Short Story
                                                Nothingness
                                                                     By George Gad Economou


     Where am I? This is... what is this darkness? Why's there no light, why's there no... Right.

     Now I finally remember. I'm...yet, what is this place? Why can't I see a light? I was promised... they are
talking about a light! They are talking about a tunnel! Where are they? It can't be thus, it can't...

     How did I end up here, anyway? Why am I here? I... seem to remember, no I... was home, sweet, sweet
home; breakfast with... God, I forgot their names! No, this can't be happening, this... I can't remember their
names, their... their faces! God, what's happening to me?

     Is this the decay? Is this what... what happens? I can't take it! I... I need to escape, I have to leave, damn
it! No, no damn it. I can't take any chances with language, I... God, please, answer me! I'm at your mercy,
save me, I beg you!

     "Lenore, no, we can't buy you a puppy!" Why can't she understand? "I've told you, baby. Our
apartment is too small, we can't have a dog living in here!" Try to understand, for God's sake!

     "But daddy, I want a puppy!" Quit looking at me this way! I can't withstand that... that look! Please,
please, Lenore, stop...

     "Daddy, please... pretty, pretty please..." Those begging eyes, who could... how can I refuse? She's,
after all... God, why did I ever become a parent?

     "Well, come on, honey." Is she also siding with Lenore. Is she...? "We'll buy a small dog. We don't
have to get a Rottweiler or anything; maybe a Beagle, or something... something that can fit into the
apartment. It'll do us all good!"

     "Why, Helen, I see you have everything figured out!" God, why can't she take my side once, damn it!
"Okay, listen. Since you're both ganging up on me, I..." Once again, you succumb to their wishes. You
pussy-whipped moron! "We'll drive tomorrow, and buy the puppy! What do you say?"

     Look at their expressions, look at the gladness... God, it's so easy to please them, yet... why do I
always have to give in? Why can't I, for once, do what I want?

     My God, yes; Helen and Lenore; how could I even for a second forget their names? Forget them? My
sweet, sweet... my God, what happened to them? Where are they? What could... where am I?

     Is this really the eternal punishment? Is this really the life after? No, no it can't. It's impossible, it's...
where's Paradise, where's Hell? Where's Purgatory? Where are all the things promised? I... was
everybody wrong? Was... I could even accept my fate in the deepest depths of Hell, right there with Judas,
right by the three-headed Devil.

     I could accept a fate in the bottom of Purgatory hill, right there, waiting endlessly for a resolution never
to come. I could accept never seeing the benevolent light of the highest Heaven! But this... this I cannot
accept!

     A merciless, endless dark, no light anywhere, no one to talk to, to see, to... God, this cannot be
happening. No, not to me, nor to... it's... does every dead body spend the rest of eternity in this? This
endless stream of darkness, of memories, of remorse, of unknowingness... Is this what Hell is all about?

     Instead of demons pinching at you with forks, instead of pits filled with excrements, is this real Hell? An
unfading darkness, nothing to look at, nothing to think of but your own past, your mistakes, your... your lost
ones; the ones who got away, and the ones you left behind. God, what a cruel punishment this is!

     "Are you happy now, Lenore?" God, look at her play with that thing. It's so tiny, even in comparison to
her! What are we going to do with the puppy, though? It'll need money, unforeseen expenses and we
can't afford... God, Helen, stop smiling so wonderfully, am I the only one actually worrying about our
situation?

     "Doesn't she look perfectly happy, honey?" Yes, Helen she does. Because she doesn't realize what
a burden this dog will be to our family, to our lives. Neither do you though, apparently.

     "Yes, she does! Maybe this was a good idea, after all!" Stop smiling, you spineless idiot! Say, for
once in your pathetic life, what you really feel, what's really on your mind!

     "Wow, make sure to hold on to that dog tight, Lenore!" Damn it, I'm driving, and that thing keeps
licking my ear! "Daddy's driving, and..."

