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Act of God
by collette mcfarland 
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Act of God

Folder: stories
Last Modified: 8/18/06 5:44 pm

Act of God

Slumlord? What's their problem? It's not my fault they can't afford better housing. They're darn lucky I provide them with a roof and four walls. If they want repairs they need to expect a rent increase or do their own maintenance. It was time to leave, no way I'm going to listen to any more complaints at the tenants association meeting. They keep bringing up the poor soul who died of a heat stroke in his apartment because I wouldn't install air conditioning. This was Texas after all. Summer was literally a killer; I wasn't responsible for acts of God.

I steered my car towards the freeway. The last thing I remembered was the car pulling out in front of me. I had a green light, they ran a red light. No, that's not true, I also remembered scenes from my life passing in front of me. The days I stole, lied, cheated, committed adultery, schemed to murder,(never actually pulled it off but plotting it was cathartic), partied, and climbed up the latter of success, buying multiple apartment complexes. Then I felt searing pain, but just for a second before I entered total blackness.

I eventually came to, but didn't have a concept of time. I had been thrown from my car and was lying on the roadside.I slowly sat up and looked around. There were two cars meshed together, smoldering, with police and emergency techs milling around them. Two bodies were on stretchers nearby with paramedics working furiously to stabilize them. A man was standing by one stretcher holding a ladies hand and crying. The lady was smiling wanely at him. The paramedic assured the man that it wasn't as bad as it looked.

I must not be bad off. No one was working on me. I needed to get back to the office, time was money. I called over to one of the EMT's to ask if I could use his cell phone, since mine was missing from my pocket. I didn't have time to go to the emergency room. It was amazing how good I felt looking at the condition of what appeared to once be my Jaquar.

The guy nearest me was so busy with his work he didn't even look up at me.
I experienced a sensation of tugging on my legs. Turning to see who had a hold of me I only saw a blanket covered mass. Oh, no, someone didn't survive. They should have been more careful at the intersection, running red lights is fatal. Thank heavens I had the right of way. The driver of the other vehicle was guilty of manslaughter. Serves him right, inconveniencing me like this. The tugging continued to get stronger but no one was there. I began to feel apprehensive, something close to an anxiety attack was affecting me. I jumped to my feet to run away. The tugging increased and increased, pulling me to my knees. Looking down I realized I wasn't on my knees but that my legs had sunk below the ground and my waist was vanishing below the surface. I was sinking into the earth. Two horrible thoughts occured to me. I stretched hard to reach the sheet over the still body and yanked it off just as I sunk down to my chest. The body on the ground, the one that didn't make it, was mangled and bloody but I knew it well. It was me! The teachings of my sainted mother returned to me with fervor,stories of heaven and hell. Fear gripped me. I thought they had just been stories to make me behave!

I yelled to the sky above me, "Don't do this, I was going to make a decision when I retired! Give me a break. Show me your famous grace!"

"Sorry, no second chances after death." was the reply. It was an act of God.

My head disappeared below ground. I made out different layers of dirt, worms, rocks, roots, insects, maggots and started screaming and lashing out. Further and further I went. Hotter and hotter it got,with temperatures soaring higher than any summer day in Texas. I found myself in a muddy tunnel with others and soon I was dumped in a dark cave with more bodies. All my senses were assaulted. My skin sizzled, my blood boiled and evaporated. My lips and tongue felt like sandpaper. I experienced incredible thirst and longed for my liquor bar at home. My ears were subjected to wicked screaming and wailing from deeper down. Acrid smoke filled my nasal passages with burning flesh. My eyes were fighting the darkness. Dirt and grit scratched my corneas. I know they were open but I saw nothing but absolute darkness. The brief moment I had entered darkness after the accident was the only relief from pain I'd ever know again.

I slid down a steep incline at the back of the cave with other carcasses, all howling and shouting, begging and praying. And bargaining. "Let's work something out", most of us pleaded with our Judge and Jury."Give us a chance to warn our families about this place!" The answer came back, "If your families didn't listen to my ministers, they won't listen to the dead!"

We rolled towards a huge furnace fueled by screeching bodies. Monstrous beasts were pushing us in. People were striking each other, crawling over each other trying to put distance between them and the blaze. There was no escape. The heat was past suffocating. I tried to climb back up the way I came. There were no hand or footholds. More bodies falling down blocked the exit. Hysterically I formed a plan. If all of us worked together we could climb up, we could get out of here. No one was listening to my shouts. No one could hear me over their own wailing. No one was going to cooperate. Inside the furnace faces looked out, melting and reforming, old faces, old bodies. They were scorched and still aware of their circumstances. No morphine or pain drugs here. People from history books were present. Infamous people dead for centuries, still suffering. People who had plotted violent crimes together were treating each other with the code of violence they had committed. All friendships, alliances or connections were meaningless now. No one could offer anyone an alternative. Everyone here had been villains or gang members on earth, here in the bowels of hot lava no partnerships existed.

Searching above me for some exit, some sign of hope in a hopeless situation, I caught a glimpse of the tenant who had died of heat exhaustion in my apartments. He was on a soft cloud by a swiftly flowing river lined with all types of fruit bearing trees, being offered cool beverages by a beautiful winged creature. Seconds latter I was shoveled into the incinerator with the rest of humanity's trash. Weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth for eternity. I will find no friends or relieve in hell. This was the last act of God for me.

Luke 16:19-31

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