Purgatory Part 1
“The blood leaks from the holes in my chest. My white shirt fills with red, a stain I will never forget, as the bloody shirt clings to my chest. I can remember trying to raise my head up. I can remember trying to understand what is happening to me, but it is as though my body can’t function. Trapped, I feel trapped, and I feel cold. I feel so many things at once. Yet all I can do is watch as even more blood comes from my chest. Then everything goes blank. The thinking stops. The trying stops. Everything stops and the next thing I know I’m sitting in a room full of strangers to be what I guess is sorted. I’m confused and now I am here where ever here is, is where I am. I don’t understand why I am here. Why am I here?”
“Let me just start by saying that was some really good sharing James, and to answer your question. We are all here to work out our issues so we can pass to the other side.” The hooded figure continue to tell me something about this place and why I am here, but it is all too much. This is all too confusing to process in one go. Am I alive or am I dead? Is there anything such as death if I am here? I interrupt the figure, “Pass on where? Where am I passing onto? So I am dead?” The voice continues to talk from under the hood never showing its face or any emotion, “Yes James you are dead. We all are in this room and I can understand that, that may be hard for you to take in all at once, but I encourage you to ask any questions you might have. As far as passing on I really have no defiant answer to that question. I don’t have a say on whether you go to heaven or hell. I am only here to help you move on to either one.” The woman to my left who is probably more in line with being a girl interrupts the figure, “There’s no such thing as passing on to either one. We already died. This is all there is left. You just make us come here to this room and talk out our feelings so we can’t revolt and take over or some shit.” She gets absurdly angry and throws the chair she was sitting on at the wall behind her. “This is all just bull shit. Either that or you suck at your job. Which one is it?” She continues to rave at the figure without a face. The hooded figure never shows any sign of emotion as he talks to her, “Sylvia please calm down, you of all people should know that this is not helping you to pass on.” “Pass on? How the fuck long have I been here? Years, months, forever and I have never seen anyone pass on once. We just keep coming here and coming here.” “Sylvia there is no such thing as time. We have been over this before. It takes as long as it will take,” the figure says calmly. “Because there is no passing on you faceless fucking asshole. This is hell. This is fucking purgatory,” she screams at the figure. “That’s right,” a man sitting to the left on the figure says. “You are right this is purgatory, but this is not hell,” he nods his head in a matter of fact kind of way. “This is purgatory? I’m in purgatory. What the hell is going on? I’m supposed to be in class tomorrow. At least I think I am,” I interject. “Oh my god, yes you dumb ass. I already hate the new guy. What have you been here for like ten minutes and you haven’t realized you’re dead? You have three holes in your chest Brian. What did you pull the trunk and nothing happened?” Sylvia screams at me. “That is enough Sylvia. James has recently died and this is all new to him. In fact this is enough for now. Let’s all go to the waiting room and meet back here later,” the hooded figure doesn’t wait for a response as he opens the door. “Fine with me,” Sylvia is the first one to storm out of the room. She doesn’t look like she could be more than nineteen or could have been nineteen seems to be more appropriate. The next one to leave the room is a slightly overweight man dressed in a business suit. He tries to shake the hand of the hooded figure, but he politely declines. The man smiles none the less and wish the figure a good day as he exits the room. I still haven’t left my seat as the rest of them shuffle out of the room without a fuss. I can’t stop staring at my chest. My blood is still there on my shirt a stain that seems like it will never come off. “James you have to leave now. I know that this must be hard to take in, but it will get better the more you come here.” I stare at the hooded figure for a few seconds before nodding my head. I still have one more question as I walk out of the room. “How will I know to come back?” “I will page you,” the hooded figure closes the door without another word.
