Why Can't I feel anything? Flickers of light keep dancing in my vision. A Necklace? Three woman on a pendant? A woman's face in shadow. Muffled noises calling out to me and pressure on my hand comforting me. I don't understand. Slowly the light begins to expand around me and shapes become visible. The sky train? Suddenly the light makes everything focus and I found myself seated in the train with the strangest assortment of people I have ever seen. Is there a performance going on? It seems many people are in different costumes, primitive looking to ultra-futuristic. Every age and ethnicity has filled the coaches as far as I can see. Suddenly a woman's voice filters through the air.
"As the transportation comes to a complete stop please exit to the right. I repeat exit to the right. Left side doors for emergency use only. Collect any and all emotional baggage and bring it with you. Thank you April5G:1101-1106s."
Around me there is a quiet flurry of activity as people gather their belongings around them. I glance about me and see nothing around me. As the doors open I watch as everyone filters out onto the platform on the right. Suddenly a figure far down the train catches my eye and I see a young man leap through the left doors and across the tracks on the other side to a deserted and desolate looking platform. As he clambers up it a look of grim satisfaction crosses his face as he runs towards the exit. I open my mouth to express my surprise when I notice I am the only person left on the train. Quickly I walk out onto the platform and found myself greeted by a young man in a shirt and tie.
"No baggage? No matter, this way please."
We walk a short distance from the train to an empty desk and chairs on the platform.
"Please have a seat." He says as he pulls out paperwork from the desk. I'm distracted by an inexplicable collection of guitar picks and strange coins he has artistically placed around himself, and I miss his first question directed at me.
"Are you paying attention to me? Hello! Calling case #A5G1104.57"
"A5G1104.572017, your death call number. You did in fact die April 5, 2017, at 1104 hours 57 seconds yes?"
"What? What do you mean?" Suddenly a sense a dread forms in the pit of my stomach and spreads throughout my entire body. My chest becomes tight and my heart feels as though a vice has been tightened around it. "I don't understand!" I frantically say knocking over the chair as I jump up "This is a sick joke right?" Suddenly my breathing comes shorter and shorter, I realize that I do understand and I fall to the ground.
The young man rushes over to me side and places his hand on my back in comfort. "Just breathe, its going to be all right. This is the natural order of things. I am sure that you are surprised by this, but its going to be all right, let's just sit back down and go through this paperwork and we'll get your afterlife all set up, Okay?" After several moments my breathing returns to normal and I shakily return to my chair. I glance around myself and see several similar scenes taking place and different desks.
"Let's start over, I'm your assigned Death Agent, you can call me Ash. Mr. Go, your mortal life was concluded on April 5th, 2017 at 1104am (and 57 seconds). You arrived here along side all other members of the human race that died on said day between the time 1101am and 1106am with a last name starting with the letter G, or for those members of the human race without names or designations who died in said time you were randomly assigned to this train. Obviously that is a large number of people and therefore the trains have been staggered to compensate for wait times. In fact you didn't have to wait much at all to see me. Let's see, ah yes, I see you have no emotional baggage. Can I ask why? Were you just a super adjusted kind of guy? I mean we do see that, but usually people have a little something to hold onto?"
"I'm not sure. It's all so foggy. I... I.. I can't seem to remember anything before the train, a necklace" as I said that a fine pendant forms in my hand, fragile, composed entirely of light. "How did I die? Who was I?"
"Oh I see." Ash says frowning, "Well, occasionally we do have people such as yourself come through. Perhaps your death was so tragic you don't want to know what happened? Let me check your file."
Ash quietly reads through my file with an intense gaze, but I can't force myself to look up at him as he reads. Was my death really so horrible. I concentrate and try to focus hard on the fleeting memories I do have. "He.." a voice calls out in my memory but fades before I can hear anymore and Ash closes my file loudly.
"Well, Perhaps it would be better not to revisit the past. In fact your transition will be much simpler without any baggage to bring with you. Let's get you to the other side quickly, no need to go back and work things out."
Ash looks stricken and his face pales.
"What? Go back? Nonsense, onwards and upwards heh heh heh, right?" Ash's voice says at it climbs in panic and pitch.
"I can go back?" I say, as I suddenly feel a strange and intense urge to do just that.
"It's too dangerous! And it doesn't really solve anything. You don't even remember your life! Let's just get this paperwork done. Revenge is useless-"
"Revenge? I need to get revenge? What is in my file?"
Suddenly Ash pulls my file off the table.
"Listen, I'll level with you. Looks like your death was, well unjust? Kay? I'll give you that, but its useless going back. You could be stuck over there all alone and you have no memory to help you find anyone you know"
"How does someone go back?"
"I'm not allowed to say. Once you're on this platform you're not supposed to go back!"
Suddenly I remembered that guy jumping across to the platform on the other side. I grab my file out of Ash's hands and bolt back towards to empty train. Suddenly Ash and a bunch of the other Agents all rush towards me. Ash almost grabs me but I side step him. Ash manages to jump ahead of me and blocks the far door of the train as I dart into the train, seeing that he has blocked that door I run down to the open door just down from where I was sitting. I glance back and see Ash standing there. Why isn't he coming after me anymore?
"Wait, If you're going to do this, just a least listen to me for a second. Crossing the tracks has to be done as quick as possible. Don't pause at all or hesitate, if you do you can get stuck on the tracks. Try to remember what you can and find your way back before..."
Suddenly the other guards have caught up and begin to hesitantly enter the train. Holding firmly onto my file and I jump down from the open left side doors onto the tracks.
As I fall I hear through muffled ears "Why'd you let him go" being yelled at Ash, but the thought leaves as I land on the tracks. As soon as my feet touch the ground my vision is overwhelmed with a multitude of images of the lives of all those who have been on the train ahead of me. I gasp as I step forward an inch at a time. Each step brings on onslaught of images and the emotions that accompany them. I am about to fall down and let the emotions overtake me forever when my toes brush the base of the other platform. I use the last of my energy to pull myself onto the platform.
I fall down exhausted and look at the grey ceiling above me. I breathe in a moment of silence and glance back to the other side of the tracks. Only to see a wall in its place. I drag myself up and stagger towards the exit stairs. I capture my lost breath and go slowly up the stairs. Once again I am enveloped in brilliant light and suddenly I find myself standing in the middle of a busy road.