I wrote this story a long time ago. I recently found the flash drive it was on and tried to revise it. It may not be my best work, but I think I've made it readable. Thank yall for reading. Make sure to review my stuff so I can continue to grow.
The light at the end of the tunnel fades. The darkness is beginning to seep back into my vision. What little vision there is, anyway.
After the accident, everything went dark. Amid the flying glass and screaming metal, I was strangely at peace. This was the end, huh? Not exactly how I would have orchestrated it, but what happens...happens. I died fast. Before I ever realized it, my life was over. I was done. The choir invisible was singing my name. Soon Peter was going to call me forth, the gates were going to open for me, and I was going to live again. Forevermore.
But when the light begins to fade, I become confused. Where? Where am I then? Wasn't I supposed to find paradise at the end?
I look up and find myself seated at the base of an enormous podium. The walls shine with shifting black and white colors, almost as if I'm looking into a kaleidoscope. Diamonds and hexagons, pentagons and decagons, circles and triangles. I see them all, and I am amazed. The colors swirl together, like I'm sitting in a black ocean where only wisps of light can penetrate. I am filled with wonder, awestruck by the beauty in such a simple design.
A gray light begins to illuminate the rest of the room. I see that the podium is made up of large, black, marble steps in a pyramid pattern. My reflection is so vivid within the white cracks of the marble. It's like the steps themselves were polished to perfection minutes ago, only to be polished again, and again, and again. It's almost like I am looking into the ocean, but the waters are so still. I could just reach out and touch it, grasp at my reflection.
But I can't move. I look down at my arms. They are bound by cuffs, black and wispy, shadows that are not full there, like billows of black smoke seeping into my skin. I feel the chill of the cuffs. Like frozen steel in the dead of winter. An icy chill. Not quite painful, but just enough to unsettle me. The cuffs are connected to chains of the same material. The chains pull me down until I am forced to kneel. Each chain connects it's cuff to the ground at my sides.
My chest is bare, my skin a pale version of the tan it once was. A muffled light begins to pulse from my chest. I realize it is my heart. My heart glows with a fiery red, muted by the flesh of my breast, like a flashlight through a hand. The beating is strong, the bass rocks me back and forth as I await what is to come.
The gray light begins to shine brighter. A figure appears, seated on a black marble chair, the same as the podium. His skin is shadowy, but not ominous. I cannot see his face. Who is he? Across his body there is a twinkle, what looks like millions of stars. He sits upright, hands at the armrests and legs straight and bent. His posture is perfect. He remains silent. It is like he is studying me. I want to ask him what he wants, where I am, what happened to me? But I cannot speak. It is as though I have opened my mouth underwater. I can't breathe. I feel helpless, irrelevant, nonexistent. It is at this moment He addresses me.
"We are the Judge." His voice booms. It is layered with many voices, high pitched like a cheerful child's laughter, and deep like a wise grandfather's council. It is a mix of youth and age, energy and wisdom. It literally sounds like an army is speaking to me all at once. The Judge's features are still hidden, but I can tell he is engaging me. I find that I can speak again.
"Where am I?" I ask wearily, my voice sounding tired, raspy, almost burning.
"Judgment." I feel the depth of what he says. The Judge continues, "We are here to open a door. Which one is up to who you were."
"Who gave you this job?" I ask this question timidly, but my voice is gaining strength.
The Judge does not answer me, but instead tilts his head upward. I follow his gaze to what I can now tell is the source of the light in the room. Above us is a bright, radiant sun. Looking into it hurts my eyes, yet I cannot pull myself away.
"Is that…God?" I manage to croak out.
The Judge bows his head in affirmation. Just the invocation the name gives me chills. All at once, I am filled with panic. I have to plead my case. I have to prove I am worthy. It dawns on me. I am in the house of the Lord. The awestruck feeling should have been expected. The Creator is here. His servant is judging me.
"I believed in Him! I was a believer!" I cry out.
"Yes. You were a believer. You believed you deserved a place in paradise."
The words drip from his mouth like poison. His demeanor has become distinctly human. The knives in his voice stab me deeply. Thinking on it, I guess I had assumed I would happily stroll into heaven without issue. I did believe I deserved a place in paradise. I did believe it was owed to me. I lower my head in disgust at myself. This realization leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I feel sick. I hate myself.
A defiance creeps into my heart. How am I not deserving? What did I do? I went to church. I watched my mouth, and I didn't drink all the time, only occasionally. I prayed when I went out to eat. I even genuinely prayed on my knees at times. Why am I being judged?
