My name is Ayushi. At age 5, I learned to ride a cycle. That was also the age when I found out that after every hair cut, I loved the sensation of touch on the barely visible skin shrouded by short spikes of hair on my temple. 17 years later here I am , with the third cycle I owned, I killed a snail.

It was right there, slithering on a puddle of its body fluids. What am I supposed to do now? Either leave it to a slow painful death or commit Euthanasia. “I did not mean it buddy, I should have focused on where I was going. I hope you don’t have kids”. Squishing it was not the hardest part but thinking how hypocritical I was, was. What would my friends think to whom two weeks ago, I lectured about the need to be cautious while cycling in rainy roads filled with crisscrossing creatures?

“Are you sure what they think is important, Ayushi?”, a manly voice called to me. He had a dark thick woolen winter wear around him. I couldn’t really make out the face but those eyes and the teeth, they made my hair on the neck stand. Day drooped to dusk. Lights became gloomy. A fog materialized out of nowhere.

“We don’t have much time. You are not hallucinating. You must visit your death”

“No I can’t be dead. How is it possible?”

He grinned and reached out his hand with a wide grin and cold stare. Next moment I was holding his hands as convinced and as calm as a puppy. I knew he was hypnotizing me but I could not resist.

I was still in the campus but there was an eerie silence. Pockets of vacant spaces opened up as the mist cleared for every step we took. The street lights glowed in a mystical aura. In fact every source of light was different.
“Life is an inevitable journey to death. Every year you cross your death day like any other day without realizing it. When the first rays of sun shone in your eyes today, neither the snail nor you did not know that today will be special for both of you”, said the man and caught a leaf falling from a tree. He stopped and whispered, ” Shame or a boon to wither?” A distant somber music played all around. I looked around but could not fix the direction from where it came. It was from everywhere.

“This tree was planted 17 years ago the same day, same time you were born. The first leaf grew when you made your first memory. All the leaves here represent your memory. Some fresh and green and some old and yellow ready to fall”

“What about that pink leaf? Why is it glowing?”

“That will be the last leaf on this tree. The last memory you will recollect. It will not stop shining unless you die. It will continue to be on the tree turning redder as you age”

“Wait, that means I am still alive. So why am I here”

“Because you created your last memory just now and the last memory a person has is where they will spend rest of eternity”

“I don’t get you, the leaf is still glowing, I am not dead. Let me go back”

“Ayushi you are still living out there, making memories. But here you are in the loop between your death and last memory. This is the paradise frozen in time for you. No one here except you. All the universe, everything is for you, for eternity.”

I stood there baffled.
“What about my parents? my friends? my cat? I need to hug my mom and dad. I want to pester my friends. I want to pet my cat”

The man snapped his fingers and he vanished with no answer to that. The music halted. Eerie silence all around. Disappointing isn’t it? It’s been eight months. Today I have decided to record the memories of my after life. This is the prologue to my endless eternity.

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