The Death of Toshio Masaku
Toshio Masaku was was dying. He knew this unbreakable conscious certainty. The tension created over the years by incomplete tasks, unmet responsibilities, and forgotten ideals temporarily fettered him to his dying body. He could see the bloody bodies of his assailants and in the distance, the Crystal Mountain. He pushed through the fog in his mind to the story his grandmother told about the jagged shining peak. There was deep cave or maybe an abyss and a ambitious young man who got more than he bargained for. He was not heard of for many years until he reappeared not having aged a day, with eyes full of light, saying strange things Toshio could not remember but could somehow feel. Toshio died.
Toshio had abandoned his body once before. He had been sailing...somewhere and had gotten drunk out boredom. There was a terrible storm, and he had drowned. Before he was resuscitated he had a brief, somewhat vague experience of standing or hovering over his own body- and then only darkness. This was an altogether different experience. He was looking down on his slumped form, and for a moment his vision had a clarity and crispness he had never experienced. The thought that he was seeing himself seemed very ominous, and he quickly understood what was happening to him. Then the world became an undulating expanse of sea anemones in a of myriad colors. What was now his body (which wasn’t really a body, but energy that had formerly been contained in his body) began slowly expanding in all directions. He experienced this as a gentle but insistent tugging from the center of his being. This continued until he had encompassed the whole Earth. He was surrounded and coming up against an ethereal yet very real object he intuited to be the Moon. It looked nothing like the Moon-unless you turned the Moon inside out and wrapped it around you like a blanket. From his perspective, his “body”, seemed to surround the earth while simultaneously being inside the Moon. There was an audible pop and suddenly he was looking at stars of blinding brilliance, throbbing with color as if alive. Toshio felt as if innumerable unblinking eyes were staring down at him and peering into every nook and cranny of his soul. As they stared, they moved in patterns that were beautiful yet painful to behold. He felt as if some part of him was being pealed away-like the removal of an old bandage or clothing worn for way too long. At the moment of separation, everything went dark and silent. For a long time there seemed to be nothing, but as he realized the strangeness of experiencing nothing, something happened. It was as if a seed became a tree in an instant. The life recently departed surrounded him now as a panoramic tableau of memories in a vast space. They were not his memories exactly, but more like other’s memories of his life. Many were long forgotten, and the sight of it altogether was a wonder. He found himself drawn to the picture of himself dying. It expanded as he attended to it and pulled him into itself until he was again in the place where he died, but from a different perspective. Someone else’s perspective. He also could see his own former body in front of him, still very much alive. Toshio was seeing through the eyes of his attacker, who just like him, was dead now. He could feel anxiety and anger that were not his own and sensed a dark presence in his periphery. He felt the man’s will waver and return, but was in no way in control of anything the man did. The man was rushing past another man lying dead on the ground towards...himself. Something sharp, fast, and intrusive planted itself in the chest of the man Toshio was inhabiting. He felt the blade enter between his ribs and puncture his left lung. Toshio remained within the man as the the still living version of himself stumbled over to finish the job. It did not take long, but it was excruciating, and feeling another man’s fear and agony shook him violently. When the man he inhabited (his attacker) finally expired, Toshio found himself in very similar situation in the body of his other assailant. This was the man who had surprised him and gave him the wound that eventually killed him. The experience of feeling this attackers malice from within as he stabbed Toshio while Toshio simultaneously turned and viciously stabbed back at the man he now inhabited was unbearable. The painful and confusing inverted memories continued until he had endured the wounds inflicted on each of his attackers. Always there was a dark figure just out of sight.
He proceeded backwards through his life experiencing all the good and ill he had inflicted on others. The sense of justice and intuitive knowledge that what was happening him was right was as real to Toshio as the chair I’m sitting in right now. He was a soldier and had killed many, but none with malice save one. While all the pain he had inflicted on others and now felt was excruciatingly accurate, he could see the justice in what was happening, and each experience left his heart a little lighter. This provided a bedrock of peace for him, but when he encountered the betrayer everything changed. This man had done something horrible and Toshio hated him, but now, Toshio could not remember what he had actually done. He knew he had killed the man in his sleep, but fought against the memory now, knowing this would be far worse than any prior pain. He attempted to hide, but the form of dark figure lurking in his periphery was very close now and exerted an unfaltering magnetic pull on his being. The pull became stronger and stronger until all that existed was an eternal violent ripping and burning that started in his heart and extended itself to every edge of his consciousness. He gave in to the presence and the experience. He lay in his enemies sleeping body watching himself do the shameful work in misery with intense hatred for existence. To him it seemed like all that had ever existed was white hot pain and loathing. There was nothing else, and so Toshio knew eternity and wished to forget it. He loathed his own existence, and at last, begging for mercy that he knew was impossible, something hard and jagged deep in his heart crumbled. The sorrow continued to overwhelmed him. He would have paid any price for the ability to shed a tear, but it was too late for tears. He repented anyway. He relinquished his claim on the wrong done to him, accepted the guilt of his murderous reprisal, and acknowledged that he had been the villain.
I am glad to say that Toshio passed through the rest of his memories with humble dignity. Also, I do not wish to give the impression that all Toshio experienced during this time was painful. He lived most of his life as a good and honorable man. He loved and was loved by many and did a great deal for the benefit of others, -much of it in secret as he did not enjoy attention. As he enjoyed the fruits of these secret gifts, a sense of satisfied bliss not attainable in the physical realm engulfed his spirit and bathed him in God’s unwavering love. These experiences were plentiful and acted as a balm for the pain he endured. After enduring his mother’s birth pains, he found himself back in the thought and memory of her womb. He felt another part of him that he supposed wasn’t actually him slide smoothly away and then there was light. He felt like a sword being pulled from its sheath. His thoughts and awareness became sharp and clear again.
It is at this point that the story becomes impossible to tell, or I at least I lack the capacity to tell it due to lack of words describing non-physical objects and entities. However, Toshio had much left to do, many obstacles to overcome, but he eventually found a sort of rest -for a while. If I can find the words and you want to hear it, I will tell you the rest of his story in the future. It is an extraordinary and perhaps impossible thing to accurately relate any non-physical experience, and it can be harmful to people’s minds if you get it wrong, but maybe I’ll try anyhow.