I died on the 17th of April 2018, and it was all my fault.
It was 1:43 AM. I was drunk as hell and stepping on the gas pedal like a maniac. Though the sharp bend road sign flashed at me, I didn’t see it. The road looked perfectly straight to me, I was so certain of it.
One moment I was woohooing at the top of my lungs and the next I was smashing through the road rail and nose-diving straight down.
As I plummeted to my death in those few seconds, my drunken haze vanished. I spun the steering wheel midair in a useless attempt to save myself, peed a little—okay, maybe I peed a lot, but that’s beside the point of this narrative, don’t even know why I added that bit—then WHAM! Didn’t even feel the impact. I’m guessing my chicken heart gave up on me before the actual death occurred.
My Mustang crashed into a fat tree jutting from the middle of a flat rock. The rock was the size of a tennis court with vegetation bursting around it. I’m talking trees, shrubs, more trees, and fireflies—lots of fireflies.
Another weird thing apart from the firefly fest? I couldn’t see my body.
Smoke rose out of the crushed hood of my car, the blood-stained airbag was blown out from the impact of the collision but my body was missing. I walked to the edge of the rock and to my utter amazement and terror, a bolt of electricity shot through me. Yelping, I snatched my hand and stumbled away.
Confusion hit me big time.
I sat on the ground and stared at the tree I crashed into. It looked horrid, like a fat wrist jutting from the earth and waving thin long fingers. There was no green thing on it, and its branches were gnarled, long and blackened. Tearing my eyes away, I hugged my knees to my chest, rested my chin on my knees, and waited. Was this hell? Sit here for eternity. Die of boredom. Wake up and die again. Nah, this ain’t hell. No way.
I did a lot of wondering while I sat there.
Why did I think for a second I could swing drinking and driving? Why did I even think it made sense to celebrate my promotion at a bar with friends dumb enough to let me drink and drive? I thought I swore off drinking seven years ago… nah, seven days ago. Idiot.
Another sad thing? No one showed up. I waited and waited for someone to notice a vehicle had smashed through the road rail and careened down to a death by tree, but nope. I was unlucky like that. Scratch that. I wasn’t unlucky, I was just unlucky today. As I sat there wallowing in self-pity and bemoaning not living long enough to watch season 2 of Arcane, something odd happened.
Remember I told you there was a crazy amount of fireflies in the area? Well, the entire population swarmed to the dead tree and covered every inch of its branches. At first I thought my eyes were drunk, but I quickly discarded the thought when pebbles, my car and me began to float.
I panicked, writhing like crazy mid-air. Kicking my legs, reaching my arms out, even yelling. Nothing I did freed me from whatever voodoo had taken over the place. The light from the fireflies brightened and illuminated everything; the trees, the grass, my Armani suit. Then I was snatched by a force and pulled from behind. The speed with which I moved forced a yell out of me.
Coloured lights sped past like I was riding a Ducati at neck breaking speed. Just when I was certain I would die again, I lost consciousness.
An itch on my nose woke me. I scratched the spot at the same time my eyes flew open. When voices from a distance reached my ears, I bolted upright. Fields of the lushest green stretched as far as I could see, and there were daisies and what looked like miniature dark blue roses dotting the display. I was floored by the beauty of the place, and I stared with my jaw just hanging.
I know what you are thinking—and I thought the same too at the surreal sight—no, I was not in heaven. I know this because when I started jumping and rejoicing about my unbelievable acceptance into heaven, two figures came into sight.
Those dudes looked… nothing like angels. They were both freakishly tall and wore brown animal hide around their waist like a small towel. Was that a fashion statement? Fail. They looked ridiculous with their johnny bravo torso, fur miniskirts, and hobo face. Man, their beards had to be like 700 years old or something. The thing fell mid-chest.
As they drew nearer, they did not notice me even though I was right in their line of sight. Upon closer inspection, I noticed their faces looked young and non-threatening despite the wizard beard. Maybe they could help me.
“Hey!” I shouted and waved. When neither of them seemed to have heard me, I jogged over. The first one with the shorter beard had his back to the second. Since the sun was against his face, he used his hand as a visor over his eyes. He was looking in my direction in search of what? I turned. There was nothing behind me.
“Hey!” I waved again, but he looked through me. After more yelling and monkey hopping to gain their attention, I finally figured they couldn’t see or hear me.
“Cain?” The watcher called and glanced behind him. “I see nothing. What direction did you say the sheep headed?”
“East of that spot,” Cain said and drew nearer. “Now that I think of it, the animal may have been attacked by a wolf or bear.”
I stumbled out of the way and fell on my butt when they walked past me. The two men were nearly giants—over eight feet tall.
The Cain dude slowed his steps then bent as if in search of something. When he straightened, I gulped. In his grip was one wicked-looking mace.
“Yo!” I called after Mr oblivious with my eyes still fixed on Cain. He was advancing now, a bitter scowl on his face. “Something is not right. I think this Cain dude is about to off you, man.”
