It wasn't the same as living, but it was better than being dead. Most of us don't remember our past lives or know what our future will hold. All we know is that we are here, now. Where is here? Earth-- after. After the flesh disappeared. I remember being dead. A quiet, lonely state. Peaceful, without excitement. A solid blackness. I don't know how long I was there, but I remember being there, and I remember a sadness. Odd. I know how the scientist would think- chemical reactions of the brain-- ceased, so how can I still feel and think? I'm a skeletal outline. None of my flesh existence remains, yet I feel emotions and think as if I were alive. My desires are different then before, I think. I have a desire to know. We all do. What happened? Why are we here? Not even the oldest of us can answer that. They woke to the same world we did. There is no pain. Our bones are strong and not even the weight of a two-ton car can crack them. Yes, it's been tried. Many things have been tried. None have succeeded in breaking or separating them yet. The weather continues to rain, snow, and shine down on us. We use homes and benches, bikes and skates, cars and computers. These things are familiar, comforting in a strange world that we once knew so well, or thought we did. Some of us even remember family who are here. I don't know where mine is, nor do I remember them. There is one place I go every day at sunset. It's past the lake, beyond the sloping green hills that no longer have insects or animals, just on the other side of a large gray boulder. There's a field there. Wildflowers still blooming without the bees. It is peaceful there. It reminds me of death and life at the same time, a union of the two. There is something else there. A stairway carved into the hill beside the boulder. White marble, smooth and worn. It is long, winding, and goes to the top, overlooking a ravine, a jumping off place. Countless times I've climbed it, examined the steps, and yes, even jumped down into the ravine to see what would happen. I feel sensations as I step off the final stair- excitement and joy, then sorrow and disappointment as my flight takes a downward spiral into the cushioning earth below. Always I rise, uninjured except at the core of my being, where scientifically inexplicable emotions reign. There's something about that stairway that draws me to it; something I don't quite understand. I think I was a scientist in my past life, and I think I was happy. I am happy here, or content at least, especially in this field. But my desire to know tells me that I lack at the core. And that something has to do with this stairway. I think I'll go to the top of the stairway again today; my morbid muse encourages me to keep trying. To do what? I'm not sure. Maybe the muse thinks I can fly. I don't know. Someday the answer will come to me. Someday I will discover the stairway's purpose. But for today I will listen to my muse. Who knows? Maybe this time I will find my answers. Maybe this time I will not fall.
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