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Finally Coming Home

Metaphysical Flash Fiction by Dennis Bruce Shipman (730 words)
SongSecure.com Copyright Registration - March 13, 2024

BlissfulVisions.com I always knew when they were ready to let go of their shackles and leave this world.

They would walk up to the wooden bench where I sat, while enjoying my sack lunch and take a seat near me. Without fail, when they felt ready, they would always ask me the same question: “Does it hurt?” I would respond with a faint smile and consistently tell them the same answer: “No. It’s actually, genuinely, very enjoyable.”

Until that time arrived, I kept quiet and to myself, taking note of the many spirits strolling through the cemetery, perpetually searching for something they never found. It was an old cemetery with a rich history. Many of the unkept headstones dated back to the era of the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate soldiers were buried here. I know because I saw them walk the grounds in their tattered battle-torn uniforms stained with blood, spilled during their fatal battles.

“Been here 162 years.” A man’s voice resonated from behind me. “Been waitin’ patiently for my sweetheart to come fetch me.” With a deliberate pace, he walked around the bench and sat down. His once spotless gray uniform was drenched with dark dried blood splattered across his chest. His countenance, once fair and vibrant, was now marred by the accumulation of tar and mud upon his pale grayish face and his fading hair, once a bright shade of blond.

“She’s not here,” I said.

“I waited and waited and walked every inch of this place looking for her. A hundred and sixty-two years. I reckon she won’t be comin’.”

“She went into the light,” I said. “Are you ready to go meet her?” He looked at me as if I didn’t belong in a cemetery eating my lunch.

“Do you see me?”

“Plain as day,” I said.

“Why do you come here?”

“It’s what I was born to do. I have the gift.” I took another bite of sandwich.

“Aren’t you afraid of ghosts? Most folks are.”

“No such thing to me. You just missed the train when you died, that’s all. I’m here to help you catch it again, if that’s what you want.”

“What does it look like?”

“I’ll show you.” I lifted my arms above my head, pushed my hands into the sky, recited a few enchanting phrases, and witnessed the manifestation of a column of pure radiant iridescent white light. It’s luminous column, adorned with shimmering specks of illumination, was as wide as a sturdy wooden keg. It soared majestically into the boundless expanse of the sky, firmly securing its connection to the Earth below.

“Oh, my,” he said. “That’s very beautiful. Somehow, I missed that when they laid me to rest.” He paused for a moment, then asked, “Is it hot?”

“No. Go ahead. Put your finger in it and feel it.” He inched his finger closer to the light, and stopped just shy of its outer surface.

“It looks inviting,” he said, sliding his finger into the light until it reached his knuckle and giving it a slight wiggle. “It feels warm and tingly.” He pushed his whole hand into the light, swiftly followed by thrusting his entire arm into it. “Oh, my, this feels better than any sex I’ve ever had. I like it.”

His uniform began to undergo a metamorphosis of returning to its original brightness.

“How does it work, you know, going home?” he asked.

“Just step into the light.”

“Will I feel all warm and tingly like when I stuck my arm in it?”

“Sure will. In fact, there’s more bliss and joy inside the light than you’ve ever had in your life. It’s what you’ve been waiting for all these many years.”

“I think I’m ready now. Will you come with me?”

“It’s not my time,” I said. “Besides, I got to stay and help the others. Don’t worry. You’ll be safe and full of joy. I’ll see you again sometime on the other side.”

He stepped forward into the light, immersing himself in its radiance, and gradually began to ascend. His uniform returned to its pristine condition, as his ghostly figure began to fade and his luminous lightbody materialized and took prominence.

Then his ascension accelerated significantly, and he swiftly soared up and out of sight. Shortly thereafter, the column of light vanished. And by that time, my sack lunch was also gone.

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