This short story was inspired by a prompt given to me at my local writing group
“You die and go to heaven. You’re the first.”
It didn’t hurt, not really. I was frightened though. When I heard the squeal of brakes and turned my head I knew the car would never stop in time. A red Audi, with a dent on the right side of the bumper and a cracked headlight. Funny how the little details stick in your mind, isn’t it? I expect the dent’s a lot bigger now.
One minute I’m minding my Ps and Qs, if not exactly minding where I’m going, the next thing I know I’m drifting towards a light. It was like I was flying through the sky, but there was no rush of air. No sunshine, no cold, just a serene sense of travel. I wasn’t trying to move in any particular direction. It’s just that this way, towards this place, seemed the proper thing to do. The light was streaming through the parting in a pair of heavy, red velvet curtains.
Inside there is a large circle of sawdust within a raised ring. And surrounding the centre, tiered seats as far as the eye can see. There’s nobody else around. I try calling out and that’s when I realise the acoustics in this place are amazing. They really shouldn’t be, but even without a mic I can tell my voice is carrying all the way to the back of the tent. And that’s so far away I can barely see it.
It’s weird, I feel like I belong here. I have no idea why. After all, the inside of a Circus Big Top is not a place I can remember ever visiting before. OK, so I do have a bit of a thing about Hugh Jackman and I have watched The Greatest Showman about a million times. If this is my brain’s idea of paradise, where are the performers? Where is the audience? And when the hell do I get to meet Wolverine?!
Strangely apt, I guess, given my life story. No special skills, no friends to share this place with. I used to tell myself that it was my choice not to make friends. It was my choice to stay home on Friday evenings. I know Mum and Dad were getting worried. Even tried to hook me up with one of the neighbour’s son’s. As if!
Well, if the after-life is going to be more exciting, I guess I’ll have to get some people to come and be in my show. Once I have them, I’ll work on selling some tickets. Nothing too expensive mind, I don’t want this to be exclusive. Just an odd prayer here, a wish there. Good behaviour’s my sort of currency. And their reward can be an eternity of entertainment.
Me? I think I’ll call myself the merciful MC. How hard can it be?
© David Barker 2018