The Hearse.

 

It's dark, I can't see a thing. I seem to lying flat on my back. Wherever I am it's pretty close quarts. I'm trapped. My pockets are empty. I'm wearing a suit, I think. It feels odd to me. I manage to reach and rub my eyes and try and roll over. Not to much luck with that. I do get my hand around my shoulder, it itches! There's a tare in the back of the suit. Panic hits me as I realize where I am.

 

This can't be happening to me. What did I do to deserve this? I tried to think. I stopped, if you'll pardon the expression, dead in my tracts. I can't remember a thing before waking up in what I now think is a coffin. I strain to try and hear something out side. I can hear people crying. The only thing I can think is, at least I'm not in the ground yet. What if they are going to cremate me? I had to try and get out, make some kind of noise. Let people know I'm alive and in here. I started to beat my fist on the lid of the coffin.

 

I heard nothing. I was making no sound. No sound at all. I had to think. How could I not make any sound at all? As I pondered this the coffin started to shake. People were picking it up. I was on the move. The question now talking all my attention was this; Now where are they taking me? Then it occurred to me. If I shake the coffin hard enough some one will feel it right? They will know I'm in here and alive.

 

All I could think of doing is thrash about inside. The space I was in was to small to really get any momentum going. I slammed my body from right to left. I kicked my feet as hard as I could. Surely someone can feel the movement? Nothing. No one is responding. Maybe they are all in on it.

 

I hear rollers under the coffin. I must be going into the Hearse. Yes, yes that must be it. I heard the back door slam shut. Now I hear what must be a strap going across the top of the box. I had a little time. I shook my head. Who am I and why am I being buried. This time I started to panic. My breathing became quick and I started to shake all over. The Hearse started to speed up. I think we're getting on the freeway. I can only hope there is a lot of traffic today. It could give me time to think. I started to feel around the inside of the coffin. I had to find some kind of a release that could open the box and get me out.

 

 

As I was feeling around for anything like a latch or release, I heard a shout from the driver. Then it happened. I felt myself being slammed to one side. This was a hard slam I felt the hearse tumble and flip. For the first time since I awoke I was glad to be in this box. I felt fine. The hearse came to an abrupt stop. The lid of the coffin popped open. I could get out now.

 

I pushed on the lid and it came all the way open. I sat up. The back door of the hearse had popped open as well. Th sun poured in. I put my hands over my eyes, the light was blinding me. It felt to hot on my skin, like it was burning me. My eyes adjusted to the sun. I looked around. The driver of the hearse looked really dead. His skull was open and a splash of brains littered the dashboard and windshield. I looked around. It looked like we were in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't see another car around. Not even the one that hit us. The road was empty. I climbed out to get a better look. As I did I got a glimpse of someone walking to the crossroad a few hundred feet from us.

 

I called out to him. No response. I ran to catch up with him. Maybe he was hurt from the crash. I caught up with him and put my hand out to touch his shoulder. As I did my hand passed through him as if one of us was not there. I tried it again. It was me! I think. I walked right at him. I passed through him. I stopped and faced him. He had blood on his shirt and more coming out of his nose. I put my hand up to stop him. He did not stop. He walked right through me. This felt more than a little weird.

I felt something went wrong with him. I ran in front of him again this time I tried yelling. Again he kept going right through me.

 

No sooner did her get through me he fell over. As he hit the ground he began to convulse. There was nothing I could do. He gasped for air. Blood shot out of his mouth as he coughed. He eyes rolled up and down in his head. Then he stopped moving. His eyes went blank and he died. I had to watch. Helpless to help to even hold his hand as we went. I dropped to my knees and began to cry. I had never seen a man die before. At least I don't think I had.

 

I heard a voice. Behind me. Startled I jumped up and turned around. Before me was the man I had just seen die. He spoke to me, “ What are you crying about? ” My first thought was, he can seen me! He reached out and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “ You don't have to worry. I'll be alright. It's you I'm worried about. Where are you going to go? ” He pointed to the crossroads just ahead of us. I looked back at him, “ I don't know what you mean? ” He looked at me oddly. “ The crossroads, what road will you take? ” At first I had no idea what he was talking about. Again he pointed to the crossroads, “ We must all choose the road ahead. ” He pointed to the spot of bare dirt. “ Don't you see the sign? ” I looked and tried to see what he was talking about. I turned back to him. He was walking down the road we had just been on. I went to catch up with him again. He walked without notice of my calling for him.

