I hope everyone is doing well, especially those living in area that tend to experience extreme heat, since we are roughly a month or so away before summer officially starts in the Northern Hemisphere.
As for those in the Southern Hemisphere, I sometimes wish I could be there right now, if not a place in the region I live where temperatures average about the same the whole year.
Anyway, I recently shared the first chapter of a story I am currently working on, and said that I would share a few chapters here, though I have no intention of doing a serial publication, since I am having a bit of troubles being able to find an adequate amount of time to continue writing it, mainly due to the fact that the best time for me to write is not exactly available as much as I would like.
Today, I will share one final chapter from that work.
If you have not read the first chapter, I suggest reading it before continuing on.
With that out of the way, it is time to give you the second chapter.
Lying there on the ground, I was wondering how I could have survived all that had happened, and I tried to move my limbs.
However, try as I might, my body would not move at all.
Instead, I saw a somewhat different hand up and down. One that appeared to belong to somebody slightly older than I should have been.
What is going on here? I was shot, in the head no less, and I am still here? Why can I still move, yet I see an appendage other than my own.
Trying to find some answers, I pushed myself off the ground and noticed that Tom is crying for some reason, and does not seem to notice that I am still in his presence and capable of moving.
The man who had shot me approached Tom, with every bit of an evil aura that I had detected earlier before I found myself in the situation that I was currently in.
Tom, who was still crying, had an expression of fear that only got worse as the person who had shot me drew closer to him and did not else.
Looking back at my assailant, I could see a grin that was more visible to me now than it had been before I was shot.
When he was only a few inches away from Tom, my assailant aimed his gun at Tom’s head point-blank, just like the final shot that went through my body.
Truly pitiful. You call yourself call a man? Men do not allow themselves to be protected by girls, and because you did nothing, that girl there is dead, he said, glancing in the direction of where I had found myself only a few moments ago.
What right do you have to say that? I heard Tom say, though it sounded nasally at this point, as well as sounding the way it normally does when a person tries to talk while crying.
Disgusted by the response my assailant moved his trigger finger further against the trigger, prepared to deal a fatal blow to Tom.
I tried running towards the assailant and grabbing onto the weapon, but my hand went right through it, and the one that was about to kill my friend did not seem to be fazed at all.
Again, I tried charging at the person who was trying to kill Tom, but this time, I felt something grab onto to me, preventing me from moving any further.
To find out who was responsible, I turned around and saw a face that I thought that I would have never seen for another half century or so.
Without saying a word, I looked at this new person that shown themselves to me.
They had thin cheeks and red hair, instead of the gray that I remember seeing them possess when they were among the living.
The eyes, however, were the same green eyes I remembered seeing when I was little, which had shown a lot warmth and love every time I was sad.
The weirdest thing of all though was that this person seemed to be no older than somebody in their early twenties, despite the fact that she had died in her late eighties.
Grandma? I said, after a few moments of shocked silence.
When I remembered what was going on, I tried to break free of my grandmother’s grip, pleading with her to let me go.
That’s enough, Dear. I know that you want to protect him, but there is nothing that you can do any more. You died, just like that man there said you did.
But, his symptoms, I said, as tears started coming from my eyes,
they started to show, which means he is no longer capable of fighting. He is going die, if nothing is done.
We can’t do anything for him. If he dies, he dies.
You’re heartless! If he dies, his parents will be sad and blame me for not keeping him safe. Do you even know how devastating that can be?!
Upon hearing me say that, my grandmother slapped me hard, as if she were trying to get me back to my senses, then hugged me like I was her own child.
She’s right. I can’t do anything for him, because my hand just went right through the person who killed me.
I cannot get myself more emotionally involved than I am right now. I need to figure what that feeling was that I received before Tom and left that restaurant.
Seeing that I had finally calmed down, my grandmother led me towards the front of the bus where I had died, trekking across the smooth, dark blue flooring that covered the aisle.
However, it felt much more different than getting off the bus normally, because I saw thousands of people roaming the streets by foot, many of whom were not noticed by the people sitting at the bus stops or, even those that were traveling the streets by car.
Noticing my surprise, my grandmother spoke up, while continuing to lead me to the front of the bus, saying,
People are not really aware of this, but we don’t really leave the planet, go up into the clouds, or even descend to lowest levels of the Earth. The afterlife is right here, among the living, separated by a barrier that only we can cross.
Is that why we see ghosts when we are alive? Are all the people who have lived separated by whether they were good or evil while alive?
Look, Dear, as much I would like to answer your questions, we don’t have time. After all, do you really want to continue exploring this plane of existence the way you are now?
What is she talking about? I am just fin—
As I looked down, I could see my exposed chest and stomach, as well as bare feet and nothing but the appearance of what looks like skin, though I am pretty sure that it is nothing but some other form of matter that only spirit have, not the same stuff that makes up actual human skin.
At that moment, I realized that I was wearing practically nothing, while my grandmother seemed to wear something more similar to what a girl in her twenties would have worn back in the 1940’s.
With a bit of embarrassment, I asked my grandmother,
How long have I been like this?
Since the moment you rose up to your feet after being shot in the head, and if we do not hurry, you’ll have to figure things out on your own.
Without saying another word, I followed my grandmother’s instructions and sped up my pace to a point that I thought that I would not be able to to breathe calmly, though I was not too sure if physical exhaustion affected spirits like it did the living.
A few hours later, I found myself in front of a strange building that looked like somewhat modern building, but people were walking out with clothes from various different eras, whether they were from one of the recent decades of the twentieth century.
