The Passageway – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Dr. Morton’s office at John Hopkins University later that day

John taps lightly on the door of Dr. Morton’s office. Immediately, they could hear a loud “Come in!” and proceeded to enter the office.

“Ah, hello, you three! I was wondering when we’d see each other again,” Dr. Morton said warmly. “I’m happy to see that you’ve all recovered from your injuries.”

Oliver coughed slightly, but Deborah cut him off before he could launch into his normal anger. “Hello, Dr. Morton, yes, we are all feeling physically better and more mobile. Oliver got hit the hardest as the accident left him blinded. But he is managing with it,” she said as she pinched his arm a bit. He remained silent, understanding what she was doing.

“Oh, no! I didn’t know that, Oliver. I’m so sorry to hear that!” Dr. Morton looked genuinely shocked and sympathetic about his situation. “I do hope that your college experience isn’t over because of it.”

“I don’t want it to be over, but yes, it’s one of the reasons I didn’t come back to school right away. I have to relearn how to exist before I can begin to tackle my education. Since we’re here, can you tell me if there are any tools you have available at school for me?” His demeanor relaxed a bit and seemed more hopeful as he waited for Dr. Morton to answer.

“Well, yes, there are many ways to help with your disability. If you’ve got some time, stop by the Student Services office for more information. I’m sure they would be happy to help you resume your education.”

“Thank you, Dr. Morton. And by the way, I appreciate you and the staff sending the flowers. They smelled amazing!” Oliver was much more upbeat. The prospect of coming back to school seemed to cheer him up.

John piped up as well, “Yes, the flowers I received were the same. The scents of that bouquet just filled the entire room!”

“Same here! It was a wonderful arrangement! Thank you!” said Deborah. As much as she wanted to keep the mood light, she felt they needed to talk about what they had experienced. Deborah looked at John with a questioning look. He nodded that she should go on.

“Dr. Morton, this isn’t just a social visit. We, well, John and I needed to talk to you about what happened that day of the accident,” looking very solemn as she spoke to him.

“Please go on, Deborah.”

“Well, you may not have known this, but we all flat-lined that day, twice for Oliver. Obviously, we’re still here but John and I had what we think was a near-death experience. His was a horrible, hell-like atmosphere, and mine was the wonderful, heaven-like one.” She stopped to gauge his reaction.

“Fascinating! Tell me more.”

“Well, since it happened right after your lecture on NDEs, we thought maybe that we planted those experiences because of what we heard. Or do you think we had a near-death experience?” Deborah hoped that Dr. Morton would have some answers.

“What you heard at the lecture? But I didn’t have any lectures on NDEs last month,” he uttered, looking incredibly confused.


Hello Readers – Normally I would ask that you cast your vote in the comments below for the type of ending you would like to see, but I’ve decided there is only one way to end this story this week. I do hope you like it. 🙂

The Passageway – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

The newly remodeled Café Alkimia – One month after the accident

“Hi, John. Hi, Oliver!” Deborah squealed when she saw her two friends at their favorite spot. John was waving excitedly at her. She was still a bit shell-shocked coming back to the place where they’d all suffered so much, but in the end, all three decided it was best to face their fears and meet there. Seeing them again put her immediately at ease.

“It is so good to see you, Deborah,” said John with a big smile as he rose to hug her. “You look good, girl!”

“Yeah, and it’s at least nice to hear your voice since I can’t see you anymore,” Oliver said with a quirky smile, trying to fake humor. His attempt failed miserably. Both John and Deborah were filled with compassion for their friend but looked at each other with hopelessness. Each wondering if Oliver would be able to get past his bitterness.

Deborah swooped down and took Oliver in her arms, squeezing him until he finally said, “Enough, I can’t breathe!” She let go and promptly got comfortable in her chair. “Thanks for my coffee! I was looking forward to this. After being cooped up in the hospital for so long and then stuck in the house, an afternoon out is exactly what I needed. I appreciate you suggesting this.” Both men nodded in agreement.

The hours passed as they caught up about how their lives had changed since that fateful day. They’d all postponed college for the time being. Their parents felt they needed to heal fully before going back. For Deborah and John, with their physical states pretty much intact, it was more their emotional states preventing them from concentrating on anything other than healing. For Oliver, adjusting to his new reality of blindness was the hardest part.

John was the first to summon the courage to talk about his ER experience that day. Both Oliver and Deborah listened intently; fear, concern, and doubt flashed on their faces.