     "Yes, daddy, we're just playing." Her innocence can drive me insane, the way she makes me always
feel guilty for even thinking of yelling at her! "And his name's Winnie!"

     "Fine, fine!" Damn it, five minutes ago it was sitting in a glass cage, hoping for someone to buy him!
"Just, just make sure Winnie stays away from daddy's ears, okay?"

     "Okay!" Listen at her giggling. Thinking it's all a big game. But, why shouldn't she? You can't expect
a five year old to understand the complexity of the world, or to understand what economic problems
really are. She still thinks I'm a superhero; soon she'll think I'm the meanest motherfucker to ever have
existed!

     Headlights!

     How could I be so heartless? Inwardly, I was a... I was a bastard. I never said anything, yet... God what
was I thinking? Wishing to, wanting to get rid of the puppy, trying to undermine Lenore's happiness. How
could I be thus?

     Is this why I'm stranded here? Is this really Hell? Am I forced to spend eternity into this blank darkness,
forced to think again and again at my past thoughts; forced to confront myself for my selfish thoughts?

     Am I to see the light, if I repent? For I repent! I wish I could change my mind, God I wish for a chance to
do it all again! Yet, I can't. But I repent! Repent for each and every ill thought that ever crossed my mind, for
both while I was awake and for while I was dreaming! For dreams may also count as sin, showcasing the
perversion of one's mind.

     I repent, oh dear God, I repent! Get me out of this darkness, and I shall repent! Place me into the
highest, and cruelest, levels of Purgatory, if you must, but let me out of the darkness! Even Hell is better!
Even Hell!

     I repent!

     God, what's happening? How did I no, not now, you damn thing! Stop licking my ear, I! "Lenore,
please, try to hold onto that thing, alright sweetie?"

     "Daddy, it's Winnie, not 'that thing'. I said it so already." Stop complaining, and just hold on to that
damn thing I was stupid enough to buy for you.

     "Yes, sweetie, but, Winnie is distracting me from my driving, I..."

     "Oh, come on, honey, don't be over dramatic. The road is almost empty. Almost no one's here, but
us. Relax!"

     That's easy for you to say! You ain't the one driving, your ears aren't constantly licked by that damn
thing! Damn it, Helen take my side once in a while, won't hurt you!

     "Yes, alright, Helen, I'm just..." Spineless moron! For once, say what's really on your damn mind!
For once, see how it feels! For Christ's sake, you're No, Winnie, or whatever's your name, stop licking
me! I'm... STOP; Lenore get a grip on that dog, for Christ's sake!

     The headlights, the headlights are coming! I'm, SHIT the headlights!

     My... why do I go through this? What's the point of reminding me the point of making me relive my last
moments, the point of... why do I even bother? Apparently I'm in Hell, or there's no God, and this... we're
matter. Nothing but organic molecules and chemical reactions. We all have expiration dates, just like milk
and... we just rot.

     And that's what I'm doing, rot. I'm... why can I still think though? Why am I still capable of remembering?
Why can't I just fade away, join the darkness and get it over with? Why do I need to suffer, what's the point
of all this?

     God's dead, and so am I! Yet, there's no Hell nor Heaven nor anything in between! Only darkness and
my memories awful memories of my wrongful thoughts and... God, please get me out of here, bring me
back to Helen and Lenore, let me be with them for yet another five minutes even five minutes will do, let me
say to them I love them let me apologize for my ill thoughts and let me just repent.

     Do they suffer as I do? Do they feel the same with me, entrapped into darkness? Or is this indeed my
own, personal Hell?

     The headlights are near, they're coming... stop licking me, you damn dog! I can't concentrate, I can't
God the screams! Stop it, Helen I know the truck's coming. Do something useful grab the dog instead of
deafening me with your cries!

     "Please, Helen, grab the dog, grab the..." The headlights. Growing stronger, coming closer. And I
have no control over the damn car. I have to keep it on lane, have to keep it straight. I can't let it go I
can't let them die, I can't nothing there's nothing, the headlights are coming!

