“Join us in undeath” she said, in a quavering voice. It was definitely a female voice. I was just as sure that I had misheard her.
“Beg pardon?” I asked.
“Give in to the truth.” she whispered. “Join us in undeath.”
“I’m afraid I can’t understand you. Are you saying you are not alive? Then how are you speaking?”
“Many things speak that have not life.” The voice replied. “Do the rocks not shout their permanence at you? Does the water not speak of eternal motion? Is it so hard to believe in undeath?”
“Well, since you put it that way” I said “why don’t the things that speak as you suggest not use words that I can understand?”
“Can you not understand permanence? Can you not comprehend endless motion?”
“I began and I will end.” I said. “That is the truth that I know. What can I really know of permanence? What temporary being can comprehend eternity? I can grasp the concepts. I can’t really know the meaning.”
“Then join us.” The voice repeated. “Join us in undeath.”
“Let’s say I believe you are undead.” I replied. “What does that mean? Do you have substance? I can’t see you.”
“We are all around you. You cannot see us because your impermanence will not let you see. You have but to speak assent, and you will be one of us.”
“I will assume then that you do have substance. Are you confined within that substance forever? Or can you change what you are?”
“We are not water and we are not rocks. We are neither permanence nor fluidity. We are undeath.”
“Ah. So you are defined by what you are not. You are the alternative to death?”
“We are undeath”
“Yes. I think we’ve established that fact.”
“Do not mock that which you cannot understand.”
“No offense intended. I beg your pardon ma’am. I just want to know why this choice is being offered to me now?”
“All who face death are offered this choice at their moment of transition.”
“You mean my time is up then?” I hadn’t thought about where or when I was until this very moment. Where was I? It wasn’t home, wherever this place was. It was too… fuzzy. Worse than my usual myopia. Were those my bookshelves? No. No, mine were not that large. Or were they smaller than mine? Were they even shelves? Bars, maybe? It was so damn hard to see. Where were my glasses? I started to reach out and realized that I had no arms. I didn’t have legs either, now that I tried to move those. They were simply not present. I started to panic. “What has happened to my body? Where am I?”
“Your people have many names for this place. The place of transition? Translation? Perhaps you wait for the ferryman? Purgatory? It is hard to say what concept that you would find meaningful in its description. It is the place of gathering. It is the place of weighing and judging. All come here before taking their place in the universe.”
“My wife and children? Are they here too?”
“All come here before taking their place.”
“Are they here now?”
“All come here before taking their place.”
“Can I see them? Can I talk to them?”
“This is your time and place. Yours and yours alone. Choose now.”
“All right then. What are my choices?”
“Ending or remaining are your choices. Choose.”
I contemplated existence. It had been a good life. She was beautiful, my wife. Maybe not beautiful to other people, but beautiful to me. She showed up just when I needed her in life, and stayed with me through all the ups and downs. We had beautiful children. They grew and moved on and had their own children.
I had work that had been rewarding. I had made the world a better place, I hoped anyway. It had been a good life. “What is there here that would make me want to stay here?” I asked.
“There is continued existence.” The voice said. It sounded impatient now. Demanding. “You will not cease to be and will continue on as you are now. Choose.”
I surveyed my existence. I couldn’t really see. There was little to hear other than the voice. What feeling there was was vague, but not unpleasant. It was a feeling like the edge of sleep. I could go on dreaming like this forever if I wanted. Surveying the landscape of my past life, possibly glancing other times and worlds. “Is this all that there is here?” I asked.
“Choose.” said the voice. It was definitely impatient now.
I wanted to see Terry again. I wanted to see her and Susan and Bill. To see them and their kids. I wanted to see mom and dad again, though they have been dead for years now. Now? What is now anyway? Eternal presence? I wanted to see my grandparents again, lost to me so long ago that their faces are blurred by time itself. I wanted to live, but living was over. Living was not a choice that I had now.
“Let me go,” I said.
“The choice has been made.” said the voice.
There was a blinding light. I blinked my eyes. There was a field in front of me. In the distance I could see Terry and the kids, and their kids in front of them. Behind them was mom and dad and their parents and their parents, parents waiting. Waiting in a field of flowers.
I had made the right choice. I ran to them with open arms and they opened their arms for me in anticipation. “I’m free,” I thought. “I’m fr…”
This is the kind of thing that sprouts up in your head after you’ve spent a solid 36 hours straight turning other players and non-player characters into zombies during the pre-patch event for Shadowlands. Featured image is a screencap from the Shadowlands cinematic trailer.