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1732, 2nd day of the first month of the cold period. Location Unknown

A biting cold makes my eyes go wide as knife rushes across my neck. I try to scream. No sound comes out and the cold line starts to burn. I can’t die like this, not here.

 

Why is Trish, my best friend, doing this? Her iron clad grip holds me tight as I struggle to break free. My strength fails me, and my last thought is of mom and dad, who passed years before me.

 

 

All that comforts me, as I shoot up and gasp for air, is hugging my knees. The biting cold air induces a shiver as I notice my skin is covered in sweat. I’ve never had such a vivid nightmare, not like that.

 

My fingertips touch my throat. The soft skin is unbroken which elicits a sigh of relief. My nose sits in the crevice between my legs, and I take some time to collect myself. Trish wouldn’t do that. I’m sure of it.

 

Another cool draft and I tremble. My dorm room isn’t usually this cold. As I pull my head away from my legs I catch myself from going off balance on the ground. Everything around me is in a haze. After no more than a few feet in front of me, the black and white tiled floor washes away.

 

Shit! Was that a dream? My own hand is fuzzy as I wave it in front of my face. Goosebumps cover my arms and back from the cold. A dull ache enters my feet and rear, the tiled floor cuts into me more than the arctic air.

 

“Meow,” a cat calls behind me in the distance.

 

A water blue cat sits a good distance from me, eyes like suns cut past the haze and seem to pierce through me.

 

I stand and notice I’m stark naked. The pressure I feel on my body from its eyes makes me cover my bare essentials.

 

Once I am closer to the cat I notice its body is solid but its hair is wispy. It flows into the air as a flame would.

 

“Hi there… kitty,” I say with a trembling voice.

 

The feline turns and walks away from me. The mysterious haze parts in its wake.

 

Fear of loneliness worms its way into my mind, and I know I must follow it.

 

For what seems like days we walk without a break. Pangs of hunger, exhaustion and normal body movements never find me. What I experienced before was not a dream. I am most certainly dead.

 

Trish killed me and I keep wondering why. Nothing makes sense about it. We were best friends and she was there for me when my parents died. She was a blast when we went to mixers, concerts and would talk about cute boys in class.

 

The cat waits for me as I stop for a few minutes and have a good cry about it. This sucks.

 

I dry my eyes and we continue onward. The events of before I died run rampant through my mind, but nothing stands out. Trish and I didn’t have a huge fight. We had our arguments sure, but nothing unusual. My death would gain her nothing.

 

“Meow,” breaks my inward moping. We are now standing before a boundless purple wall. A moment passes and I close my mouth from awe. It looks to be transparent so I can see that it’s about a yard thick. The mist has cleared a good area around it. I can’t see how tall or wide it is.

 

Words cannot describe the scope of this simple purple wall. How could I not notice that which appears larger than a planet or sun? The hairs on my arm stand on end as a humming noise increases in volume the closer I get to the wall.

 

“Meow.”

 

The feline stares at me intently and flicks its tail toward the wall. It turns its head in that direction.

 

“You want me to touch it?” I ask. What harm can that have? Damn it! The wall zaps my finger and a shock travels throughout me. Purple smoke rises from my fingertip. As I suck on the sore spot I realize it does nothing for me. I give the cat a glare, why did it ask me to do that?

 

An exhalation I can only describe as disappointment comes from the small form. Its eyes meet mine, and a brief twinge of pain shoots through my forehead.

 

“You need to walk through it,” booms through my mind.

 

As I gently rub my temple and brow, I look back at the wall. Did the cat just talk into my head? The briefest of touches hurt so much. While it doesn’t hurt now, when I imagine that much pain all over my body it gives me pause.

 

“No way, that would hurt too much,” I say as I stare at my hand. “Is there another way?” I wonder with a look toward the cat. It’s not there so I look around for it. Great, it’s gone.


Dark thoughts find me as I ponder for some time. Having your life stolen from you, is awful. The more I revisit the thoughts the clearer my stance becomes: that bitch, how dare she.

 

The purple wall looms before me and I pick myself up. It’s time to get this over with. I’m afraid of what it means to go through it; not so much the pain, which does concern me, but I fear that I will stop being me, Anessa Rovenal.

 

On Earth, there are religious texts that cover the notion of crossing over. There’s no information on a place like this though. Is this a form of purgatory?

 

I speak to no one, “Dwelling on it won’t change the truth.” After I blink away the tears in my eyes I put some distance between me and the wall.

 

The mists appear more chaotic without the cat around, and I’m almost certain I see faces from time to time. Without the feline’s presence, I don’t dare wander into them for fear that I will never return.

 

All in one go, that’s the only way I’ll have the nerve to do it. My head clears after I close my eyes for a few moments and I exhale sharply. I bolt forward. Before I reach the wall, I leap to prevent myself from stopping part way.

 

Pain beyond compare erupts from every fiber of my being as I push through the wall. No number can describe it. I don’t know if I hit the ground or not but I curl into a fetal position and try to scream.

 

Before I black out I hope the pain doesn’t last long.

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Allen Clark Copeland, Jr.

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