In a White Room

Intro: This is a piece I wrote some time ago for a school project. It’s been a great while since I posted on here. I’m hoping to start posting more pieces again.

I release a desperate plea for air from my heaving chest as if I’m awakening from an underwater exorcism. All I see is white, but not perfect white like some padded room in a loony bin, it’s more off-white like the dull monochromatic glow from too many fluorescent lights in a cheap call center. There’s a man at a desk sitting across from me, was I just hypnotized?

“No, you weren’t just hypnotized,” the man says.

“Holy shit, can you read my mind?”

“What? No, you literally just said that out loud,” the man replies in a tone that sounds rehearsed.

“That sounds rehearsed,” I reply.

“What do you mean by rehearsed?” The man asks with clearly fake curiosity.

“You know, like you knew what I was going to say and you planned all this out ahead of time.”

“How could I have planned this if you didn’t even think you were talking in the first place?” He replies while writing something on a clipboard. It strikes me as odd that there’s nothing on his desk, no paper, no books, not even a computer or one those giant desk calendars that always get coffee spilled on them and then you’re forced to either live with the stain or throw the damn thing away.

“Why is there nothing on your desk?” I ask.

“What would I need on my desk?” He replies.

“I don’t know, office stuff I guess? At least a book or something.” He continues to write on his clipboard without looking up at me.

“I have a clipboard,” he replies.

“I can see that,” he says nothing for awhile. I sit in silence and listen to the dull scratching of his pencil on paper.

“Look man,” I break the silence, “why am I here? Am I being evaluated or something? Did I have a mental breakdown? Where the fuck am I? And for that matter, what the hell is so damn fascinating about me that you feel the urge to continuously write on that piece of paper?” The man sighs, sets the clipboard on the desk, folds his hands and looks at me for the first time since I woke up.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he says.

“Please don’t,” I respond.

“You’re dead.”

“Excuse me?” My tone is not amused.

“You’re dead,” he says again.

“I’m dead?”

“Yes, you’re dead.”

“Like right now?”

“Correct.” I look around the office just to make sure I’m not having a vivid, yet boring, dream.

“Is this some sort of boring dream?” I ask.

“Well if you consider death to be boring I suppose so,” he replies.

“So this is a dream?”

“Oh no, you’re definitely dead.” I look around again, this time touching my face and arms.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

“Then how am I here?”

“Where?”

“Here, right here, in this room?!” My tone gets substantially louder.

“There’s no need to shout,” his tone is so calm it causes me to correct my volume.

“Sorry, where am I?”

“You’re in the afterlife.”

“The afterlife, you mean, like heaven?”

“Well, not heaven, more like purgatory I suppose.”

“Purgatory?”

“Yes, not literally, just similarly.”

“How the hell did I get here?”

“You died.”

“And you’re not fucking with me?”

“Not at all.”

“How’d I die?”

“You were shot.”

“I was shot?!” I start shouting again.

“Well yeah, why is that surprising to you? It happened while you were looking right at the man who shot you. It’s not like an assassination.”

“Shit man.”

“Indeed.”

“So what do we do now? You know, with this whole purgatory thing. For that matter is this how it is for everyone?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, with all the religions in the world, does everyone go through this rigamarole regardless of their beliefs?”

“Well, I can’t speak to the specifics of other faiths, but it’s different for everyone. The afterlife is catered to the individual based on their personal beliefs.”

“So every religion is right?”

“Yes and no.”

“Well, what’s the no option?”

“Consider this,” the man starts, “what religion are you?”

“Nothing I guess, is that an option?”

“Of course, now if you believed in nothing but were a stellar person there’d be a few more options.”

“Such as?” I ask.

“We’re not going to worry about that because you’re not a stellar person.”

“Harsh, I didn’t think I was especially terrible.”

“You weren’t, but you weren’t great either.”

“So what does that mean for me?”

“That’s where I come in.”

“And what exactly are you?”

“I am your Afterlife Reassignment Guide.”

“Congrats, what does that mean?”

“It is my job to help you with your transition into the next stage of your metaphysical evolution.”

“Seems legit.”

“Indeed.”

“So what’s going to happen to me?”

“You’re going back to Earth.”

“Seriously!?”

“Yes, as a ghost.”

“I’m sorry?”

“You’re going to be a ghost.”

“A ghost?”

“Yes, a ghost.”

“Like a traditional ghost?”

“Are there other types ghosts?”

“I suppose not. What am I going to be doing as a ghost exactly?”

“Your spirit will wander the Earth until a suitable full time existence has been determined for you.”

“Is there anything specifically I should do as a ghost? Like, do I haunt people?”

“Only if you want to be a total dick. For the most part you’re going to wander around and I’m going to check in with you to see how you choose to spend your time. If you spend it wisely and fulfill your purpose, the we can discuss a more suitable afterlife for you once one has been determined.”

“And what if I do nothing?”

“You’ll remain a ghost.”

“Can people see me?”

“Some are more in tune to the spiritual realm than others, but to most you’ll be completely unnoticed.”

“So what about all the horrible people in this world that don’t believe in anything, what happens to them?”

“They get my job. Have a fun afterlife.” Before the man can complete his sentence another blinding light removes my consciousness and everything fades to white.  

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