 

He took a few more steps and vanished into a blinding light. I had to turn away from it. It hurt my eyes. He was gone. I went to the point he vanished. All I saw was his foot steps in the dirt they went to a cretin point and then nothing. I walked a few steps further to see what would happen. Nothing happened. I went back to his body. His skin was turning red and flies had started to show up. The sun was hot and his body started to swell up from the heat. I though to my self how could this happen so fast. He was gone I never even knew his name. This made me sad.

 

I could find nothing at the hearse. Not that I could touch anything anyway. I headed back to the crossroads. Nothing, no road signs of any kind. If I had to make a choice I wasn't going to get any help.

I had no choice, and all of them. I stood in the middle of the intersection waiting for a sign any sign. I stood there for a day and then another. Still nothing. I tried walking down each of the four roads. I was getting the feeling that I was not supposed to be here. Not yet anyway.

 

The hearse was still there. I decided to try and back track from the point of the collision. Maybe I could find out where it and I came from. Being dead, I'm guessing, I was not getting hungry or thirsty. I wasn't tired either. No sleeping was good and bad. It meant I could walk until I found something. It also meant I could walk until I found something.

 

The road the Hearse was on stretched out before me. I didn't want to know where I was headed. Instead I wanted to know where I had come from. There are a lot of questions I wanted answers for. The first was a simple one. Who was, am I?

 

I started walking. The sun went down and came up again. The Hearse was long gone, down the road. I was no closer to anywhere. The road was still nothing but dirt on either side. I could now see mountains in the distance. I hopped I would find something between here and there. I know I had been walking for a lot longer than the Hearse had driven. Not to sure what to think of that. I kept on walking.

I had walked for a few days. The mountains were getting closer but still a ways a way. I did stop last night and looked at the stairs for a while. The big dipper was still there. I took comfort in that. I was still on earth. I think, hope.

 

Another day and I was at the mountains. I never passed a town or even a gas station. Abandon or otherwise. The road ahead of me is steep. To steep for most cars and hearses alike. It's way to late to head another way so up I went. This was going to be a hard climb.

 

It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. At first it started relatively easy. The higher I went the harder it got. I had been going up for a full day now. At this point it felt like I was walking up stairs. This was hard work. I came to a small flat area. In front of me was a shear wall with a ladder. I know this could not have been the way the Hearse took. Not unless it could fly. I looked back down and shook my head. I had to continue up. I don't know why, it is something I have to do. I felt a pulling back down. I had to fight that feeling. I grabbed a wrung and started to climb. The top was somewhere so high up it was obscured up in the clouds. I took another deep breath and up I went.

 

I climbed for an hour, the ground blow me became only a unwanted memory. The sky above, when the clods opened up, so inviting and beautiful. There was still the urge to let go and fall to the ground. I knew that was not the way I needed to go. I don't know how I knew, I just knew. I climbed for a day and a night without rest or stopping.

 

For the first time since I climbed out of that box I started to get tired. I was starting to loose my resolve my will to climb. My body began to ache and me ears started to ring. My mouth got as dry as the desert I had crossed. I was in the clouds now. My hands felt as if they would betray me with each new wrung. I pressed on to an unknown destination.

 

Now my body screamed with pain. I knew if I let go and fell I would never get another chance to head out on this road again. I tried to breath and push on. My head was swimming.

 

The clouds are now so thick I can't see my feet. I felt another wrung. I pulled myself up. I reached for the next and found none. Instead I felt a ledge. I pushed up with my feet. My head broke through the clouds. There was ground in front of me. I crawled up and rolled on to my back. I lay there for a while. The sky above me was blue and clear. A warm breeze wafted across and comforted me.

I lay there resting. A bird flew overhead. I sat up and looked around. I looked to where I had just climbed up. There was now nothing but dirt. No clouds or ladder. All trace of what I had just done was gone. I stood up. I seamed to be in a park. I could see people in the distance playing catch with a Frisbee. Someone walking their dog. Off in the distance I heard the melody of an ice cream truck. I patted my pockets to see if I had anything to buy and ace cream with. Nothing. I tried to stop the person with the dog and ask them for the time. They didn't even see me. The dog did growl in my direction. It made me wonder if it could see me.

 

I now felt as I did when I found my self in the coffin. I no longer was tired and nothing hurt anymore. Not thirsty, hungry, sleepy. Not mad, happy or sad. I was just here. I had no idea why I was here. I don't even know my name. I'm not even sure what year it is. I can only say for sure about the time I have been awake. That has been only a few days, I think? I needed a news paper or something to tell me when I was. Come to think of it I would like to know where I was as well. No one was reading one in the park and the trash cans were empty.

