Joe Henderson


The Pain of Death

When I awoke one evening with voices in my head, it was about 3:00 am. I noticed that outside the sky was a reddish black, and there were voices that seemed to come from the street. I decided to take a look outside and see what was going on. As I stepped outside, I noticed a strange putrid odor that seemed to be a part of the wind. I stood there, not knowing what was going on. I noticed a man standing on a porch. As I approached, he didn't move. He just sat there as if he were concentrating on something of great importance as many philosophers do, pondering a great mythical question. I asked if he knew what was going on and explained to him that I was awakened by a noise and asked if he had heard anything. The only response that was given was a rolling of his eyes going back into his head, and as he did this, he leaped up and started shaking, as if he were having muscle spasms. I jumped back with fright, and he just stood there spinning on the deck. He started foaming at the mouth and screaming. In horror, I ran away. I ran back to my porch and looked back, he was still shaking and screaming, however, at this distance I could not see his mouth. I was then jolted by a loud pitched whine. I fell to the ground clutching my ears in pain, blood and tears began to seep down my face, mixing about my chin. My body began to thrust uncontrollably and foam begain to flow from my mouth, then darkness.

Where I awoke was not like any place I had been to before. It was cold, dirty, and loud. I was tied to a gurney, and there was a doctor standing over me.

Then he spoke, "Tyler, you are having a psychotic episode". I did not believe what I was hearing, "a psychotic episode!" I had to try and get out. I was rocking back and forth. The doctor started laughing. He then gave me a shot of some kind. I stopped shaking, I stopped moving, I couldn't move. I could only hear what people were saying, and these people were doctors that though I was a lunatic, straight from an asylum. I lay there, a helpless creature, painfully aware of hearing people speaking and not being able to respond in my defense. The only thought going through my head was that I was not crazy, that I was normal. If only I could say something.

More doctors begain to enter the room, I could hear their many voices circling the gurney that I was on. I begain to feel noises, dizziness, and the feeling that I was going to vomit. As I did so, one of the doctors turned my head to the side. I vomited next to me on my right side. No one was going to clean it up. they just left it there, putting a sour odor in to the air. I lay there, my head in the vomit, the doctors not helping me, but merrily having a chat about a heart transplant gone bad. I was too weak to move, to talk, but I had some feeling left. Just as I realized this, the doctors left the room. As they did so, I realized that this was my only chance to get out of there. I then summoned all of the energy that I had left, and I unfastened the binds that were holding me in. I felt like a human again, freed from a great torture chamber. I saw that they left the door open, and I sneaked out. I ran, ran as fast as I could, not knowing if I was being chased, not caring, I just wanted to leave. I ran out the entrance into a field of gas. I looked around, the sky was just like space, I could see the rings around Saturn, the shooting stars, the darkness of death. Yes, I realized that this was what it was, death. The noises, they were the messengers coming to claim me. the man, he was another; his soul was being stripped away from him, being torn apart as if he were a piece of meat, thrown to the dogs. The doctors, they were the ones deciding my fate, and I was the one choosing the path, to leave the place in search of another. I realized that I might have chosen heaven… then flames erupted, and I shifted in pain, as my flesh began to burn, and the smell of burning flesh was just like when I awoke. I then knew that this was no heaven; this was a hell.

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