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.


“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?”


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.


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 And found the dead spirit of a boy wearing an outdated school uniform floating outside the school gate, eyes fixed on the classrooms inside.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.”


“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.”


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.



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.



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.



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: Belief

Genre: supernatural


One believed in ghosts, the other didn’t, but they bought the haunted house anyway.

Bad decision.

“But it was dirt cheap.”

To be fair, many of their problems were mundane. The house had been left empty for so long that there were 101 things that were broken, were breaking, or would break soon. They could handle that. They had the funds and passion to slowly restore the house.

What they couldn’t handle was the random ghost floating around in the most inconvenient places as they went about their daily business.

So they hired him to do something about it.

“I don’t want to leave,” the ghost said.

“Why not?” Silas asked.

“I’m afraid God will reject me.”

“Is it because you rejected him?”

“No. I believed in him when I was alive. Still do.”

“What’s holding you back?”

“I did a lot of bad things. Especially towards the end.”

“That doesn’t matter. If you declare with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Did you do that?”


“Then there’s nothing to fear. Go home.”

“Home.” The ghost smiled and faded with a sigh.

Silas said quietly into the empty space, “Rest in peace.”

Then he turned and headed back towards the living.



Check out more stories about Silas in Life After Death.

Spiritual Self Defense

My response to the prompt ‘jump‘.

Genre: supernatural, spiritual


~Spiritual Self Defense~

Zoey couldn’t reach the switch. Not even after stacking all the boxes she could find and jumping off them.

Silas was taller. He should be the one doing this. Bus Silas was unconscious and fighting his own battle with a very bad-mannered spirit.

So what if the spirit died on his birthday. People died on all kinds of important days all the time. Like the guy who died on his way to his own wedding. Now that was depressing. But even then, it wasn’t a good enough excuse to trap them in a basement-turned-freezer and change the doorknob into a switch on the ceiling.

She frowned and jumped again. Her fingers grazed the switch, but couldn’t press it before she crashed back onto the boxes. The box tower wobbled dangerously but stayed in place.

This wasn’t working.

Time for Plan E.

She stepped over Silas and slapped the spirit. Her hand passed the incorporeal body without dealing any damage, but it was enough to draw the spirit’s attention away from Silas to her.

Brown eyes narrowed at her and the floor rushed up to swallow her. Arms grabbed, tugged, and twisted her as the spirit howled all around her.

“Bring me back. I’m not ready to die. I’m too young to die.”

She writhed under the onslaught but couldn’t break away. Where could she go when he was everywhere?

Silas’ voice cut through the spirit’s moaning.

“… command you to get out. Out!”

Her eyes snapped open to a grey ceiling. She found her body flat on the floor with Silas staring fiercely at the now-open door.

“What did you do?” she asked.

For the first time since she knew him, Silas fidgeted and his gaze ran away from hers.

She pulled his arm before he ran away. Not that he was the kind of person who would run from a problem, but he wasn’t the kind of person who fidgeted either.

“What?” she repeated.

Silas finally finished his internal debate with himself and faced her.

“I don’t like telling people this, because people tend to get angry or awkward.”

“I’ll try try not to.”

“But you need to know how to defend yourself.”


“I’m just telling you what works for me. I’m not saying it’s the only way.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Are you telling me or not?”

“I’m getting there.”

“Get there faster.”

“I use Jesus,” he blurted out. Then he frowned. “That didn’t come out right.”

“What about him?” she asked before he got sidetracked.

“Well, in the Bible, people could cast out demons in his name. So I tried that, and it worked. I’m not saying that my way is the only way, but I know it works for me. I mean, do whatever works for you. Just don’t summon a demon to be your bodyguard. That’s not very safe. And-”

She flicked his forehead before he rambled until the next day.

“I get it,” she said.

“Oh. Yes. That’s good. So, make sure you find a way to protect yourself. Not every spirit is friendly, as you just saw.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“Good. Now let’s go.”

He pulled her to her feet and they left the basement before the spirit came back.



Read more about Zoey and Silas here.

Life After Death 4/4

This is the final chapter of a multichapter story.
You can read the first chapter here.
Second chapter here.
And third chapter here.


For someone who had basically slept the past three weeks away, she still felt ridiculously tired. She couldn’t even stand without losing her breath. A sad contrast to not long ago, when she could float effortlessly to any place she wished. She missed that freedom, but being alive was definitely better.

Silas, when he visited, assured her that feeling weak was normal, and that there was nothing to fear. He was comatose for a year, and he turned out fine. Next to him, his dead sister nodded enthusiastically.

