Heaven or Hell (1995)


So this is it, thought Jack Raimey. I’m dead.

Odd to think about the fact. And even stranger still that he didn’t feel like there was any question. Like, maybe he wasn’t really dead, but just dreaming. Or perhaps he was close to death and was having an out of body experience. No, he though with some finality. He was sure. He remembered the sudden pain in the chest after sitting down to his typical steak dinner. There had been some screaming, some upset, the paramedics showed up, but that was the proverbial It. He was dead and this was… this was…

He looked around. Not what he expected.

No clouds, no pearly gates (but then on the other hand, no fire and brimstone either). It was pure white, less of a color than a lack of anything else. A void, blank and infinite. He looked down and found he was standing on — something, but only where he was. And it appeared to hold him up, but there was nothing to feel for his hands in front of him until he actually took a another step and then whatever was behind was gone as well in the instant his foot lifted up.

So, which one was it. Sister McMurtry was apparently wrong. He thought for a moment. No feelings of torture, no ultimate bliss. He felt like the same forty nine year old businessman he’d been before the big heart attack. Same things on his mind though he wasn’t particularly worried about them. Death will do that to you, he thought. Nothing is that high on your list of priorities anymore. But back to the here and now (or hereafter and now if you wanted to be accurate). If this was a heaven or hell, he couldn’t tell which it was. There was nothing in any direction.

I need a sign.

And he got one.

Ahead was a speck in the distance. It took awhile (or so it seemed) to get to it, but then he had plenty of time, he figured. It wasn’t like he was going to be any more late than he was now. The speck turned into a small rectangular sign. Orange with black printing; something familiar yet he couldn’t remember when he had seen one before.

It read: END CONSTRUCTION.

Jack breathed a sigh of relief. He had made it heaven after all.

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