The last thing that I remembered was the searing pain in my abdomen and the hacking cough. The warm spit that landed on my cheek. A parting gift from the man who wrote my life’s final chapter.
“Sonso rashkin”, he breathed heavily.
Die, you bastard.
Surprisingly enough, the memories of my childhood didn’t flash before my eyes. I didn’t conjure up the picture of Adele and little Sofie in my mind’s eye; I didn’t think about the wasted years before I fought for my country—when I wanted to be a writer and change the world through my self-righteous ideas. The men I fought against could not be reasoned with and perhaps they thought the same about us. Democracy, diplomacy and hand-shakes go only so far; the human psyche ultimately reverts to its most basal instincts. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution can only delay that inevitability. In the end, we live only to rip each other’s throats in a primordial fury. The sights, smells and the pain alone remained.
I awoke to complete darkness. All around me I could hear the sounds of people mumbling, some were screaming, some praying, others were pleading. I tried to see, but save for what I guessed were stars in the distance, there was no light to be seen. I tried to walk towards the sound, ignoring the panic in my chest. Was I still on the battlefield? Was I a prisoner of war at an internment camp with my eyes stabbed out?
“Where are we?” I said trying to hide my fear. I expected no answer.
“We are dead.”, came the heavily accented reply. “I was shot in the chest and I bled out. Our comrades are here and so are our enemies.”
I remained silent and waited for the laughter for what was obviously a sick joke.
“We are here. All of us. We wait, we pray for redemption and rescue, but the darkness- it is everywhere. The only light is that of the stars. I know it is strange, but I think our answers lie there. We have no other recourse.”
“Give me your hand, comrade. We are all friends here.”
I took his warm hand in mine and as he led me through the darkness, towards the stars, his hacking cough drowned out the screams of the other lost souls.
-- Inspired by this writing prompt