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The Afterlife. My life ended just as hers was beginning. At the exact second my car hit a patch of black ice, spun, and collided with a tree,

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Introduction

Eduardo Gomez 5/9/2007 7th period My life ended just as hers was beginning. At the exact second my car hit a patch of black ice, spun, and collided with a tree, she was emerging from the sanctuary of her mother's womb. My soul was knocked from my body, just as hers breathed its first breath. I never thought death would be like this. From birth I had been raised as a Christian, believing in all that Christians do: Heaven, Hell, and all the rest. These were, to my way of thinking, the only destinations in the afterlife. Whether I was saved or condemned, I believed that death would signal the end of my earthly responsibilities. Now, I know better. At first, I didn't understand what had happened. I remembered the car spinning uncontrollably, the view out the window blurry until the tree loomed in the night. There had been a horrible crunching noise, like walking on packed snow, except much louder. My life did not flash before my eyes in what I now know were the last few seconds of my life. There was the spinning, the blur, the crunch -- and then black. Not the kind of blackness that appears when you close your eyes -- no, even then little speckles, little neon clouds appear. This darkness was consuming. It was absolute. For a second I felt absolute terror. ...read more.

Middle

My confusion mounted. 'Why am I here?' I asked, directing my question to the being's presence somewhere beside me. I looked at the doctors in their green garb, their bodies inclined towards a woman on a bed, frozen in a picture of agony. The baby the doctors were lifting from her body had just been about to take its first breath. I tried to see what the scene had to do with me, but I could make no connection with any of the room's occupants. The last time I'd been in a place like this was during my own birth. 'Do I know these people?' 'No,' the being replied, tonelessly. 'You've never met any of them. But. some will become very familiar to you.' 'How can they?' I asked. 'You've just told me - I'm dead.' Somehow, with the mental equivalent of a hand gesture, the being drew my attention towards the newborn, framed by the circle of doctors. It was then that I learned how my debt was to be repaid. 'This,' it said, 'is your charge.' 'My . . . charge?' I didn't understand. 'You know you have a debt to repay to God,' I was told. 'This is how. This child has just been born, as you have just died. On birth, every child is appointed a guardian, one of those who owe God.' Something changed in the voice then, a shift so small I only just noticed. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was odd given its earlier detachment. 'Is it hard?' I asked as the mother cuddled her child for the first time. 'Is it hard to be a guardian?' 'Harder than anything you've ever done,' the being replied. 'No matter how long she lives, it is always hard. But it must be done.' The being's voice changed again, swelling suddenly with emotion. 'You will come to care very much for that child. No one will ever know her in the way that you will, because you will always be with her.' I was almost sure I felt the being sigh inwardly. 'Always, until the end of her life. Then you will show her what to do. as I have shown you.' It was only then that I realized who the being was, why I had instinctively known its voice. Elated, I felt my mind reel with a thousand questions. But it was too late. As soon as the revelation had came, the being had gone. For a moment I felt a crushing sadness that I would never know him or her -- someone who'd been there for me through every second of my life. But there wasn't time to dwell. Looking at the yawning baby a few feet away from me, I felt the first stirrings of affection. It had been a long time since I'd felt such a clear sense of purpose. Inwardly, I promised I would do for her what the being, the presence who'd just left, had done for me. ...read more.

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