Most of the people seemed to be pretty ordinary, and probably would have been decent people while they were alive, but I also saw other individual that were the very embodiment of evil, according to what was recorded in the history books that I studied in school, which weirded me out the most.
My grandmother, however, just walked right up to the entrance, which was one huge glass door with a black frame and had its hours posted up like it was some sort of giant sticker.
Not knowing what else to do, I followed my grandmother into the store.
The inside had white wallpaper covering all four walls from the top to about halfway down, where oakwood seemed to start and continued down to the floor, which was made of tiles colored black and white in a checkerboard-like fashion.
Instead of shelves and racks containing clothes, all I saw were mannequins with many differents types of clothing that can from different eras of history, much like the clothes I saw on the people who had recently left the store.
Further along the back, there was a counter with a male and female attendant, who both bowed and greeted my grandmother and I.
While I looked around the shop to try and find something that suited me, my grandmother called over one of the attendants for help.
A few moments later, the female attendant from earlier came over and asked,
What can I help you with today, ma’am?
My granddaughter here is in need of some clothes, and it is her first time here, my grandmother replied calmly.
In response, and knowing full-well that the attendant was now staring at me, I felt a great of embarrassment because of the obvious fact that everything was out in the open.
Before I could turn around and face her, the attendant had already approached me and came around to the front, making me feel even more embarrassed than before.
When I raised my head, the attend smiled and asked,
What is it that would like to wear, Miss?
A baseball cap, t-shirt, some shorts, and tennis shoes, I said quietly, almost to the point where it was probably hard for her to hear me properly.
Don’t be shy. Everybody who has just died finds themselves in the same state you are in. Now, tell me what it that want to wear, she said, trying get me to relax more.
I repeat myself a little louder than before, but still having a hint of embarrassment in my voice.
Hm…I do not think we can get you any shoes here, but the rest should be pretty feasible. What colors would you like them to be? the attendant asked in reply.
I want the cap to be black, the shirt silver, and the pants blue, I answered.
After noting all of that down, the attendant led me away from my grandmother into a windows that had no windows of kind, except for maybe one windows that was located fairly close to the ceiling and was only wide enough for a child to slip through.
The walls looked the same as they did back in the storefront.
What’s going on here? There are not any buy-able clothes to be found,, and employee asks me to come into the back them? This cannot be right.
Calm down, there is no reason to worry yet, because the other patrons left without a scratch on them, so this might not be as bad as I am making it out to be.
Besides, I do not really have anybody to be worried about here at this moment.
At that moment, I suddenly remembered Tom and how he was left all alone on that bus after I was killed, but the feelings I felt from the men who hijacked the bus seemed to pale in comparison to the feeling I got back at the restaurant.
Unlike those men, the feeling I received at that time seemed to have come from some entity that probably knew everything and was watching Tom and I, but I had no idea as to whether the origin of that sensation was coming from somebody among the living, which was what I thought at first, or if it came from somebody on this side of the divide between the living and the dead.
After a while of waiting, the female attendant took out a tape measurer and put it around various different areas of my body, and writing down some numbers in three or four different categories, though I did not really pay attention to what those numbers were exactly.
Alright then, we are done here. Your clothes should be ready in about two days. In the meantime, here is a yukata that you can use to cover up with, she told me.
The yukata itself was red with various different flowers that had white borders decorating it, and the sash was black.
I gave off a sigh of relief, and started to put it on, though I had no idea of how it was supposed to be worn properly.
A few minutes later, after receiving some help with the sash, I was led back to where I had come from and my grandmother was told that my clothes would be ready for pickup in two days.
Satisfied with the service, and happy that I was no longer stark naked, like before, my grandmother and I left the shop.
However, before we could very far, I stopped and said, not trying to hide that anything was going on,
Now that that is taken care of, you’re going to tell me everything you know, right, grandma?
My grandmother stopped and turned around, but instead of the kind smile and eyes she had before, she gave off the kind of expression that would normally be found on somebody who had something to hide, and replied,
What are you talking about, Dear? I promised no such thing.
Frustrated by the fact that my grandmother had lied to me, I slammed my fist against wall, and said,
I did as you told me and followed you to that place. All I ask is that you tell me what I want to know.
As if those words were some kind of signal, a bunch people wearing black cloaks surrounded my grandmother and I.
By the way that they were standing and the auras that they were giving off suggested that they were people not to be trifled with in any way, at least, if you wanted to live.
Noticing the crowd around us, my grandmother rose her hand and said to the crowd,
Stand down. This girl has no idea what is really going on, so she is no threat.
Although she was not facing me at the time, I started to get a weird vibe from her that was quite similar to the feeling that I had gotten back at the fast food joint, as well as one that gave me a good impression that she knew way more than an average citizen of the afterlife that had resided there as long as she had.
Angered by what I was seeing and hearing, I yelled out,
Never mind them! What is going, grandma? Tell me!
In response, my grandmother walked up to me and sent a karate punch into my abdomen, which made me feel like hurling, as I still was not used to the body I currently had.
My grandmother then walked up to me and whispered in my ear,
You need to know when to keep quiet, Dear. After all, you were not my target at the time you died. Now, get back here two days from now to pick up your clothes and forget everything that has happened, otherwise you will no longer exist.
As soon as she finished, she shoved me to the ground and started walking with the people who were wearing black cloaks in tow behind her, while putting on a black cloak of her own.
YOU TRAITOR! I yelled back, once I was sure she was no longer within earshot.