The next morning Jan
answered the phone. "Could I speak to Mr Gillespie?"
"Who's calling?" Jan asked.
Jan thought for a moment. "He's not interested." She said.
"Oh I am sorry, we thought Mr Gillespie may have experienced
something very unique. And he could give a very valuable contribution
into the unknown".
Jan sniggered and looked at me. "Yeah he could contribute a lot
to the unknown he could." She said sarcastically. "But I
don't want him repeating any of it. Its not nice I can tell you."
"Could I speak to him please?" He asked disappointedly.
Jan pointed for me to pick up my phone.
"John Booth here, Mr Gillespie" I shuddered a moment.
"And this is the voice of doom!" I said, Jan grinned and
sat on the bed. He was taken aback for a second.
"Oh I'm sorry to disturb you Mr Gillespie, I wonder if you could
spare me half an hour of your time. We would be grateful for any information
you could contribute." There was a silence. "Would it be
convenient this afternoon? Say, two o'clock?" I looked at Jan
on the extension, she glanced at me, "Oh, I'm not going out.
See you at two." I said.
"Thank you its very kind of you, Bye" He hung up before
I could change my mind.
Janet wasn't pleased.
"You promised me you wouldn't repeat it to anyone. Its bloody
terrifying and you don't realize what was really happening to you.
"Come her, love." I said putting my arm around her it was
just a dream, and if some cranks get a kick out of it what does it
matter. At least I'm here to tell the story. I won't elaborate on
"You still don't see the significance of it do you?"
"It was just a dream." I assured her.
"I've read all about these experiences after people have been
declared dead and there was nothing that resembled your experience.
Why couldn't you have tunnels with lights at the end like everybody
else? You always have to be awkward."
"Well, maybe Booth and his cronies can shed some light on it."
I said reassuring her.
John Booth turned up
at two o'clock with three accomplices. What a bunch of misfits. Booth
himself was a short stocky man with a fat red face. I wondered how
much booze had flowed through it. He introduced the rest as Hilary
his wife a slim emaciated woman who was about fifty, the same age
as Booth. Then a woman called Elizabeth that looked as though she'd
just escaped from the loony bin. She had bulging eyes and looked straight
through me, shaking my hand with a cold clammy grip. Then there was
Arthur. He looked as if he'd been exhumed and was still decomposing;
I shook his hand half expecting him to keel over at anytime. "Get
Arthur a seat quick." I whispered to Jan who was forcing a smile
for them. How I was going to keep a straight face with this lot I
just don't know.
"Your looking fit
despite your terrible ordeal." Mrs Booth complemented me.
"Yes, I've always been a non-drinker, non-smoker, fitness fanatic
I have." I said convincingly.
"Fibber," Jan said, they all looked at her.
"Oh I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce my nurse, this is Janet,"
"I'm also his wife" Jan stated. She shook hands and sat
"Right!" I said, "What can I do for you?" There
was a brief silence.
"Well, perhaps I should start by telling you that we have all
had the experience of being dead. Or pronounced dead and living to
tell the tale." He gestured at the other three with his hand.
"And we find it very intriguing and interesting to swap and study
other experiences in death, there are twenty six of us so far. And
we meet every three months or so to analyse our experiences. Elizabeth
here is a doctor in psychology. She is also a psychic and can analyse
most experiences because all have a message. They nearly all involve
a tunnel with a bright light, but we would like to hear your experience."
"Okay, I'll start
from where the incompetent fool did me in." I said. Jan left
the room. "I was giving Dr R a bit of a verbal for his incompetence
when everything went black. I couldn't see anything. Everything was
pitch black. I was standing up with my eyes wide open and I couldn't
see anything. It was like getting up in the middle of a strange hotel
room not knowing where the light switch is, so I just stood there
and looked round for a flicker of light or something to indicate where
I was. Nothing! I decided to take a step forward; I waved my right
hand in front of me hoping to touch something. Nothing. I took a couple
of steps, nothing again. I shouted "Hello", still nothing,
and then I saw a deep green haze. As I walked towards it, my feet
didn't feel right. I seemed to be dragging them through sludge, but
I couldn't see them. I got to the green mist and I could see slightly.
It was like a cavern, the walls were hanging in slime, and green and
black lumps were protruding from them. I could hear water dripping,
pouring briefly, and stopping and then complete silence. I looked
round. It was definitely a cavern or tunnel of some kind. I looked
down at my feet and they were bare. My pants were rolled up and I
was standing in a black hot tar. I swished my right foot in it, "What
a dump" I murmured. The green mist was turning to a murky red.
The dripping and pouring of water continued in spasms. I suddenly
realized I was bursting for a 'slash' (to urinate). I looked round,
I had to go somewhere so I dragged on a couple of paces to the black
and green wall. I was emptying mnyself when a voice I knew well, boomed
out. "That's not very nice is it?" I looked over my shoulder
to see my father standing with his hands on his hips. He was dressed
immaculate as usual, in his Tuxedo, bow tie, and his precious cuff
links sparkled. What was odd was that he had his working boots on.
He was standing on the black tar and I was standing in the black tar.
"You've got to be kidding?" I said.
"Just look at this place, it's a dump. Someone's used it as a
toilet long before me."
"Don't take any notice of him Bill, you know what he's like."
Another familiar voice said. I turned to see 'our kid', my brother
Dennis with a serious look on his face.
"Hiya our kid, he's moaning because I had a piss in this dump."
Our Dennis forced a grin.
"I'm sorry to tell you he's right this time Bill."
"That'll make a change." I said sarcastically, Dad just
"Now you know you shouldn't be in here. Now come on. Lets have
you, bugger off." He said pointing over my shoulder.
"He's right Bill." Our Den said.
"I haven't seen either of you for ages and now you piss me off."
"You don't belong here Bill, get going I'll see you later."
Our Den said, he sounded urgent.
"Okay, look after the Desert Rat!" I said nodding at Dad.
"See you later, son." Dad said. I turned and walked into
the blackness. That's the first time he ever called me son. I waded
a few paces, "Hey, you two's dead!" I shouted. I turned
back to face them but they had gone. All I could see was blackness.
I was saddened; I could have spent more time with them. I wanted to
tell Dad and our Den what had happened since they'd been gone. Dad
had been dead about ten years and our kid about six. I stood in total
silence and blackness. A lump came to my throat. What a fool I was.
If only I had taken hold of them I could have brought them home. By
this time it was getting awfully hot. I thought I'd better push on
forward like they said."
"Then I woke up
in intensive care. I still had the feeling I'd let Dad and 'Our Kid'
down by not bringing them back."
Mrs Booth was wiping
tears from her eyes. Elizabeth's eyes were bulging more than ever,
she was visibly shaken. Her hands were trembling as she clasped and
John Booth sat staring
at me he couldn't think of anything to say or ask. Arthur was a picture
of death. He didn't move. "Give him a prod see if riggers set
in yet." I said breaking the silence.
John Booth looked at Elizabeth, "What does the analyst think
of it?" He asked. She didn't answer she just stood up ready to
leave. They all followed her to the door. No one had touched the tea
and biscuits that Janet had supplied. I realized Arthur had not spoken
a word. Perhaps he was dead. Some kind of zombie or something.
John Booth shook my hand
and said he'd like to keep in touch. Janet saw them out. Elizabeth
still appeared to be badly shaken. She took Janet's hand and squeezed
it as she encircled it with her trembling clammy fingers.
"Your husband is going to hell when he dies, as it seems he's
already been half way there."
(c) William Gillespie
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