"Do not assume you have been blameless. Lust was your lover. Anger was your ally. Greed whispered in your ear. You slept your entire life, a coma of life. Did you ever look to those less fortunate? Did you show them the love that you were shown? Where were you when our Lord begged you for food? Where were you when our Lord was freezing in the night? Did you offer him your house? Did you provide the bread? Your prayers were present, but where were your actions? Why withhold this when our Lord provided it all for you. Did you go hungry? Did you endure the cold? Tell us, sinner!" His accusations burn me. They burn because they are true.
The glow in my heart begins to fade, like the light is beginning to run out. I am at a loss for words. I always thought of the things I was doing right, and only momentarily gave thought to the times that I screwed up. These were mostly just to quickly ask forgiveness, then move on with my life. Was that wrong? Did I assume that was enough?
I look back up at Him. Three small portals have appeared in front of me, between the marble podium and myself. All three appear to look like round top windows, but instead of panned glass within the frames, there is a silently swirling vortex in the middle. All three look exactly the same, each with a faint red glow emanating from the vortex's center. A shadowy tendril shoots from the window in front of me. When it makes contact with my chest, it connects to my heart, and in this moment, I feel extreme physical pain. The feeling of shattered bones and collapsing lungs, flayed skin and torn muscles. I want to cry out at the sudden inflammation all over my body, but I continue to be speechless and paralyzed.
Before my mind can register more of the pain I am feeling, the window to my left shoots a tendril to my heart. When this chain connects, I am overcome with a pain far worse. I feel as if every happy or cheerful thought I have ever had has been ripped from my very being. I feel depressed. I feel alone. In a strange way, this feels worse than pain from the first window. I feel as if there is no hope for me. Why was I even given this chance of judgment? My fate should have been sealed years ago. I shouldn't have even been given the chances I was given. I shouldn't have even been given life. I am worthless. I am nothing.
As the despair and emotional pain envelope me and flood through me, the window to my right sends a tether to my chest. This chain seems much calmer. When it connects with my chest, it feels as if someone has poured a bucket of cold water over my head. My senses return from their pain, and I feel almost pleasant. My cheerful thoughts have returned again, at the cost of my negative ones. I have not a care in the world. I am at peace.
"The doors are open. You who are to be judged have been judged. You must atone for your sins, but you followed our Lord in a way which did honor Him. Where do you belong? We wonder." He stands, and I feel his presence in earnest. If we were in any normal establishment, he would easily be twelve to thirteen feet tall. As he walks towards me, he lingers at the doors.
"Death. Life. Eternity. These are all parts of our Lord. He endures our hardships in life, weeps for those lost in death, and embraces those who join Him in eternity. He is a God created in chaos, yet a bringer of order. While many of you deny him and even more claim to speak for him, he patiently awaits your understanding. His love for you is deeper than the deepest oceans, higher than the tallest mountains, as vast as the east is from the west. It knows no bounds. It is a love your people have sought to define, yet chosen to place limits upon. His love is without limit, without definition. His is a second chance love, but an impatient love."
He continues speaking as he moves on from the doors to kneel in front of me. I can feel him looking at me, looking right through me. He sees my soul.
"Should you return, your second chance will be used. The rest would be left to you. Will you live for our Lord, in the hopes of reconciliation with him in paradise? Or will you accept your damnation, as so many do every day? You shall return. But what will be your outcome? We wonder..."
With this, he returns to his seat atop the marble podium, and slowly he, the podium, and the room itself fade to black. I am left here with the windows. The window on the left removes its shadowy chains, as does the window on the right. My chest glows again with a fiery vigor as the tendril from the middle window grows, until it engulfs me completely. I again feel the excruciating pain. The burning, the tearing, gasping for breath…
My eyes begin to focus as I hear machines beeping and a siren whirling. I am vaguely aware of the fact that I am on a stretcher strapped in a moving ambulance. Men and women are hastily checking vitals. One woman is putting away a defibrillator. I feel a prick. My eyes vaguely see a bag of liquid being hung onto a rack as the needle it is connected to is put into my arm.
I am beginning to lose my sight again, but this time there is no light at the end of the tunnel. This tunnel will end, but this time with me awakening in a hospital room. I am losing consciousness. My worry is gone, but I know it is time for a change.
I have been given a second chance. What will I do with it? I wonder.