Bewildering Stories

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by Shawn P. Madison


That was the only word he could think of to describe the great gaping blackness that lay outstretched before him. Seemingly never ending, the void looked as if it actually grew blacker as it grew farther away from him.

He couldn’t begin to express to himself just how this felt, this feeling of floating in utter colorlessness, in utter emptiness, nothing else here but the black. It was an amazing sensation, almost euphoric, almost orgasmic... simply nothing, and it felt fantastic!

Where was he? Where was here? Where was he going? What could possibly follow this spectacular view of the best looking nothing he’d ever seen?

Could anything on God’s green Earth ever be better than this?

Green? What an odd concept, he found that he couldn’t even comprehend green anymore. Or red or blue or yellow or white... but black, the blackness, yes, this he could fathom.

Floating freely now through the simple nothingness, all his worries gone, all his stress relieved, all his pain removed... pain? Was that what he had been feeling mere moments earlier?

No way to know, now, it was a feeling beyond comprehension.

He began to peer more intensely into the black nothing then, and suddenly realized that there was not just nothing. There was something. In fact, there were many somethings. Many, many millions of somethings... billions perhaps? He stared in wonder at all of the images that suddenly came into focus, filling his field of view, rushing at him with amazing speed, seeming to completely surround his awareness. There was love then, and happiness, and feelings of joy at people seen for the first time in what seemed like forever.

Forever? He laughed at that strange idea as every past notion of what eternity might be slipped from his tenuous grasp like the wisp of a breeze across infinity. And time ceased then, with no fanfare or warning, simply no more time, no more past, no present, no future... just what was now.

Instantly, the great black nothingness that had been all for him was gone, replaced completely by the somethings, the billions and trillions of somethings, that crowded in, all around him. Great big bunches of them, smothering his essence, lifting his spirit, exalting him and filling his vision with all that was here.

And there was much stuff here... including this new thing, this new vision of him as he used to be, lying on a small rectangular thing in the middle of what looked like a square box with walls and floor and ceiling but none of that mattered because he could see himself through it all. Something tightly wrapped around one of his appendages, something sharp sticking out of that same appendage... his whiteness so bright, so sad, so empty...

This is it then, he knew, as he heard a voice calling softly to him.


And he recognized it completely, replying ever so softly.


So, this is it. All the worrying, all the stress, all for nothing because this was the after, the key to life’s riddle, and it was not what he had expected. He was pleasantly surprised as he passed the thing that had been him and then found himself immersed in the trillions of somethings.

But that singular voice continued to beckon to him.


And he knew peace, then, as something new appeared before him. More vast than the blackness, in more multitude than the somethings. This new thing, he was certain, this must be death...

As the blackness and the somethings were all but forgotten, he followed that voice and dove directly into the incredibly magnificent maelstrom of this new thing that was here.

Copyright © 2003 by Shawn P. Madison

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