That was another change to get used to. The third time she woke up, she stayed awake long enough to notice the spirit in the corner, that she could still see, even though she was alive now. She casually looked away, as if she hadn’t seen anything but an empty corner. The spirit didn’t respond, so she was safe for now, but it also made her really want to get out of the room. Getting out of the hospital in general would be awesome too.

“Any tips on how I should deal with my… ‘new friends’?” Zoey asked.

“Decide if you want to ignore everyone or help everyone. And I mean everyone. People gossip. Help a few and everyone would know,” Silas said.


“Tried that. Didn’t work very well for me.”

“Maybe it’s because you have… her.” Zoey flicked her gaze to Silas’ dead sister.

“That too. But don’t think that people get dumb just because they… you know. Some of them can tell no matter how much you try to hide.”

“So what? You’re saying I should just give in and join you?”

His lips curled in a smile. “Pretty much.”

Her lips twisted.

“Think about it,” Silas added, “I’ve gone through this before. I can help you. You’d be a fool if you let this chance go.”

She narrowed her eyes. “What’s the catch?”

“See? You’re smart. So you know what a good deal you’re getting. All you need to do in exchange for my help is to play paintball with me. Actually playing is a lot different from watching. You’ll love it.”

Voluntarily let herself get hit with paint. Painful paint, by the looks of some of the bruises Silas developed after the game.

“I can watch you play instead,” she bargained.

“Your mum already approved. She thinks it’ll be good for you.”

Wait. What?

“You talked to my mum?”

“I needed to explain why I was hanging outside your room like a stalker.”

“So basically, I don’t actually have a choice.”

“Pretty much.”

She folded her arms. “I don’t know how I should feel about this.”

“First tip: Just go with the flow. You’ll be surprised how much faster things get done that way. That said, want to give that lady in the corner a hand?”

“Let me guess. My options are ‘yes’ or ‘yes’.”

“Very good. You catch on fast. Now, give me your best winning smile.”

Zoey bared her teeth.

“Good enough.”

Silas turned to face the spirit in the corner.

“Hi there. How can I help you?”



Genre: supernatural

Life After Death 3/4

This is the third chapter of a multichapter story.
To read the first chapter, go here.
For the second, go here.


The rest of the week passed, then another, and they still had no leads on what was keeping her around the living. In contrast, Silas had already sent dozens of spirits on to their final resting place. She checked herself. Her body still felt pretty solid to her. Looks like she wasn’t going anywhere today either.

On the other side of the room, Silas pulled a large, rectangular bag out of his wardrobe. He set it flat on the ground and unzipped it to reveal…

She pressed herself against the window, but ended up half outside the building. “Is that a gun? Why do you have a gun?”

“Calm down. It’s for paintball.” He reached inside the bag for a gun magazine and angled it so that she could see the neon orange balls inside. “See? Can’t kill anyone with these. Except that guy… but let’s not talk about that.”

That last part wasn’t very convincing, but she did float back into the room. “Why do you have a gun in your room?”

“I play paintball once a fortnight,” Silas said as he checked his equipment. “It helps distract me from other people’s baggage. Dealing with dead people gets depressing after awhile.”

“So you’re saying I’m depressing?”

“Let’s not jump to conclusions.” Apparently finding no issue with the gun, he packed it back into the bag with all his other accessories and pulled the zip. He rose to his feet and hefted the bag onto one shoulder. “Coming?”

“Sure. Why not.”

They drove for an hour to Silas’ paintball club, then waited another half an hour for the latecomers to turn up. She had no problems with the delay. Invisible to everyone else, she explored the two paintball fields. She’d never seen so much junk in the same place before. When she pointed that out to Silas, his brow ceased in a frown.

“Have you played paintball before?” he asked, careful to keep his voice down so no one else heard him talking to himself.


“You should tr… watch. Yeah. Watch the game. You can even pretend you’re playing. Just don’t block my view. I don’t want to walk straight into an ambush. That has actually happened before.”

“Ok.” She would do her best to float in the most inconvenient place for him as possible.

Once the game actually started, she forgot about everything else. All her attention went to finding front row seats to exciting skirmishes and sneaky ambushes throughout the game. And if she did end up unintentionally leading Silas into his death three times in a row… Paintball death wasn’t permanent. He’d be back.

“Feel anything? More alive? Less alive?” Silas asked on the drive back.

“I don’t feel any different, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Later, after Silas came down from the adrenaline high he usually got after an intense game of paintball, he would apologise, but that was only after they reached his house. In between, she was forced to listen to Silas’ gush about how amazing paintball was and how could anyone not feel anything and what was wrong with her paintball was life.

He paused at that point to apologize for the comment because that was insensitive, then continued to list all the ways paintball saved the world.