What is time when you are dead? There is no sense of it in this place. There is only waiting and it feels like forever. There’s no place to go, nothing to see, nothing at all. All there is, is a waiting room filled with chairs not the kind of chairs that are soft, warm, and inviting. More like those hard plastic my ass is going to hurt for days on end kind of chairs. The ones with the four bolts on the back and four bolts on the seat that are always dark blue. Even though I don’t feel pain I feel as if I do. Besides these shitty chairs there are the other people. No one is really talking to one another though. The ones that are talking seem less scared than the rest of us. We were all either taught that this place is for sinners or that to end up here was a bad thing. Some of us might not even have a clue as to what this place is. But here we all are good or bad we are all trapped in the middle, waiting. Every minute? Every now and then I guess there always seems to be someone new in the room. The room, Christ this room is larger than any waiting area I have ever been. It could hardly be called a room more like a lobby. Though there has to be more than one of these down here? Because there is no way that this is all the dead people. The size and scope of this place only adds to the crazy fact that it is nearly silent. I start tapping my foot which only seems to upset those around me. Scanning the room once again for anyone I might recognize I spot Sylvia. She sits on the opposite side of the room from me all alone. She is rubbing her wrist staring at the gashes. Her writs are stained with blood and each gash looks fresh. I didn’t notice them before probably because the cuts and the blood stains almost look like makeup more than flesh wounds. This all becomes more and more real. This isn’t a dream and not a nightmare this is my life now. The figure said it wasn’t permanent, but it feels more and more so the longer I stare at her. How long has she been here? How long will I have to be here? Even from this distance I can see the insides of her arms as she displays them out in front of her. She looks up and we lock eyes. Only for a second too scared she will go off again I stare at the floor. BY the time that I look up again she has moved out of my view. I search the room for her from my seat. I guess we all are having a hard time with this. I know I am having a hard time with all of this. It is like being in the most boring place in the world or being drunk with nothing to do. My mind tries to process new things or new thoughts but it can’t because I can’t stop thinking about my death. If I don’t try really hard to focus or think about something else my mind automatically goes back to thinking about the holes in my chest. I don’t want to think about that anymore. I want to understand where I am. All of this is very frustrating and makes being here even more horrible than it already is. I don’t see her so I stop looking.
Every now and then someone new comes in and it makes me feel that much more alone. Sometimes the new people are really messed up. Earlier a guy came in with a piece of glass stuck through his skull. His face was covered in blood. He looked like he could have been the singer for a death metal band or the winner for best costume at a Halloween party. Another guy was dressed in a uniform and I couldn’t tell which one because of all the burn damage to his body. If I could cry I would have for cried for him. His body looked like it had been hit by an explosive at close range. Part of his face was completely ripped back away from his skull. A flap of skin bouncing as he walked, as he turned his head, as he moved. His left arm was completely gone. Nothing left but a bloody stump made up of bone and burnt flesh. Most of his uniform was charred black like most of the still attached skin. We are all dead but most of us don’t look like a walking corpse. I felt bad for him. Even more so as I watched him try to cry but we can’t. We don’t cry and we don’t bleed. He didn’t deserve whatever it is that happened to him no matter what side of the fight he was on. No one deserves to die that way. No one should have to sit here with the rest of us looking like that, feeling like that. The more grotesque your death means no one wants to sit next to you in this room. Somethings never change even in death. The solider sits alone in the far corner of the room. There are a lot of empty chairs for the size of the room. Reserved for in case of a catastrophe maybe. Despite all the horror that covers most of us the room is extremely clean like in a hospital. This room is empty besides us and the chairs there is nothing in this room. No windows, no one to ask how much longer, no one to ask if we can leave, no doors to leave from, and nothing on the walls. I mean how many great artist have died since the dawn of time? They couldn’t get one to draw something on the walls? The room is next to silent unless a voice calls out names and what room to report to. The voice sounds very much if not exactly like the hooded figures voice, very calm and airy. I don’t believe it is the same hooded figure as the one I have met because there is more than one room being called out, but after what I have seen in my time of waiting anything is possible. I hear my name in the familiar voice and it tells me to report to room forty-six. I don’t get up right away, but when I hear Sylvia’s name get called I stand up and search for her. Turns out she had been sitting a few rows back behind me. I quickly shuffle off to meet her at the hallway entrance. I follow right behind her down the long and only hall way here. The hall way seems like it goes on forever. It is nothing more than a long tunnel with rooms on either side. Despite the fact the hall way is very well lit I can’t see the end. The end is filled with darkness and as we keep moving down the hall the darkness stays the same. It doesn’t take long until we arrive to our assigned room. The door is already open when we get there. The hooded figure is waiting by the door identical to how it was when we left. Its voice is the same as it welcomes us back as we enter the room and take our seats.