Mr. Oblivious just stood there like an idiot, hands at akimbo as he gazed over the field. By now Cain had crept closer and lifted the mace, ready to attack.
“I can’t see—” When he turned, Cain bashed his head in with a savage blow.
“Aw, man.” I scuttled away and gripped my own head, sickened at the sight. “What the hell, man.”
And Cain didn’t stop. Blood splattered then spread, but he kept bashing and bashing and—
I ran. As I raced away from the field like a fox on fire. The beauty of whatever messed up universe I appeared in was lost in the face of such a grotesque display of violence. The hate in Cain’s eyes—God.
When I thought to stop my run, it happened again. The feeling of being sucked into a vortex from behind, speeding lights, me screaming like a two-year-old then the blackness.
This time I woke up in the midst of several men, and there was a field again. Though the grass wasn’t as green, there were several sheep, and a few goats grazing close by. What’s it with sheep and fields and bearded men? At least they were not freakishly tall; that was a relief.
I resolved not to move from my lying position. As they talked and laugh amongst themselves, I remained there, back to the ground, eyes to the sky. I sniffed and frowned. The air smelled of nothing.
“Here comes the dreamer.”
I looked in the direction the speaker nodded at. A figure approached, and his coat was the first thing I noticed even from the distance. It was all bright and colourful, and if I were to be honest, judging from the shitty attires I had the misfortune of seeing lately, his was the best so far. I could totally wear that—to a costume party.
“Come on, let’s kill him—”
What was it with these people and killing?
“—and throw him into a deep pit.”
“Now calm down, fellas.” I struggled to my feet and straightened my suit jacket over my shoulders. “You can’t be serious—”
“We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what becomes of all his dreams.”
Were they even listening to me? Pfft. Of course they weren’t. They all looked through me, eyes fixed on yet another oblivious idiot happily trotting to his killers. As the dude drew nearer, I pitied him. I mean, he appeared to be between seventeen and eighteen and, judging from their earlier statement, it seemed they shared a father—wait, this all seemed familiar. I was having that déjà vu feeling, like I know how this particular story ended. Trying to think too hard about it made me feel woozy, so I shook my head and discarded the thought.
“Y’all can’t be serious about killing your own brother.” I placed a hand on the shoulder of the oldest looking one and squeezed. Zilch physical effect. “Come on, man. Have a heart.”
“Brothers, let’s not kill him,” said one of the madmen.
“Yes!” I pumped my fists in victory. “That’s what I’m talking about. You are my main G, man.” I laughed and slapped his back in appreciation.
“Why should we shed his blood?”
“Preach it, mister.” I nodded deep in agreement, my smile stretching to a pleased grin.
“Let’s throw him alive into the pit here.”
“What?” My smile vanished as my hand fell away.
“That way he will die without our having to touch him.”
“Seriously, what is wrong with you people?” I shrunk away from them. “If you have a problem with him, call the police or something. Okay—” I looked around the field and grimaced “—maybe there are no police here, but I…”
I stopped talking. It was useless.
As the boy came even closer, I saw a trait that could make his brothers jealous. The boy had the face of an angel. I felt sorry for the ladies around him, probably be offering their maidenhead as an offering at his feet. I chuckled. Maidenhead. Whoever came up with such a word?
Colourful robe-wearing boy was all smile and bubbly attitude when he finally met his brothers, but he wasn’t able to get the first word out before they pounced. They were like a pack of rabid dogs biting at a little kitten. His robe was the first to go. They snatched at it like they’ve been waiting all their lives to do so, then they began to pull and shoved him about.
It was cold-hearted. There has been no clearer picture of betrayal than the one etched on the boy’s face. I mean, he was crying and shit, pleading with everything. In response, the bunch of mofos laughed and kept making snide remarks about dreams and their father’s apparent love for him.
I winced when they threw him into the pit. There was no way he wouldn’t obtain injuries on his way down. Bunch of snakes. How could hate run so deep?
Just then, the thought of the first incident with Cain the Basher ran through my mind. Cain… there was something familiar about that name and the betrayal of it all—
As a light bulb of final understanding blinked over my head, the feeling of being sucked into a vortex from behind ambushed me again. Even as the speeding light passed and my clothes flapped from the force of my movement, I held on to the revelation I discovered. Cain the Basher killed his brother Abel. Joseph and his coat of many colours. I was stuck in a freaking Bible history timeline. This time when the blackness came, I was expecting it.
I regained consciousness standing in a… garden? I straightened my tie in preparation, ready to face whatever. Unlike the first two timelines, it was night here. Though the moon was out, the light it offered wasn’t much. I took West, strolling down a stone path. There were several trees and I noticed something curious as I walked on, my sight was getting better. I stumbled into a sleeping bunch, one was snoring like a hog and two others were nodding in and out of sleep. I nudged the snorer with my foot. No response.