She bit her hand to stop herself from laughing in his face. Goodbye cool problem solver, hello hardcore paintball number one fanboy.

Well, at least he had something he was passionate about. She had nothing. No goals, no dreams, nothing she would dedicate her life to. She’d breezed through life without becoming attached to anything, and at this rate, she could end up floating around as a spirit just because. At least she had company.

A few days later, they had an unusually slow afternoon free of any supernatural visits or pressing deadlines. She took over Silas’ laptop to watch a movie while Silas surfed the net on his desktop. A very relaxing day.

Until Silas jumped to his feet and sent his chair crashing to the ground.

“You’re alive!”


“You.” Silas pointed at her. “Come here. That’s you, right?”

She floated over to find her face on his screen. Beside the picture was her brother’s post, asking for prayers as his sister continued into her third week of coma after drowning in the lake during their recent family trip.


“Ah? That’s it? You’re alive.”

She nodded. “That’s great.”

Silas narrowed his eyes at her.


“I’ve met dead people with more energy than you.” He grabbed his car keys. “Come on. It’s time to create a miracle.”

In the hospital, Zoey followed quietly as Silas pretended he couldn’t see her and every other spirit that haunted the corridors. A necessary move, because otherwise he’d not only get bogged down by spirits asking for help but get sent to the mental health wing if people caught him talking to the air. She also pretended she couldn’t see the other spirits, just in case… something Silas wasn’t very clear about when he talked about it in the car.

Playing the part of a well-wisher who was hopelessly lost, Silas found his way to Zoey’s room. There, they hit their first obstacle.

Sitting in a chair beside Zoey’s comatose body was her mum, who was reading a book while she rubbed circles with her thumb on Zoey’s arm. As touching as it was to know that her family hadn’t left her alone even after three weeks of non-response, it would be a lot easier if the room was empty as they tried to figure out how to return Zoey’s spirit to her body.

What would Silas do? She couldn’t really ask him, because there was a really disturbing-looking spirit at the corner of the room and she really didn’t want to draw the spirit’s attention to any of them.

Wait… She didn’t need him for this. Silas had already brought her this far, the rest of her recovery was up to her.

She phased through the window and made a beeline for her body. Her palm pressed against her bare forearm.


Well, that was disappointing. Maybe she was supposed to lie down in her body? Align her spiritual half with her physical half and all that. Weird, but worth a try.

She twisted in the air and sunk into her body. This time, she felt something, like she was caught in a loose web of cotton strands. Her mum’s thumb felt like a faint whisper against her skin. If she concentrated, she could feel more pressure and warmth, but she couldn’t hold on to the sensation for long before it slipped away.

This wasn’t working. Maybe… maybe she was supposed to be dead. Her body just hadn’t realised it yet.

She fell through the bed. When she tried to slip back into her body again, she phased right through, like walking through a hologram.

Not good. At this rate, she’d really become a wandering spirit. Time to backtrack. She wasn’t doing amazing earlier, but at least she could somewhat interact with her body. Things got worse after she… thought she was supposed to be dead. By that logic, if she thought she was supposed to be alive, would her body accept her spirit?

Was it really that easy?

She tried falling back into her body again. This time, she didn’t end up on the floor. Seriously? This was working? She thought about her family, about how everyone else would be sad if she died. Now she could feel her mum’s touch, and her own weight. After weeks of floating around as a weightless spirit, her body felt heavy. No. She had to get used to physical boundaries again. It was time to wake up.

She shifted, and her body shifted along with her. Next, darkness took over her vision as her vision synched with her closed physical eyes, followed almost immediately with red, the colour of light streaming through her closed eyelids. As the rest of her melted into place, she focused on her eyes. If she could open her eyes, that meant she actually made it back.

Her eyes were a lot stiffer than she remembered, but with effort and determination, she forced them open and was rewarded with the sight of the ceiling fading into view.

Then fatigue slammed into her, and her eyes closed as she slept for the first time in a long time.


Genre: supernatural

Life After Death 2/4

This is the second chapter of a multichapter story. To read the first chapter, go here.


The next day, a translucent man with blue hair with a hole in his neck appeared outside Silas’ window. While she silently freaked out in one corner, Silas didn’t bat an eye at his visitor.

“Hi there. How can I help you?” Silas said.

And so, another day as the local ghost whisperer began.

With amazing patience, Silas listened as the man spilled his life story and gushed about the love of his life, which only made him feel even worse that he’d died and left his love alone. Zoey watched the spirit from her corner of the ceiling. As annoying as he was being, was that the kind of reaction she should have to dying?

