There’s a door, adorned with the words ‘What You Deserve Awaits Within.’
You’ve noticed the lack of pain, that had previously been oppressive and omnipresent, and how your breaths are no longer shallow scrambling desperate sighs thrashing through your throat.
It occurs to you you’ve died, there can be no doubt. When there really was no getting out of that last predicament. You’d have been lucky to escape alive. Which you weren’t, as always. And aren’t, forever more.
Even if this is not what you expected. It’s what you got. Which isn’t a lot. One door, five words and you.
Not that that stops you thinking about how you could have survived. In retrospect it’s all too easy to see every mistake you make. If only. But, still you’re stuck. If you can really say you’re stuck, when there’s a door right there. Presumably unlocked. You’ve not checked.
You’re wondering if the door opens from the other side. You expect someone will be along soon enough for clear things up. Some god or devil, whichever works wherever this is, will be here eventually. You’re sure.
But you see the clues. The words could be an ironic warning, or just informative. Would the be irony? You suddenly aren’t so sure you know the definition, or your destination.
So you think back, from the beginning and try and take account of your actions.
You look for somewhere to tally good and bad, but there’s not surface in sight, or pen for that matter. You never remember to bring a pen. You try to find good things in your past. And wonder if being chronically under prepared when it came to pens makes you a bad person.
You wonder about the standards. In Sunday school they said… Well they said nothing about doors. So you’re not sure any of it applies.
You remember there being rules. You remember feeling very strongly there were rules. In general. But then you remember a sense you should consider the consequences of your actions. And that strong feeling becomes fuzzy at the edges. It no longer suffices to say that stealing is wrong. You need to know why. And when that why doesn’t apply.
And suddenly, you’re unsure, what you were even trying to count anymore. But you had a point in there, somewhere. About how something wasn’t fair. Or thereabouts, or you’d have come to a conclusion on your whereabouts.
You remember someone, someone who smiled. Smiled at you?
Who’s to say?
The door is still there. And you’re still totally unaware of what’s on the other side. The chicken maybe?
It bothers you most, how you wouldn’t have to be here. If you’d just. Not. Metastasized.
The doctors warned you what would happen if you did. Your loved ones begged for you not to. But you did. And now you’re left feeling so stupid. Wondering why you ever would. Even before then. When your cells divided faster than they should have. You never stepped in to stop them making the wrong parts in the wrong places.
And it occurs your mistakes go further back. Of all the places to choose to be born. Why somewhere poor? To parents who couldn’t support you. You could have had any uncle, or even none. So why that one?
You make a mental note not to let them next time. Then remember where you are. And how there won’t be a next time. So you decide never to have been abused in the first place. And wonder why it didn’t cross your mind to do that sooner. Maybe your life will be different now that you never were. More good things.
You then wonder if this is what the afterlife is like for other people. Or if everyone else just opens the door and is done with it.
Anyway you have time.
You have time.
Avouleance is a writer in Norwich interested in exploring experiences with autism and mental health conditions through short stories poetry and prose. You can read more of their work on Facebook, and Subreddit.
Approx. 650 words9