Flash Fiction: Purgatory! by LJ Frank

“You don’t know that for sure!” Gunther stated.

“Well, you’ve been seeking it all your life. And myself, only these past few months. And what have you found? Nothing. What do you expect me to find that you have spent your life up until this moment seeking?” I pleaded.

“Precisely.”

“What do you mean?”

 Perhaps I’ve been looking in all the wrong places”.

“What? You’ve been to cities around the world. Cairo, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rio, Amsterdam, Nairobi, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Santiago, Lagos, Casablanca, Brazzaville and for god’s sake, even Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. The list is endless – from cities to deserts to jungles and what’s been revealed to you? Where have you not been?”

“Purgatory!”

“Purgatory? You mean like in Dante’s Purgatory – the so-called intermediate spiritual place after our body dies and we await expiatory purification? Or do you mean Purgatory Mountain in North Carolina or the ski resort in Colorado, or the rivers, chasms and other resorts in various states and countries?” I demanded in frustration.

Gunther’s laugh was soft.

“Why are you laughing?” I asked.

“I’m not laughing at you. It’s a normal phenomenon. Perhaps I need to explain to you what some people might view as both questionable and provocative that we haven’t discussed up until now.”

“What exactly are you referring to?”

“Please go over to the large oak door through which you entered.”

I shook my head but decided to go along with him. So, I got up from the high back chair and walked to the door.

“Please open it.”

I turned the knob and opened it. “Now what?”

“There’s landscape before you. And there’s something in the distance that is just barely visible beyond the trees but upon further inspection stands out from the rest of the landscape in a singular fashion.”

“Hm. Okay.”

“Concentrate. Now. When I count from seven back and upon reaching one you will open your eyes and tell me what your mind sees…about where we are.”

“I…my god, it can’t be!”