Her mind helpfully reminded her of Silas’ sister, who had, by the looks of it, been dead for around a decade but had no problems hanging around to be her brother’s new eyes.

Huh. Maybe she was haunting the wrong family member.

Unlike her, Silas was a pro, so despite the fact that the blue-haired spirit was terrible at providing information, Silas eventually cobble together enough pieces to figure out that he lived twenty minutes away, and the reason he couldn’t move on had something to do with the love of his life. That wasn’t the whole story, but it was good enough. They hopped into Silas’ car and drove over to the house the spirit’s love stayed in.

Only to find out the love was completely one-sided.

And that was the story of how Silas the ghost whisperer became Silas the ghost counsellor… for the next two hours. Even if Silas were to lose his ability to talk with the dead, he had a very bright future in community care. She would recommend him to her friends, if she was still alive. Better stop that thought there before things got depressing.

After more talking and more prodding, they found a better candidate for the reason the spirit couldn’t move on – his sister. Not sure exactly how, since the spirit wasn’t very coherent, but digging up the full story could take another day. Silas was patient, but not that patient. Anyway, the other spirits had noticed Silas, and they had already started a line to wait for their turn.

Following the spirit’s instructions, they dug out a box from the corner of someone’s house. Fortunately, one of the spirits lining up had a message she wanted to deliver to the occupant, so they helped her with her unfinished business and got permission at the same time. Now armed with the battered box, they headed for the sister’s house.

Unlike her scatterbrained brother, the sister was more down to earth and cautious. She didn’t just accept the box without question. Instead, she grilled Silas with all kinds of questions aimed to figure out if Silas was trying to scam her. So the siblings weren’t that different after all, they just took up people’s time in different ways. Finally, the sister accepted the box, and the blue-haired spirit sighed his thanks as he faded into the afterlife.

But they weren’t done yet.

Silas presented the sister with his card, containing his contact details and a list of jobs he could do for her. He wouldn’t charge her on behalf of her dead brother, who had approached him for help, but he would appreciate it if she remembered him if she needed any odd jobs done.

The sister’s eyes narrowed, but she accepted the card without asking another twenty questions. Which was good, because once they left the compound, Silas had another dozen or so ‘jobs’ to deal with. Silas did what he ­­­could, but he drew the line at staying overnight to help people with their unfinished business. For these unfortunate spirits, he would return next time.

“How long have you been doing this?” Zoey asked as Silas drove back home.

“‘This’ as in talking to spirits or helping them move on?”


Silas tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. “I started seeing them around the time I started secondary school, but I only really started helping them in uni.”

“Because of the ‘accident’?”

Silas nodded.

“What happened?”

Silas sent a side glance at her. “Curiosity killed the cat.”

“I’m already dead.”

“I can guess why.”

“You’re not going to distract me so easily.”

“Do you think you got killed by the mafia because you got nosy?”

“Don’t be silly. They don’t exist.”

Silas choked back a sound.

“Just kidding,” Zoey said, “Now, back to the accident.”

“Well, it’s not much of a secret. From what I heard, pretty much half the country knew about it when it happened. My family was on the way to Genting, and you know how you need to drive up these really long, windy roads to go up to the top where the amusement park is?”

Zoey nodded.

“We were on the way up when a speeding driver lost control and crashed into our car and knocked it off the road. Going clockwise from how we were sitting that day, my mum in the front seat got a pretty bad concussion and a fractured arm. My dad fractured his left leg and almost broke his neck. My sister did break her neck and died. My brother went blind. And I was in a coma for a year. Even now, I can’t move my left hand very well, and I can’t move my little finger at all.” Silas lifted his left hand and wiggled his fingers.

“Oh wow.”

“Yeah. We all started seeing spirits after that. Except my parents. They can only hear spirits. Which is fair. They weren’t as badly injured as us.”

“What happened to the other driver?”

“He survived the crash, but he died around the time I started uni because he smashed his car into the road divider.”

“Oh. I might have heard about that one. Jonah?”

“Johan. Close enough. So, that’s my story. What’s yours?”

“I drowned.”

“Do you remember how?”


“That’s fine. What about when you were alive?”

“There’s nothing much to talk about.” She folded her arms and tried not to phase through the car seat as she leaned back. “My life’s pretty normal. In fact, dying is probably the most unusual thing that’s happened to me since forever.”

“Sure you don’t have any unfinished business? Anything you want to give to someone? Maybe you borrowed something and you didn’t get to return it?”


If Silas was disappointed, his face didn’t show it.

“Just keep trying. We’ll figure it out eventually.”

End of chapter two.
Continue the story in chapter three here.
Or skip ahead to the end here.

Genre: supernatural