By: Francisco Dosal
I think high school for anyone is rough. I was in my senior year in high school and like any other teen I had a lot of question about life. Being Catholic and in the twenty-first century I began questioning if God even existence and was college something I desperately needed that I would consider leaving my family and leaving the state? It was all too much for me that I fell into a hole of confusion where I couldn’t sleep and barley ate, that was until I met Death.
I heard bones crackling and a knife being sharpened. My heart dropped. I opened my eyes and tried to get up. I looked over my shoulders and saw a figure standing by my door. He stood there watching me. I wanted to yell and ask who he was and what he wanted, but I couldn’t. I panicked as fear, confusion, and adrenaline rushed into my mind and body. I tossed and turned. It did not matter how much I struggled to set myself free, it was all in vein. I tried yelling but nothing came out my mouth. After an hour, I finally gave up. I looked over my shoulder and the figure was still standing there.
“You learn a lot faster than the rest,” said the figure. He had a funny voice. Is was not demonic or threatening. It was the voice of a man who had a sense of humor. “I’ma let you go now,” he said as he snapped his fingers. As soon as I felt freedom I jolted up to attack the intruder. But as I approached him I was quickly frozen by what I saw. He had on a black robe that floated freely around him like smog. I tried looking into his face but saw nothing. I stumbled and falling back I stared trying to make sense of it all.
“Who are you?” I asked in horror.
“Death’s the name and killings the game.” He glided over to a couch I had on the corner of my room. “Cool if I smoke in here bro?” A puff of smoke came from the couch as he sat down.
“Sure,” I faintly said. He raised his hand and out of thin air a cigar formed. His fingers were long and his skin was black as tar. Placing the cigar on what I believed was his lips, it lit. I hoped the cigar’s cherry would provide enough light to see his face. Inhaling slowly, the cigars sherry lit but his face remained in darkness.
“So kid how’s it going,” Death started.
“Fine,” I replied. He was ready to say something when he stopped and without saying a word vanished, all that was left a puff of gray smoke that surrounded my couch.
Since then, he continued seeing me. I would always wake and he would always lock me up, preventing my body from moving. He said he enjoyed seeing me struggle for life, he thought it was hilarious. He explained that he found it amusing watching a human being struggle for something that had no point. That death was part of life he would say. I remember telling him people were scared of death because no one knew what was after life.
“So what’s after death, Death?” I asked him once.
“Nothing,” he said plainly. It sounded pleasant coming from his. It sounded better than hearing there was a chance I was going to hell.
Whenever Death came, we talked about my day and his day. He talked about how every other person begged him for more time. I mostly talked about life, constantly asking Death what it was all about. The best advice he ever told me was that it did not matter what humans did, whether good or bad everyone dies. To spend as much time with loved ones because one day, “he’ll be a knockn’.” I remember asking him if he ever gave anyone more time and before he could answer he vanished into thin air.
“The big guy. He makes all the decisions, I can’t do anything about it.” Death explained. It had been nearly a week since I had last seen him.
“God?” I asked. “He really exists?
“Yea, he really does. Let me speak it in a language you understand. Is zero a number?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“See, you do believe God’s existence,” he lit up his cigar. I looked at him confused. I think he could see that I wasn’t fallowing. “The definition of a number is a quantity or amount. Zero is neither. It had no quantity or amount. Its nothing, void, yet it is considered a number.” Puffing on his cigar he blew out some smoke. Slowly, the smoke began forming into numbers. “Multiply three with nine and you get twenty-seven, if you dived twenty- seven by nine you go back to three. Now, if you did the same with zero you get something completely different. Three times zero is zero. So mathematically speaking dividing it by zero you should go back to three. Instead, you get nothing. This nothing, this void destroyed everything that exists; just as it creates it.”
He waved his hand around the numbers made of smoke. Erasing the numbers, he started anew. “So multiplying three by nine and then dividing it will bring up back to three right? Right! So multiplying three by zero than dividing it will bring us back to three? Sadly not. There’s a lot of power in something that doesn’t exist don’t you think? Anyways my final point. So let’s say that three times zero divided by zero did get you back to three. Let’s say that happened to any number.” Blowing more smoke into the air more number appeared. “What we come to find out is that zero equals three, twenty-three, one-thousand found hundred and fifty-three as well as eight-nine. Zero equals everything and anything.”
“Basically what I’m trying to say is zero can be anything is wants to be. God is everything and nothing; just like zero. Zero is void and infinite. God is the same way, for some it’s a man sitting on a grand chair and for others it’s a lizard with a magical staff. That was a joke by the way. That’s what’s amazing about not existing. You exist even when you don’t and exist it whatever fashion others want you to exist. Look at all the different religions and names he has.”
He left me with more questions than answers. “So he does exist?”
“Who would have thought right?,” he said puffing on his cigar.
“So why doesn’t he answer me, when I talk to him?”
“Because he doesn’t exist! Where were you when I was just explaining this?”
“I’m confused than why religion, why pray, why look towards him or her?”
“You’re talking religion, something he had no part of. You see, you have it all wrong. God exists as a concept. God, is the idea of infinite possibilities. The hope in your heart. The freedom to be human and to express yourself. Besides would you really want him talking to you, answering your prayers, and solving every crises? Think about it. If that happened every human being would stop communicating with each other and would grow apart. Having your prayers and crisis answers, pain would cease to exist. Pain brings people together. You know how many families I’ve brought together? The whole point of living is to suffer, so that you can find each other, God doesn’t want to interfere with human life but he’s there.”
“So,” I started but before I could finished he vanished, once again all that was left was a smoke.
Five years passed and I never say Death again. I had done research about my episodes and came to discover it was called rarer recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (RISP). It explained my mid-night wakes and not being able to move. All possibly triggered by stress during my senior year in high school. I’d like to believe that it was RISP but it all seemed too real, especial our last conversation. To this day I still ponder on what he told me. He made sense and made things clearer and simpler, and that always a good thing. Because of him I’ve become more neutral in things. I do not pick sides in what is good or bad. I spend more time with my family by attended a near college. I quit attending church and praying. Although, I still believe God exists and is, in some way, watching over me. Just the same way I like to think Death is doing the same thing, watching over me until his next and final visit.