Tag Archives: memories

In Which There is No Light

It’s time for another Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My challenge this week comes from K. Syrah:

Describe the violent death scene of someone, and describe as something beautiful.

This prompt was right up my alley, thematically speaking. I’ve always been of the opinion that writing, at least good writing, should be about finding beauty in things that are horrible. I had a few ideas for this prompt, and my biggest challenge was picking one. I ended up choosing the one that was the most unusual, someone describing their own death, and the challenge then was simply making it work.

(You can read the response to my prompt here.)

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In all honesty the only thing that you really need to know about me is that I am dead. It’s been 19 minutes and 34 seconds since a man whom I’d never met tried to rob me and shot me in the head during our struggle.

You don’t believe me, do you? That I’m dead. Well, it’s not like I can’t blame you or anything. Hell, if our roles were reversed I probably wouldn’t believe you either. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am indeed dead. So how am I talking to you right now? That’s something I’m not sure I can explain.

I’m also not sure how I can describe what being dead is like. Or what it’s like to die. It’s one of those things that you need to experience in order to fully understand. But I suppose you’re curious so I guess I can give it a shot.

The best place for me to begin is on the circumstances on my death. Like I said before, I was shot. In the head. Really it was my fault, I should have given him my damn wallet, but I thought that I was tough enough to subdue the man. A word of advice: don’t try fighting a man with a gun, you will lose.

It only hurt for the first split second, as the bullet started boring into my skull. I specifically remember the bullet being really really hot. Once it actually began penetrating my brain, I don’t know. It was like, it was like time began to slow down to a screeching halt.

Your life really does flash before your eyes, at least as the bullet is passing into and through the frontal lobe. My guess is that as your brain is being turned into a mushy soup by hot lead the memories just sort of flash. And flash is the right term, I think. You don’t see your life as a movie, you see quick snapshots. They aren’t in any sort of logical order either, and it’s stuff you don’t really expect to see.

Honestly, what you remember are the tiny insignificant details that you would never be able to recall no matter how hard you try. As the bullet first entered the frontal lobe I remembered the striped tie my Mom always had me wear to piano recitals. I remembered what I ate on July 18th, 1994 for dinner. It was macaroni & cheese, the kind that were dinosaur shaped. The perfume of the girl who I first said “I love you” to at age 16. There were hundreds of snapshots. Thousands.

And then the bullet began running along the line between the Parietal and Temporal lobes. My senses started to become mixed in my head, all the while more and more snapshots flashed in my eyes. Have you ever tasted music? The song that was playing when my brother and I got into a car crash tasted like blueberries. And chocolate. The apple pie I shared with my wife on our first date sounded similar to a piece by Bach, it started and stopped with each bite I took. And the colors, oh how they smelled.

Images disappear when the bullet hits the back section of the brain. It becomes more like, I don’t know, it’s really hard to describe. It’s sorta like those images cease being pictures and become sensations. You remember goosebumps during a snow day. Or sweat after a five mile run. You remember the joy of having your first child, but you can’t picture the child, just what it felt like to have one.

All of that stopped once the bullet exited out of the back of my head, spitting out bone and brain with it. The exit wound in the back of my head is approximately the size of a baseball. My brain is slowly oozing out the back as some birds begin picking at it. As I lay there, the authorities have yet to find me, and they won’t for another 7 hours and 34 minutes.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. As you die it’s just the memories. But it’s not simply nothingness after. It’s more than that. Much more. You actually transcend time and space. You are everywhere and everywhen. It’s really hard to explain. It’s like you’re witnessing all moments that ever were and ever will be and it’s happening simultaneously. I am looking back on my life, and I am also looking ahead on yours.

It’s not like you’re God, but it’s pretty damn close.