Spiritual Fiction posted October 25, 2014

This work has reached the exceptional level
an allegory

The Cabin

by mfowler

When you've been a low-life since childhood, you'd think that, at least in death, you'd get a warm welcome as you banged on the doors of Hell.  
But, it seems I'm wrong. The big fella with the scythe led me through the black cloud, but he's left me here, alone on a broken road heading into dense forest. Behind is the cloud and onward the road. Seems I have to carry my load a few more miles.
Frankly, I'm disappointed. After the abuse I took as a child from a mother who blamed me for my father's leaving, and an adult life of wasted opportunities and drunken lechery, I wanted this part to be easier. I wanted to know that the pain of Hell's punishment would be part of a regular routine; not a life of wildly fluctuating hopes and broken dreams.
I plod on. It seems strange to feel weariness now I'm dead, but that's exactly what this journey makes me feel.  I want to lie down and disappear into sleep, but I'm drawn on.
Through the darkness of the forest I see a light.
I push through the undergrowth towards it. There's a small cabin and the light glows from its front window. I'm so tired and cold that I can't wrangle with the incredulity this scene should evoke. Inside the cabin, a lamp burns warmly on a wooden table. A small cot is set invitingly by a small fire crackling in the hearth.
Death is taking on hues of opportunity beyond my imagining. I lay on the bed, ready to slip into easy dreams. Suddenly, the cabin door opens and a stranger appears in the shadow. I rub my eyes and glimpse the face of an old woman whose skin is pocked and seeping.
'Go away, old woman. I found this place first.' I want to sleep so badly that I begin to think it's a dream. She says nothing and leans against the table barely able to support her own weight.
She gestures, as if she wants my bed to rest on. 'No,' I say with petulance, 'my need is greater than yours.' She slumps to the floor. I feel uncomfortable with my selfish response and rise to help her up. She gratefully accepts my strength. The sight of her skin repulses me, but I can't leave her there.
I lay her on the cot and cover her with my cloak. I find comfort of sorts on the floor in front of the fire where I finally slip into slumber. My dreams strangely turn to childhood and the mother I once knew; sweet and joyous, the face I knew before my father left. Her eyes are as familiar as breath itself.
I wake to the call of birdsong. The old crone has vanished. I remember her eyes though; familiar as breath itself.
The road seems wider this morning and has meandered off into green fields alive with butterflies and swathed in spring colours. The dross of the forest has passed and I feel energetic; almost happy. Can't be.
I ponder what's happening. The only thing I can think of is that my destination has changed.




an allegory
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