The Black Notebook Pt. II - Beyond
The second part of The Black Notebook Saga
People worry a lot about death - me included -, about how to avoid it, but also how to think about it. What happens after we die? Does Heaven and Hell really exist or do we just disappear? Is there a transition between this life and the afterlife?
As I look around me, I can only see a vast endless expanse of nothingness. The floor is covered in a thin layer of water, but when I start walking on it, the water doesn’t ripple. No matter how hard I hit the floor, it stays still. I look around again to see if I can spot anything.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” No answer, just the echoes of my voice.
I start walking, see if anything comes in my way. I don't know if there is time in this place, but after what felt like walking for hours, I finally spot a small light in the distance. I recklessly run towards it, the light is getting bigger and brighter.
"Be careful!" a voice coming from the dark similar to my mum's voice. Disregarding it, I continue running towards the light. If I have already died, what worse can happen to me than death?
When I get close enough to the light, I can see that the shine is coming from an opened door. A red metal door with stairs leading up to it. I closed my eyes while walking towards the light, then suddenly child noises pierce the deafening silence. I open my eyes and I'm at a playground. It almost feels real, but everything is darker and less colorful. I look around the playground and I spot a boy lazing on the ground with three other boys looking at him mischievously.
"Please Seth, leave me alone" He's at the verge of crying, trying to hide something in his jacket.
"Look at that guys! He’s so lame.” Seth gets closer to the boy and grabs his shoulder. “From now on, you will do our homework, bring us lunch, and do whatever we say or you will deeply regret it. Get it?!"
“What’s that?!” A black notebook falls out of the boy’s jacket. Seth picks it up and starts scrolling.
“Give it back!” Says the boy teary-eyed.
“Look guys, he’s writing a diary! How pitiful!” Seth looks at him and throws the book in the mud.
“Hey!” A woman shouting form the other side of the playground. The boys raise their heads and look at the woman. “Get away from him!”
“Later loser.” Seth looks back at the boy and they wun away.
The woman runs to the boy and helps him up. “Let’s go home sweetie…”
As they are walking out of the playground, I spot the same red metal door, but now it is closed. Even though the door is far from me, it’s quite noticeable as this is the only object that is coloured. I walk towards it and open it carefully.
When I enter the door, I’m in a bar filled with drunks. All of a sudden, a man in his mid-fifties walks in and heads towards the bar.
“The usual, Frank!” he says to the bartender and sits on one of the stools. The barterer given him an egg and a big glass of beer. He grabs the egg and cracks it into his beer for dinner. A weird choice, but I let it slide. I get closer to him and I see that he’s reading a black book. The same book I saw with the kid. Can this be the same person? What’s the pattern here? While he’s reading the book, he laughs and cries at the same time.
After a couple drinks, a strange man comes towards him and knocks him with his shoulder. Some of the man’s beer gets spilled. I see that the strange guy dropped something on the floor that looks like an envelope or a piece of paper.
“Hey! Watch y…?!” The man tries to finish the sentence, but he’s too drunk to speak and he slurs. He finally spots the paper the other guy dropped before. He gets down on the ground to look at the check.
“$20,000…” He squints. “No name…” He tries to get up.
Someone tries to help him, but he shrugs his shoulder. He gets up and grabs the beer, down it and rushes out. I quickly follow him. Disregarding the fact that the door is the same metal red door from before, I go through it.
When I get out of the bar, I found myself in an apartment. The room is full of people and the music in the room is so loud I cannot hear my own thoughts. I spot him in the living room, sitting on a couch smoking a cigar in between two girls. There are a variety of substances on the table next to him and when I look around the room, I see that the guests are doing things to each other that people normally do under the sheets. He spent all the $20,000 for this?!
Astonished, I head towards the front door, but I realize it’s also red. I quickly turn around and try to find another door, but all the doors in this apartment are red. Maybe I should jump out from the window as this is the only exit where I can escape. When I walk towards the window, a loud coughing grabs my attention. I turn around and see that our guy is choking, blood running out of his nose and ears. He falls to the ground, struggling for a while then his body stays still.
After a second of silence, the place turns into chaos, everyone is getting dressed and tries to get out. Within seconds this massive orgy turned into an apocalypse. In the midst of this hellhole, I got into a crowd of people heading towards the red door. I try everything to get myself out of the crowd, but it’s ineffective.
When I get out of the door, I’m in the same apartment I was before. The only difference is that there’s only the guy in the room, stazing still. Then, a tall dark figure with black wings comes out from the corner of the room. It stops near the dying man and he stretches its arms towards him.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“You know who I am, Dave. You called me many times before.” The creature replies with a monotonic voice.
“I can’t! Not now!” He shouts.
“I’m here to help you. Just let go.”
“No! All I ever wanted is to matter, to have friends who love me! I could have died so many times before, why now? Now, that I found everything I ever wanted?!”
“You were young, with full of hope.” The winged creature tries to soothe him. “You deserve peace Dave… You deserve peace… A peace that fruits your continuous attempts to find meaning in this life.”
“I-I finally found it! Can’t you see? I’m no longer just a drunk old fool!” They both look around the room.
The creature looks on the table. “How long can you live on cocaine and rum? They don’t help you, just rot your insides.” He gives its hand to Dave. “Come and peace will find you.”
Dave sighs. “Okay, I’m ready…” Before he touches the creature’s hand; “But I need to do one last thing.”
The winged figure nods and slowly gets back to the dark, while Dave is looking down at his corpse. I’m slowly getting the picture, but what is he trying to show me? Dave turns his head towards me and looks at me with his ghastly eyes. Opening his mouth, a loud noise is coming out of it. I try to back up, but I trip on something and fall into a dark hole. The room gets smaller, the deeper I fall in the hole.
Soon I reach the ground and I look around, hoping I’m back in my apartment. I’m in a bedroom, unfortunately not mine. I scan around the place, I see posters on the wall, clothes everywhere across the room. The posters are showing a familiar person with titles like “Seth Bowers, our reigning champion” and “The champion of the National Football League, 1963”
Is this the person from the playground? Then I spot a guy sitting in his desk scrolling the same black notebook I had seen before. When he finds the check of the $20,000 the ghost of Dave appears next to him and starts whispering to his ear.
I suddenly remember. When I was first scrolling the book, I heard noises as well. I didn’t give any attention to it as I only heard mumbles. Until now. Now I know what the mumbles were:
First I live in disguise,
But the more you use my device,
I shall come alive.
When I will come for you, you will not be blessed,
Unless you find how to give me rest.
And then, I finally understood why I died.
I should have known. It felt too perfect to be true. Well, it was true, it did happen, but I ignored the warning signs. I can only blame myself what happened to me. As one question is answered, another comes; will I spend my life in this darkness thinking about what could I have done differently?
You can find the first part of the story here.
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