Final Goodbye

A/N: This is something different for me and I am unsure about the rating (M). If I can get away with a "T" rating, please let me know.

Final Goodbye

After driving the long, rain soaked roads for hours; Mark had nearly made his way home. Only half an hour more of looking up at the slightly green clouds which had turned this otherwise perfect midday into twilight. He'd heard that a green tinge in the sky could mean a hail storm, and prepared for heavier weather.

He could hardly hear the radio chattering away through the sound of droplets drumming his roof. He liked the smell of rain, as he thought most people did. This could be one reason he'd found his boss's mountain retreat so relaxing.

Mark recounted the offer, watching the green foliage whip by his window. His nerves must have shown as he entered the office of his superior that day. After over a year of service to the retail outlet, his work had begun to dry up. Perhaps this was why he was so taken aback by the offer to spend a night at the boss's holiday home.

Mark sunk into his seat a little. The car might have been on rails, the ride was so smooth and uneventful. He barely felt like he was driving at all. The static on the radio sizzled as he lost reception in the range. Through the greasy sheen on the road he could make out tire marks angled off into the trees. It didn't faze him though, as the radio show descended to barking white noise.

He'd wished he could have spent the night with Jess instead. She'd said she simply didn't feel the same way, although Mark continued to chastise himself. The months of dating had seemed like a breeze, but inexperience got the best of him, and saw her lose interest.

The car continued as if on autopilot as the weight of the world belted down on the roof of his car. Mark enjoyed the drive, despite the treacherous conditions. The wipers on his windshield continued to squeak the water out of his view. A straight piece of road lay before him, save a few dips and bumps. The cool air flowed onto his skin, the season diving into winter, which meant many more nights at home playing Xbox.

The road seemed to sink a little, the trees at the sides escalating and the guard rails disappearing. Mark looked up once more at the clouds. The storm grew, raging like an upset stomach. They seemed small and so far away compared to the inner conflict which made Mark's own stomach churn. He wasn't sure what it was even about, but he knew something inside him wasn't settled. Still he felt humbled by the enormous gray-green growths, though they grew darker and rolled angrily above him. Knowing that there was nothing between him and those clouds but his car and a lot of air made him feel small. He hadn't realized he'd sunk into his chair until he turned back to the road.

A crest had hidden a sharp left turn from him. Only now had he noticed the howling winds and evil cackling thundering in his speakers, like a million people cheering his demise. He heard words through the garbled racket, winding every muscle into twisted tension. He struggled to allow movement enough to slam the brakes. His pounding eardrums seemed to swell and distort, confusing Mark even more when he realized the voice was his own. His dry lips tore aware from each other with every recital of the venomous pessimism.

"I'm going to die… I'm going to die…" The words rattled around in his head. Coldness slithered down his spine and constricted his chest as he struggled to turn his car around the corner. The tires locked and skidded on the silky roads like an ice skater, Mark's feeble attempt at stopping it only managed to erode what grip the tires had, now barreling sideways toward the deep forest.

With no barrier to stop it, the car slid off the road and into the air. Time slowed down, leaving Mark suspended like an astronaut, feeling the world shift around him. The death shuttle rolled slowly onto its side, leaving a clear view of the ground below. Mark could feel his body weightless in the now silent vacuum. He knew he would die as he looked down on the fifty yard drop, his stomach falling prematurely. Hard ground lay below, but it wasn't enough to fill Mark's mind.

His stomach tightened as the leaves brushed the car slowly. His right hand slid down the car door as he wondered about what he'd achieved. In the twenty short years which he'd spent on earth, not one memory or greatness accented it; his existence nothing but an empty trophy cabinet.

How would his friends react to the news? How could his mother possibly cope? What would Jess make of all this? These sorts of thought filled his head, each link to the world just part of a crumbling chain allowing him to agonize over his death. Unaware until now, his right hand had been busy winding down the window. Halfway through the fall, the car had remained on the driver's side, offering Mark the full impact. Not content to die slowly and painfully, he put his head out of the hole.

He wondered if he would see heaven from this perspective. His final link to mortality had snapped, allowing the weight of his redundancy to slam him into the ground. Twigs lashed his face as time seemed to return to normal. The ground approached him with rock hard enthusiasm. The impact eluded him however, instead turning everything to black.

Suddenly awake again, Mark was afraid to open his eyes. All feeling had escaped him; he couldn't move a limb or feel anything other than his face. Scared of what might have happened, he decided not to open his eyes just yet. Had he died? Was he still alive?

Thoughts he'd never experienced entered his mind. The cold fear was unlike any other he'd felt. Not feeling his heart beat, not feeling his hair on his face or his tongue in his mouth was more frightening than the most sadistic act or darkest soul.

"There is no way I could have survived." He thought, feeling it echo in the darkness. One thing remained; anticipation of the afterlife. What would happen to him now? He'd led a good life; surely he could make it to heaven. He'd never broken any commandments, or committed mortal sins. While he identified as 'agnostic' he'd always had some deep feeling of otherworldly greatness.

His thoughts were interrupted by a new feeling. He suddenly felt the top of his head alive, and quivering. How could it shake? He didn't know, but was forced to spectate his own sensations as they took over. He felt something dislodge inside his head. It felt like a tooth was being pulled, strangely painless, a fang which covered his entire scalp. Tendons and muscle resisted only slightly, as Mark felt his brain fall out of his head. No pain or any other feeling came to him, perhaps due to the lost matter. He was sure now that he must be dead, and so decided to open his eyes.

He was greeted by himself. His body stood before him, horrifically wounded by the accident. His head from his nose up was missing, instead a pool of red spongy mass and bleach white bones. His right arm was cut off at the elbow, leaving a bloody stump of loose veins and tendons. Still there was no mistaking its identity.

It stood opposite Mark, in front of the smoldering wreckage. The clouds had gone and the world was eerily bright, as if happy to see him gone. Surprised at his own immaculate condition, he was now sure his stumbling years of mediocrity would now become eternal pleasure. Before his thoughts were collected, the disfigured body spoke.

"I guess this is where our journey ends. You, the spirit, and I, the body, we must part ways." The voice was his, but the language told him more than he knew. Suddenly, Mark knew what was happening, although he felt a great sadness for what he would be leaving behind.

"Yeah... I guess it is that time." He surrendered. Unsure what to feel, enthusiasm and confusion dominated him. The body continued, as though it hadn't heard him.

"This is where I go into the ground, and you go on to the afterlife." These words filled Mark with a warm fuzzy feeling. Like sitting in hot sunlight on a cool winter morning, he felt his memory or the world fading. But the temperature continued to soar, flames licking his body pervertedly. His skin bubbled and blistered as heat burnt his body, his hair; his soul. Excruciating pain engulfed him in a massive fireball as he buckled to his knees, not in pain but in shock. His body, eyeless and unable to see the inferno, offered two more simple words.

"Good luck."