The souls whom have no feeling
I’ve been waiting for an hour now. Yes, well, it was only eight of us. I’m not starting this off very good am I? I’m new to this whole “talking”, and “feeling” idea. “Self expression” hasn’t been felt by me in a long while. So if this is bad, my apologies. You know, some consider me stupid, other crazy, a few brave. I consider myself to be bored out of my mind. I need a change. You know?
The lady who would be helping us came in. There was a semi-loud humming noise from the back of the room that came from the vent there. I forgot what buildings were. I’ve only read about this vent heating system, that were made some hundred years ago. This place was comfortable; I still felt weird in this skin though. I’ven’t needed it in such a long while.
The tall lady sat down with the eight of us. I was still tired from the five hour trip down here. I was so tired; bored mostly. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the length of an hour. She looked at all of us individually for a moment; and began to speak.
“So you all know why you’re here?” No one responded. It was like a school detention hall; all one could hear was the slow humming that came from the vent; the breathing of the people around me. Every now and then, a chair would squeak, but that would be all. “It’s dangerous. It’s so very dangerous. I don’t recommend it; in fact, I’m actually going to try to get you to change your minds. It’s not worth it! It really isn’t!” There was no emotion from our faces. No one nodded or looked angrily. All just looked with the same monotonous stare. “I’ve spent so many years here, with the ‘transfers’ as I like to call them. They always go in scared. So I want you to know all the dangers now before I choose one of you to go.”
Again, the humming of the vent started his turn to speak. I felt like I’ve been waiting for so long. I started to get scared with all she said; I haven’t felt fear in such a long time. My palms started to sweat, and my ears were just now starting to get used to the different speech. My brain automatically translated what she said, I’ven’t had to speak or listen in so long. She spoke French, and it somehow automatically translated it into English. I never spoke French before. I’ve never read anything here about people on Earth doing these things. Maybe I’ve been dead too long.
“Tout le monde ne puex pas aller, c’est vrai.” She spoke. But I heard it different. “It’s true, not everyone can go down there.” I could tell the other people were thinking the same things that I was; and with the dull sound coming from the vent, no one needed a translator for boredom. “Secondly, even though they might seem promising, the new sensations that you may feel on earth are more bad than they are good. I mean, aren’t you happy with what you have now?” A tall man stood up.
“Limbo isn’t exactly paradise.” The deep sounded German voice he had. The tall think beard that he wore only made me more fearful of him.
“Yes, this I know.... But there’s no fear here. Only two per cent of the people that go back to earth actually make it into heaven. Fifty five per cent return here, and the other forty three, to hell. I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know what I am talking about. Be content with what you have.” A small lady, appearing to be no more than eighteen, got out of her seat, almost ecstatic.
“But I’m so bored here! I can’t take this anymore! If I don’t leave I’m going to go crazy!”
“But take a look at all you have here. In limbo there is no pain. Sure, you’re not human, but it’s so much more safe here.” A tall skinny Russian man started to speak.
“I want my body and my old self back!’
“Well, you can’t. You’ll not be the same person when you go back. Surely, the soul will be the same, but your body and the people you know will be completely different. Yes, the odds will be completely against you. You all have your chance to go, but with the growing poverty in the world, especially in Africa, you’ll have great odds of being extremely poor and oppressed.”
“Screw Africa, I’m an American!” Someone else said.
“Don’t you wish you could have helped them now?”
“No! I’m American, I’m nothing else, I don’t see why we should have to care about anyone else but ourselves.”
“You’ve obviously have only been dead for no more than a year.”
“Oh, welcome to reality then. I can assure you that when you go down to Earth, you won’t even have the slightest chance of being as wealthy as you were before.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Life isn’t fair, that is. You think it’s fair that you several hundred thousand people get all the money and the rest of the world suffers?
“I’m an American, that’s how I was born.”
“Go, go into the other room. You’ll be able to go, but I still want to have someone else go, that is more morally just than you. I hope to see you suffer.... Remember what I am telling you.”
“As far as I see it, I’ll choose to be anything I want to be when I go back.” He walked off, giving her the finger as he passed. The German man looked around for a while and then he began to speak.
