I put pen to paper under the auspices of saints and gothic spires. The night conspires against me, but I am determined it shall not take me.
The ghosts of my past skirt the borders of the churchyard. I am imprisoned. My own evil has come back to haunt me and there is nothing I can do to prevent it. The shades sweep by as wailing winds that only I can hear in these darkest hours. They shall never forgive me; I shall never forgive myself.
My hands tremble, so I place my pen and notebook upon the low wall that seats me and clasp them together. The shakes do no stop, as my whole body convulses to their rhythm. I gaze up to the saintly figures illuminated by some spectral light, they do nothing to console me. I am as unwanted within as without.
You see, I am dead. You may not think it to look at me, although I have always had a pallid sheen, but I am. My soul should have fled when our car was struck by another. It did not. I would not allow it. And so I crawled away from collision without care or concern for others. I crawled to the here and now of this cemetery in the middle of nowhere that abuts a church of inglorious name. Here I wait for my soul to depart, or be taken, and make these final notes on a life ill-spent.
What of the others I spoke of, I hear you shout? Bad friends, acquaintances I should rather not have met, and…! I cannot bring myself to say her name. I cannot bring myself to think of her as the devil’s shakes take me again and I yearn for another drink.
The saints have my number. I know that. They look to me with pity and shame. They would ask me to leave, to step from this holy ground, but I fear to. Oh, how I fear to! Life has not treat me well and I have not given it reason to. I am not a good man, although I wish to be. The ghouls howl to the sky and I shiver again.
My body hurts. All my body hurts. It is not an inveigling worm of pain but an explosion of dying cells being stripped into the atoms of the night. I am dying by the decimal point. I am diminishing in stages.
Something calls. I say something because I know not what I hear, only that it chills me. Who knows my name here in this middle of nowhere place? There is but one and I dare not look.
The calling persists. It wears at me. I am being rubbed out, replaced by a space I should frequent for longer. I know who calls me and reach to her. There is a feeling of propulsion of sliding from one place to the next and I find myself at the churchyard gates. I can see the broken wreck in the distance: Isabella is at my side. There is a line between us called death and I rest one step from crossing it. She beckons. I resist. She insists. I protest. She smiles. I am broken.
I take one last look at the illuminated, stained glass windows. I think I see a saint wave goodbye. I must leave. I have no choice.
That step from one world to the next does not hurt as much as I think. Perhaps it is the hand that takes my own; a warm hand, not dead. Not anymore. And for the first time in an age, I realise that I am not that bad person I think. I am just me amongst many others of the same. And I smile. And I pass on. And I am happy. At last.