The Other Side

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FWR says, 'Maybe one too many disaster movies before bed.' But we say, bring it on. This kind of fiction is what we're all about.

The Other Side

The Raven.

To be perfectly honest, I still don't know what shocks me most; realising that I was dead or discovering that I did indeed have an immortal spirit. This sudden and unwanted knowledge that time stretches out infinitely before me, scares the life (apologies – death) out of me. For most souls eternity is a place of everlasting Oneness. Everything there ever was, is, or will be, joined together in a big shimmering ball of cosmic partying. Sounds great, and it probably is, but I have one very large problem. I can't go to the party, I have unfinished business that sadly looks like it will never be resolved.

I went out on that awful day without the slightest inkling I'd end up here in this personal limbo of mine. Never occurred to me to tidy up my life and say goodbye properly and sincerely to my family for what would be the very last time. A quick, 'Off now love, see you later, give the kids a kiss for me!' as I grabbed my keys and hurried out of the front door, already pushing it fine to get into town in time. β€˜In time' – makes me laugh now, considering just how much of it I have on my metaphorical hands. Still, nothing I can do to change even the smallest of events that have put me here.

My death and those of the others who perished with me that day made front page news, national television coverage of the tragedy, not just on the news channels but on proper prime time TV, caused public outrage and demands for enquiries and assurances that nothing like this would ever be allowed to happen again. We were martyrs, fifteen minutes of international fame dragged into years of public debate,conspiracy theories and law cases that minutely dissected the causes and failures of that day. Scapegoats were sought, outrage and blame liberally splashed across tabloids and broadsheets alike.

All that time and not one mention, not one thought that maybe one of us didn't deserve memorials, candle-lit vigils and countless petitions. One of us didn't deserve to be remembered at all. There have always been scavengers, those willing to prey on the misfortunes of others, whether it be a hyena tugging at decomposing carrion or battlefield thieves, relieving the warrior dead of weapons and valuables, they've sadly always been amongst us.

My particular scavenger sought his vile opportunistic chance to defile the bodies of those killed or mortally wounded on that day. The day I died. Pickpockets are commonplace at any large gathering, but this was one who would stoop to bending over the dying, ignoring the pitiful cries and prayers for help or release, one who lifted wallets and pulled watches and rings from the victims, one who poetically died himself, caught in the act as the disaster unfolded, a few seconds of greed too many. His crimes unnoticed in the chaos, cloaked within the utter devastation. So his name is forever linked to the rest of us innocent dead; mourned as a victim of chance, remembered as one of the fallen, given an equal share of the national and international grief. I scream inside my silent limbo, he was NOT one of us.

I died with his greedy hands inside my coat, hands callously discarding the photos of my wife and children onto the bloodied ground, my last glimpse of their beauty marred by mud and gore, dirty fingers plucking red stained notes from my wallet, thrusting them into equally dirty pockets with my keys and the booty from several other innocent corpses. Needle ravaged arms rolling me over, eager to move on to the next body, stupidly and needlessly trapping himself beneath me as death came again and again. I died for nothing; he perished for less than the price of his next fix.

There is no Heaven. No Valhalla or Nirvana. Equally there is no Hell. Just Being here for all time, angry and frustrated at those who will not see the truth. Please, someone, anyone, set me free?

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