Sharp, stark light!
But where am I?
What is this place?
This is The Hospital. You were involved in an
a voice spoke from above.
My eyes gradually adjust to the bright light of the overhead fluorescents.
Standing over me reading some form of a chart is a short, dark-haired, potbellied man in a long white coat, but with a crucifix. A doctor?
Hospital? What happened?
Whats the last thing you remember? he replied.
I was in the shop- I heard a crash at the tills- My God, the man had a gun! He shot me!
Exactly. You were shot and so you were
How long have I been here?
Oh not long, and we dont expect you to remain much longer. We feel youre almost ready to leave now,
But I was shot
how bad was it?
It was very serious. Why else would you be here?
But I dont feel any pain,
I began checking my body for any sign of injuries. I couldnt see anything upon my arms or legs, not even a blemish. I ran my hands down my chest and then leant forwards and felt down my back as best I could. There was nothing. My chest was completely smooth as was my back. Even the scar I had had since I was very young, after having placed my hand against a very hot bulb when I was asleep, had disappeared.
What is this?! Theres nothing wrong with me! Where am I?! Who are you really?!
I see its too early for you
I was wrong about your being ready
Dark and black again
It seemed like any other day. My wife, Maria, needed some more powdered milk from the shop for our little baby girl, Dramalla.
I decided to buy a bottle of wine for Maria and me once Dramalla had been put to bed.
As I was heading to the tills I heard a crash.
An assistant was pushed up against the shelves, pinned there by a large man in a balaclava and armed with a pistol. The pistol wasnt pointed at the assistant, but at the cashier.
Put the money into the bag or Ill shoot! he spat, pointing the gun at the assistants head.
I dont w-want any t-trouble, the cashier stammered and opened the till.
The gunman had his back to me and couldnt see me lurking behind one of the shelves, watching all of this happen.
I started to creep up behind him. I held the bottle of wine in one hand and was about to bring it down upon the back of the gunmans head, but the assistant spotted me and tried to turn towards me; the gunman noticed this and turned to me.
All of a sudden I was looking down a long dark hole surrounded by cold steel and containing death. Or at least thats how I saw it then. I felt a cold shiver go down my spine and time seemed to freeze in that moment. The cashier was staring at me with a look of terror in his eyes; the assistant was looking at me with a mix of horror and a dim hope, whereas the gunman just had a cold hard stare. It was in that moment I knew he was going to fire.
Time sped up.
I saw my arm rising, wine bottle in hand, and then come down and throw the bottle at the gunman.
It struck him on the shoulder of the arm holding the gun and caused him to spin round.
I heard a deafening boom and smelt gunpowder as the weapon went off. I charged the gunman and attempted to wrest the gun from his grip.
The assistant was crawling along the floor, trying to escape the demon with the gun and the cashier was ducking behind the till but still I ignored them.
I was struggling with the gunman, and he was winning.
He tried to bring the gun around to shoot me, but I managed to maintain a grip on his arm that kept it pointing towards the front window of the shop.
Suddenly the gun went off again; I felt a sharp pain in my side and saw the front window shatter.
The bullet had grazed my side!
The gunman then roughly jerked his arm downwards in an attempt to break my grip.
He swung the gun up and caught me beneath the chin with the barrel of it.
I fell to the floor. I could hear someone screaming from somewhere and could taste something coppery. Blood
Then the gunman was above me, gun pointed at my head.
Whyd you do that? Whyd you have to get in the way?
Then there was the deafening boom once more and a bright flash of light.
There was a brief instance of pain and then blackness
Until the bright lights of The Hospital
Ah! I see youre back with us again, a voice spoke above me.
What did you give me?
Oh just a little something,
Now tell me, what is this place really and who are you? I have a right to know!
Yes, yes, all in good time. First I must check that youre ready,
He was once more looking over me with a chart in hand, crucifix dangling from his neck.
Ready for what?! Where is my wife?! Where is my daughter?! I want to see them! Have they been told Im awake?! I cant find anything wrong with me and youre not giving me any answers!
They will be informed in good time. But for now its not possible for you to see them,
They should have been told as soon as I woke up! Theyll be worried about me!
I very much doubt that
he muttered under his breath.
What was that? Are you saying my family arent worried?! Do they even know Im here?!
Youre ready now. Youre asking all the right questions,
So Im finally going to get some answers then,
Yes. Your answers are driven by anger rather than hysterics. In answer to the question as to who I am I have been known by many names over many different generations of your race. The Ancient Egyptians knew me as Anubis, the Greeks knew me as Kharon, and during the time of the Black Plague, I was known as The Reaper,
As to where you are, you are between life and death. This is where souls come so that they can adjust to death,
People come to me here when they have died suddenly without realising that they are dead. I try and create a situation that they will be familiar with but will fit in with their last memories. I then have to test them and make sure that their mind can take the knowledge of their death. If I were to just simply tell them that they are dead, then their mind will lose control and they will be lost forever. I hope you see why you are here now,
Adjust to death
You just let me relive the last moments of my life! What about my family?! Why couldnt you let me relive my last moments with them?!
Because then you would have just kept reliving that memory without any knowledge of where you are or what happened. I had to make you understand that you were shot and that the bullet killed you so that you understood that you cannot go back, you can only go forward into true death,
But what happens there? I felt numb
dead? I was dead?
Not even I know that. Only that it is where they want you to go when you move on,
Who are they? I asked, suddenly terrified about what would happen to me.
The creators, the spirits, the beings from another time and place who forged this universe in the hope that they could create a place they have control over. You may encounter them in time. You may not. All I know is once you move into true death, you can never return to this plane of existence,
Will I ever see my family again?
I cannot say. If they wish it you may do,
Do what you must,
I closed my eyes and felt one solitary tear run down my cheek.
There was flash so bright that I could see it through my closed eyelids and then
Husband and father gives life to save corner shop</b>
Anthony Serrine gave his life today to save the lives of two corner shops workers from an armed gunman. His wife, Maria Serrine and 10 month old daughter, Dramalla Serrine are currently mourning their monumental loss.