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This Side Of Hell: a story by: GF Willmetts.

June 2, 2019 | By | Reply More

I am Schrödinger’s ghost. Well, not really him but his living theory. I got hit by a car and an inch from having my head run over by one of its wheels. In some other reality, someone pretty much like me had his head flattened and seriously dead. I was the lucky one. I also had an out-of-world experience seeing myself divide into two. In that split-second, I actually saw me as one dead and my head splattered and one alive. Who wouldn’t count their blessings?

I suspect that there are a lot more Schrödinger’s ghosts out there. Had any life-threatening illnesses? Events where you could live or die? Even making decisions where other people could live or die? I doubt if I missed anyone out here. We all, at some time, have been in such situations or so I thought, but did we all see the great divide in choice?

Oddly, though, everyone I bump into here seems to have the same good luck story. Presumably, the Schrödinger reality where people died doesn’t have a bad luck club, just a lot of dead bodies. It does raise an interesting question of where does everyone hang out between luck and dead? Did Schrödinger really get it that wrong? Was I the only one who saw the dividing line? Was I truly in the box before fate and life?

Hellboy (2019) (first trailer).

Hellboy (2019).

Of course, that could be here. After all, I didn’t divide into three people. What would the third have done? Be neutral and nothing happen and just carried on watching the car give a narrow miss? That would still be me then. Thing is, I’m the only one who saw the split or rather the head flattening. Was that me or a doppelganger? I felt the pain but was then whole again. I was told that it might be brain damage and I was hallucinating but a CAT scan revealed otherwise. Would Schrödinger’s cat know it had a split-second between life and death and would it put its paw in the way to stop the poisonous gas getting out? Would it even know that it would be split between two worlds like I did? Would my luck hold up?

I thought I was unique but getting to see the fortunes of others was a lot more difficult than I thought. More so, if I wanted to see what happened when they were in a life and death situation. Would I see the choices like I saw my own?

There was a choice of catching a fatal accident actually happening, staging one or going somewhere where people might die. I didn’t really want to kill anyone. I’m not even sure I would like to put myself in such a situation deliberately just in case my own luck ran out. I don’t have the stomach for such things. Certainly an option to live or die in a war zone would fly by too quickly. I’m not even sure I really want to watch anyone die or have a split-second escape but it was the only way I would know the answer. It might even provide me with someone else like myself. Another Schrödinger’s ghost. A survivor not a dead victim or whatever you want to call it. I doubt if there were any ghosts on the side where I had my heads flattened.

Even so, there was a nagging desire to find out if I was the only one to remember such an experience but where to start? Over 3,000 people die daily by accident. Should I choose an accident death spot? I mean, people die in such places all the time but how many live? Surely someone must have survived by the narrowest of squeaks. Hmmm…maybe more than those who live there? Does that imply that there are some areas where your luck does run out and I was just the luckiest one when it wasn’t me?

It got me more interested in reading newspapers for major accidents and mapping the world. It also brought a whole new dimension to people who relied on Feng Shui in choosing the right place for everything where they lived. Would they know that or just guess where some places were a lot safer than others.

Of course, I know what you might be thinking here. Places like mountains are hazardous but only for a few and who survives falling off a mountain? You’re in more danger around schools or anywhere where there’s fast traffic. There were more black spots than specific roads and it varied from country to country. Who was going to keep record of where the most people stayed alive?

Some types of death were problematic. You aren’t going to have much life or death situations with many medical emergencies. You might have a chance with a heart attack but it was transitory because sooner or later it would get you again and again until your luck ran out.

It did make me think that there had to be different kinds of luck when it came to death. As a Schrödinger’s ghost, I had got through my worse case scenario and looked like I might evade other forms of death. Was I going to try that out and test if I had more lives than a cat? I still had no taste for that. If anything, I led a careful life ever since. I might be interested in finding similar people to myself seeing this life after possible death experience but I wasn’t suicidal and I certainly didn’t want to be run over again.

If I couldn’t find anyone in the transition happening in real life, all I could do was rely on the media to pick out lucky survivors, even though I wasn’t sure what I would ask them should I meet them.

I mean, how does, ‘Excuse me, but when you had your accident or whatever, did you see yourself being both dead and alive before coming back here in the land of the living?’

Having someone coming up and asking that question would make me get away from me as far as possible unless they really remembered it.

A good way to be thought of as being off my rocker. Even if they had done so, would they want to admit it to me? Would they even be like me with a desire to find others who survived? But lately, even the number of fatal accidents seems to have diminished. Not all deaths. Just the accidents. Death hadn’t closed his eyes totally to everyone. Was it leaving only the lucky ones? Was I actually in a lucky reality. If they were, then there was a lot of lucky people out there and they didn’t all have accidents or rather missed them to keep going.

How do you define luck thought? Avoiding misfortune. How can you predict that? No one can be that lucky. Maybe it builds up. Maybe the Earth is going through a lucky spot. How that worked out beats me. If it was and we moved out of it, we’d have an epidemic of accidental death. Not sure if I’d be happy either way. I mean, only a psycho would want to wish other people dead. I’d be quite happy that we were all lucky.

Did I say psycho? Only takes one for a nuclear holocaust. One starts and the rest retaliate. Shame I didn’t see it coming but what could I do about it? I was out in the boondocks, away from civilisation having a brief respite and contemplating all that happened. Now that was a bit of luck. The only way I found out was when my phone went on the blink. Dead note. That only happens when all satellite communication to the ground is lost. The satellites were still up there but the ground network was wasted.

Returning to civilisation was quite a shocker. The choice of nuclear weapons had varied. If it wasn’t craters where cities should have been, it was deserted cities and shadowy ashen wisps of dead people filling the walkways and walls. Some country had a neutron bomb that just wiped out people. How unlucky was that?

It took a while for it to sink in. I mean why was I so lucky to survive? Equally, where were any other survivors? Surely someone had to be as lucky as me? Someone had to survive. Didn’t they?

I think I’ve had it wrong all this time. I’m so lucky that after nuclear Armageddon, I’m the only one left alive. Or am I? I’m a Schrödinger’s ghost. I was closer to that then I thought. I survive against everything but have I been on the wrong side of hell after all? Has everyone else been on the right side of luck am I have not? Have I been seeking the right people in the wrong place? No wonder I’ve never found any of them. The luckiest person I was looking for just happened to be me. Lucky enough to survive the worse disaster but now in hell when I’m all alone? How lucky have I really been? When does my luck run out?

End

© GF Willmetts 2019

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Category: Scifi, Short fiction

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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