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Afterlife

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The old man was lost. He looked towards every direction, he had clearly gone astray. How did he reach this place and when did he reach, he had no memory. He blamed it on his old age, but this was very surprising. He did not remember where he was or how he reached there. The only thing he knew was he needed to call his daughter.

His eyes fell on a brightly lit door at the far end of the corridor.
“Maybe I’m still at the hospital.” He muttered and limped his way as fast as he could towards the door. He weakly knocked and waited patiently for someone to answer the door.
The door opened and almost blinded the old man with the amount of light shining from the other side. As soon as he adjusted to the light (which took good seven minutes) he looked at the person who opened the door. The man was young, wearing some t-shirt and a jeans, paired with cowboy boots. The old man immediately sighed. He had a handsome face with shoulder length hair neatly combed behind his ear. He stood tall in front of the old man who was hunching low.

“Who are you?” the old man said with his deep hoarse voice.

The young man was rattled by this question. ‘He knocked on the door didn’t he?’ he whispered.
“Come in!” the man said loudly in his most English accent.

“No, I want to just make a call.” He said being annoyed.

“I am sorry, I do not have a phone.” The young man replied, a little disappointed in himself.

“Who doesn’t have a phone now days?”

“Apparently you.”

The old man looked angrily at the young man who was now smirking.
“Don’t mess with me lad.”

“Please come in.” the young man replied and moved aside, as if inviting his guest inside his small room.

“This is bad” the old man judged, as he coughed. The room was messy. Extremely messy. There were papers all around and dust everywhere. The whole room was beige and looked kind of depressing. More depressing than his own hospital room.

“I am sorry, I am working on the interior. I don’t know what the travellers like.” The young man apologised and made a place among the clutter for the man to sit.

“I am sorry, who?” he asked with a weird expression on his face. As if the young man just said something absurd.  

“Travellers. Such as yourself.” The man sat in front of him.

“I am travelling? Alone? That doesn’t sound right.” He rubbed his chin, “I am still in Houston right?” his eyes were big with curiosity.

“I am afraid not.” The man said, still smiling at him, which now irritated the old man extremely.

The old main waited patiently with the same grim look on his face for him to answer the question. But the young man just sat there, looking at the old man with a weird sly smirk on his face, dreamily looking into his eyes.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Are you a creep?” The old man shooed him away with that question, he became very self-aware.

“I am sorry, this is my first attempt at being a designer and you are my very first traveller. Kind of got the tingles you see.” The young man giggled like a three year old girl.

The old man frowned and took a deep breath and coughed loudly for two minutes by the amount of dust in the room.
“Where am I?”

“Oh right, you are in the afterlife sir.” The young man said casually.

“What?”

“Afterlife. A place where you come after you die.” The young man said a little louder.

“No no, I heard you. I am asking if you have lost your mind?” the old man said as if talking to a child.

“Haha, I knew this was going to happen. But don’t worry I am prepared. John, I am here to answer all your questions!”

“Wait, how do you know my name?” the old man was surprised.

“I know everything about you John. Like I said, I am the designer of this afterlife. And you are the traveller.”

“Designer?”

“More like a caretaker.”

“You are making less and less sense every minute.” The old mad rolled his eyes, “you are implying I am dead?”

“That’s right sir.”

“What!” the old man shrieked, “I am dead? You are joking. I can feel myself. I can see you, I can- wait, are you…….god?”

“Ummmm,” the young man looked at John with a confused look, “you can call me Henry.”

“You are god. I am in heaven.” John implied.

“I prefer Henry.” The young man shrugged in discomfort, “and this is not heaven just for your information. Everyone comes here. The good, the bad.”

The old man ignored whatever the man was saying and continued to mutter under his breath, “Wait, am I really dead? You are joking with me right? Am I dreaming? I saw my daughter right now! She was here with me!”

“I am sorry to say, but yes you really are dead. The cancer did not treat you well. And about me joking with you,” Henry clapped his hands twice and the background changed immediately.  They were in room which reeked sadness. “This is my hospital room!” John exclaimed and saw his daughter on the other side crying over his dead body, “Betty! Betty!”

“She can’t hear you John. She can’t see you either. You are dead. See, that’s you on the bed. Right there see.” The young man pointed directly on the bed and the old man eyes him with an annoyed look
“You can be little soft on the dead part.” John criticised.

“Sorry, I’m still learning-”

“To be a god?”

“To become a designer.” He corrected.

Henry clapped again and they were back in the dusty old room.
“So I am really dead.” John sighed and looked sad.

“Are you sad?” Henry asked.

‘Yes I am sad, I ha-”

“Yes! I knew you were sad!” Henry exclaimed and the old man suddenly looked at him with a staggered look, “Sorry, I am not good at reading emotions. This was a win for me. Continue.” He said professionally.

“I had so many plans in life. See my daughter’s son. Go to Rome. Learn how to cook my wife’s special chicken pot pie. Buy a beach house. So many plans. I was even learning how to play the flute!” There were tears in the old man’s eyes. He looked sad and disheartened. His hands shook from getting too emotional and Henry knew right then and there of what to do. He dimmed the lights of the room and pulled a projector.

“Oh you have this but you do not have a phone.” John muttered under his breath. Henry pretended not to hear it, but smiled quietly.

The projector started playing every good memory and memorable memory of John’s life. His first dog, his first day at school, first time he was given detention, first time he became a man, his trip to Switzerland with his family, his marriage, his wife’s death and his daughter’s birth. Every single memory he had was shown exactly how it happened. John was even more depressed after seeing that. He really did have a good time on Earth. His eyes were gloomy and tears fell down like a waterfall.
After the video ended, there was a pin drop silence between them. Henry did not know how to talk and John was busy reminiscing his life. After an awkward twenty minutes for Henry, he spoke, “So that was your life.”

“One disease ruins everything. I had so much planned. So much. I wish I never had cancer. I wish I was healthier. I wish I could tell my teenage self to stop smoking. Drinking so much, getting high. I wish I could go through that all over again.”

This made Henry smile, “Well you can! Now the next step is rebirth! I’ll send you back to-”

“What!?” The old man shrieked. “Rebirth? I don’t want to go back over there! It was a mess! I want to sit here, talk to people, and drink martinis by the pool. Gamble and not lose my actual hard earned money. Walk into the clouds as if I am flying the sky!”

“But weren’t you sad that you did not get to do much in life?” Henry was confused.

“Yes, but I am in heaven! I am literally on top of the world!”

“Not really.”

“I do not want to go back and live the hustling life. I want to stay here!”

“Well, um too bad you are going.”

“No God, no please. Let me stay, I want to swim among the clouds!” And immediately Henry pressed a button which made John disappear immediately.

“Humans are weird. One time they are crying about how they miss life, and the next, they want to escape. Being human is exhausting.” Henry said and there was a knock on the door again.
“Oh goody, another dead person!” and he went to visit the next traveller. 

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