for sure. I mean, I was only twenty-eight, and it seemed as though that was as far as I was likely to get. It was self-inflicted, but I hadnít honestly thought it would work. And with that sudden realisation, I began to cry. Strange thought, isnít it? An ethereal spirit weeping above its own dead body. I didnít even know ghosts could cry. But there I was, wailing like a banshee, if youíll forgive the expression, and without a clue what to do next. Which is when I noticed the little boy. He was watching me, with such a sad expression on his face that if I wasnít already crying, I probably would have started then.
"Donít cry," he said softly. He could only have been six at the most, but there was such an air of the adult about him. I wondered how long he had been gone. "Thereís nothing to cry about."
And at that I did stop crying, and laughed instead. Not a laugh of joy, granted, but it cheered the boy at least. "Donít cry?" I asked, trying out my vocal chords, or whatever now passed for them, for the first time. "How can you say that?"
He smiled, and reached for my hand, grasping it tightly. "Iíll show you. Letís get away from here."
I meant to ask how, as I wasnít even sure if I could move, but then it came to me, and I was floating along, following my little guide. "Where are we going?" I asked him.
He turned, shaking his head in frustration. "You will see. Youíll know, I wonít have to tell you."
Then suddenly we were flying, faster, faster. Through the clouds and up, and onwards. The childís view of heaven is that it is in the sky, but itís not. Itís somewhere else, and I know because I went there. As we travelled, the boy spoke. "Iím here to look after you; to show you a little taste of what it is here. The rest you must find out for yourself."
Finally we stopped, and hovered above a green pasture. A tranquil, calm and beautiful pasture, full of the lushest grass and sleepy cows. I ran. I had never run like that before; sprinting among the greenery, skipping like I hadnít done for years. The boy joined in, and we laughed and played until, exhausted, we lay back and looked at the bright blue sky.
"Ready to go on?" he asked after a while.
I nodded quickly. "Yes, yes, definitely. Whatís next?" I was excited and exhilarated. I had to find out more. I felt like a child myself, and I liked it.
The boy grinned at me, and flew off, beckoning me to follow. So I did. And the next time I looked down there was a beach, golden yellow, glimmering in the sunlight, and the sea. Almost clear was the water, and the fish leapt and jumped, leaving the water to enjoy the air for seconds, and then splashing back down again. I laughed out loud, entranced by the sight.
"You like this," the boy stated, not asking a question.
I barely glanced at him, but swooped downwards, yelling with delight. It was ironic how alive I felt, when I was dead. He chased me, and I could hear his melodic laugh echoing around the stately cliffs that formed the backbone of the beach.
When I was close enough, I imitated the fish, diving into the water, and then out again, turning cartwheels as I went. "This is fantastic!" I shouted up into the air at the boy. He winked. "I know."
"Is this heaven?" I asked him as I floated on the surface of the water. "Thatís something you have to discover," the little old boy murmured quietly. He looked across at me, and could see that my eyelids were drooping slightly. "Are you tired?"
"Tired? God, no, not tired. JustÖ" I couldnít think of the word. "Just sleepy, I suppose."
Chuckling, the little boy lifted me by one arm. "Then letís continue the tour!"
All at once the sea was disappearing and I was holding on for dear life, or death, depending on your view, because I didnít think I could move as fast as the child leading me could. The gold of the sand soon changed into a deep, lustrous green, and my feet brushed along the treetops of an immense forest. Although we never dropped down into the trees for long, when we did I could just glimpse small creatures scuttling, and birds hopping from branch to branch. They were beautiful, magical things. Things that I didnít even know existed.
I gasped when I came face to face with a multi-coloured butterfly. "This must be heaven, with beauty such as this!" I exclaimed. The boy did not speak, but dragged me onwards even faster, until my head began to spin and I was dizzy. All at once we came to an abrupt stop, and the child pointed down. I could see my house. I was disappointed to say the least. "Youíve brought me back?" I asked, wonderingly. "Is this some sort of punishment?"
"There is beauty here, too," the boy explained. "Just look." And with one tiny finger he pointed to my garden. The garden I had let do whatever it wanted for the last few months, since I had become so depressed, and bored with life, was just as it normally was. At first I could see nothing special, but as I looked harder, and deeper, I saw a butterfly, flitting about on the shrubs. It was beautiful, and all the colours in the world seemed to be painted in its tiny wings. There were flowers too, albeit covered by weeds, but there was potential. Certainly potential. Whereas before all I could see was a mess, a total and utter disaster, now I saw what could be there, if I tried. And realisation hit me. "We never went to heaven did we?"
The boy stood mute.
"We were on earth the whole time?"
He nodded sagely, but still said nothing.
"Everything you showed me is here." I was no longer asking questions. I knew. I stared down at my house, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman run from the door, waving down an ambulance, the red and blue lights flashing violently. But in my new state of wonderment, even they held some attraction; bright and vibrant. Perhaps a sign of life. The child put one hand on my shoulder, and gently pushed me down towards the house, where it was easy to see that the woman was my wife. She was crying, and telling the paramedics that her husband was upstairs, that he needed to get to hospital.
The sleepiness took over my body then, and I drifted. I donít know where to, I canít remember, but I think the boy was with me. Iím sure he was.
The next time I was fully aware of anything, was days later. The first thing I saw was my wife, pale, yet stunning. And the next was the sun peering through the half-open windows, making shapes on the bedclothes. All was beauty. All was perfection. I knew that. The earth was heaven; leaving again would be hell.
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"A lot of potential here; the idea reminds me of C.S.Lewis somehow. One criticism might be that the 'twist' should be more of a surprise. It would be really effective if you tried to deceive us a bit more... As I'm sure you know, writing's about being a good liar!" -- Nick, London.
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© 2000 Lisamarie Jones
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