The Devoid

Human existence is underrated. I know that now. The beyond is overrated. I know that as well. Stood here I feel weak, kind of decrepit, and hot and sticky and feverish. I feel empty as I try to remember something useless, something which I now know would be better off forgetting. Welcome to the anti-climax, welcome to the afterlife.

The actual moment, that split second where life came to a shuddering halt and gave way to that definite destination of stiffness and rot was the single greatest moment of my life, trust me; it's the single greatest moment of anybodies life. My death wasn't a disease or an addiction or an innocent accident, I just had the misfortune of looking at a total stranger for a split second. It was then my imminent curtain call prevailed.

The wound I received in the upper part of my gut which fizzed and popped inside from the sub-standard alcohol was an acute agony, initially confined to a small but significant excruciation. I felt the hefty crimson lake build rapidly and submerge my upper torso until the weight of my sopping shirt became strangely unbearable. My mouth locked open, fighting for air, fighting for life very much like I had been subjected to a severe winding. Then I could feel my heartbeat intensify, the thumping palpitations that rattled my ribcages felt like a jack-hammer.

It was at this point that the many colours of the room slowly began to dissolve into one another, slowly narrowing down into nothing more than an unappealing fusion of dull greys and dull oranges and a general ugliness. It was like a poor picture created from meagre pastels. I was still semi conscious of the people around me, panicking, hopping around in fear, despair and disillusionment, I was still aware of people living life but I was becoming twice removed. It was strange, for the first time ever reality came into sharp focus. Those people who staggered around me in trepidation and general confusion made me realise the true nature of life and, well just being there I guess. It made me view in clarity the broad and unexplainable concept of being singular and insignificant and, above all disposable in the end. I was becoming a voyeur, incredulously looking in at life and the rabble from another realm. I was becoming disconnected. In a way I felt special.

The final part of the pain was the point when it ebbed swiftly and aggressively from my ruptured skin and shot instantaneously to every nerve ending, however very much like a faulty bulb that flickers sporadically and which decreases in intensity, my pain and throbbing slowly subsided until eventually I was relieved of the burden of agony and I could feel nothing at all. That moment of having no emotion, no feeling and no connection whilst still being there was the best moment of my life, it was a higher plane. It was pure ecstasy.

This was when the tug of war between life and death started to relent. For those few moments of suffering I had fought a losing battle, attempting to hold on and resist the inevitable. I let go of my grip on the world and felt an intense rush of relief, painlessness and warm abandonment as both my mind and my body submitted, and began slowly heading with ease towards the ever beckoning gape of the beyond as the world I once knew swiftly dissolved.

Have you ever buried the palms of your hands deep into your eye sockets for a moment or two and seen nothing but the pulsation of white and silver streams and swirling circles dancing frivolously in your mind? That's what the world looked like just before I disappeared. Every nook, every cranny, every edge and every detail morphed gradually into this chaotic waltz of light colours. Everything disintegrated, every detail of what I thought was there for all those years just dissolved, and I still felt extraordinary because it was as if everyone else was dying. Everyone evaporated. Eventually the colours disappeared too and I was surrounded by the dull grey and the dreariness of what was to come in the afterlife.

The panoramic of the beyond is nothing to write home about, just an infinite lunar landscape of unmaintained stainless steel and a relentless void of smeared and filthy metal with no shape, no texture, no beauty and no end. The only redeemable feature around is a table with a notepad and a pencil placed on it. It's about ten yards away, it always as been. I've been walking towards it for as long as I can remember but I still remain the exact same distance away from it. I always tell myself that eventually I will reach it, one day, but I'm losing hope, I'm forever feeling weaker and weaker. I was always under the impression that you were rejuvenated after death, I always thought that the shackles and fetters of pain and discomfort were renounced at that moment that you stopped breathing and were sent six feet under to putrefy the undergrowth. But I was wrong. I want to die again, to shake off the pain. I ache for that fix, I pray for that orgasmic marvel of fatality.

My life on Earth in the grand scheme of things was evidently just something that represented a short, sharp burst of intoxication, a halcyon millisecond that allowed for hope and promise and something good. Compared to the afterlife the land of the living was pure heaven. I kind of remember what it felt like to be alive; I remember what it felt like to feel good and to wake up and to breath but my reminiscences are too vague. These blurred recollections however don't stretch to the false epiphany I had at the moment when I departed and felt nothing at all. That's the sick joke that death plays on you I'm afraid. You realise something, or rather you think you do, you think you realise the meaning of life but it equates to nothing more than an illusion. That moment is exquisite but temporary, confined merely to that euphoric intermediary between living and dying. You die with a smile on your face because you think you've just found out everything you ever wanted to know, and so for that moment and that moment only you are totally omniscient and at peace. 

That's what the table and the notepad is for, to constantly remind you of the joke that's being played on you. When you enter the infinite vortex you're enticed to write the bogus realisation down, although you're immediately zapped with the facets of old age, of losing your mind and you're forever experiencing the come down from having once been alive, a form of serotonin syndrome that renders you cabbaged and useless and forgetful. You never reach the table, you never move on. In the end death, like life is insincere. You're trapped for an eternity and it becomes clear that, even in death, beholding any sense of preciousness or divinity is nothing more than a by-product of ignorance and optimism, and the worst part is you spend forever cheated by the absence of life, you spend forever coming to terms with the fact that once, within that molecule of time, down within that mortal crater you were, at least alive and that is where you felt greater.

by Philip Clark