Dogma

My head hurt, my back ached, and my tongue felt like it had been run over by the Magic Carpet from Aladdin.

The smells of rotting fish and gasoline no longer permeated the air.  Instead a fresh scent – one I’d never smelt before – crept through my nostrils, cooling them. The sounds of car horns and tires on pavement were also gone. In their place lived the sound the breeze makes in The Endless Summer.

This was heaven.

Literally.

I had opened my eyes to white. Not clouds, like in All Dogs Go To Heaven. But pure whiteness. The whiteness blended together. I could not tell the difference between what I lay on and what surrounded me.

As I took in the whiteness, I began to hear a faint humming sound coming from all around me. As I listened longer, the sound grew in both volume and tempo.

I smiled.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic took over the space I lay in. In my head I sang along. The song’s volume continued to grow and grow.

When the song finished the humming cut completely.

A bell tolled in the distance three times.

My memory surged to my childhood. At the age of six, my brother and I sat mesmerized by the movie Fantasia: near the end while the souls of hell are consumed during their Night on Bald Mountain, a bell tolls the coming of the morning. The bell ringing now was the same bell, I was sure of it.

Suddenly, a man with giant wings, just like in the movie Legion, moved toward me.

I opened my mouth to speak, but he gently laid out a hand atop my head, forcing my silence. He placed two fingers against his lips, kissing them, then placed them upon my forehead.

A lazy chill made it’s way down my spine. My eyes never left the man. A smile formed on his ridged face. The edges of his lips crinkled, as though he were older than old.

“Are you an angel?” I asked stupidly, my voice completely silent.

He nodded in response. He smiled more at my suddenly wide eyes.

Then he burst into flames. I jumped in shock. Attempting to pull away and yet still stare at the angel as he burned, completely consumed by the flames. My body dripped with fear.

The ashes floated to the white floor. My stomach jolted as though I’d just gone over the big drop on a roller coaster. As I fell, the white faded to blue. The blue to green. Green to brown. Until I hit the ground in a now pitch black world.

Drums sounded from all over. I tried to shout but no words escaped. Only a scream, comparable to the one in Psycho, found it’s way from my throat. I clasped my hands across my mouth. More screams jolted across the air. A baby cried in the distance.

The dark closed in around me as the sounds grew louder and louder. My hands moved from my mouth to my ears. I closed my eyes to shut it all out.

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