The Artist Spotlight: A short story

An exceprt from Memories of my past self, a novel.  

by Lauren Ornelas

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Is there life after death? A question every living person asks themselves, some fear it. The unknown is always something people fear, while some are intrigued or oblivious to it. I’m sure when I was alive I asked myself what would come to me after my death..

maybe even wondered how I would die. If someone told me it would be like this I don’t know if I’d believe them, but then again I don’t know much about my life before I was dead.

Memories are lost in the process of coming to the afterlife, I’m not really sure why, I only know I lost them because that’s what I’ve been told. You see, even though the memories are lost, when you enter this world it does not mean that they are gone forever. For some here it would be best if they stayed that way, for when you’re awaken in this life everything about your past is erased, a clean slate that’s what I am.

The unknown is still something that hangs over our heads. Will I ever get my memories back? What was I like during my life? Do I really want to know?

There was so much to learn when I woke up. Nobody knows their real name when they wake up, it’s either something that comes along by chance or you hear it in a memory once you start getting them. Everyone is given number, this way once they learn their name, we don’t get confused by the change. Secondly, the memories will come, hopefully, and it can be caused by the most random things. One guy worked at a paper factory when he was alive, he got his first memory day one when we was handed the “helpful” brochures that they hand out to welcome people to this new life and provide the information about what to expect while here. That first memory is called a trigger memory because once you have it you can relive it and look for details that can help trigger more memories. And that’s my life here. While we’re here, there’s no need to do anything really, so most people just try to find out who they are.

It’s not a bad place. After getting your number, and eventually your name, you’re directed to where your new home will be until you get your final memory. The final memory, most believe it is the memory of how you died, it’s rare for people to see this one quickly, for most it takes years. It’s not something that we know for sure because once you relive that memory you get to move on to the real afterlife.

My current home is the perfect place for people to find piece or penance for their lives. Since we start out blank, we are taught quick have to good idea of what is good and bad. Those that lived as criminals return from some memories feeling remorse for the crimes they’ve done. While others who had happy lives get to relive those memories and come to peace with themselves that they lived a good life.

This is how the unknown here can be so terrifying to some because you never know what your memories will reveal about yourself.

So that’s pretty much my life- waiting for the first memory and from there eventually my last. But being dead doesn’t mean that you have nothing to do. I’ve made a nice after life for myself, I even have a few friends.

-This short story is part of an ongoing series titled “The Artist Spotlight,” a series that hones in on the artistic talents of our peers. If you know an artist who’s worth being featured, send them our way by commenting below! 

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