Posted June 24, 2012
This story is part of ULTRA. Support the author by liking it on Facebook!
For the record, death isn’t so bad.
Dying, on the other hand, hurts like a son-of-a-bitch.
So you understand, I hope, that I am appropriately pissed at the fellow who strung out the dying part for me.
Hello, my name is Mary, and I was murdered.
Now, the murder part doesn’t bother me. Honest. I mean, it’s not like I was doing anything important beforehand. The part that bothers me is that if you’re going to mug someone, have the decency to do the job properly. It’s common courtesy.
But no. I got someone who thinks being polite is passé. First, the jerkass shoots me in the stomach (FYI: hurts like a son-of-a-bitch). Then he just runs away. The nerve! What, was my knock off purse not worth the effort? I had, like, twenty bucks in there.
As my wonderful and loving mother was so fond of saying, it seems that my fuck-up field extends to everyone around me. Which includes muggers, apparently.
Afterwards, do you know how long it took me to finally die? …Well I don’t either, but it felt like weeks. Which is long enough for me to be sufficiently furious to seek revenge BEYOND DEATH!
That’s how these things work, right? You get sent back to get revenge, or absolution, or something. Kill your killer, forgive yourself, sleep with your still-living spouse through a medium, or whatnot. Then bam! Afterlife with an open bar.
So I have unfinished business. Cool. Let’s go finish that, because being a ghost is neat but it’s not something I want to do forever.
Why, you ask? Well for example: ghosts can’t drink. Or hold a shot glass. True fact. And on a related note: I have no idea how I can see things, and it bothers me. I mean, vision requires light to strike your eyes and then get interpreted by the brain. From what I can tell light passes clean through me, therefore striking nothing, therefore I shouldn’t be able to see.
…I’m going to stop thinking about that and just blame it on spectral wizardry. Yeah. Back to vengeance.
Now, I’m not a detective. I’ve watched more CSI than is probably healthy, but that doesn’t help. I don’t know how to track people, and I don’t know how to find clues. So I’m just kind of… roaming. Constantly. I mean, even a terrible mugger-wannabe must have some kind of haunt (heh), right? I’ve gotta run into him sometime.
In the two weeks I’ve been floating about like a hobo, the streets have never been this crowded. I don’t think I could pick out a face in this pulsing mass of the living, but I might as well get a better view. I have no idea how I can levitate, but seriously, it’s still as awesome now as it was when I first figured it out.
At about three stories up, I catch a glimpse of something moving on a roof nearby. It’s a shape, kind of wuzzy. Looks like a dude.
And in that instant, I knew it was the dude I was looking for. I can’t tell you why, but I just knew. Magic ghost powers, I guess.
In an instant I’m in front of him. Bastard’s standing on the edge of a tenement roof. There was a lot of light and noise coming from the street, but sound doesn’t travel very well in ghost-land. Everything’s all muted. Like listening through a bunch of cotton on the bottom of the ocean. So I couldn’t make out exactly what all the ruckus was about. Not that I cared, of course.
The guy was just standing there, swaying one the breeze, half-empty bottle of tequila in hand. He waved the bottle around. Clear liquid dripped off his face and ran in rivulets under his eyes – he’d obviously poured tequila onto his face in a mockery at my inability to drink and feel said drink on my skin (not that I’d ever waste perfectly good booze in that manner).
Killing me improperly is one thing. But mocking me afterwards? That’s just a new low. I can’t look at him in the face anymore, so I swoop around behind. Goodness, he’s awfully close to that edge. I’d hate for something to–
Damn. Forgot that being immaterial means I can’t push people. I will NOT let this opportunity slide by!
Now he’s yelling something at the lights and sounds on the street, waving his hands around (Spilling!) and making awfully familiar gun gestures with his free hand. He\’s gloating. I\’m going to kill him so much.
The lights and sounds yell something back, and it strikes me as probably being important, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty much blind with rage at this point.
The jerkass (I’m not even going to call him a man anymore) goes quiet. He hiccups (a last laugh) and drops the bottle – spilling! If I still had knuckle-bones, I’d crack them.
Slowly, much too slowly, the jerkass turns around. His head is down and he looks tired – exhausted from all the attention. He takes a step forward, towards me, and looks up.
I feel myself solidify – odd sensation, kinda tingly. Our eyes meet. I give him a sweet smile.
He chokes, forcing words through cracked lips. “I’m s–”
Death isn’t so bad. It’s the dying that sucks. It may not have been a bullet wound to the gut, but I have to say: the look of utter, abject shock as he stumbled off the roof was SO worth it. I bet that fall felt like weeks.
All in all, I feel pretty accomplished. I mean, mission: complete. Revenge: taken. Dish served: cold.
Score: Mary one, Jerkass… also one, but a lesser one. So I still win.
Now all that’s left is the sweet, sweet reward of the afterlife (fingers crossed for an open bar).
Some of the light and sound on the street has gone somewhere else. Looking down, there’s still a lot of people, though. That Jerkass had a hell of a crowd.
…Okay, I’m starting to get nervous. This is how these things work, right? Unfinished business, solve it, everybody learns a lesson, credits roll. Right? There’s no way I could mess this up.
The light and sound on the street has stopped. Everybody\’s gone on their way. Afterlife any time now.
Any time now.
… Ah, fuck.
Well, I guess I should go say hello to mother.
* * *
Alex is a trained screenwriter (for all the good that does him) busy delving into the deep dark world of game writing and broadcast animation, while practicing web development as a means not to starve to death. For some reason, he’s also working in prose.
All content released under a Creative Commons license unless otherwise noted.