I pay more attention to the room this time around, but it is just as blank and bare as the waiting room. There are no windows in here as well only more of those damn chairs. There are only ten chairs in this room but I heard six names called along with mine. I am in the same seat that I was in last time I came here and so has Sylvia. The business man has taken a seat two chairs to my right and a thin woman who looks like she was in her forties takes the seat next to me. The thin lady is wearing a flower house dress with a massive blood stain in the back. It looks as though a knife was dug into her back. It is hard to make out all the cuts because of how much the dress sticks to her back from the blood. She sees me staring at her wounds and sits so her back is completely against the seat of the chair. Embarrassed I look away. A man in his twenty’s occupies a seat across from me closer to Sylvia. He looks to have died in a similar fashion as me. The front of his body is littered with bullet holes only unlike me he was wearing black on the day that he died. Had I known maybe I would have too. But what would I really wear on the day that I knew I was going to die? What would I have even done? Clothing is so strange here it is almost like it is part of us. We can’t take it them off or clean them or even move them. Though I did see someone who was wearing a jacket and they were able to take their arms out of the sleeves, but that was about it. Otherwise we have to sit in what we wore on the day we died and it makes me wonder if the bullets are still in me? Did someone take them out? Then I remember the man with the piece of glass stuck in his head. I looked to my chest and get lost once again in the reality of it all. “We are waiting for one more,” the voice informs us from the door. Out of the darkness of the hall a young woman walks into the room. The door like a granite slab slams closed behind her. At first she doesn’t know where to sit, but she take a seat next to me on my right. Despite the large gashes on her throat she is very beautiful and looks as though she could have been an actress or a model, and maybe she was. I never paid that much attention to things like that. Never really paid attention to anyone really. “Hello everyone, how are we feeling?” The figure asks us as it takes a seat at the head of the circle. Everyone lets out a strange noise in replace of a greeting before the figure starts to talk again, “As always I would like to start the meeting off with any questions any of you might have?” “Yeah when the fuck am I getting out of this shit hole?” Sylvia asks. “Language Sylvia, I see you are going to start up early with questions you already know the answers to, and you know when you are ready you can pass over.” “How will we know when we are ready?” I ask. “That’s difficult to say James. The goal here is to answer any questions, concerns, or conflicts you still have inside of you. In order to pass over any of those issues need to be resolved, so that you can enter with a clean conscious.” “How are we supposed to do that? I don’t get it,” I tell the figure. “I’m glad you asked. You and everyone here can achieve this goal by sharing with us your thoughts and feelings.” “That simple?” I ask. “That simple,” the figure answers back. “Okay, why am I here? That’s the only question I have.” “No it’s not James and you know that even if you don’t think you do. The idea is to look deep inside yourself. The process is never easy and it can take many visits,” the figure explains. “So you mean I could be here forever in a sense?” I ask scared and even more confused. “This is all bullshit that is all you need to know,” Sylvia blurt out. “Sylvia please some of us are actually trying to move on here,” the older woman in the flowery dress finally speaks up. “Very positive,” the figure reassures her. “Oh my god, Elizabeth you need to shut up. You don’t even think you are dead for fucks sake.” “That’s because I’m not dear and how many more times do I have to tell you to call me Beth?” “I don’t know maybe a couple more times Elizabeth.” “You know what you are young lady?” Elizabeth raises her voice in anger. “You are a snot nose little brat. That is what you are.” “Ladies please this is not helping,” the figure attempts to interject. “Well you’re a bitch Elizabeth and that’s probably why your husband stabbed you as many times as he did,” Sylvia fires right back. “Yeah well at least I didn’t have to kill myself to get some attention. How does it make you feel knowing it was all for nothing?” The beautiful girl begins to weep without tears. “That’s not why I killed myself you old whore. I killed myself because I was done with life and I was ready to move on.” “Oh whatever, you are such a little drama queen Sylvia. I am truly amazed that you were starved for attention.” “Ladies please stop this now, you are upsetting Karen.” “Karen is always upset,” they say in unison. Holy shit welcome to meeting number two it is no wonder that it takes so long to pass over. After that final outburst both Sylvia and Elizabeth refrain from saying or even looking at one another. The figure however continued, “Are you okay Karen?” “I’m fine,” is all she is able to whimper out after a moment of silence. Her voice is amazingly soft and quiet and I wonder if this is from her death or if that is her natural voice. “Do you feel like sharing today?” She shakes her head no and the voice moves on. The hooded figure never pushes any of us into talking. It simply asks a question and we have to decide how or if we answer. Sometimes the figure feels almost human with its soft calming voice. I wonder if it once was or is something else entirely.
Part 2 tomorrow…Skip ahead by picking up your digital copy or printed copy at Amazon…