Secrets of the Dead

My entry for the the Wattpad #SciFriday writing contest number 19.

“The Dead keep no secrets from me. Not that they want to. In fact, some of them just do not shut up. I guess that is what happens when you’re like one out of a billion people who can even talk to them.

“And who am I?” I gesture to myself, flipping my hair back. “My name is Wendy Lou Hennley, and I’m a freak.

“I know what you’re thinking. How could I be a freak when I look so normal? Like I should be off to college or something? Well, I’ll tell you why.

“I can sense the Hyper-Dimensional gateways that separate our world, that we call The Realm of the Living, from the place that we go to after we die. Heaven, Hell, New Jersey, what ever you want to call it, it’s all the same place.

“And those gates can be a major pain in the behind.

“They never spawn in the same place twice. Except for Florida and Arizona. They’re all over down there, almost like they are permanent installations. I think it may be because of all of the old-folks retirement communities there, or something like that.

“So once we shed this mortal coil, our souls are then supposed to shuffle off to this so-called Afterlife. And then it starts all over again.

“Why? Because it is all just a simulation. A game that is run by beings who are a whole heck of a lot smarter than we are. All for the purpose of trying to discover the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Or something like that. And no, the answer is not forty-two.

“I fit into all of this how, you ask? Well, you see, back when my mom was having me, I died. Dead, Game Over, restart Level One. But it was only for just a little bit.

“Those super-smart beings gave me a second chance. However, there were strings attached. Hence the gateways and the talking to dead people.

“So, yeah, I’m sort of a moderator within their system. Any soul that does not go through a gateway of their own free will needs some convincing. Which is my job.

“So what happens when a soul wont go without a fight? Well, that is when it gets ugly. They begin to mess with the simulation matrix itself. Their prolonged presence will then make it go haywire. Other people tend to die before they should, screwing up the whole experiment. Those who run this whole little rat maze do not much care for that. It makes them cranky.

“To date, I have only had one instance where I was unable to talk someone down. It was not a pretty situation, and I still have nightmares because of it.

“The guy just did not want to go. I am talking full-on poltergeist activity. Furniture getting thrown around, people being possessed. I’ve dealt with situations like that before, but that was not the scary part.

“You see, when a Moderator, or ‘Exorcist’, I made air quotes with my fingers, can’t forward someone, then that is when the big guns are called in. A Vassal of Death.

“Vassals of Death are freaky. Really freaky. They can’t be looked upon directly, so they always manifest as a dark shadow within an unlit room. You know that they’re there when you get the creepy-crawly feeling up your back that comes from knowing that someone is watching you.

“When a Vassal of Death takes action, it is scary. They don’t allow themselves to be seen for a reason. The image that we have come to accept as the Grim Reaper is a cute and cuddly caricature compared to what one of these guys look like. They are like all of the subjects of your worst nightmares manifest in a single entity.

“When an errant soul is forcibly progressed, it leaves a lasting impression on the place. There’s cold spots, resonant after-images and noises. The Living think of it as a haunting, but it’s really just a patch to some buggy code. It all evens out in the end, from what I understand.

“So you see,” I said, shifting my weight on the couch. “That’s the story. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to cross over.” I pointed to the swirling green vortex where the television set used to be.

“And if I don’t…” the young man trailed off, eying the bloody seeping out from beneath the bathtub and plaster that had once been his ceiling.

“Then a Vassal of Death will come along eventually and throw you in.”

He gulped, nodded, and made his way over to the gateway. “So, see you later, I guess?”

I nodded.

“Right. Later then.” With a short wave to me, he stepped through the portal and through to the other side.

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