“Oh sir, please don’t be alarmed by my face. Happened a few years back now, hardly think of it myself, the pox took a big chunk of it, hardly think of it at all. Yes, it worries people at first, sir, but pay it no mind. What’s inside that counts, isn’t it?
“They say I died, sir, yes, that’s what I’ve heard. Dead as a doornail on the doctor’s table, just for a minute. Just a minute, and then the doctor brought me back, right as rain. Fit as a flea. But for that minute sir…
“I don’t like to talk about it, sir, no I really don’t. But I’ll tell you what I’ve told the Master and almost no one else, I remember that minute. Clear as day. Like it happened just now. It didn’t happen just now, it was years ago as I say, but I remember it clear as a bell. And do you know what I remember?
“Nothing. Quiet as the grave it was, sir. Black as pitch. No angels singing, no souls burning in torment. No Heaven, sir, and no Hell. There was nothing, and I was in that nothing, alone, for a whole minute. Toiling in black for 60 seconds, that’s what I was. You’d think it was peaceful, wouldn’t you, sir? You’d think it was rest? I didn’t feel any peace. No rest there, sir.
“Now we come to it, sir. Down here, please. Yes. I’m not asking you, sir. I’m telling you what the Master told me to do. Take you down here, sir. Quick as a flash, sir, down the stairs. Don’t make me push you, sir. Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.
“Why bother talking to you at all, sir? Why, I could have just wrapped you in a blanket and carried you down here! But the master has his ways, funny way some of them. Wanted you to hear my little story, he did, sir. Wanted you to know about that minute. Told me to tell you, sir, that you have a lot of minutes ahead of you.”