“I can’t save you if you don’t want to save yourself,” said the voice on the other side of the phone. The line crackled and a monotonic voice softly said that there was one minute left before her money ran out.
She closed her eyes and sighed. Her lips were dry and the air was cold. Or was she cold? It was hard to tell these days. Or was it night? She pulled her jacket tighter around her.
“I’m fine. I don’t need saving, just money, ok?” she said, “Not everything’s about life or death, some things actually lie in between.”
“Yes,” the voice crackled on the line, “somethings do lie in between. You are not quite alive anymore, are you? And I’m just here waiting for the phone call that tells me when you’re finally dead.”
Click. The line went dead.
“Ma-ma?” she started, “Ma! For fuck’s sake that–”
Her swearing was abruptly broken by the clatter of coins rattling out of the phone. It sounded like broken promises bouncing through the metallic skeleton of dead dreams. She scooped them out and looked down at her life savings.
She found herself wishing that she did not exist. She did not want to die. No, she just wished that she did not exist at all.
After the brief burn from the needle, a comforting numbness spread through her as gravity softened and she fell right into its warm, velvet embrace. The floor lightly held her as she swayed, floating in the moment.
She closed her eyes, leaned back and drifted away into nothing. From this world into nowhere.
There were no problems, pain nor people out there. There was nothing, not even herself.
It was oblivion.
“You are free here,” a warm, cherry-pie voice woke her up, “You are safe here.”
She blinked and looked around her.
Her family stood there before her, just a little way ahead of her. They were all smiling, tears of joy in their eyes.
“Ma-ma?” she asked, confused.
“Yes,” said the same warm, cherry-pie voice, “Do you know where you are?”
She nodded. She smiled and got up, still looking at her family just a little ahead of her. She had not seen little Timmy for ages but he looked like he had not changed one bit. Her father looked as stern as ever, but even he was smiling and wiping back tears of joy as he held her openly-weeping mother up…
She took her first tentative step forward. It felt like she was leaving something. Tears streamed down her cheek and she sobbed with joy. It felt like she was forgetting something, but she did not care. The step became a stumble and then she was sprinting towards them.
Just a little ahead of her.
Just before she fell into an embrace with all of them, the warm, cherry-pie voice whispered into her ear. She remembered and stifled a great sob. Did it matter? There were no problems, pain nor people here. She was finally happy.
“Hello?” the voice on the other side of the phone asked. The line crackled a bit amidst the pause that followed.
“Am I speaking to the mother of–”
“Yes,” the voice stated on the other side of the phone, interrupting the quiet man speaking, “This has happened enough times that I know how this goes. Yes, I am her mother. Where is she?”
“I-I’m sorry, ma’am,” the quiet man’s voice paused before going on, “She has ov–passed away. We found her this morning and it took until now to confirm the identity. I’m sorry, ma’am. If there is any–”
“Thank you,” the voice said. The line crackled less but rather than sounding clearer, it just sounded more distant now, “Thank you, sir. I-I just hope she found what she was looking for. Whatever it was.”
“Wherever it was,” sighed the quiet man.
“I-I’m sorry?” the voice said, sounding strained.
“Ma’am, with respect, the only thing they are looking for is oblivion and, eventually, they all find it. If only we c–”
“Thank you,” said the voice, “No need.”
Click, and the line went dead.