Another thing you’ll notice when you die is the interior decorating up here, wow.
Now, I’m not saying this is heaven or whatever, I don’t want to start a religious war or anything, but all I’ll say is that they always change room to suit the majority of people.
Back in the Plague age (represent) it was all white light stuff. Back in the Renaissance time it was a ton of clouds and stuff. You guys down on Earth actually choose the look up here, so choose wisely.
Right now it’s ocean based. It’s quite neutral, what with disbelief and all.
Nothing wrong with a bit of disbelief though. I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t.
The walls are painted with these moving waves and it’s all quite sandy, but personal opinion for a second? It’s pretty tacky. Like, I get what they were going for but come on, the living wanted beaches for a sort of alone time to reflect/meet your maker thing. No one expected a ton of people waltzing around with paperwork. (And there’s no meeting your maker, but hey, let’s not talk about that).
So I had just gotten back from my last disaster of a job when my story started.
This kid I was assigned to was literally bleeding to death when I got him. It really sucked. I saved him that once (barely), but within weeks he was in a river, and now we’ve both wound up here.
See, these people we get don’t know what we look like. They just think it’s their own morals in their head. So when this boy looked up, lost and shaking, I had to look away.
The way you die doesn’t matter. Whether you kill yourself, or it’s a murder or cancer or a crash, we all go down the same line.
Literally- a line.
I saw all the recently deceased lining up to go into this huge old building that was a little bit invisible, but still pretty much a grey office. I was lining up on the other side of this “beach”. A line for the failed “Guidance.” That’s my official title. A “Guider.”
When he caught me staring he looked so scared. It’s insane. I knew what his awful past was like, and I knew what he thought of himself, and I definitely knew how he died because fuck, did it hurt. Part of me wanted to run up to him and tell him that he was going somewhere good, and he’d be fine here. No one would hurt him.
When he was living he was too pure and innocent, so the rest of the living wanted to make it their job to make sure the happy, innocent one wanted to die. It was disgusting.
But here he would be treasured. He’d get a really nice job. Maybe even a vision painter for the living, he was so good art. I hoped so.
When he looked at me, all puffy eyed and helpless, I looked away. His life was none of my business anymore. If I had to worry about every last life I witnessed I’d have thousands of hurt souls to look after, and I don’t have time for that, no matter how helpless they look.
“Cavalieri, Renville.” The secretary called.
I sighed and walked up to the long desk that was carved into the sea walls.
“That’s me.” I said.
She looked me up and down. A 50’s girl, about nineteen when she died. Her skin was black and blue. “Are you from the 1980’s?” she asked, her voice pitchy and sharp.
“Yeah.” I lied, reaching for my assignment, but she pulled it away and smirked.
“I heard 1980’s boys are trouble.” she popped her gum and winked.
“WelI we did ruin the economy.” I tried to grab my assignment. “Aren’t you a bit young?”
She held the file behind her back, “I’m older than you.” she giggled, but I knew she was a little put off. You should know, I’m as rude as I am devilishly handsome.
“Then you’re a bit old. Can I have my file please, miss?” I held out my hand, which she stared at for a second before scoffing.
“I was not flirting with you, sir.” She said in her loud and painfully high voice. 50’s girls are the worst. She dropped the file on the desk.
“Oh, really? Disappointing.” I said, winking and walking off with my file. I swear, I watched her eyes light up. Girls from that time never gave up for anything. I think it was an Elvis thing. Who knows. I’ve been told I’m a little “Heartbreak Hotel”esque. I’ll take that as a compliment. I went to see Elvis live. Good guy.
“Th-Through that door.” I heard the secretary squeak. I waved without looking back. I knew where the door is. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I wound up here, about to chase after the next completely insignificant life.
Because that’s one thing you don’t realise.
If you don’t let yourself be something, you will be nothing. But these kids let that get them stuck. All you need to do is live to be significant. Just be.
Anyway, corniness aside, I walked through the door into the long hall.
This hall was every Moralists worst nightmare. The walk of shame, past every single last “Monitor”. Imagine cops- their job was just to make sure the Moralists weren’t telling the kids to jump. Rarely happened, but these guys hated us with a burning passion. Especially-
“Renville Cavalieri.” Matt said, resting his elbow on my shoulder.
Let’s make one thing clear, I’m not short. Okay? Say what you like, doesn’t bother me, but I’m not short.
He’s just super tall and super buff. Matt Gregory was basically the head of the Monitors, and we go way back.
