I had been volunteering at the Literacy Services of Wisconsin that day. It was pretty normal until I noticed that Maria hadn’t shown up. She was always so great, one of those people who, despite what had happened in the past, knew her mistakes and wanted to make amends.
I think everyone wants to make amends to their transgressions in the past, they just don’t know how or where to start. Maria chose to get her GED.
I decided that I should visit her home. Several other students told me that her son had come back from prison. They wouldn’t tell me what for, but I was sure it wasn’t anything too terrible. Maria was a great person, and there was no doubt in my mind that she raised a fine son. How could someone mean be raised by someone so sweet? I was sure that he had just lost his way and made some mistake. Maybe I can help him too I thought to myself.
As I got to Maria’s house I noticed the door was slightly ajar. I couldn’t tell if anyone was home. There was very little light coming from the top of the steps, and the shadows could have held anything. I called up to Maria “Hello?” but there was no response. I went there to check on Maria and there was no way I was going to just leave, especially with the door ajar inviting anyone inside.
I began to walk inside, still calling out to her from the shadowed staircase. The staircase creaked like in those old horror films. You know the ones, where they show each foot in a close up shot, following each step backed with a long drawn out creak.
As I got to the top of the stairs I could see the door at the top of the stairs, just a small crack with a dimmed white light beaming through the small opening. I opened the door and found the most horrific sight my eyes had ever seen (many futures sights have now made this seem mundane). Maria was slumped over in her chair.
When I first saw her I didn’t understand. An inkling told me what was wrong, but I was determined to talk to her and I refused to allow such inklings to be true.
You have to ignore some of the bad stuff otherwise it overwhelms the good in the world. Plus the good is always worth more than the bad, so it’s okay.
I approached Maria giving her a slight nudge to wake her and see if everything was okay. She spilled over her chair and blood ran. There had been some blood hidden by the arm of the chair, but as I nudged her I must have knocked something loose, or her loose from something, and the blood spilled down the chair. I will never forget the color of her blood, a dark morbid scarlet illuminated by a lowly television. The smell began to overwhelm me as well. I would have gagged if I had a chance, but I had heard something that made me whirl around in freight.
Large footsteps trampled towards me, pounding against the floor like thunder. I turned and threw my hands in front of me but it was too late. Knife in hand he made one swift motion and sliced my throat open. I gagged for a few seconds before falling to the ground. Some people would describe it like a sack of potatoes hitting the ground. I would describe it like a person hitting the ground. A well mannered woman who spends her time volunteering to better the world around her hitting the ground.
The last sight that I saw was the television. I think the character’s name is Stan on that awful show South Park. He uttered “The last thing that you do before you die is…” and as he was cut off by a character pooping himself. Leave it to shows like South Park to make light of something so awful as death, and I know how awful it is, I’ve experienced it.
I awoke later and I saw the television once more. The television once more began to speak, but this time it was directly to me. I didn’t know it at first, but the television was trying to wake me. No, not trying, waking me. It pained me to move my head, but I managed to do so. I turned my head more so out of confusion than anything because I could have sworn I felt my life leave my body. I opened by eyes only slightly, like when you turn on the lights after being enveloped in the dark from a deep sleep, and began to make out the television once more.
The television was no longer a television, but had been anthropomorphically changed. It now had arms, legs, a torso, and wings. Yes, the arms, the legs, the torso, those were all strange, but the wings were truly amazing. They were wings of stained glass. Where they had been connected to the back of him there were large pieces of stained glass. As the sections of stained glass traversed closer to the outer edges, away from his back, they got smaller and smaller. It seemed as though these pieces never stopped, dividing themselves in half until they could no more, stretching into oblivion.
He spoke to me, calling out my name. He offered to revive me, to make me whole again, and reverse this tragic event. I think he mentioned something I must do but I don’t remember much of the conversation. I was confused, scared, and above all dead. Can one blame me for not remembering something from when I had been previously dead? I think not.
He talked and I remember asking questions, but still not truly remembering the any of the answers (even if I remembered anything from what I had asked I’m not sure I would trust my memory on any of it at this point).
The one thing I can remember quite vividly is asking about Maria. I asked him “Why me? Why not bring Maria back?” He answered quite astutely that he had no need for Maria. I had something to offer him, something that I could give him or perhaps help him with. What I could help him with, if he had even said so at all, I couldn’t remember for the longest time. It later became clear and I now know quite well what he wanted from me.
He brought me back to life, healing my wound that any doctor would have deemed a lost cause. I rose to my feet and checked myself. I was coated in blood, slowly starting to dry at this point.
That was the day I died and came back.
I looked at Maria and saw her glossed eyes. They were glazed and staring into the abyss. I hope that she was happy with how she had spent her days at the Literacy Services of Wisconsin, mending her life and aiming for a GED. I had fallen short with Maria, but I wouldn’t fall short again. Not if I could help it.