Although his vision was blurred, the man knew he was staring into a bright light. He’d heard stories about this before … an ethereal tunnel that links this world to the next, perhaps the final bridge between life and afterlife.
His breathing was labored, and he felt anxious. If this was the journey from here to there, he worried that perhaps it would be an unpleasant one. Yet, just as he started to get more agitated, he heard a soft, soothing voice.
“It’s OK, Mr. Bannister, everything is fine. Everything going forward will be wonderful.”
The voice was reassuring, reminding him a bit of his mother’s. She always had a sense of calm no matter the situation, and a similar tranquility was evident here.
Was it his late mother reaching out to him, or simply another angel? Although the light was brilliant, he could almost make out a figure, one that appeared to be that of a woman with shoulder-length hair and dressed in white.
“Mr. Bannister, it’s time for you to move on,” she said. “There’s no need to worry anymore about any pain or regret. That life is over. And a new life will begin in a new form.”
He didn’t understand. A new life? A new form? Did this mean that there was no end, merely a new beginning?
It all seemed so … pleasant.
“Mr. Bannister, you’re a very nice man – you always have been,” she said. “You’re friendly, you’re good, and as you transition it’s important that you find a vessel best suited for you.”
The word ‘vessel’ didn’t seem to make much sense at first, but the more he thought about it – and to be sure, his thoughts were random and unclear – he realized his body was the vessel in question.
His current one apparently was of no more use, so the angel was transferring him to another. He imagined a taller, slimmer body, one with muscles and tone. The idea made him chuckle, although he couldn’t tell if it was audible or something merely in his head. He seemed to have little control of his mouth, or anything else on his body, for that matter.
“I know the perfect fit for you, Mr. Bannister,” she said. “A Golden Retriever. They’re kind, intelligent, gentle, affectionate … just like you. And imagine all the good times you’ll have with your human. Running, jumping, playing fetch. It’s a life you’ll love, and one that you deserve.”
The thought of being a dog made him smile – at least he thought he was smiling. He loved dogs, and he especially loved Golden Retrievers. In fact, he had one at home named Buck. How funny it all was … sometimes he’d look at Buck and think how joyous it must be to live so carefree, and now he was going to find out for himself.
Would he miss being a human?
This was the work of an angel, and an angel would obviously know what they were doing. His first life was a man, and he was a good man. His next life he’d be a dog – a good dog.
He was fine with it all. Dying wasn’t so bad. In fact, he was looking forward to it.
Now he’d just doze off and when he woke up, a new adventure would be waiting for him. A new life on four legs instead of two, one full of wagging instead of nagging. He closed his eyes and felt completely at peace.
Once he opened his eyes – he had no idea how long he’d been out – the bright lights were gone. He felt slightly confused, and the left side of his face was numb.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Bannister?” said the dentist, rubbing her hands with sanitizer. “You still seemed a little distressed even with the sedative and nitrous oxide, so I told you my famous reincarnation story.
“It’s weird, but that crazy little tale almost always gets patients’ minds off their procedure. And with you getting two root canals today, I figured you needed it.”