I didn’t really think about death a whole lot. Well, that’s a lie. I guess what I mean to say is, I thought about death probably as much as anyone else and at the particular time of my death I wasn’t thinking about it. I mean sure, I had some ideas of it. The usual… that maybe nothing would happen, or there would be a tunnel of light, Heaven, Hell, Limbo… whatever. Maybe I’d get judged by some god or something.
What I didn’t expect, was to my judged by my own memories. Now I know what you’re thinking— you’re thinking, well of course you’re judged by what you did. No, what I am saying is, that I was— am— being judged by my own memories. I’m on a stage, right? And around me are lots of little mirrors. They turn to face me as I walk back and forth, pacing and trying to justify myself. Each mirror has a lot of different faces in it. Men, women, various degrees of androgynous and intersex individuals, babies, toddlers, teens, adults, the elderly…
Now, you’re thinking— oh, these are all people you met in your life, right? And now you’re dealing with how you acted around them?
Not even close. At first, that’s what I thought… but when I bent down and looked more closely, I saw strange costumes, piercings, tattoos, cuts… these were not people I had simply passed by or met on the street. I caught the eyes of one…
And suddenly I was there, in her life. I knew everything about her. All memories she ever had, all at once. I knew the names of all her children, her parents, her homes. Even the little bug she kept as a pet for a few days when she was practically a toddler.
Because she was me. They were all me. Past lives.
But, you say, that is interesting, but so what?
Well, let me tell you what thousands upon thousands of past lives staring at you when you die means. It means, that not only are you sad because you are dead, and are worried for and missing your family— you know, that little 5 year old you just left behind forever? The now-grieving spouse that will somehow have to find a way to support them? That sort of thing? Well— it also means, you get to remember all the other people you’ve left behind. All the other children you watched die, or you left behind. Remember that time you were standing outside your hut, fighting off an enemy tribesman, trying to protect your daughter and then you died? You don’t know what happened after that, but you’re pretty sure you let her down, seeing as you died and left her to those guys. Or remember that time your Daddy kissed you good night, and he told you you were going to have the best day in the world tomorrow… except you never woke up? All those people you loved, and loved you… you start to remember all of them.
The people in the mirror talk to you, too. They curse you for forgetting them. Curse you for forgetting your promises to your loved ones. You remember those you told you’d never be parted with— even in death. Countless “soul mates”, friends, lovers, traitors, victims. The differing perspectives become overwhelming— lives where pacifism was king and lives were life meant nothing stare coldly at each other. You watch lives where you sacrificed everything— then watch the lives that came after, where you learn the sacrifice was for nothing, or wrongheaded… or completely forgotten. Most lives… forgotten… Endless loves, lies, tortures, pleasures. Lives of luxury, lives of privation. Madness and sanity.
Eventually, nothing… because now I’m in the mirror as well.
And I’m looking at you.
Nightmare Fuel 2016, Day 6