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“As a man, casting off worn-out garments taketh new ones, so the Dweller in the body casting off worn-out bodies enter into others that are new.”
―Prayer for the Dying

The car came out of nowhere. I swear it did. I didn't even have time to register what the blinding light was before it all went black.

Flashes. Things I've lived through. People I've seen. People I've loved. A dull, droning sound, growing louder and louder, the flashes growing rapider, and rapider!

Until it all faded to white.

And then, a voice.

"Please step forward."

...


"Please, step forward."

...

"It's alright now, one foot in front of the other sir, come on."

It was hard to tell if I was walking or not, but steadily I moved forward in the whiteness.

Then, the mist seemed to clear.

I was met with two small benches, an oak desk...and some being. He was completely white, beautiful wings. He smiled, and without his lips moving said, "Please, have a seat."

A chair appeared in front of the desk, and I sat down.

"W...where am I?

The angel looked at me and said, "Hello sir! Welcome to Death! I am Meṭaṭron, I am here to decide where you are to go now...I'm an interviewer of sorts I suppose."

"I'm dead? But where is Heaven? Why do I need to be interviewed?"

The smile faded slightly.

"Well, I'm very sorry sir, but religion is all a lie. God doesn't exist. Well, he does, but it's not the God you've read about in your Bible. Basically, if it's any consolation, Judaism was basically the true religion."

...

"I don't want to be dead."

"Well I'm sorry sir, but that is just something you're going to have to deal with."

"I want to go back! Please, send me back!"

"I'm sorry sir, but that is not my decision."

"Well who's decision is it then?!"

He frowned for a bit, then seemed to show a worried expression, before defaulting to an indifferent glance.

"It is a pointless question. We must begin, now, we've reviewed your life, and we've got a bit of a...tie, I guess. I tie between the good, and the bad. So, I'm going to ask you some questions."


"Who, is Erika Mann?"

"She...she was my daughter."

"Did Erika Mann commit suicide on June 1, 2015?"

...I felt a deep discomfort.

"I don't want to talk about my daughter."

"Please, answer the question"

"I said, I don't want to talk about my daughter!"

"Please ANSWER THE QUESTION, sir!", it said a little more persistently.

Suddenly it was as if every ounce of terror I ever felt surged through my veins,

"I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN I SHOULD'VE SAID SOMETHING TO HER PLEASE DON'T ASK ME ANY MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT MY DAUGHTER I WANT TO LEAVE NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW"

Suddenly, I felt hampered.

"Ok, enough of the open responses, please just answer 'yes' or 'no', sir."

"Did Erika Mann commit suicide on June 1, 2015?"

I refused to even answer.

The angel's expression just turned angry.

"I am sending a small amount of pain into your nervous system, for every moment you do not respond, the pain will increase."

"Did Erika Mann commit suicide on June 1, 2015?"

It started as a tingle. Then a pinch. Then...Oh God OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW

"YES YES YES YES YES YES YES"

My tormentor seemed sated, slightly.

"Did you leave Erika Mann unattended after you were in an argument with her?"

"YES"

"Do you still blame yourself for her death?"

...

...

I don't think this'll fit a 'yes' or 'no' form.

The angel seemed confused, contemplative.

"Do you still blame yourself for her death?"

...


It looked angry again.

"Do you still blame yourself for her death?!"

...

...

"Open responses re-enabled."

Suddenly all the anxiety came flooding back.

"PLEASE STOP I CANNOT DO THIS PLEASE STOP I CANNOT DO THIS PLEASE STOP I CANNOT DO THIS PLEASE STOP I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS I CANNOT DO THIS"

Suddenly it felt like my mouth was stitched shut.

"Communication disabled."

...

...


...




...


Suddenly, patriotic music began blaring.

After a few minutes, the angel spoke again.

"You used to listen to this music when you served in the Gulf War with your friend, Michael Dremuz. You blame yourself for his death too. Why do you think it is something you could have prevented at all?"

...

"I...saw him fall...but I just kept running."

"He was my friend and I let him die."

The angel spoke again,

"Do you think he would have stopped running for you?"

"Yes."

"Why do you want to believe he would have?"

"I know he would have."

"You're idealizing him. You want to feel guilty. You want to find your cowardice comforting. Realistically, you know he wouldn't have."

"That's a lie!"

"You're getting nervous," it said while smiling slyly, "you know he wouldn't have."

I stood up, "You have no right to say that!"

"I feel it in your voice."

"WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO JUDGE ME!? TO THINK YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL?"

I slammed my hands on the desk and leaned and closer to it.

"YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND PEOPLE, YOU THINK YOU NOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A PERSON AND YOU KNOW HOW WE WORK, YOU'RE WRONG! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LOSE YOUR DAUGHTER. I DID WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR MY COUNTRY AND I TRY TO LIVE AN HONEST LIFE AND SUPPORT MY WIFE AND JUST MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY AND I LOVE MY HOME AND YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!"

It stood up and drove a blade into my shoulder, as I screamed it threw me to the ground.

"SHUT UP! JUST, SHUT! UP!"

...

...

"I hate you."

"I hate you for thinking that life has an end that corresponds with your aspirations and wishes. I hate you for think you're unique. I hate you for thinking you understand your purpose in the world. I hate you for reminding me of how I used to be. We've all died. We've all be sent here. We all surrendered the dreams we had in life. And we all did what was required from us. You ran from your comrade because you felt your life was more valuable than his. You drove your daughter to suicide over her loving a woman. You drove your wife into depression over your vexatious dogma. You will burn. You will burn until fear and pain are the only things you will ever continue to understand. You will burn until you no longer remember who you were, who you are. You will burn until you are not sane enough to distinguish the years from seconds, and seconds from eternity. And then, they will remold you. And you will be one of them. Forever."

...

...

Suddenly it snapped back to its previous, benevolent form.

"Your destination has been decided. Tzoah Rotachat. Eternal damnation."

"NO WAIT PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE TO TALK TO YOU!!"

"Goodbye."

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