Well, we never met. But do you remember that indication I made earlier to being a mass-murder? Well I killed his mother when he was only a few months old. And we rarely take in still-borns, but since it was murder and all, we made an exception. And then he grew up here, and got to decide what he looked like, muscles, height and all.
And since I murdered his mother/him by default, he’s not my biggest fan. Still, never held a real grudge. He’s just extra-cautious.
Also, Matt has never been out into the living world, we just adapted the 90’s American cop-show cop, with the blonde handlebar mustache and everything. He had a very influential boyfriend who was an actual 90’s cop, but unfortunately, he was reincarnated. That’s sort of like a death for us. Backwards, huh?
“‘Ello Matt.” I said, shrugging off his arm. What? You thought because I killed him I’d be easy on him?
“So, where are you off to today?” Matt smirked a lot.
“Oh, I hadn’t checked.”
“Well, pull the file out, boy.”
I rolled my eyes quickly. This guy was still my boss, so I had to be respectful to a certain extent. Didn’t want to end up back in Hell.
“A boy named… Dameon Alfred. Ohio. Short, Virgo, vertigo, homosexual… Hey, your kind of guy, Matt.”
Matt shook his head, “He’s seventeen, Renville.”
“Bridge the age gap, anything is possibl-”
“We’re centuries older, stop creeping me out. Now..” Matt rubbed his jaw, “I have to talk to you before you go out.”
“What about?” I crossed my arms, bracing for the bad news. Matt was never one to come over for a friendly chat. I was suspicious why he wasn’t threatening to throw me out of my job for me messing with him. Something was going to go seriously wrong.
“I… Look, just head out. I’ll tell you when you get back.” he pressed his lips together, half smiling. He looked concerned. Concerned for me? Shit. What did I do?
“Are you sure? I mean, I could be gone for a few years...” I said, throwing the file from hand to hand.
“Yeah, yeah…” he sighed, and looked up at me with these puppy-dog eyes. “You go have fun. Save a life.”
Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit.
“Go save a life?” What does that mean? What was going to happen? He knew I never saved a single life before, what new was so bad he was going to wish me luck?
I fixed the collar of my jacket and nodded to him. I walked down the hall and out into one of the control rooms. I just wouldn’t think about it. I’d be fine. I’ll do my best with this kid. Then I’ll find out what all the fuss is about. Probably nothing. Matt’s being a little bitch. Of course, that’s just it.
I put the file number into the dial on the wall, and stood in the middle of the room before the man behind the desk gave me a thumbs up and flipped the switch.
I was whizzing through the air at a million miles per hour.
I didn’t have enough control over this Dameon Alfred boy’s mind to tell him to open his eyes, and I just had to wait behind his mind for him to get some sense and to check why we were going to fast.
I tried to feel into his arms. I could twitch the middle finger on his right hand, and I could feel air just rushing past it, making me instantly cold.
Then I moved down into his feet, but they weren’t touching anything. It was like I was senseless. I just had to wait it out and see where we were going.
It took me a few more seconds before his spine was split in three places, and shit did it hurt.
He opened his eyes. Well, kind of. The fall opened his eyes, but the sight of the bridge above us was vanishing alarmingly quickly. Still long enough a time for me to truly feel his body, and contorted and twisted. His heel touched his hip, his neck touched his shoulder and I couldn’t even move that one finger. He had fallen into sharp stones, and they had cut all his tendons and muscles, leaving us lying there in brutal agony, both of us silent, and his head swayed and his mind cleared.
There’s one thing you’re going to notice when you die, and it’s not your life. You’ll just be desperately trying to think up the best “last thought” is.
I used to go through rom-com quotes (judge if you like), just because there were so goddamn many deaths.
I went through every last “I’m a bird”, “okay” and “to me, you’re perfect”, all because I was seeing could I match these cheesy quotes that were coming up.
But then I realised this was the last thing that this person ever wanted to hear.
“I’m okay now”
“It got better”
I never realised that this was the only thing that mattered to these kids. It took me a long while to see that maybe this life meant something at the end of the day.
But I swear, if you think that the last thing you want to think is anything other than total bliss, you need to start living. You need to do something, because death is just a full stop in the middle of a sentence. It’s meaningless and you can do more, trust me.
Dameon’s last thought was “At least I’m not afraid of heights anymore.”
Mine was that whatever bad news Matt Gregory had lined up for me, it was so bad that my punishment was immediate death.
So what’s the real punishment? How do you punish the man who can’t die?
And our eyes turned black, our blood turned cold and I felt something I hadn’t felt since my hanging.
I was afraid.