The sunlight burning into my eyes made me bury my head back in my pillow, the silk sheets gliding over my back as if they weighed nothing. I sighed and leaned back into the bed before I realized I didn’t have silk sheets. And this wasn’t my bed.
My heart started pounding in my ears while I scanned the unfamiliar surroundings. I remember dreaming about dying, but it didn’t make sense as to why I was here. Wherever this was.
Did the crash really happen? I remember seeing the shiny black sports car right in front of me, too close to avoid the collision. Or did I make that up as well? I felt as if I was losing my mind when suddenly the door swung open and all my thoughts halted.
The man I’d dreamt about walked into the room but where he’d been wearing ominous black robes in my dream he now wore dark jeans with a simple black shirt. His burning golden eyes had dimmed down to a lovely hazel shade and I decided he wasn’t hard to look at at all.
“Rise and shine,” he said after stopping at the foot end of the bed. There was no emotion behind his words, no anger, and no kindness. His whole energy was… off, in a way. Like there was something terribly wrong about him. But I couldn’t see what.
I blinked up at him once, twice. “Where am I?”
I was relieved to find my voice hadn’t abandoned me. It came out strong and confident, at least I hoped it did. His eyes scanned my face impassively before moving down my body as if he was able to look through the sheets. I looked down only to realize my clothes had been replaced by a thin nightgown, and that he now had a very good view of my assets.
I gripped the sheets and covered myself up to my neck while glaring at him, earning myself only a mischievous smirk in return.
“You’re in purgatory, baby.”
Purgatory. So I was dead. My mind accepted this right away, like I had barely convinced myself I was alive when I woke up. If anyone ever told me to my face I was dead I would’ve laughed at them and told them to fuck off. But I knew his words were truth. This was purgatory.
And he didn’t even seem to care.
“And who are you?”
His eyes held no humor as he said, “Death.”
I nodded solemnly at that. Like there wasn’t a problem. Like I wasn’t staring Death right in the face.
“Alright, Death,” I replied, “Get out.”
I could see on his face he hadn’t expected me to say that, his intense stare blanked out while his eyes narrowed. “What?”
“Get. Out,” I clarified for him, even though I know he heard me the first time. “I’d like to get dressed?”
He looked me up and down again and opened his mouth, no doubt to argue with me but before he could I suddenly realized something. “Wait, who even undressed me?”
I’d barely finished that sentence and he was gone. In the blink of an eye this entire guy, Death as he’d called himself, had disappeared. I sighed in response, my long list of questions just got longer.
I looked around the room to find any clues as to where my clothes had gone but they didn’t seem to be here. The next step would be to find any other clothes.
I carefully dragged myself out of the large king-sized bed before walking to the nearest closet. Upon opening it I only found men’s clothes. His clothes.
I half expected it to be full of tattered black robes but then I remembered his casual attire from moments before. When I grabbed the nearest navy blue shirt I could already tell it would fit me like a dress, and I wasn’t even short. Opening a drawer to my left I inspected the contents before my eyes landed on a pair of red shorts.
Since I was fairly certain his jeans would look absolutely ridiculous on me it’d have to do. I gripped the hem of my nightdress before quickly looking around the room again just in case he’d decided to appear again. When I found nothing I quickly changed into the clothes I’d found.
I was right about them being way too large, but at least my nipples weren’t visible anymore so it would have to do for now. In the corner of his room stood a full-length mirror and despite the fact I knew I didn’t want to look at myself right now, I couldn’t stop myself.
My eyes hurt from the red shorts under the navy blue shirt. Both contrasted with my pale legs and I briefly debated whether or not I’d want him to see me like this before realizing I didn’t give a shit.
If I had to be honest, I’d expected myself to look worse considering I’m dead. My brown eyes still looked full of life and my light brown hair shone vibrantly in the sun rays coming from the window. My average-looking face looked average as ever and my cheeks held their healthy glow.
Not bad at all, if you ignored the outfit.
I decided there was nothing left to do but face the beast himself as I turned to go look for him.
I quickly realized we were in an apartment which confused me. I had expected someone like Death to live in a palace at least. I briefly feared I’d been kidnapped by some random creep before finding him in the living room and I remembered why I believed him in the first place.
No one had any right to be so beautiful.