“So, so yo can’t guarantee anything?”
“Exactly. You might come out deformed, abandoned, mentally incapable. It’s possible your parents could be alcoholics and hurt you every night. Anything is possible; like dying an hour right after birth and returning here, just like last time, with a different body.
“So we would in fact come here? Instead of somewhere else?” A new woman began to speak. Her body was that of a forty-five year old woman. She spoke Flemish.
“Oh, of course. You can’t go to hell unless you do something bad. And you can’t go to heaven, without good acts.”
“I believed in Jesus, and they told me that was all I needed.” A tall southern protestant man contended. “Why ain’t I in heaven now?”
“It’s amazing what people make up to make themselves feel better. Now I know that you never actually believed that. Being good, that’s the only way. You don’t even have to believe in God. God accepts all whom accept God, and by doing what you did, you weren’t.”
“What did you do?” The Russian man begged the question.
“I killed a nigger, that’s what I did!”
“Hey, no hateful speech here.” The moderated said. “You’re lucky you even came to here. Hundreds of African slaves died because of you, they served under you. They worked for free because of you. They were taken from their families because of you. But they’re in heaven now, and you’re the slave, here in Limbo. What goes around comes around. That man, that prophet, he wasn’t kidding when he said some of the first will be last and some of the last will be first.”
I waited until she was done speaking to have my first words of conversation. I was tense, I’ven’t talked in such a long time. “What’s hurt?” I began to pondered I knew it was a stupid question, right after I said it, I knew that it was a bad question to ask. “I’ve been dead for a while,. I forget what it is.” She began to speak to me as a mother would to her lost child.
“It’s something that happens everyday. Every hour of everyday. You need to consider this before going. I’m sure you’re feeling some already, not fully being in Limbo. On Earth, your stomach will ache from hunger, your back will feel sore from working, your head will ache from stress, and your heart will bleed emotionally, everyday. Do you remember this now Padraig?”
“No, I’ve been dead for five hundred years. I don’t feel anything. I want to feel; love, hate. I don’t want to be some numb here.” The humming of the vents were still numbing my ears as she continued on.
“Are you sure you want to go back there? With the modern world being what it has been?”
“I’ve seen it, I’ve read about it. I know all about it, the cultures; I know that it’s more dangerous to go there than ever before.”
“But remember, no knowledge will pass you to the next life.”
“I do believe you. But I need to get back to someone. Someone really important, and I know who they are. And I have to go to Earth to get to them.”
“But you won’t remember.”
“My soul won’t forget how to be a good person..... and it’s just that..... well I can’t stand being away from my wife anymore. I can’t believe I got stuck here, instead of going to heaven. If only my soul could remember what I didn’t know then.”
“Tell everyone what you did.”
“I lived in Ireland. All my life I was oppressed. So one day, I decided to take up arms against my oppressor. I formed this group, Catholic group. We would go around and kill any Protestants or British. Well, one day, I was captured, I refused to forgive myself. God, God asked my soul if I wanted forgiveness for my actions, and I said no. I grew up feeling that anything I did could be justified, as long as I had God as my excuse. God has an awful history down on Earth, in part of me and others as well. So I want to go back to Earth, to prove myself worthy.”
There was a woman in the background. She didn’t say much. She just watched us the entire time. She got up, and sat down right next to me. She looked into my eyes. I had a strange sense of deja vu, but I really had no idea who she was. She started speaking to the crowd.
“Everyone leave.” She grabbed at my arm, and signaled me to stay. “Being perfect, I know what a perfect answer, and the love that you have is perfect. You won’t be able to go back to Earth though.” With newly found tears in my eyes, I questioned her why. “Do you know who I am?”
“Are you sure? I’ve been watching you the entire time.”
“Since I’ve been here?”
“Not only that. Everything you’ve ever experienced; I was there.”
“What do you mean?”
“How would you like to go to heaven, if you’re good I let you stay.”
“Can you really do that?” With a stumbling pause she started to say,
“I’m God..... I can do anything I want!”
Only the American went back to Earth. He was born on a cold rainy day, in Hoaxshire England to A family called the Rowley’s..... They named him Blake.
Sunday, November 10, 2002
J. Michael Egan