The sound of footsteps reached my ears. A figure emerged from amongst the trees, and at the sight of him something odd occurred. For the first time, I was able to perceive the scent of the air. It smelled like perfume—hella expensive perfume. I had never smelled anything more divine in my entire life.
“Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with me one hour?”
At that moment, I knew who he was. Jesus looked nothing like those long haired hippie dudes, with droopy eyes and ridiculous colourful attire, in fact he looked quite ordinary. His beard wasn’t rough looking like the many I had seen and there was a way he carried himself too. At first I stared with my mouth hanging as he spoke to the sleepy men, but when he turned and began to walk away, I snapped out of it and went after him. I mean, it’s Jesus we’re talking about here. I was stupidly curious.
He walked for a while then fell on his knees. It looked as if he was crying but when I looked closer, I saw it was sweat—a whole lot of sweat.
Then it hit me. Jesus was about to be crucified. Of all the timeline I had to be thrust into, it had to be the part I hated the most in Bible stories. The false accusations and crucifixion always killed my mood.
Jesus mumbled something about ‘cup’ then sighed. When it appeared he was done with his prayer, I drew a bit closer. “Erm… Jesus. Can you hear me?” I asked tentatively. “Not to bother you or anything…”
Jesus stood and made his way back to his disciples without saying a word to me.
Maybe he didn’t hear me the first time. I went after him with determination. “I was thinking if there’s anybody who can help me, it’d be you. My day has been really shitty—I mean, terrible.” I groaned internally. Shitty? Really, dude?
“Erm, sorry about that.” I scratched my head. “I was in a car accident then there was Cain killing Abel, and there was also Joseph.”
What are you saying? Make sense, man. Make bloody sense.
“His brothers threw him into a pit. I think he may have cracked his skull going down, though.” I winced at my words. What would Jesus think of me? I actually said ‘shitty’ earlier. That’s it, I am going to hell now. Maybe if I—
“How did you get here?” Jesus asked.
He finally answered. I knew Jesus wouldn’t leave me hanging. What did he ask again?
“Eh…” How on earth would I grow the balls to tell Jesus to his face that I had been drunk driving?
“Go on,” Jesus urged, tone gentle and encouraging, “I am listening.”
Okay, here goes.
“I was drunk driving and had a car crash. I think I am dead.” When Jesus said nothing, I rushed to add, “But I promise not to drink again.”
“I have heard you.”
“That’s it?” I frowned as Jesus turned and approached his sleeping disciples. At this point, I was legit confused. Was he going to answer me or nah?
“… up, let’s be going. See, my betrayer is here.”
I groaned at his words. What is it with me and crashing into betrayal scenarios?
After his words, they came upon us like a freaking locust invasion. I’ve never seen more a nasty-looking crowd; I could almost swear their clubs had an uncanny resemblance to Cain’s mace.
I recognised Judas immediately. You know those type of people with shifty little eyes and a presence that reeked of greed? Yeah. Judas was soaked in a bathtub of shifty-mister cologne. When he came over and gave Jesus a peck on his cheek, I couldn’t help sneering along with the disciples. I hated the guy, and the feeling was effortless. One look at him and my dislike was instant.
“My friend,” Jesus said. “Go ahead and do what you have come for.”
“He ain’t your friend, Jesus. This dude is the devil.”
I shook with anger when they grabbed Jesus like he was some sort of criminal. “Yo, leave him alone.”
No one listened. I was nobody—unseen even as I tugged and tried to pry Jesus away from their hold. In the midst of the madness, one of Jesus’s disciples whipped out a sword and slashed off one of the thug’s ear.
“Yes! Haha. Take that, you pierce of—” I swallowed the last word. Jesus’s here, man. Behave.
“Put your sword away.”
“Huh?” I paused my crazed tugging and stared at Jesus, speechless. Was this how the bible story went?
“Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword.”
“Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly.”
“What? Then what are you waiting for, Jesus?” I laughed. “Ask for the angels. They are all in a bad need of some angelic ass whooping—especially Judas over there. Show him that snitches get stitches; dude needs to learn some respect.”
“But if I did, how would the scripture be fulfilled that described what must happen now?”
“I don’t know, Jesus,” I said, exasperated. “Please stop these evil folks. You don’t deserve what’s coming.”
He didn’t listen to me, instead, he submitted himself to them… just like that.
Though Jesus was talking to the crowd, I zoned out. I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to die for real, I may sound like a happy idiot but the concept of actual death scared me. Wait, what if I am really, really dead? What if—
Jesus called my name.
I snapped my gaze in his direction.
That crazy time-transportation thing suddenly happened again, but this time it felt quite different. My entire adventure flashed before my eyes in reverse then SNAP.
My eyes flew open. I was driving my car once more, clear headed and gunning straight for the same spot I crashed into. The sharp turn reflector sign lit up with the glow of my headlight but this time instead of crashing to my death I swerved left.