     If they are headlights; for people talk about lights and tunnels; is this the end? Is this how it all ends?

     "Daddy, his name is Winnie!" Listen at the giggle, at the complete lack of horror! Just a happy child,
unknowingly approaching the very early end! I have to save her. I have to... "When will you learn his
name, daddy?"

     That last giggle, that last sentence uttered by her sweet voice. Were there screams? Did Helen cry?

     Probably not for Lenore was calm, if Helen was crying Lenore would to. No, Helen wasn't screaming,
this was all my own idea, hearing screams and cries and tears within my own head cries for the fateful end
only I had foreseen.

     That damn dog, it's all this dog's fault! Had it not been for him, I would now be home, watching
television with Helen and Lenore; if only I had stood up for my beliefs if only I had refused to buy the dog.

     Or if only I had been able to drive better; I drove right into the damn truck, I killed myself and probably
them too. God, what have I done, this is why I'm trapped into the darkness, isn't it? This is my punishment,
my cruel, yet deserving, punishment. I shall spend the rest of eternity reliving again and again and again
the last moments of my life, the moment I killed my family.

     While Helen and Lenore; where are they, what can have happened to them? Is it possible they
survived? They somehow got out of the car alive? Can it be that they're now standing above my grave,
mourning for me all while I'm sitting here in the darkness, just a thought in a vast emptiness, thinking about
them?

     Or are they up in the Heavens, where the voices of the cherubim are singing at them? Having been
elevated to the greatest of Heaven's, higher even than Paradise and where Adam and Eve once dwelled?

     No, nothing of the sort exists! Yet I wish to believe it otherwise. What can happen to me? What more
can happen to me? I can't die again, nor can I be driven insane I have nothing but my thoughts, crazy or not
to accompany me, and but an eternity to dwell upon my own past actions my ill thoughts and everything in
between. What a way to end a prosperous life, what a way does everybody feel the same way is this
really
Death?

     Collision is eminent! Turn the wheel you big lumbering idiot, what are you waiting for? Now they're
screaming, they've seen the lights. Are they truck lights or are they deathlights? What does it matter
either way we're dead DEAD!

     No, there must be, yes I'll just turn the damn wheel, avoid the truck and keep on going. Life goes on;
they'll cry for a little more then it's all over, then it's back to life, back to our home, with the damn puppy!

     Stop licking my ear, I can't concentrate, NO the truck, God its horn is loud! It's over, it's all over, I
have to turn the wheel, I have to...

     The pain. God Lenore, are you alright? My God, she's... no, she can't be! Helen, wake up, please, for
the love of all that's holy, WAKE UP!

     They can't be, what's that feeling? Where are the lights, where have all the lights gone? Where am I?

  Is this it? Can it really be thus? So simple, yet so cruel? Where are the lights, where's the promised
land?
Is this how my existence shall be forever and ever? It can't be, I, Lenore, Helen! Where are you? All
alone, in a place that does not exist, yet it does. Trapped, lonely, with painful memories as sole
companions.

     This is Hell, after all.
Cruel misery, where am I? God, I repent, just show me the light, the promised
land.
Merely a glimpse of them, is all I ask. Just to see whether they suffer as I do, or if their end was
happier, their eternity filled with gladness and no sorrows.

     Why am I here?

     No Inferno, nor Purgatorium, my dear Dante. No Paradise to be Lost, my beloved Milton. Nothingness.
Is this what God's all about?
A big, empty space, with nothing to hold on to?
About George Gad
Economou

George Gad Economou,
born in 1990 in Athens,
Greece, is currently a
Master's student at Aarhus
University, where he
works on his thesis on
social epistemology. His
first novel, "The Elixir of
Youth", was published in
Greece in 2010, by Lefki
Selida publications, whilst
his English short fiction
has appeared in various
horror magazines,
including the story "Night
Walker" on Blood Moon
Rising #58.
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