 

I walked up to a woman sitting on a bench. She had a sketch book and was drawing something. I took a peak. It was a of a squirrel sitting under the tree just in front of her. It was quit good. Just to be polite I asked her if I could sit down. Of course she said nothing. She could not see me. I started to talk to her. She was the kind of woman I was afraid to talk to when I was alive. At least thats what I thought when I started to talk to her. Wait! Did I just remember something out of the life I had before I found my self in that box? I hopped so. Maybe I could remember more.

 

I babbled on to her about anything I could think of. It was not bringing up any memories for me. She started to stir she looked at her watch. The sun was going down. She looked around. I don't know how long I had been sitting there talking at this truly beautiful woman. She closed her pad and put her pencils away in a pouch. She got up and stretched. I thought to my self that must feel good. She walked to the tree and sat down. She took out a bottle of water and took a drink. I felt no urge to drink and still it made me jealous. Perhaps it was my being a ghost, for lack of other terms. Nothing looked familiar about this place. I thought to myself maybe I should try and find a funeral parlor. Thats an odd word to use “Parlor.” Thats not the word used today. I should have said funeral home. Maybe this was a clue. I looked at the clothes I had on. From what I could tell they were modern, not old fashion.

 

That was a clue I know what is old fashion and what is modern. For some reason I could not take my eyes off the woman under the tree. She had closed her eyes and fallen a sleep. It was getting dark. Wherever this was I did not think sleeping under a tree in a park was a good idea. I tried waking her. That was no use. She couldn't hear me and my hand passed right through her.

 

It was dark now and she had not awaken. I was more than worried. I don't even know this woman and I have a feeling of dread for her. I could not leave her if I wanted to, and I did not want to. A man with his head down came walking past. He looked up and saw the sleeping woman. In an instant I knew what he was going to do. It could be summed up in just one word. Rape! I was powerless to do anything, except watch. Even knowing that it would do no good I yelled for help. I did anything to try and wake her before it was to late. Nothing I did got the least bit of reaction from her or the man.

 

He was now on her. His hand over her mouth. He pulled his hand back punched her in the face. With her head resting on the tree this knocked out a few of her teeth out. She spit blood and teeth at him. She was fighting for her life. I felt so helpless there was nothing I could do.

 

I have never been one to pray but... I closed my eyes and begged for someone to help. A moment latter I heard a loud crack and a heavy thud!! I opened my eyes to see what had happened. I saw the woman getting up and running as fast as she could. The man was laying on the ground. A large tree branch had fallen and come down on his head. Blood was coming from his ears, eyes and mouth. The man had been killed by the tree limb. I looked on in disbelief. The wind wasn't blowing anymore. The limb looked healthy. I stared for a moment. Then something happened. The man stood up out of his lifeless body. He looked around and saw me. He looked mad. He yelled at me, “ This is your fault! You sun of a... his words were cut off. He started to sink into the ground. He now looked at me in deathly fear. Dozens of filthy bloody hands rose up and grabbed at him. Some digging ragged fingernails into him. He screamed. I put my hand out to help him. I heard a voice saying, “ You shouldn't try and do that? His fate is already sealed. Yours is not! ” I looked around to see who said that. There was no one there. The tree in front of me shook for attention. It spoke up. “ I intervened and dropped one of my heaviest limbs. ” I was in shock. My mouth was hanging open. The tree continued, “ It was at your request I helped that woman. ” I shook my head, “ How is this possible? I'm dead, ah I'm a ghost, right? ” “ You are not dead, nor are you alive. Your soul is in a realm that is in-between. Here you can see all. This is not a punishment. This is a reword. ” Said the tree. “ A reword? You have to be kidding? I don't even know my name! Who am I?? ” I was now pissed at a tree. I stopped and felt really stupid for yelling at a tree. I took what I felt was a deep breath. “You seem to know so much about whats going on. Tell me more, ah, what do I call you, tree?” “I am an oak, you should call me oak.” I though to myself I must be going out of my mind. But for some reason I went with it, “ Alright Mr. Oak how did I get here and what do I do know?” The oak shook it self again. “ You are here because you had the strength to climb out of the pit. This is not something just anyone can do.”I was feeling good about my dead self. This did not last long. The oak continued, “ In your life you were not one to help anyone. You have proven you are deserving of a chance to not suffer the same fate as that rapist. This part of you afterlife will be spent watching over the innocent. Now go”

 

I tried to ask the oak more question but nothing. It had told me what I needed to know. I still don't know my old name. Maybe I'll get a new. That remains to be seen.

 

For now I walk the earth, watching. Helping if I can. Feeling the pain of those I was to late to help. Watching the good ascend and the evil get sucked down.

 

I wish I had done this while I was still alive.