Good morning all, today is the day I begin posting my character, Samuel Collins’ story, a piece at a time for you to read and/or critique. Once a week I will post a new section of the story. With that said, I hope you enjoy, and even if you don’t, thank you for taking time out of your day to read. Please leave any feedback you wish, I’ll respond when I can. There is a moment in which the narrator directly speaks to the reader, I’m considering cutting it as I haven’t done this since, so it seems a bit out of place, let me know what you think.
Mad About You
Chapter One, Part One: Death/Awakening
By: Patrick Hart
The man seized. One last old, dusty gasp escaped his coarse, dry lips. The hospital room became bright with sound as the cardiogram’s recent steady, droning blips flat-lined in an instant. Soon, the room was filled with rushing doctors and nurses, attempting to cheat him out of what he believed to be his much deserved passing. By this point, they were already too late, he had, at last, been given reprieve from his life…
The last thing that Samuel Collins remembered out of the cacophony of sound as he drifted on the ferry toward the river Styx, was that auditory warning of his stilled heart from the cardiogram change, wishing it to fade out into that blissful and eternal silence of which he had come to hope for by the end. Rather, the sound of the flat-line morphed over time, becoming the expansive last call warning whistle of a departing train.
Upon hearing the whistle, Samuel opened his eyes, puzzled, the transition had felt paradoxical, instantaneous and full of blinding light, but also perpetual.
His long white hair followed close behind as he rose reluctantly from his hospital bed. At first he noticed nothing external, his mind was preoccupied with the internal, an absolute wonder held him steadfast. All of the aches, the pains and physical ailments brought forth in life by a failing body had left him, he felt decades younger. How he reveled in this new turn of events, it was beautiful in its simplicity, and Samuel had to shut tight his eyes as tears of such utter relief welled up in them, he exhaled in a staggering rhythm, spittle flew from now moist lips. If we the living were to take the time to think of an existence, free of pain, even just physical, such stacking little blessings would surely bring a man to his knees in lunatic reverence for some unknown higher power, would it not?
But, his revelry in this little joy didn’t last, all that pain, be it physical or emotional that had come to pass in the remaining two decades of his life, he felt was well deserved of someone like him, to feel merriment about such a thing felt selfish in his mind, he thought to himself that he had been as such for far too long to be given such a gift. His tears soon turned bitter as his memories rose swiftly back to the surface, rearing the ugly head of his past.
The enormity of the current situation had caught him off guard, though he soon composed himself and took hold of the reigns once again. He opened his eyes and set himself to the task of inspecting his familiar surroundings, unsurprised to find no pearly white gates or streets of gold, full of trumpeted exultation and choirs singing arresting songs of ardent faith. As a child, Samuel used to imagine the podium on which that fabled book of names rest, having truly believed so young that his name would surely be among what he later in life had thought to be a very short list, if not completely blank. “This is your great cosmic joke, eh?” He said aloud, to God, or no one in particular. “This is it? Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised, what better hell than a hospital room?” He laughed in a mocking tone, not answering himself, after all, he felt the answer was self-evident.
He saw nothing but the same sterile room in which he had just taken his last mortal breath. With its sickly, uninviting pallor and florescent lighting perfected by medical facilities all over the world. He threw his legs slowly over the side of the bed, fully expecting pain to shoot from one end of his body to the other, pain that again, did not come. He hopped to the floor, still no pain, the guilt mounting.
Something bothered Samuel about all of this, were it not for the lack of pain, the surety surrounding his passing, and that there were no windows in this room, he would almost have believed that he had pulled through another heart attack. He wasn’t sure quite what to believe just yet, and the bland nature of this room wasn’t going to help him figure out that unease that seemed the bedrock of this place. Thinking perhaps that a walk might help him to understand what had happened, he strode to the door to the left of his bed, twisted the knob, and pulled.