I’ll Never Forget the Day I Died


I’ll never forget the day I died.

Death is one of those momentous moments, kind of like birth in its own way. People don’t remember their birth but that’s just because their brains aren’t ready to understand and record what happened. If a newborn had the mental capacity of an adult I guarantee that birth would be one of the most meaningful memories they possessed right up until their death.

Now, most people obviously don’t remember their death. For one thing, right after it happens, they’re dead. The brain stops working so they never get to remember and study the event; but trust me, it’s momentous and will color your perception of the universe forever after if you get to remember it.

I’m not one of those near death experience guys who saw the tunnel of light – there isn’t one, and then met all their departed relatives – never happened; I’m the guy who got poisoned, and then stabbed for good measure by his gold-digging wife, and then died.

I was looked at by a doctor – unscrupulous bribe taking bastard that he was – and pronounced dead of natural causes. I wonder how much Gloria promised him to ignore the butcher knife sticking out of my chest and write ‘coronary event’ on the death certificate?

I really can’t blame him though, we’re loaded – or rather I was loaded – and he probably got handed a cool six or seven figures to swallow his scruples and do what he was told.

Let me tell you, death hurts. Not just the poison and stabbing part, but the actual death. You can feel your cells grinding to a halt. Your lungs ache to breathe but there is no signal to them to move. Everything hurts like a toothache that somehow spread through your entire body.

After a while, the hurting finally stopped. I’m guessing that’s when rigor mortis finally ran its course. From what I had read, rigor normally runs its course in three or four days before the body relaxes; so imagine having a full body, throbbing toothache for four days – that’s death.

Now once the hurting stops, death isn’t so bad. You feel pretty normal but don’t have any of the aches or pains of a living body to distract you. You don’t even have hunger pangs or the need to go to the bathroom. In a way, it’s one hell of an upgrade.

So how did I get to experience death? Well, what Gloria didn’t realize before offing me was that I had been deeply immersed in what are euphemistically called the dark arts. I joined a group of practitioners almost a decade ago and learned things that would cause the staunchest church-goer to quake in fear. Over the years I rose in position and magical power within the coven until I was their leader and eventually their killer.

You don’t know the rush of destroying another practitioner and drawing their power into yourself. It’s more exciting than the most intense orgasm you’ve ever had. As the life leaves your opponent their power and their soul is pulled into your own and bonds with it. You gain their strength, their knowledge, and your own power and life increase exponentially for each soul you consume. Just before my unexpected death I had consumed all twelve coven members and was considering recruiting a new coven. Needless to say, I was rather powerful; so powerful in fact that I was already beyond the reach of the Grim Reaper before Gloria tried to send me to him.

I knew I was protected from death but I didn’t realize that I could still be killed and survive it. I assumed I was like Superman: knives would glance off, bullets would ricochet; you know, invulnerable. OK so maybe I didn’t know as much as I thought, but I am now living – or dead – proof that I was immune to true death.

It was exhilarating realizing that I was mobile once more and could rise from my grave – I was buried by the way. It was a wonderful funeral, at least what I could tell from my rigid position in the coffin. All the top tier socialites were there; I even had three Senators in attendance.

For all my magical might, I was held prisoner by my body while it passed through the stages of death. During that time I was cleaned, dressed in my favorite gray suit, placed in a coffin and then made the center of a circus of mourners and the just curious.

It was fun listening to people whom I despised and who despised me espouse my virtues and how their world would be lessened through my death – what tripe.

After the viewing and service – for some reason Gloria had a Catholic funeral for me, as if she didn’t know that I was a complete non-believer – I was sealed in my coffin and driven to the cemetery where I was placed in the family vault. The vault is an imposing stone building in the center of the cemetery. My great grandfather had commissioned its construction after he attained his wealth. He thought that a family as grand and important as ours should have an imposing memorial for our final resting place.

After the pain and immobility left my body I took stock of my surroundings. Satin lining, comfortable cushions; it was quite a posh casket. I often wondered why such comfortable interiors are created for something which will house an insensate corpse. What does the corpse care if the bottom of the casket is memory foam or that the pillow is goose down? Spending some time in my coffin has given me a new appreciation for the interior accouterments.

I flexed my newly released fingers and tested my jaw; everything responded to my mind’s commands.

I intoned an ancient word from a long-dead language and twisted my fingers into secret shapes. A light appeared hovering between my chest and the lid of the coffin; at least I was no longer in the dark.

Oh Gloria, your face, when I return to exact my revenge, will be something I cherish through the rest of eternity.

Another word and gesture and the lining of the casket lid dissolved into ether.

Why was the lid still there? It should have disintegrated along with the lining.

I repeated the cantrip, this time with more power; the lid remained stubbornly in place.

I exerted my full mystical might and the entire lining, and padding of the coffin disintegrated. Even my clothing was caught up in the spell. I dropped several inches to the cold metal floor of the coffin, completely naked.

Metal?

I inspected the material of the coffin. I scratched it with a fingernail, tasted it with my tongue.

A guttural scream ripped from my throat; the coffin was lead lined and impervious to magic.

I beat on the lid, screamed my rage and frustration. No help came; I was trapped. I was trapped, naked, and now uncomfortable.

I wondered just how long it would take the metal coffin to rust away before I could be free; I wondered how long my sanity would last. Trapped in this tiny capsule, I’m not sure which one I want to happen first.


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