[WP] You die, only to actually wake up in a laboratory, where you realize your entire life was a side effect hallucination for a drug you agreed to take for clinical trials. Your real life's memories slowly begin coming back to you. The doctors tell you you were only "out" for 30 minutes.

When you die you see the grey come in.

This was not the color I was expecting. Black perhaps. That seemed more appropriate. More attune to the harsh oblivion of death. But, if God were more loving, perhaps white. Peace could be found in a white abyss. Still, I wished everything would at least slowly crumble instead of dissipate so suddenly, so I'd be able to see everything for a few more moments, say a last goodbye to things you never thought to say goodbye to. The kindly doctor.The persistent beeping of the ECG. Even the fucking wall plant, so docile it might as well have been made of plastic. But it wasn't crumbling. It was a sudden grey sea, flooding everything, faster than I could have ever imagined.

I was swept up in a grey death.

And for a few seconds I saw my childhood. Sun-bleach plastic play-sets, white-hot heat, Saw-dust bunk beds, youth-stained room.For the first time in months, it wasn't pills, but memories down my throat. My father holding a withering white plant and trying to explain the concept of death for the first time. His wife laying behind him, but he couldn't pick her up. He couldn't use her for an example either.

"Everything has its time," he said. Emotionless, but barely. "And when it comes, you'll be ready for it. This life is a gift, but is only yours for a time. That's what makes it precious."

I saw you in the mental hospital. Two months before you left me. Three years before I got over you. You were telling me about the suicidal man serene in the bed next to you. Then you laughed. Then sighed Then laughed.

Perhaps everything does crumble. I was grateful for it. But certainly the grey would come rushing in. I wanted to fight it, but exhaustion is quicksand, and when you give into it, you rarely get out.

But then it was white. There was perhaps a loving God. I got to rest in peace. The world would be so appreciate to know that all its monuments were true. Rest in peace. Fluorescent peace. It was fluorescence. And then it wasn't peace. Now was it white. But the yellow dim of dusty light, and the soft scent of saline.

And a man in a lab-coat. Checking his silver watch. Tapping it twice, and then looking tenderly at me.

"Welcome back, you were quite out of it there," the lab-coat man said in washed-out voice. "You took to the trial more strongly than our other subjects."

The room was continuing to come into focus. 20-or-so hospital beds, all with people in hospital gowns, either fast-asleep or stirring hazily. The next life's dress is still a hospital gown. How ironic, I thought bitterly. I asked the lab-coat man what they called this place. He looked at me quizzically. Surely, I have died, I asked. He laughed, and then said gently.

"No, you are very much alive, Mr. Thomas."

And with surprising dread, I knew it was true. Maybe.

Is this a dream too?

"You die every night to wake up," my mind chimed. "You die every night to wake up."

And for the first time I wished for the grey sea, and for the first time I doubted whether I'd ever have it.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread