Death. The end of the life of a person or organism. Death is unique in that everyone perceives it differently. Some of us see death as something that is beautiful, something that should be cherished. Some of us, however, are afraid to die. The state of no longer existing is incomprehensible and terrifying. Maybe this is why religion was created. To give sufferers of thanatophobia hope that they can live on even after they die. Are you afraid of death? Harry was.
Harry was raised in a Christian family, and although he still had faith in his religion, he had doubts from time to time. Seeing all the chaos going on in the world made him question the righteousness and existence of God. That little girl on the news last night that was kidnapped, raped, and murdered; how could such a god allow that to happen? Was that little girl now rejoicing in heaven, or has she simply vanished from existence? These were the types of thoughts that crossed his mind almost daily. Then, he found his answer.
One day, while walking home from school, Harry was waiting to cross the street. When the little symbol of the pedestrian lit up on the traffic light, he began walking. As he was nearly midway across the street, a reckless driver sped through the red light and made a beeline straight towards Harry. Harry turned his head just in time to notice the car's headlights were turned on, and then Harry turned off... Sort of.
As the car collided with Harry, his body flew up into the air and smashed right into the ground. He felt his bones everywhere cracking, and wanted to let out a deafening scream, but he couldn't. As his skull cracked open and blood began pouring out of his head like a waterfall, the only thing he could think about was screaming to alleviate the excruciating pain, but his mouth was frozen. In fact, his entire body was frozen. His eyes, which were still open, wouldn't shut. His heart stopped beating, and he was no longer breathing. It was as if each of his organs were paralyzed, yet somehow he was still able to perceive things. He was beyond terrified.
"Oh shit, oh shit," the driver said as he ran from his car towards Harry's limp body.
Harry, still limp on the ground, listened to the driver calling the police.
"Hello? Yeah, yeah, I just hit someone with my car... No, it was an accident... I don't know... I think he's dead!"
Harry listened to the driver's entire conversation with the police. They kept him on the phone until the police finally arrived. There was a medical examiner with them that checked Harry's pulse, and told the officers that he was dead. The driver began crying, and Harry wanted to cry much more, but he clearly could not. One of the police officers closed Harry's eyes, now limiting one of his senses. He was now in the dark, and was filled with an even greater sense of dread as he felt his body being lifted up and taken away. Several weeks went by, and he really didn't know where he was, until eventually the day of his funeral came.
He felt himself being placed into a casket, and heard all the preparation of the funeral, hours before it actually began. From the way things sounded, it was an open casket. As time passed, more people congregated into the church where the funeral was taking place. He heard people go up and speak about how great of a person he was, and how much of a shame it was that his life had been cut short. The most difficult part for Harry was how uncontrollably his mother was crying. She would try to hold it in, but her wails would break through the silence she so vigorously tried to create. When she came up to look into the casket, she completely lost it as she broke into tears. If there was something that Harry wanted more than anything at this time, it was to be able to open his eyes and see his mother one last time.
The funeral ended, and Harry heard his casket shut. He felt himself being carried to his burial plot, and being lowered into the ground. He had definitely experienced a lot of terrifying things in his life, but nothing could compare to this. Being buried alive (well, dead actually) was making him agonizingly claustrophobic. There was no relief from his anguish, yet the years passed anyway. As the time went on, things only got more difficult. He had no way of telling what time it was, whether anyone was walking above him, or really anything at all for that matter. He just felt bitterly cold. It wasn't long before bugs were able to make their way into the casket as well. The bugs hardly even bothered him as they crawled up and down his body, into what was left of his decaying skin. He sometimes tried to escape reality by thinking of past events in his life, but the state he was in proved inescapable, even temporarily. Harry was truly doomed to a terrible fate for eternity. He had lost all faith.
Trust me, death is not the end.
But you will wish it was.