From a far side of the void a hooded figure approached on his beast. The donkey’s head swayed with his uneven gait; his sight was widened in the exaggerated hollow where his eyes should have been. As the man neared, a whistled melody snaked out into the night tasting the air for the warmth of a listening soul.
A heavy feeling settled into the atmosphere. Beneath the melody the silence sharpened as the shadows listened to the song that fell from the man’s lips. The whistling never slowed or quickened for breath.
The gatekeeper looked up at the towering wrought-iron bars from under his hood. He gazed through the spaces between the ornate curves of metal. He saw nothing.
The donkey snorted, swirling the air with the white puff of his breath. He lurched and turned away from the gate, trotting into the night with his master. The haunting song disappearing with them.
Dying had been like sinking into the sea and getting lost in the suffocating dark of some nightmare. Abyssal trenches with water so black you felt you were falling into an expanse of thick, heavy paint. A reality so dense it felt like a dream. Perhaps there was peace somewhere to be found, but the pressure of an infinite number of minds and wills created a chaos so deep that I could not find it. Only the terrors were strong enough to survive my mind.
I was George. A nobody. I shot myself. I had walked to a dumpster around the corner from my apartment, climbed in, and aimed at my brain.
I expected my soul to dissipate into the blue sky and the white clouds where heaven didn’t exist. No more sorrow. Never could I have imagined that death could be like this.