The Afterlife (Johnny and Dallas Drabble)
The thumping in Johnny’s chest came to a slow halt, his lungs hollow after his last breath of air. His hazy vision had faded into pitch black within seconds. The sensation of subtle riffs of cool air from the ceiling fan dimmed and became non-existent. The incoherent murmurs that he once heard became mute. Life had withered and fate was met.
The inevitable darkness seemed infinite until the matrix suddenly morphed into a vivid scenery. Peachy hues enveloped the sky and Johnny’s mocha eyes fluttered opened and widened at the sight. Goosebumps formed across his skin from light wind that kissed it. The sensations he felt from when he was once alive revived themselves.
“Is this heaven?” the soul quietly asked to nobody in particular. As predicted, there wasn’t a reply.
Johnny’s eyes fell from the settling sun to the barren neighborhood below. He was sitting on the sturdy branch of a tall oak tree, the same one he’d gaze from when he was a kid. The first time his father laid a hand on him, he ran out of the house and down the street until he was panting and wheezing. He whipped his head around, searching for a place he could escape to. This very tree was the only thing could find. Since then, Johnny would always climb the trunk of the tree and onto a branch where he’d sit and stare at the other kids who lived much different lives than his own. Why can’t my mother push me on the swing like her’s does? Why can’t my father teach me how to catch a baseball like his does? Why don’t my parents ever throw a birthday party at the picnic bench like their’s does? Johnny stopped asking those questions at a certain age. He figured it must’ve been because he didn’t deserve any of it.
“Johnny?” a staggery voice called, causing the said boy to turn his head. It was Dallas.
“Dal,” Johnny spoke, letting his legs dangle from the branch before he hopped off and landed on the dirt. He turned to look at Dallas, expression stunned, “What’re you doing here?”
The taller male locked gazes with the shorter one, the gentle pushes of wind causing his coffee colored hair to gently flow, “I couldn’t do it.”
Johnny didn’t need a further explanation. The crack in Dallas’s voice as he finished that sentence was enough.
“I didn’t mean that much, Dal, you should’ve just stayed-”
“-I’m sick of you saying that, man!”
Johnny’s words were cut short with Dallas’s sudden outburst. Those words struck him quick and they continued to replay in his head.
“You don’t mean that much? Are you fucking kidding me?” his voice shook and tears were brimming. Johnny swallowed thickly, never seeing Dallas in such a state before. Even if this was the afterlife, it still stunned him.
“You held the gang together, man. It was you. The reason you’ve been saying that it ‘isn’t you that matters’ and that ‘people should never waste their time on you’ is because of your poor excuse of fucking parents, John. I don’t give a damn if they were your folks, you really think that mattered? You had us. You had me. We’re what mattered, they could burn in hell,” Dallas’s expression was warm with anger and he looked as if he wanted to ram his fist into the bark of the tree, but it all faded and his expression became soft and glum as he finished his speech, “But it’s all too late, ain’t it…? We’re both dead. Stuck in some place, who the fuck knows where. I wish I was kidding.”
“Dal…” Johnny shakily said, hot tears falling from his eyelashes and running down his honey tan skin. His lips were quivering, but even in the afterlife, he still withheld the need to cry.
“I guess we both got what we wanted, huh?” Dallas closed his eyes and inhaled, “You wanted to save a few lives and I wanted to die right then and there once I lost my purpose.”
Johnny let the last word of Dallas’s sentence sink. I was his purpose?
“There’s one last thing I wanted,” the younger soul replied, staring into the distance as the peachy pigments of the sky grew darker as the sun fell farther, “I don’t know if Pony ever told you.”
“What was it?”
“I don’t think you’ve ever seen a sunset before,” Johnny nudged his head towards the direction of the sun as each color of the sky slowly but surely changed, “All I wanted was for you to look at one.”
Dallas was bewildered by the idea, but once his eyes fell onto the sky hues and he studied them for awhile, everything fell into place. He’d never really looked at a sunset before. He didn’t find a point. He didn’t have a care. But, Dallas didn’t have a reason to cause ruckus or mayhem any longer. His troubled soul felt calm for once at the sight of it. How come he never paid attention to it although it was always there? If only he could see it while alive again.
“I never thought much of it either until Pony showed me,” Johnny said, glancing at Dallas before looking back at the sunset, “It’s real nice, ain’t it?”
“Yeah,” Dallas said quietly, the colors reflecting in the gleam of his dark chocolate irises, “I guess it is.”
A small smile formed on Johnny’s lips after Dallas replied. All of the vast colors of the sky faded into pitch black. The sensation of subtle riffs from the gentle wind dimmed and became non-existent. The light whispers of the wind and rustling of the trees they once heard became mute. The afterlife had thrived and fate was accepted.