Ebosele watched as he was lowered into the earth. Not a blade of grass moved. Not a petal of flower wavered. It was like the environment listened. He heard the wailing as though he was miles away. He didn’t feel a thing, at least not physically. He floated closer to the pit; closer to the sounds. He was here as an observer. A great crowd had gathered around his grave site. He had decided to stay away from his wife since he could no longer communicate with her. He watched as she wriggled against four of her friends who held her firmly each time she made a lunge toward the grave. He moved from person to person, carefully observing their faces and listening to their thoughts. Yes! He could hear thoughts when he went very close to people. He had discovered that yesterday at the mortuary. The mortician who dressed him up had been very bitter about his family. He held grudges against his wife and children. He was full of negative thoughts. Violent thoughts! Ebosele had wanted to tell the elderly man to be glad he could still return home after the day’s work. That he could see his wife and his children. That he could still feel the texture of clothes, and the warmth of a bed…
“That’s how rich people die. One day, they just die mysteriously. I’m not even sure if this one did any charity his whole life. He certainly never gave me anything apart from my salary which was never enough. Look at the carefully crafted coffin they bought for him. Vanity…”
Ebosele floated backwards in shock. How could his own gateman think such thoughts about him? Well, it was not as though he had their time. Maybe the man had good reason to feel that way about him. He moved closer to the priest who was busy saying some prayers over his grave. He had been taken to Church earlier that morning. It had been a very gloomy ceremony. His parents had not bothered to come. He had not been in good terms with his aged dad, though he had managed to keep in touch with his mom. He had been a busy man, with barely any time for his parents. So he understood that they couldn’t make it to his funeral. “Oh he was such a good man. The world will miss him.” The thoughts made Ebosele look at the face of the priest. He knew he had always paid his tithes. At least there were those who didn’t think him a bad person.
“Come walk with me.” The child instructed. “Don’t look so shocked”, he added, when he saw the look on Ebosele’s face. “I will guide you to the border town.”
Ebosele felt lost. How had he gotten here? He had just been at his graveside…
“That was your final contact with the world as you knew it,” the child said, again reading his thoughts. “You’ve been laid to rest in that world. From here it’s simply me and you.”
“Are you an angel?” Ebosele asked.
The child threw his head backwards and laughed. It was a welcome sound in that place of nothingness. “Don’t believe everything you’re told my friend. I am not an angel.”
“Who are you then? What are you?”
“The one who gets to take you through this state of nothingness my child. Don’t worry. When you get to the village of answers, you’ll find an answer to your questions.”
“The village of answers? How old are you?”
“Patience my child, patience. I was here before your world was created. You couldn’t calculate my age even if I told you. Here, time does not exist. Time ceased for you too as soon as you got here.” The child floated ahead. He was clad in garments of a colour Ebosele had never seen. He glided through the air like he owned the place, his hair flowing behind him. Ebosele thought he looked like someone he knew.
“No you don’t know me.” The child called. “Please keep up, we have a long way to go.”
The place got darker as the child glided away. It was then Ebosele realised that the only light in the place had emanated from the child. He rushed after the glow, suddenly scared of the enveloping darkness.
To be continued..