Sunday Scribblings: "What scares you?"

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “What scares you?”
In the spirit of the Easter season, here’s something scary:

Purgatory

I died on a Tuesday; the somber, lightly-attended funeral was on a Friday.
And as a Vatican II-indoctrinated Catholic in my youth (and a disinterested, near-agnostic, casual sinner as an adult), I awake in a room of white. A cell really, a windowless space measuring 8 feet by 10 feet.
You could barely tell where the floor ends and the walls start; the ceiling glows with soft, white light – all of it.
I stand up, get my bearings.
There’s a twin bed on a simple white platform; the sheets are industrial white, as is the single pillow. There’s a white, porcelain toilet next to a white pedestal sink. There’s a white, single-door cabinet with a second set of pajamas, a single face towel (white) and a second set of linen in the same, seamless industrial white.
The pajamas I have on are the color of freshly-fallen snow.
There’s a single door, with no lock. I open it, stick my head into a long, white hallway with white doors spaced every 5 feet.
The hallway stretches to the left and to the right into infinity.
I slam the door shut, close my eyes, try and breathe.
My eyes snap open and I walk to the small white table and pull out the single, white chair and sit. On the table is a white feathered quill pen and an alabaster jar of ink. Next to the inkwell is a leather-bounded bible; the grain is rich and luxurious, like cream. I flip open the cover and find that it’s empty, just page after page of smooth, colorless parchment.
I close the book, run the side of my index finger across my lips, my thumb holing up my chin, and ponder the vast emptiness of this place.
Above the table, a rectangular screen activates, glowing white as the ceiling, which dims in response.
A single message appears:
“Fill it, and thus executes your obligation.”
There’s a lump in my throat, which has gone dry, scratchy.
I go pallid.
My brain swells with a single nugget of wisdom, some ache of a memory, a long-ago lesson in Catholic Christian Doctrine I had tried to ignore; the final responsibility for the wicked, us casual sinners.
The color refuses to flush into my cheeks.
See, I’d never quite got around to reading the Bible, cover to cover, word for word.
I take a deep breath, exhale.
And into my shaking hand, I grasp the quill, dip the nib into the ink. I take another deep breath and hold it. I flip to the first page and write:
“In the beginning…”

12 comments:

quin browne said...

thom! i love this...




personally, i think we are in purgatory now...

anthonynorth said...

I see the light ;-)

SweetTalkingGuy.. said...

Phew, this is some task... and then there's all the names of all the kings and the tribes and...

Tumblewords: said...

Surely, you are off to a good start! Excellent story. Scary and filled with great imagery. Wonderful!

mytegirl said...

What a task.

A wonderful read!

susan said...

I'd be screwed! Should I start reading now? :-) Good one, Thom.

Megha said...

great and detailed imagination....i could render the scenario...

Nana said...

Some say the purgatory is the world we live in. I agree, in a way. But I think we are reborn, over and over again until we learn all that there is to learn. Then, we move on to Heaven. I think it's not the most populated place, lol. Thx you for checking out my blog! I think I'll take your advice and print out my post, tuck it in the wallet :)

Nana said...

Some say the purgatory is the world we live in. I agree, in a way. But I think we are reborn, over and over again until we learn all that there is to learn. Then, we move on to Heaven. I think it's not the most populated place, lol. Thx you for checking out my blog! I think I'll take your advice and print out my post, tuck it in the wallet :)

Jay said...

You wrote that very visually - I had a great mental image of where he was! And the idea of being obliged to write the Bible ... how daunting!

alister said...

Oh, that's too, too good! When they were passing out clever, you stepped right up and got yourself a boat load of it, didn’t you?! ; )
Man, Thom, I’ve been out of it for what? two weeks? I guess. I’ve got some serious catching up to do here. Cherry looks particularly good at a glance. Think I’ll do one a day here until I’m up with your program : )

LadyGarfield said...

that was very clever.. and lovely. i almost expected you to say the ink was white too ;)