"She's dead, Abe. Kerry's dead, the baby too. Jesus, what am I going to do? I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye."
"I know, I know," murmured the old man consolingly.
"It's not right. Jesus, it's not fucking right." Jack fell to his knees and rammed his fists in his mouth.
Abraham watched him with sorrow, almost driven to tears himself. His eyes glazed over for a moment in contemplation of the infinite. Then he lifted Jack to his feet.
"Jack, listen to me, listen to me."
Jack leaned back against a grimy wall. Abraham looked intently at him. "Do you want to see her again? Do you want the chance to say goodbye?"
Jack gazed at Abraham with a mixture and incredulity and astonishment.
"Why are you mocking me, Abe? I thought we were friends. She's dead for Christ’s sake. That's it, that's the end."
"Not really." Abraham placed his arm around Jack's shoulders," It's another beginning. I'll ask you again. Do you want the chance to say goodbye to Kerry. Jack, this is something that is rarely granted to anyone."
"What are you talking about?" Like a drunk who is suddenly snapped into sobriety by a sudden shock, Jack looked at Abraham. And he saw something in his eyes he had always known was there but had never really seen.
"Who are you, Abraham?" Jack whispered.
"Who I am is of no consequence. What I am about to offer you is a chance few human beings have ever been given; the chance to go beyond the veil. You can see Kerry again. But only for a short time before she travels beyond reach and while some remnant of her memory is still functioning."
Jack stumbled around trying to make sense out of Abraham's proposition. Logic was fighting desire. He was telling himself that under normal circumstances he would tell Abraham he was overtired, to get some rest. Normal circumstances, what was normal anymore? He turned to Abraham. "What exactly are you saying?" he asked him.
Abraham stood in front of Jack. "You must act quickly. You must trust me. If you think I'm talking nonsense then nothing will happen. But if you trust me, you will see Kerry again. Time is running out."
"Yes," said Jack. "Yes, I want to see her again, even for one last time."
"There is a price you must pay, Jack."
"Yes, you must let someone else, another soul, have one more chance to come back and occupy your
body. If that soul repents you may be trapped in limbo forever and never return. Jack, do you understand what I'm saying."
Jack stared at Abraham in amazement. "What am I suppose to say to all that mumbo-jumbo. Abe, please, do me a favor."
"Yes or no, Jack. Decide." Abraham took Jack by the shoulders.
"Yes, yes, yes!"
A giant interstate truck appeared around the corner heading for the docks. It rumbled like a mighty behometh along the slimy streets. As it approached, Abraham was holding Jack by the shoulders. Jack was staring into the infinity within his eyes. He felt peaceful. He didn't feel a thing as he lurched back suddenly into the path of the truck. He regained his balance as the truck roared by but took a knock that sent him spinning into a wall. As he collapsed on the ground, he knew he was still alive but his shoulder throbbed and he could feel unconsciousness welling up like a huge black pool. He saw Abraham's face. It looked younger. He was saying something.
Jack could hardly make it out. Abraham was saying goodbye.
The black pool was deeper than Jack had thought. He seemed to be moving through space and yet he was motionless. Jack felt no pain. He remembered where he was. He knew who he was. He was outside the Refuge on Lower East Side. Then a lance of pain hit him in the heart like a bullet. He remembered Kerry. He tried to get up but he couldn't feel his body. This is crazy, he thought. Where am I?
The blackness seemed to have some substance. He could feel a sort of rippling motion. He looked down. He looked up. He wasn't sure if his head was moving. Jack began to feel nervous. How come he was conscious if he was unconscious? Directly ahead, or was it ahead or to the right. He couldn't work it out. Something was there. He could feel it in the darkness. A presence. A light was forming. A shape was materializing. It seemed to be gathering itself out of the fabric of the darkness.
Jesus, this is fucking weird.
I'm dead. That must be it. The truck. Saw it too late. Didn't see it at all. So this is what it feels like. Nothing. Jack tried to scream. No sound emanated from him, wherever he was.
But the scream seemed to disturb the blackness. It seemed to cause waves in the ether. The light was still forming into something. It seemed miles away yet you could almost reach out and touch it.
Jack felt a vibration moving towards him, rippling through the darkness. The vibration had turned into a sound. It passed him like a rushing wind. The sound said "Whoooo!" and was gone.
Jack then realized that the sound had come from the light. It seemed to be changing direction almost as if it had noticed Jack. Maybe he was a light.
Then as though a veil had been drawn, a deep, vibratory humming sound began. Jack found it peaceful, tranquil. It seemed to carry him along like a wave. The light was closer now it seemed. Jack tried to call to it.
"Is someone out there?" he mouthed soundlessly. Jack began to be aware that he was being sucked along what felt like a tunnel. His heart went suddenly stone cold. He'd heard about this experience, the tunnel between life and death. So he was dead.
He didn't feel dead, however that was supposed to feel. He couldn't remember dying. He remembered being knocked down by the truck but that was a glancing blow. Surely it would need more than that to kill me, he thought.
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