The following story is by guest author Zach Jones. If you enjoy Zach’s work, find him on Twitter at @zachislost42.
Photo by Naokov, found via wikipedia.org
Now that I’m here, I sort of wish they had propped me up somehow. Looking straight up at the ceiling with people looking down on you is very disturbing. I mean, they’re supposed to be honoring me, and here I am almost lying on the floor. I suppose they don’t know any better.
Still, you’d think someone would have thought of this before now. And who are all these people looking down on me anyway? I don’t recognize half of them. That lady crying, who in the hell was that? She was so upset, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know who I am. Maybe funerals just upset her.
Oh dear lord. Damn it. Here comes that fly again. No no…don’t…oh all right. Just land on my face. Yep. Right there on my nose. And now my eye. That’s nice. Who let a fly into a funeral parlor?
Hey kid that I don’t know! Come whack this fly off my face! You can hit it as hard as you want, I won’t feel it. At least, I don’t think I will. I can’t feel the fly anyway. Nah, you won’t. You’re too scared. I’m a scary dead body.
You may wonder how I’m so observant with my eyes closed and not working. I can tell you honestly that I don’t know. I thought that when I died my soul would leave my body, fly around the universe for a while until I found somewhere to settle down amongst the stars. But no, instead it’s just sitting inside this rotting corpse. Maybe the people who are trapped in life are trapped in death as well. How depressing. Will I be trapped in this shell for the rest of eternity? Just me and my thoughts? If I could cry, I would. I would bawl my eyes out, like I hadn’t done in decades. You feel so alive once you’re dead. You wish you could go back, change things, be who you wanted to be instead of who you had to be. But that’s not what life is about, right? Life is about struggling, trying to find your way in a world that’s more lost than you are.
Oh good the fly is gone. And here comes Margaret again. Margaret is my wife. Or was my wife, I guess. Look at her, she’s not even crying. That lady I’ve never seen before was crying, and my own wife of sixteen years isn’t shedding a tear for me. I can’t tell you I’m surprised though. She was always so strong, so independent. So distant. I regret the way I ignored her more than anything else. She had so much hidden passion; so much love ready to give, and I wasted it on cheap beer and horrible TV shows. I loved her, and was too afraid to show it. We didn’t even have any kids together. She’s probably more alone in this funeral parlor than I am. At least a fly thought me appealing enough to sit on my face. Share this moment with me. There’s nothing on Margaret’s face. No one to be here with her.
In my mind, suddenly I started to cry. I was bawling. I couldn’t breathe. The world around me started to spin. I was losing the strange mystic vision of the funeral parlor, Margaret’s face was slipping away. My entire world, whatever warped reality it had become at that point, was disintegrating around me. Hmm…no, not disintegrating. Evolving. Changing, all around me, colors swirling in and out, my senses leaving, coming back, mixing in with one another, my sight becoming my hearing, my hearing becoming taste.
Then in an instant it stopped. I tried to take a breath, but there was nothing to breathe. I was gone, and I was everywhere. I was part of everything, and everything was a part of me. I became part of the world, and I felt nothing. It felt so good to feel nothing. So good.
June Griffin says