When Death Comes Knocking

Cate Morden is stuck. She is stuck in a place no living person has ever seen.

She is stuck in the afterlife.

"There's got to be some mistake! I'm not dead!"
"That's what they all say... No mistake. If you're here, you're dead."

Cate knows she's still alive somewhere, she just needs to prove it to the cocky guy in charge, but time is running out, and as her quest goes on, she finds herself wanting to stay dead.

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3. Chapter Two

The deaths seemed never ending and constant. After working through the pile up I’d acquired while in court a few more popped up. Two old ladies who’d died together (how… nice), and a young girl was just milling around. She hadn’t registered as a death yet, but even my extensive brain capacity can’t cover everything. As she hadn’t registered yet I couldn’t issue her a guardian or a court date, but I set her a provisional one. She was interesting to watch; she just stood and observed, but every now and then you would catch a moment of panic flash across her face as she inspected one of the many souls’ faces.

I have to admit, she was beautiful. She had dark auburn hair highlighted in the white light of this… stopping place, as the souls like to call it. Her eyes were almost back, but gold flecks caught the light as she stared around. She was stunning, and totally unique, but although I could appreciate the bouquet I couldn’t buy the flowers. Nor did I want to, I was content with my lot, and besides, she was a good 13.7 billion years younger than me; that would be weird and totally socially unacceptable.

Without warning, she suddenly started, and strode across the floor after a middle aged couple and their guardians. They’d come in the day before, victims of a car crash. They seemed in shock at first, as if they were looking for someone, but they’d soon settled down. The girl walked with a purpose after them. They didn’t seem to have noticed her, but she pursued them anyway. I wondered if she’d known them. She wasn’t looking where she was going, which is always a bad idea, and a teenager crashed straight into her. He wasn’t looking where he was going either; lethal combination. The young people of today… pft, did they expect everyone to automatically know that they were there and to move out of the way? However much their parents treated them on the contrary, they were not the centre of the universe. The boy was the heart attack boy from earlier. I tuned into their conversation.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t even see you!” He said.

“Evidently,” Her voice was like acid. She looked around, “and now I can’t find them. Thank you so much. I’m really grateful.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm.

“I’ve said I’m sorry. And who’re ‘they’?” The boy seemed undeterred by her manner.

“My parents.” Hang about, that couple were her parents? Was she in the car crash that killed them too?

“Oh… I’m very sorry for your… loss.”

“Why’d you hesitate?” Her eyes narrowed. I liked her more and more as the conversation went on.

“Because… well… we’re dead too, aren’t we, so…” he was stumbling, trying not to offend or shock her.

“What the… there’s no way I’m dead. I’d know if I was dead; I’d feel it. I’m not dead.” She sounded like she was trying to convince herself.

“What’s your name? I’m Harry.”

“Cate. Cate Morder. Well, Caitlin, but I prefer Cate.” Her voice softened as she allowed herself to look at him properly for the first time. He was tall and fairly muscular; there was the faint outline of a six pack under his tee. His sandy hair was medium length, splaying in every which way. She could imagine running her hands through it, but she shook the notion from her head. (Oh, yes, I can get inside people’s minds. One at a time, mind you, but still a useful skill to have).

“Well, Cate,” he said her name like it was a sweet he wanted to savour, “I’m sorry, I really am. Walk with me?” His eyes bored into her, smouldering like the setting sun as he indicated down a white path leading to the most beautiful garden she’d ever seen.

Her last boyfriend had cheated on her, and hurt her beyond repair, so she was reluctant to enter into any kind of relationship. Despite this, Cate found herself falling for Harry in a way she couldn’t describe. It was amusing to delve into her confused and frightened mind, shielded by her brash exterior. As much as she liked to come across hard and convince Harry that she hated him, she was really a big softie.

“Sure,” the ice in her eyes melted a little, before she reinstated her shield, “but just, you know, ‘cause my parents might be there and I really want to find them.”

Harry smothered a smirk. “Of course.”

So they walked down a white path to the gardens, and I followed them. They couldn’t see me, I made sure of that, but it was amusing to hear their witty banter. Both clever people, the arguments and disagreements they managed to have on the two minute walk to the garden were quick and competitive. I almost blew my cover a few times trying not to laugh.

You probably think I’m creepy and stalkerish, following them around, listening to their conversations and getting inside their minds, but there’s precious little to do around here, and when you get two with such natural and obvious chemistry as those two, you just have to pry. Besides, I was curious about the girl, Cate. How and why did she die, and why hadn’t she registered on my internal computer? I know everything, well, almost everything. With the exception of this. It infuriated me, not knowing. Is this what it’s like in your ordinary little minds? Being confused and ignorant? I hated it, and was determined to solve the mystery, however insignificant the subject. She should feel honoured that I’ve singled her out; most pass under my radar. 

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