Short Story: Life Story

Features characters from Life After Death. You can start there for context.

~Life Story~

Out of the billions of people in the world, only a small portion stood out. Those who did amazing things, or stumbled into extraordinary situations, or made mistakes that history would never let anyone forget.

Zoey had long resigned herself to the fact that she was just a number in the world population statistic. There just wasn’t anything exciting about her life.

Except for that one time she drowned and woke with the ability to speak with the dead. But that wasn’t the kind of thing to publicise. Not unless she wanted to risk attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Continue reading “Short Story: Life Story”

Short Story: Beside Yourself

No matter how many times it happens, you still feel surreal at the sight of yourself on the hospital bed.

But the feeling passes, and you turn your attention to the rest of the hospital. Your spirit drifts languidly. What’s the hurry? You have nowhere to go.

“Hi there. How can I help you?”

You turn to the voice, even if you know it can’t be directed at you. Except, the owner of the voice is the only one around, and he has his eyes focused on you.

“You can see me?” you check.

“Yes. Anything I can help you with?”

Your head tilts to one side.

“Help?”

“Do you have a message you would like to pass on? Or a place you want to go before you move on?”

“Move on? Oh. No. I’m not dead yet. My body’s still here.”

The man’s smile does not falter.

“Can you show me?”

“Sure.”

You drift back to your room, following the pull on your spirit. It isn’t until you reach your room that you remember strangers can’t come in. You turn around, but the man is there. You think it strange, but let the thought go.

“Have you tried going back to your body?” the man asks.

“Can I?”

“My friend did. Why not give it a try?”

“How?” you ask as you hover over yourself.

“Lie down. Fit your spiritual self with your physical self.”

You tentatively lie down, fingers to fingers, toes to toes.

And wake.

~End~

Genre: fantasy, supernatural

Short Story: The Boy with the School Uniform

That morning, Zoey took a different route to university that morning. Just because. And found the dead spirit of a boy wearing an outdated school uniform floating outside the school gate, eyes fixed on the classrooms inside.

She took a quick look around. Classes had already started, so the coast was clear.

“Hey,” she said.

The spirit looked at her.

“What’s keeping you here?” she asked.

“I want to go to school.”

“You can just go in.”

“Really?”

“You’re wearing a school uniform, so you must have been a student before. Maybe your body will remember,” she suggested.

“This uniform isn’t mine. I stole it. So the owner beat me until I died.”

“Oh.”

One thing about dealing with the dead that she was still adjusting to. They could make things real awkward real fast.

“I… can bring you to my class?” Zoey offered.

The boy’s eyes widened with the first spark of life she’d seen from him. She turned away before the boy got too emotional.

“It’s this way,” she said.

The boy, despite his excitement, was silent. She could still see him fluttering around the classroom, but not enough to distract her from the tutorial. He left her alone, and she returned the favour.

In fact, he was so unobtrusive, that she didn’t noticed he had faded away until class ended.

Rest in peace, little guy.

~End~

 

Genre: supernatural, fantasy

Part of the Life After Death universe.

Short Story: Shoes on a Tree

After 15 minutes of searching, they finally found his shoes high up in a rotting tree, precariously balanced on top of a hollow branch.

“How did your shoes go all the way up there?” his friends asked aloud as they clustered around the base of the tree.

Silas looked at two children out of the corner of his eye, keeping a straight face as they giggled out of normal hearing range behind their translucent hands.

“That’s what you get for ignoring us,” the older of the two spirits said.

While his friends’ attention were on his shoes, Silas muttered under his breath, “I already said we’ll talk later. The longer you keep us stuck here, the longer you’ll need to wait.”

“How do we know you’ll keep your promise?” the older one challenged with folded arms.

“You can always follow me back. My sister’s a spirit too.”

The children exchanged glances, then with the wave of a hand, his shoes tumbled off the branch.

“Now.”

“Later.”

The children complained, unheard by the rest of his group. Silas sighed and made a silent prayer for patience.

This was going to be a long day.

~End~

 

Genre: fantasy, supernatural

Inspired by the prompt tops, which I think registered in my mind as just ‘top’ when I was brainstorming ideas for the story.

Read more about Silas in Life After Death.

Short Story: Missing Father

Genre: supernatural

The family photo on the screen looked a few years old.

“That’s me with my parents. My mum runs her own business. My dad went missing six years ago,” her classmate said.

Zoey looked at the man on the presentation slide, then at the man floating by her classmate.

Oh. Oh.

It was so hard to not blurt anything out, because there was no good way to tell a classmate his missing father was actually a dead father. But still. Still.

After the tutorial, she tapped her classmate on the shoulder.

“Sorry about your dad,” she said as they fell into their usual after-tutorial walk towards the student hub.

Her classmate’s lips tightened into a forced smile. “Thank you.”

“I don’t want to be rude but, which is worse? Waiting for someone who’s missing or knowing what happened? Even if it’s bad?”

He sighed. “It depends. Some days I want closure, some days I still want to hope he’ll come back.”

“If you had a choice, would you rather know or wonder forever?”

The laugh he gave her in response was bitter.

“If I had a choice, he wouldn’t have disappeared at all. But we don’t always get what we want.” He shook his head as if he could shook off his negative thoughts. “Sorry. That’s not what you’re asking. Right now, not knowing is worse, because it’s like a shadow that never leaves.”

“Thanks. And I’m sorry.”

Before they parted ways, she caught the spirit’s attention. The spirit left his son to join her as she put on her earphones and pretended to make a call. This, too, was part of their usual routine.

“So, uncle, your son thinks you’re missing,” she said.

“Yes,” said the spirit, who introduced himself as just Mr Tan in their first conversation earlier in the semester.

“If you want, I can tell him about you,” Zoey offered.

“I thought you wanted to keep your ability a secret?” Mr Tan said with a smile.

“I still do. I was thinking of somehow helping the police find your body. You know where it is right?”

“Yes.”

“Then leave the rest to me.”

Zoey turned her attention to her phone to make a real call.

“Hello?” Silas picked up on the fourth ring.

“Hey Silas, how can I lead the police to a dead body without becoming a suspect?”

“By being very discreet and knowing the right people. You don’t have any classes left today right? Come to my place. I’ll take it from there.”

Zoey smiled. She could always count on Silas.

“We’re on our way.”

By the time they arrived, Silas had his laptop ready. It didn’t take them long to pinpoint the place where Mr Tan’s body had been dumped after a hit and run.

“Now, don’t say anything. I’m going to make a call,” Silas warned before he put his phone on speaker.

“Hello?”

“Hey boss. I have a new tip for you.”

“I’m ready.”

The week after, her classmate was absent from class. He was also absent the week after. The week after that was a holiday. It was only a month later that she saw him again.

Unseen by everyone else, Mr Tan waved.

“I won’t stay for long,” Mr Tan said after the tutorial, “Just wanted to say goodbye before I left. It was a pleasure to meet you, Zoey.”

“Same here.”

Mr Tan smiled. Then he was gone.

Only then did she cry.

~End~