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“Excuse me, but can you tell me where we are?”

The man turned his head slowly and looked up at me.  He’d been busy fixing a tire on his bike, otherwise he would have been like all the others speeding along the road.

Setting his steely grey eyes on me he seemed to mull my question over before slowly saying, “I guess you’re new here.”  With that he turned back to his bike and resumed work.

Not quite sure what to make of him, I glanced around.  So many bikes speeding off in the same direction, no one talking just staring straight ahead, focusing on some unseen destination.

What the hell is this place.  Hell, maybe it’s Hell.  That could be it, I’d been ill lately.  Maybe I died….

“God you’re an idiot,” I snapped at myself, not really caring what anyone thought.  No-one would stop and listen anyway.

Carefully I moved across the street to the other side, there appeared to be a path leading down a hill in the direction from which all the bikers were coming.  It was rather dusty, but then it felt a bit like being stranded on the way to Vegas.  Not much in the way of scenery out here.

I started down and after a few minutes spotted a spark of metal in the sunlight.  My feet moved faster and soon I arrived at what appeared to be a parking lot, filled from side to side with bikes.

What on earth are these doing here?  There’s no buildings?  Where are all the people?

“‘Scuse me ma’am, can I help you?”

I nearly jumped at the sound of the voice.  It was a low grumble and I was almost too scared to turn around.

I was right, this is Hell, and the devil’s standing behind me….. Right, because the devil calls everyone ma’am.

With a slight grin now, I turned around, instantly noticing the large bearded man leaning against the fence.  How I hadn’t seen him when I walked down here was a mystery.

“Um, well, I appear to be lost.  See I woke up on the side of the road and I’m not really sure how I got here.”

I had no sooner spoken than a warm smile broke across his face.  In what seemed like only two strides he had crossed the distance between us and put an arms on either side of me.  Then he looked directly into my eyes and I heard the thunder once more.

“Listen, you ain’t gonna like what I have to say, but there’s no way to sugarcoat it so I’m just gonna spit it out.  You see, you didn’t just wake up on the side of a road.  Back in your old life, you died and now….”

“Oh my God,”  I cried, jerking myself away.  “You mean I was right, I’m dead?”  I was falling inside myself, it was one thing to joke in order to stay sane, but this?  “No, no, no, what did I do to deserve this?”  I looked up at him, realising that tears had begun to fall down my face but too lost to stop them.  “Why’d I end up in Hell?”

He looked confused for a second, and then emitted another growl of thunder.  I realised it was a laugh of sorts but everything felt so surreal that I barely comprehended it.  “Here, ma’am, let me set you up with a ride, you’re gonna need one.  See, you’re not in Hell.  That decisions not been made yet.”

He gave me one last look of compassion before turning to walk towards one of the bikes, bending down to give it a quick inspection before standing up, nodding his approval.

“This one will do nicely.  Yeah, this little lady will get you right to the end of your journey.”

I heard myself talk, as though in a dream.  Nothing made sense anymore.  “What journey?   I don’t understand where I am.”

With a final smile he handed me the key and gave my hand a squeeze.  “You’re about to begin your final journey ma’am.  It won’t be an easy one.  See, before you can be placed, you’ll have to travel down that road.”

“The road that everyone else is driving on?”  Suddenly the thought terrified me.

“That’s the one.  She ain’t no easy ride, let me tell you.  Not for nothing do they call her the boulevard of broken dreams.”

(Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day)

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