Dave knew he had taken the corner too fast as the car careened off the embankment.
Dave knew this was serious when he felt the vertebrae snap in his neck.
Dave knew he was dying as his vision tunneled into black.
Dave knew also that time hadn’t stopped as he could feel moments passing in his mind. He felt space stretch into the universe around him and time became meaningless.
However now he was no longer corporeal he could move without the need of having a physical presence. Which was fantastic! It was the greatest sensation he had ever felt and he realized that it wasn’t a physical sensation but a mental one. Years of fighting against the forces of gravity were relieved from his senses and it was a weight off of his mind now.
Here he was now free from having a body and the worry of self preservation. What was left to preserve? Nothing he thought. He had done it. He had transcended his mortal presence without losing his sentience but now what were the rules?
Was he a ghost now, doomed to haunt the living. Could he find the right house to haunt. He didn’t feel like haunting though whatever that was supposed to feel like. His vision began to return and he could see himself floating above the crash site. Maybe he was to be imprisoned on this stretch of highway forever driving his car over the edge. There would be the odd passerby that would report the sighting.
“Yep,” and the local townsfolk would just say, “That was old Dave still trying to make that curve and luring people to their doom.”
Although, luring innocents to their fiery deaths didn’t really appeal to Dave at all. He knew he was going too fast and it was stupid of him to think otherwise. No reason to blame anyone. And he didn’t see any ghost car waiting anywhere for him drive away into the foggy night of eternity.
There already emergency personnel on the scene trying to resuscitate the poor shell that once was Dave’s body. But from what Dave could see of what was left of his body, coming back was not going to happen no matter if that genius guy from a medical show himself jumped out that ambulance.
Heads were not meant to have the shape Dave’s body had on it now.
Dave tried to reenter his body but he would keep passing through it as he was not able to stop and hold himself inside his body anymore. But he would just slip over it like when you put the same poles of two magnets together. He felt repelled…and it was by himself ironically.
As Dave remembered his life as it was then with family, friends, enemies and lovers. He began to wonder about this life as it is now. Dave also could see the scene around him close in upon itself.
His view of the world began to tunnel even more now bending around itself until …there was the glowing light above him. It was a point of light calling to him and he was getting closer and closer. The point turned into a ball which became a sphere growing into the size of the planet he was just noticing he had left.
The light had an attraction that he could not quite define, only that he wanted to be part of it. To bathe in the brilliance of this magnificent illumination that made him feel safe and ….he struck something and bounced back like a ball. Some invisible force was keeping him away. He struggled against it using muscles that didn’t exist anymore against something he could not fathom. He told himself it was futile but really he thought more that it was just getting boring.
Yet another metaphysical let down. What a surprise. So if this was his judgement day, where was the tribunal or court that sentenced him to damnation or opened some pearly gate somewhere. Wasn’t there supposed to be some drama that either blessed or cursed him to this eternity?
But there wasn’t. Maybe this was that middle place the religions talked about…purgatory. Right.
Still didn’t feel right though, without some formal declaration to frame this experience it was just left up to him to define what this was…or wasn’t.
So he began traveling around the thing. Occasionally bouncing off whatever barrier there was. Think scientifically he told himself. Gather data. Analyse. Construct your hypothesis.
He began with the process of elimination. This isn’t a physical universe anymore yet this barrier seemed to imply there was some force at work here. He didn’t sense any guidance was moving him only his own curiosity. Perhaps that was his guidance.
The thought came to him that cold, heat, hunger, joy are exceptional, not common experiences to those without senses. It began to occur as reasonable that corporeal existence could only be appreciated fully after living in the mortal world.
Did I just use the term “mortal” he thought. Am I immortal then?
That remained to be seen as there may be strong conjecture but that conclusion was subjective brought about by hyperbole. And then there was the matter of the absence of other entities for the lack of a better word. He had not seen or maybe the better word ‘sensed’ anyone or anything else other than the glowing sphere.
But how could he sense anything without senses. He knew he could see but it wasn’t by using real eyes it was more a clarity of perception concerning the things around him. Just like in dreams. The perception wasn’t from movement but the scene that he held in his mind appeared around him like space around the sphere.
Then he began intensely looking into the sphere and what appeared faint clouds that shimmered with their own lights and he could see movement. Now he was inside the sphere of light and could the clouds stretching endlessly. One cloud had rays of light shining from behind it. Maybe that was the judgement hall and he had just come in the back door, he thought. There was hope for answers yet.
As he approached a cloudy embankment, it began to reveal a sphere of great columned structures, the golden glow and what appeared as a gigantic gate. Then he could make out forms walking and flying around much like those biblical movies from the 1950’s. Beyond the gate was a pinnacle with a shining throne surrounded by prostrating crowds of white robed forms.
Dave looked further around and on the horizon of the other clouds, he saw another sphere of blackened reddish cloud with the same architectural features like columns and arches and stairs but at impossible angles like some drawing by M. C. Escher.
But there were yet more of these spheres within the procession of clouds. Some had lush gardens, others were cities of gilded gold, another of silver. On and on it went these massive collections of what mortal desire had forged into segmented perceptions of paradise. Each a private state of consciousness for those unwilling to look beyond that horizon of belief.
Dave saw these to be infinite combinations from infinite sources. The realization of the nature of an infinite universe became apparent. The variations couldn’t end…there was no possible way for infinity to end. Once something was defined by the universe, the universe changed its state or nature or essence to become something else. Dave wasn’t frightened by the vastness of infinity but it was the infinitesimal part he held in it that captivated his imagination. He sought no refuge from his own thoughts.
Dave contemplated his place in this ever changing construct of perception and as realization took over his consciousness. The feeling of connection to all things and people in the universe took over now. Dave had always felt this way but had to keep it in check due to the demands of survival. But now, the differences didn’t matter as here it is our uniqueness that makes us equal.
All this was a slow motion explosion of consciousness that never ends. It expressed itself from the stone inside mountains, leaves blowing the winds, creatures in the sea to this point of consciousness that saw it reflected back into itself. Each collection of experience fulfilling this inevitable expression of energy as they are created by the response of creating the experience itself. Reflections of consciousness in a variety that cannot end by the very fabric of it’s nature. To be.
Was this the role of mortality to include a finality or the experience of an end to something that had none. Would that complete the circle of experience he thought. If the universe was infinite as well as being conscious of itself, would not both respond by creating a finite or limited experience. The physical universe became only one possible variation of infinity. The other variations became known as an afterlife and seen as the goal or eventual outcome of physical existence. But it was the other way around. Mortal experience wasn’t a test of morals but a response to an existence that does not and cannot end.
Science tells us that the universe has a beginning that instruments can detect. Science tells us that the universe expands faster as it moves farther away from the observer. Could this mean the universe is so distant we can never reach it or detect it? Would that mean there could be no end or beginning we can ever experience?
Could that be what is called infinity.
What was once Dave felt this was it’s natural or original state and the question of existence seemed not as important now after living the life it had as a “mortal”.
What was once Dave had been mortal which led it to an inevitable outcome based on it’s own decisions of which it had control of all the time. What was once Dave knew it was going too fast and now it could accept what it couldn’t at the time with it’s baggage of mortality’s frailty gone. Now it could fully accept the timelessness that infinity held with all it’s combination and variation because it had learned what it was to not be infinite.
With a contentment in that realization, it occurred to what was once Dave that this primal need had been accomplished. No matter what it had done in that mortal existence it was completed now and the need for mortality had passed. That is when the entity known as Dave by his parents, his friends, and his lovers became that which is called forever.
With that, Dave’s body let out it’s final breath.