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Life in the Great Beyond
By Scott Wilson

Dr. Kevin Selbing worked furiously to save his patient.  Only twenty minutes under the knife and the patient lost her heart beat for two minutes. It was not the first time that this had occured, and normally he remained calm and in most cases, brought the patient back to life.  Kevin was a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease and had resuscitated many people who had been clinically dead. Never before, had a patient slipping away briefly rattled him so much. While it would certainly bother the patient if they lived or died, Selbings was a devout atheist and considered all religion "hocus-pocus" and death nothing more than a painless extinction. Until tonight.

He was resuscitating a critically injured woman, involved in a horendous car crash earlier that evening.  She lost her left arm and received multiple internal injuries down that side of her body. Selbings stabalised the bleeding and began working on the damaged organs when he lost her the first time.

When the medical team brought her back, she regained conciousness and was terrified and screaming.

“Help me, descending down into the flames...hell!” she yelled.

Each time she regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in hell!" She was terrified and pleaded with Selbing to help her. Selbing knew she shouldn’t be waking like this and upped the anasthetic dose. More disturbing, though, was how he became extremely emotional and nervous as a result. He noticed a genuinely alarmed look on her face, and she had a terrified look worse than the _expression seen in death and the patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror. Her pupils were dilated, and she was perspiring and trembling.

"Don't you understand? I am in hell. . . Don't let me go back to hell!"

The woman was serious, and it finally occurred to Dr. Selbing that she was indeed in trouble. The patient was in a panic like he had never seen before. Selbing did not understand why she was regaining consciousness and wished she wouldn’t. In the twenty years he operated, this never occured before and shouldn’t be happening now.

“I’m burning, please stop it! I can’t handle to pain anymore.”

Dr. Selbing knew that, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that she was actually in a place called hell!

The theatre staff trembled. Pressure was enourmous under normal circumstances, but this was just crazy.  Thinking if you failed would result in your patient descending back into the flames of Hell was too much.

“Ouch!” yelled a nurse, dropping the clamp.

Selbing smelt burnt flesh and saw the red hot stainless steel implement laying on the operating table with a piece of singed flesh attatched.

“What’s going on here, doctor?” the nurse asked.

“I don’t know, but I don’t like it.” Selbing said.

The monitor bleeped again, telling the world that the patient had left the building, and body again.  Selbing grabbed the pads to give her a jolt in the hope of bringing her back again.

“Clear,” he yelled and kicked the juice.

The patient opened her eyes once more, grabbed Selbing by the arm with both hands and died.

Selbing opened his eyes. Flames surrounded him, lapping at his legs like an angry tide. Still holding onto his arm was the woman he could not save. She had dragged him down with her in her last ditch effort to hold on to life.

Scott:  "I began dabbling in writing after discovering the joys of sci-fi and fantasy at high school. In 2008, I joined the Australian Horror Writers Association as a full financial member. Currently, I am an active member of the University of Texas Flash Fiction Writer, Zoetrope Virtual Studio and FlashXER Writer Groups.   My writing blog is listed on the Australian Horror & Dark Fiction webring, of which I am a member.
37 of my fiction stories have been published in various publications, including; Pure Fiction, Dark Fire, Micro Horror, A Long Short Story, Sonar4, The Shine Journal, The Cynic Online Magazine, Flashshot, Spec The Halls, The Tiny Globule, Zoetrope, 52 Stitches, 6 Sentences, New Voices in Fiction Magazine, Yellow Mama, Antipodean SF, The Short Humor Site, Twisted Dreams, Sinister Tales, Golden Visions, Flashes in the Dark and Static Movement magazines. Two of my stories are catalogued on the Anthology Builder Printing site for addition to personal anthologies. My short story “A Nice Bunch” has been accepted for publishing in the 52 Stitches printed anthology in 2009.

"Two of my non-fiction articles have been published in the Wynnum Herald Newspaper and a number of my letters to the editor have been published in the Courier Mail Newspaper. I was the editor for The Central Plaza News with a readership of 5,000 subscribers for 3 years. My interests include reading Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Westerns, and Australian Literature. I am working on two novels presently, a horror novel that I hope will rival any Stephen King novel and a comedy fantasy in the style of Terry Pratchett." Contact Scott.