Today wraps up the short story Life after Death, which means the next one (a fun little Sci-Fi titled Them), will be starting on June 7. Life after Death wrapping up today also means that the free downloads are available over on my Short Stories page! :)
Then I can start thinking about the next project! Why should a yard ever be finished, right? Right! Lol
Writing hasn't been in my regular activities for all of May, however my imaginary friends have started getting restless about being ignored so that must mean real life is slowing down enough for me to start thinking about stories again. Which is awesome! I miss the worlds in my head when I can't visit them as often as I want. And one day all the rest of you will be able to visit them, too :)
Hope you have a great weekend!
8. Living Afterlife
“What?” Liam rolled up to an elbow, the startled question bursting out louder than he’d intended it to be.
“I live alone and I booked this week away from work to have some time off. I don’t have plans with anyone for the whole week. Even if I do decide to go back, I’m still dying. Nobody will even think to check up on me until I don’t come in to work on Monday.”
“I’m sure we can figure out a way to alert a neighbor if you do decide to go back,” he stated. “There’s also the option of staying here?” he asked, reaching over to play with her hair. She smiled at him and then shook her head to the negative.
“I can’t do what you do. We’ve talked about this, Liam, for me it’s either go back or take a nap. Staying here, I’d either care too much or not enough and both of those won’t help anyone else.”
“But both of the other options you think you have feel like losing you,” he said quietly.
She stroked his cheek with the backs of her fingers. He caught her hand and flipped it over to press a kiss into her palm. She pushed with her feet, shoving herself along the catwalk until the top of her head bumped into the elbow he was leaning on.
“Everybody dies at some point,” she told him. He chuckled at the long-standing joke between them, gathering her closer as she wiggled around to lie beside him. “How much longer do you think we could stay?”
“How long do you want to?”
Lifetimes spun out between them as they held their place in the grey. Sometimes as lovers, sometimes as friends, and always staying in place in the catwalk so that seconds, minutes and hours couldn’t catch up to the living they were doing outside of standard time, surprisingly uninterrupted by any more visitors. They grew old together, unchanged, trying to figure out any way that they could bring what they were in the grey back into their lives. And trying to figure out how to stop Matilde from dying if she did find her door and then decided to go back.
After a long pause within the pause they’d created, she yawned, and the realization that their time was up added weight to the silence they’d just been resting comfortably in. They dressed reluctantly, the long ago discarded clothing strange and binding, and chose to walk barefoot in the direction that felt forward, carrying their shoes.
Matilde’s bedroom door appeared only one turning away; boding either her death or a particularly bad day with one of her exes just after her mother had died. Liam held her hand and they walked through together. There was no yelling or fighting. Matilde was in the middle of the floor where she’d fallen after passing out. Her body had already vomited out the contents of her stomach, the half-dissolved and accidental overdose of pills clear to see.
“You fell on a rug,” Liam noted, a hopeful smile spreading over his face.
“So?” Matilde looked up at him, unsure what he was thinking.
“Can you open your pill bottle and the balcony door?” he asked.
“I…” she stepped closer to herself and her voice trailed off. Liam wrapped her in a hug to pull her out of the gravity her body was exerting on her. “I can, yes,” she confirmed.
Working fast, she opened the balcony door first and then came back to open the pill bottle second. Liam got a hold of the rug and pulled so that she was half-way outside and her hand dangled out between the railing spindles. The edge of the catwalk aligned perfectly with the drop down to the street.
“You said your downstairs neighbor is a nosy widow, right?”
“Okay. I’ll hang off the catwalk and drop the open bottle onto her balcony. She’ll hear it, and look up to see your hand. She’ll call an ambulance for you.”
Liam kissed Matilde and took the pills out of her hand. He stepped over her body quickly and climbed over the railing. Matilde didn’t say anything. He looked back and saw her already reaching toward herself, the call of being alive drowning out everything else. He dropped down and grabbed the edge of the catwalk, tossing the pills as soon as he was certain that the bottle would hit the downstairs balcony.
The clatter of the plastic bottle on tile was accompanied by the scattering of pills and an angry voice yelling to know who was outside as the building evaporated. Liam looked up through the catwalk and saw Matilde’s shoes sitting neatly right beside his.
They’d saved her. They had to have saved her. But how to know?
Technology and information proved that every visitor he’d met came from the same time as him. They were from all over the world, but not all over in time. He’d realized long ago that each visitor was dying in the same moment he was; they all only came here at different intervals.
He climbed up and sat alone, laughing and crying at the same time, holding onto her shoes. When he looked, the same car door as every time before was hanging open a few steps away; waiting for him. He held onto one of Matilde’s shoes and slid through the car and into the street behind the woman who was filming him as he died. One of the emergency responders was openly swearing at Liam for not reacting to their attempts so far.
“Come on kid,” the medic begged. “You’re not old enough to just give up like this.”
“You’re right,” Liam agreed from beside him. The responder’s head spun to look at the empty spot that Liam was filling. “In case I don’t get the chance later, thank you for not giving up on me.”
The emergency responder paled four skin tones, but Liam didn’t see it because he was already immersed in the worst pain he’d ever experienced. He didn’t hear the responders determinedly and quietly cheering him – and each other – as they finally got the results they’d been fighting for these past two minutes: an independent pulse. They got Liam onto the stretcher and into the back of the ambulance, nobody noticing until he was stripped for surgery that he was clutching a woman’s shoe in one hand.
In the grey, Anson happened to be looking down and watched as the distant catwalk below hers glimmered, taking the round catches with it as it sparkled out of existence. She didn’t know what had happened down there, but her catwalk seemed okay, and the one way above with the triangle catches and straight catwalk was still there when she looked up. Both had been there the whole time she’d been on hers. She sighed and shook her head, relieved that she was still here and her catwalk didn’t appear to be fading away from under her. It was silly to think that anything in the grey would stay; this place was all about changes. She took a few steps and what was becoming the familiar shunk of the grey being turned off sounded. She started counting, trying to keep her numbers even to see if this time the black would last as long as the other two times she’d counted, but then there was a growl and she got distracted by wondering what kind of passer-through she’d be helping this time around.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!