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Not God, At Least

A short story

I forget sometimes who I am, or why I'm here. I think it's because I've been here so long that I forget everything, I lose my sense of self. I can only hear the machine beep faintly, but even that comforting noise has been drowned out. fading out into nothingness.

At first, I could hear their voices pleading at me to come back, desperate and distraught, but after a while, their pleads turned to stories. They would come and tell me about their day. How work was going, what they had done that weekend, the new movie they saw the other day. It was nice, familiar somehow. But no matter how much I tried to pay attention to the details so that when I woke up I could tell them I was there, that I had listened, I was starting to fade out, ever so slightly. I felt like I wasn't really there like my mind was wandering someplace else and the little stories they told me soon faded into background noise.

After a while, I forgot my name too, it was something with an A, I think, People started coming less often too, I couldn't say how I just knew. And I couldn't figure out how long I'd been here. I couldn't tell time, and I so desperately wanted to, It all felt like a big weird dream, where my consciousness was in between both, where my consciousness was not mine.

And that brings me to now, to the hallucinations. I have been dreaming about him for a while now. A man in a black suit, with an all too beautiful cane. I saw myself chasing after his shadow, in pursuit, out of curiosity I wanted to ask him who he was, why he was here, in my mind.

Then he revealed himself to me, a young man, with curly hair, a beard, and striking blue eyes.

"Who are you?" I asked him.

"I'm death," he answered.

"Oh." I was surprised. "Have you come for me?"

"Not quite," he said. "It's not your time yet. You still have things to do, people to meet, worlds to invent. I've come to you before it was too late."

"You mean I'm going to live?" I asked.

"You have to. Otherwise all this would've been for nothing." Beep.

"But, why me?"

"Because you deserve it. You weren't supposed to get hit by that bullet." Beep. "And I'm a big fan of your work."

"I see, my work?" I contemplated.

"You're going to do great things," he stated, almost as if he was proud.

"Well, will I see you again?"

"Probably, when you're old and sitting by a lake house with a book, that's when I'll be waiting for you." He smiled sadly. "Until then, I can't wait to read your work. Goodbye," he said as if we were old acquaintances and banished into the air.

The beeping sound got stronger until I felt it ringing right next to my ear. Painfully.

"She's crashing!" a doctor yelled out. "Get me the defibrillator!"

I felt a shock. Then two. Then three.

The pain, in my chest, forced me to open my eyes and breathe. Through my hazy vision, I saw the doctor, looking at the monitor next to my bed. I reached out my hand and grabbed his arm.

He snapped his head at me, grabbing my reaching hand in his own. "She's awake, call the family." He looked at me.

"It's alright, you're going to be okay."

-----

A month later, I was released from the hospital. My parents were relieved and thanked God for his performed miracle. I hugged my friends. They all looked so different now. They said I'd been in a coma for over two years, asked me to describe what it was like.

"Did you meet God?" they asked. I tried to remember, but it was so so faint.

"No, I don't think so," I would try to explain. "Not god, at least."

-----

Decades down the road, when I was sitting on the porch of my house, looking at the sunset over the lake, with my book in hand, one of the many that I had written, my grandchildren had just left the house to get some ice cream. I sat there and contemplated in peace as I heard him come up behind me.

"Say, did you spare my life simply because you liked my work?"

"It was not mine to take." I heard his voice behind me. "I told you you were destined for great things. Your work is going to change the world."

"Well." I took a deep breath. "I'm guessing you've come for real this time." I watched the calm water.

"Yes. Unfortunately, so let's walk together Agnes, and you can tell me all about your work. I'm a big fan."

I smiled and looked up at those familiar blues eyes. He extended his hand at me. And I took it. " You sure are a gentleman." I chuckled.

"Anything for my favorite author."

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