Nothing but endless grey in every direction. It makes my head hurt, which is surprising, after all I am dead, you think that stuff like pain would stop. Looking off into the vast, vast nothingness is unnerving. It’s all just grey, there are no angles, no shadows, just grey. For all I know it could be some kind of fog, though it doesn’t look foggy. There are no lines, no walls. Nothing. I know there is a floor, but the floor is that same endless grey. I mean, I’m standing on it, and I haven’t started falling yet. At least I don’t think I have. If I was falling I’d feel it right? There’d be some kind of wind? Looking down is like standing at the edge of a really tall building, or looking down into really deep ocean. It’s dizzying, with a slight tinge of head rush. I don’t know how long I’ve been here. It could be years, millennium, or it could be minutes. There is no time here, no daylight, no night. I wander, for lack of anything better to do. I mean, my only other options are to stand still or sit around and neither seems to be all that fun. I don’t really know where I’m going, or if I’m going the right way. That’s the worst part of walking, that nagging voice that whispers that I’m going in the wrong direction, that if I had gone a different direction I’d have found something by now. I ignore that voice, there are no direction here, no landmarks to make sure I’m going in a straight line. For all I know I could be walking in circles. That doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s weird. Logically I know that should scare me, that I should be running, desperate to find something, anything, but I’m not. It’s like someone took my emotions and wrapped them in cotton wool, keeping them separate, safe, dulled. I assume it’s just another effect of this place, like the temperature. I’m never cold or warm, I just am. It’s a strange state of being.
You’re probably wondering how I know I’m dead, but it isn’t any great mystery. I remember my life, right up until that car veered off the road and ploughed into me. Thinking about it brings a faint twinge of pain around my stomach. I think I might have been cut in half, I was unconscious by that point though. I don’t blame the driver, I blame that boy and his mother. Ran out into the road, mother wasn’t paying any attention, head buried in her phone. I guess I’m glad that the kid isn’t dead, I mean, at least I got to live for a while before dying. My life was pretty good overall, nothing too bad happened to me. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the lucky ones.
Finally, something breaks the nothingness. Up ahead I can see a small dot. I think it might be moving but it’s hard to tell. I try to muster up the energy to run to it, but I can’t, so instead I just walk slightly faster.
Yes, it’s definitely moving and it’s coming towards me. I think I should feel fear, after all I have no idea what this thing is or what it wants, but instead of fear I feel a detached interest.
It looks like another person. Huh. I thought I was the only one out here. Like my own personal afterlife.
We stand and look at each other for a while. Now that we’re here neither of us really knows what to say. It’s a woman, she looks kind of old, but youthful at the same time. I wonder if she even speaks English. I mean, if this is some kind of afterlife, surely it must be multicultural? I was never really religious though I did go through all the usual ceremonies. Finally she broke the silence.
“Where are we?”
“I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I died though.”
She nodded once. “Have you seen anything else out here?”
“No, just you. I don’t know how long I’ve been here but it feels like a long time.”
“I thought I saw something once, but it was gone when I got there.”
Silence. We stare at each other, drinking each other in. It’s nice to see something other than the grey. Her clothes are similar to mine, they look like hospital scrubs in a light beige.
“Well…bye.” She walks past me. I want to call out to her, ask if we could walk together for a while, but I don’t. It just seems wrong. So I start to walk myself.
I can see more dots in the distance, maybe she saw the same behind me. I don’t look back.
Slowly I come across more and more people. After a while it seems like the entire expanse is filling. I don’t talk to them anymore. We don’t really talk about much anyway. Maybe I was just on the outskirts of this place and this is closer to some kind of central point. I don’t think about it too much, I just walk. It almost feels like something is drawing me to it. I don’t want to stop. Everyone else seems to be wandering too. It’s nice to have the scenery broken up a bit. After a bit I notice that there is no noise when any of them walk, there’s no noise when I walk. I pause for a second. I don’t hear anything. I wonder if I have gone deaf, then find I don’t really care. It isn’t like I’d be chatting up a storm with any of these people.
Up ahead is something larger, different. It looks like a crack in a wall, only without the wall, a great rend in the grey. Behind it is something else, something new and I realise that is where I have been heading all this time.
As I get closer the people thin out. People seem to be moving away from it. Some look troubled or confused. Maybe this is the answer then, I’ll find out what I’m doing here.
There is a man standing in front of the tear, behind him it looks like it’s blocked off, but I can’t quite see how. He looked mostly bored.
When I reach him, I stare for a moment, I know I should say something, but what if I say the wrong thing? Before I can speak, he does.
“Sorry. We’re closed.”
“You heard me. We’re closed until further notice. So’s the other place. Don’t hold your breath though. They sealed it off behind me, I don’t think they’re going to open it again.”
He shrugged. “None of my business. I just do my job.”
The pull was gone, I turn from the partially sealed rend and start to walk again. After all, there’s nothing else I can do really, is there?