“I can’t believe that I had a Near-Death Experience, especially since we had just watched that lecture that day. It must be that I somehow planted it and become predisposed to having it happen. You know, like when you binge-watch something, and your dream is then all about the show?” John scanned both their faces hoping they’d agree. “It has to be that, or?” Oliver’s face was blank, but Deborah looked scared.

“You’re not going to believe this, but I think I had an NDE too!” Deborah said with some hesitation. “But it was the exact opposite. I wasn’t scared at all. It was quite beautiful, like being in Heaven.” John looked perplexed.

“Well, aren’t you the lucky ones!” Oliver piped in sarcastically. His self-pity was taking control. “I’m the only one who had something real, substantial, and devastating happen. Look at me; I can’t see! I’m blind because of that day! You guys had a frickin’ hallucination in the ER!”

Both Deborah and John insisted that what happened to them was real. While they agreed it might have been self-induced, it impacted them emotionally, and they wanted answers.

“I think we should go talk to Dr. Morton privately and tell him about our experiences. What do you think? I mean, he is an expert on this stuff supposedly,” said Deborah.

“Okay, fine,” said Oliver with more than just a little hostility.


The Passageway – Part 1

Dr. Morton’s lecture at John Hopkins University

“Today, we are going to be delving into the proposition of Near-Death Experience or NDE. I’m sure many of you have heard about them but none have a first-hand account. And if you have, please do raise your hand.” He said it with a smile. With his head down, his eyes positioned above his glasses, Dr. Morton quickly scans the room anyway. No one has their hand up. “Good, so let’s begin.”

His lecture had run slightly longer than an hour when he dismissed them, cutting into their lunchtime. Dr. Morton apologized, most students not caring as they walked out the door.

Deborah, John, and Oliver decided to head to Café Alkimia for a bit of a break and indulge in some excellent coffee and nibbles. They didn’t have another class until later that afternoon.

“That was some pretty fascinating information, don’t you think?” said Deborah, removing her coat and getting situated in one of the three comfortable brown leather chairs off to the side. They’d decided on the quieter corner while getting their food and drink. “I’m looking forward to learning more, aren’t you guys?” she said with a huge smile.

John plopped down ungraciously, almost toppling his coffee, “Oh, yeah, totally,” he said. Oliver gave a big thumbs up in agreement. He’d just taken a big sip of his coffee, while trying to manage the things in his hands and positioning them on the table. He finally sat down.

“I’m looking forward to the case studies. That has to be better than just getting the statistics,” Oliver finally managed to say. Deborah shook her head slightly, in agreement.

John spoke up, “Yeah, while the stats gave me a better understanding of the phenomenon, the case studies will be much more interesting. The backgrounds of the individuals might contribute to them even having NDEs, don’t you think?” Deborah and Oliver agreed. “Oh, for sure,” they said in unison. They all looked at each other and cracked up with laughter.

“I’m so glad we all ended up in the same class, guys,” said Deborah, a big grin plastered on her face. “You two have made my college experience a blast so far. Us liking the same foods, the same music, having the same taste in people, and our love for reading. Oh, I could go on.” She looked at them both with gratitude.

“Please, do dear Deborah! You know how much I love praise!” said John, laughing heartily. “Numero Uno full of himself man seeks attention!”

“I feel the same, Deborah. This school year rocks because of you two!” Oliver uttered profusely. He was in 100% agreement.

All three continued talking about the class and rehashing the latest gossip on campus. They didn’t immediately notice the far off roaring of a car’s engine barreling its way towards the Café. When the students’ screams got louder, they all turned to see the front end of a red Camaro at the shop’s window. Just then the realization that they were right in the trajectory of the vehicle crossed their faces.


Taking My Temperature


almost too afraid
to see what the reality is
cutting myself off
to existence
stopping the spread
saving my fellow man

feeling like a hero
hearing of others dying
melancholy interjected with pride
the new reality
is a confusing dichotomy
where do we go from here

holding on by a thread
staying the course
whilst feeling adrift
a unique sign of the times

The Upside Of War

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #128

every negative situation
has the power
to become a positive force
for cultural shift

lives are lost
but lives will be saved
in the future
from what we learn

life’s path
takes a different turn
our day to day changes
becoming a new reality

gleening a possibility
of hope in this evil’s demise
in the following days
it begins during these troubled times

Fear Of The Times

Inspired by VJ’s Weekly Challenge #88 – Domino EffectSadje’s What do you see #21

Kellepics- Pixabay

this natural disaster
is bringing us to our knees
even those who lead
or inspire us
are shedding tears
losing hope
breaking down
not able to guide
the few strong
of us left
this domino effect
a chain reaction
to the unknown
makes us all feel
like tumbling down