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The Final Review

So why are there only two choices?

By Mark GagnonPublished 16 days ago Updated 15 days ago 4 min read
The Final Review
Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s don’t believe anything people tell you. That’s especially true for the afterlife because they’re all wrong.

Example #1:

People who have experienced a near-death episode describe being drawn toward a bright light. Maybe these people felt that an event such as death requires a grand spectacle similar to floodlights at the premiere of a blockbuster movie. The lights I saw were more akin to escape path lighting when the power goes out in a train or plane. Simply follow the path to the review board.

Example #2:

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories about Saint Peter and the Pearly Gates. Peter stands suspended in mid-air behind a floating podium. He is reviewing a long list of both good and bad deeds to determine whether you should be deemed worthy of entrance. Personally, I never saw the guy. The escape path lighting guided me to a library conference room. In the middle of the room was a long table with chairs and two trays, one marked IN and the other OUT. The “IN” box was filled with a stack of forms that needed to be completed in triplicate before I could continue my journey. Once my eyes adjusted to their surroundings, I noticed the walls were transparent. Now I could observe other people sitting in identical rooms, laboring over their own stacks of forms. Some stacks were taller than mine, others were shorter. I deduced that the height was determined by how long each of us had lived. Maybe this was purgatory, and I would be trapped here until the paperwork was complete.

Example #3:

It is written that heaven is filled with Cherubs making glorious music. That might be true, but in my cubicle, it’s Muzak 24/7.

I’m not sure how long it took to finish my stack in triplicate since time no longer has relevance here, but I completed it. Not long after I placed the last sheet in the “OUT Box,” three individuals entered the room and took the chairs across from me. One of them had cloven hoofs for feet, horns sprouting from his forehead, and a serpentine, forked tongue that he kept flicking in and out. Next to him sat a relatively normal-looking man with a long white beard. To his right sat a being with wings, a glowing light encircling his head, and a very calm-looking face. The bearded gentleman explained he was a moderator, and his companions were there to ask me questions based on my completed forms. The panel would review my answers and, depending on my responses, determine where I would spend the rest of eternity. The questions began, and the stack of forms in the “OUT Basket” slowly decreased. After what felt like a century had passed, every question was asked and answered.

During the interrogation, I sensed a change of tone in the way my inquisitors were phrasing their questions. My inquisitor’s attitude changed from hostile to almost friendly. The three abruptly rose from their chairs and left the room, apparently to deliberate my fate. After another extended period, the trio re-entered the room, took their seats, and the moderator explained my situation.

Apparently, my “final review” had qualified me for residence within either realm, so they were leaving it up to me to choose my eternal home. “Neither one!” My answer rolled off my tongue with such speed it took the trio several moments to recover their composure.

Finally, the moderator spoke, “I don’t think you understand Sir, you must pick one or the other. No one has ever left here uncommitted. You would be adrift in the cosmos for eternity.”

“I understand,” I replied. “As far as I’m concerned, this entire process was your final review, and you’ve failed. I’m not interested in participating in any of this. I would prefer to wander the universe than be restricted to either domain.”

With that, I bid them a good day, or century, or eternity, and left the facility. Even though centuries have passed, I can still see the stunned look on each face as if it just happened. The memory makes me smile as I continue my journey.


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (17)

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  • Fizzah Fatima3 days ago

  • Infant mind's12 days ago

    supper story

  • This was very fascinating! Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Phil Flannery14 days ago

    Surreal. It reminds me a little of the movie with David Niven, A Matter of Life and Death. Yours is better of course.

  • Heather N King15 days ago

    Your ability to capture the essence of life's journey and the importance of embracing every moment is truly remarkable. Your words painted a vivid picture in my mind, and I couldn't help but reflect on my own experiences as I read through each paragraph. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and reminding us all to savor the beauty of life, even in the face of uncertainty. Your positivity is contagious, and I'm grateful to have stumbled upon your article. Keep up the fantastic work!

  • L.C. Schäfer15 days ago

    I love this! The idea of sitting there and doing all that paperwork has really tickled me 😁

  • Dana Crandell15 days ago

    Loved it. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Heather Hubler15 days ago

    Loved the twist. Very compelling story that kept me engaged til the end. I enjoyed the read :) Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Gal Mux15 days ago

    Outstanding! And you put out a really strong position. Why do they say there are two choices anyway? Food for thought 🤔

  • Carol Townend15 days ago

    This was brilliantly written. You're really good at crafting words. It makes for a very addictive read!

  • Shane Dobbie15 days ago

    Clever and funny. Subscribed

  • Areej Fatima 15 days ago

    Guy please also read my stories on different topics I hope you like it.

  • JBaz15 days ago

    I will definitely keep that answer in mind should I need it. This is a clever story. Congratulations

  • Donna Renee15 days ago

    I loved the ending! Didn’t see that one coming. 👏

  • Kendall Defoe15 days ago

    Impressive TS! Maybe check the spelling of 'cubicle'...

  • Naomi Gold15 days ago

    This is so clever! I laughed out loud at, “As far as I’m concerned, this entire process was your final review, and you’ve failed.” What a plot twist.

  • Donna Fox16 days ago

    I love this concept Mark, it felt really well thought out and even more thoroughly executed! I love the idea that the character got to choose his own fate, such a great message and ending!

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