Dylan McCorey Goes To Hell

May 13, 2009


Dylan had been walking a Border collie and some groceries back to his University Heights duplex when he was stabbed twice in the side. One of the blows chipped his fourth rib, the blade twisting harmlessly into the muscles of his abdomen. The second tore a small hole in his right lung.

As he lay dying, Dylan smelled milk; the milk had broken as he fell. Blood began gurgling to his throat with each breath.

The kid didn’t even rob me, he reflected.

Dylan James McCorey’s last living thought was of how annoying the frozen concrete felt on his neck. There was a swelling burst of white noise, a sound like a single note played on a piano in an empty room, and then nothingness.


Suddenly, Dylan became aware again. The hallway he walked down stretched far before him and resembled the long corridor that led to the separated gymnasium of his elementary school. Soon Dylan realized that this was the hallway from grade school. It was a playback of his life. Quietly, Dylan’s consciousness looked around for a fast forward button. To his surprise, he found one. In the lower right-hand corner of his vision he saw a flashing red button display that resembled the one on his VCR… sort of. Something seemed out of place. He wasn’t really there and neither were the buttons, but Dylan exerted all his will at the idea of pressing “F FWD.”

The images blew past him at a mercifully blinding speed. He could catch little glimpses of scenes, and pangs of emotion as well. The vision could give him his emotional feedback at the time of each replayed event. His life was moving so fast now that Dylan barely had time to marvel at the beauty of it.

Most of it was pretty boring, to be truthful. Elementary school: unkempt blond hair pushed back over freckled ears, kickball, awkwardness. Middle school: acne, standardized testing, more awkwardness. High school: introduction to sex, marginally less awkwardness, 9/11, sweaty Prom-night hands…

Dylan paused. The images paused with him.

9/11. I’d like to see that again one more time, he thought. Dylan had been in a class when the news came. He’d skipped the rest of the day and glued himself to the television with the rest of the nation until late at night when the first fighter jets lifted off from a nearby air base, startling him out of his dumb shock. He wouldn’t mind living through the day’s emotions again with an older mind to see if he could process some of the heartache now. Unfortunately, as he looked at the button display again he realized what was missing: the rewind button. Dylan decided to watch more carefully from now on. However, with 9/11 already passed, he realized that he could remember pretty clearly what came next and none of it was worth watching.

F FWD. He flashed through graduation, his first few years at the University at Buffalo, other, more successful grocery trips, and finally the unfortunate events of that very morning. The screen went blank.

Dylan didn’t feel as though he’d learned much. A few perceptions had been corrected, a few memories clarified. He had, in fact, been the one who’d started the prom night argument that led to a mid-summer break up with his girlfriend at the time. “Funny Cide” really was a prize-winning thoroughbred and a brand of novelty beer, settling an unfinished bar bet Dylan now realized he would never collect on. And the little rat-tailed murderer had robbed him.

Dylan bitterly cursed the existence of all snot-nosed troubled youths, swearing to never again, if given the chance, feel sorry for them and the broken homes they may or may not have come from. He felt jealous of their life and the second or third chances they had to use it wisely, to take advantage of life, to have fun, instead of the quarter-century or so of awkward fumbling Dylan had just lived and reviewed. He wished bad things upon the boy who’d killed him and everyone else like him

Just as his thoughts were reaching their most crudely graphic apex, the lights came up and revealed Dylan’s surroundings: the pearly gates of Heaven. He saw St. Peter, clipboard in hand. Dylan was a body again, with eyes and hands and a brain and a mouth, a mouth that worked, that was connected to the brain, which was engaged in some fairly colorful imagery at the moment. Dylan tried in vain to shut himself up

“–and their cocksucking baby factory mothers, too,” he finished, right on schedule. 

St. Peter gaped. The silence before his gates was thick and sweaty, and Dylan felt he could see cool blue flames in the old man’s eyes as he folded his arms over his clipboard and waited for the big gear-shift he knew was coming.

“Er… hey,” Dylan began.


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