Death was supposed to be ugly and grim, the opposite of what he was.
Well, maybe he was a little grim. He only had to turn that frown upside down to fix that though.
He didn’t seem to have noticed me coming in or was ignoring me but I suddenly didn’t know what to do anymore. So I opted to go for a quick “’sup?”
He slowly dragged his eyes away from the book in his hands like a predator ready to attack. His energy pressed down on me, almost suffocating me before it flowed away again. I didn’t know if it was something he did on purpose or if that just happened but I decided I didn’t like it. His eyes slowly slid over my body and it took a lot of effort to pretend it didn’t make me uncomfortable.
“You look stupid.”
I looked down at my outfit as though I didn’t know what he was talking about before frowning. He was right, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.
“Well, your clothes are stupid. Can I have mine back?” I replied before remembering to add, “please.”
He stood up from where he’d been lounging lazily on his couch and in three large strides he stood in front of me. The smirk on his face told me he’d hoped I’d say that before he snapped his fingers and a bundle of clothes appeared in other hand.
“Here you go,” he said with a sickly sweet voice. I knew he was taunting me but I just didn’t know with what.
So I grabbed my clothes and just before I turned back to go change, I saw it.
The blood. The rips. The tears.
I carefully unfolded every piece and my blood drained from my face. My hands started trembling while I looked at them.
The shirt I’d been wearing was practically torn in half and my jeans had a big hole around the thigh area. If you didn’t know what color they’d been before you wouldn’t be able to tell through the brownish stains of dried blood.
I couldn’t look away, what had happened to me? What body had there been left to recover? How would my parents have to bury me?
I had been selfish ever since I’d woken up. Hadn’t even thought about them.
They would be devastated, I wasn’t supposed to die like this. They weren’t supposed to bury their youngest child.
A traitorous tear slid from my eye as reality hit me. I’m dead, and I’ll never see anyone I love ever again. Not without them dying too, at least.
With a newfound gentleness I hadn’t known he possessed, he took the clothes from me and made them disappear again. I looked up at him and decided to ask the most important question, “Why am I not in heaven?”
It took him a moment to reply, as if he was debating whether or not to answer me at all. “Do you think you deserve to be?”
“Yes,” I answered without hesitation. “It’s not like I’ve ever murdered someone.”
“You glued that boy to a chair in fifth grade.”
I didn’t want to know how he knew that, but Kevin totally deserved that. I still stand by it even though my mom made me apologize to him.
“That’s not a crime,” I replied.
The corner of his mouth lifted ever so slightly and I wondered I had imagined it. But when he spoke again his voice was cold and passive again.
“It’s not,” he confirmed, “But you’re not in heaven because I’m keeping you here. You weren’t supposed to die, yet you did. Which raises the question, where did the soul go that I was supposed to collect? You see, Lilly Moss, it was supposed to be a man who died there. Imagine my surprise when a girl suddenly appears before me.”
“I’m a woman, so don’t patronize me. And why are you keeping me here if it’s not even my fault you got the wrong person?”
I could see his self-control slipping away from him like he was going to kill me a second time. If that was even possible.
“I didn’t get the wrong person. I am Death, and Death makes no mistakes.”
“Looks like you made a mistake there, bud.”
I swear I could hear something inside him snap as his eyes went feral and before I’d realized it, he’d pinned me against the wall with his arms. With his face now mere inches from mine I got to take a closer look at his features and it annoyed me to find no flaws in his skin whatsoever. The perks of being a supernatural creature, I supposed.
Had I been smarter I probably would have been more scared. But I was already dead, so what’s the worst he could do?
“I am,” he ground out with seemingly great effort, “this close to ripping off every single one of your limbs and throwing them down the pits of hell.”
Okay, so it could get worse. No biggie.
“But I won’t, because I’m nice.”
I highly doubt that.
“So if you could stop being a fucking bitch for two seconds and let me explain the situation we can solve this faster and I’ll let you go wherever you want to go. And I don’t have to be near you ever again.”
“What if I want to go back?”
His grip on my arms loosened ever so slightly before he nodded, “Fine.”
How that would work, I had no idea. By the time he’s solved this thing I would probably already have been buried. But I knew I had to. It wasn’t my time.
“Then you’d have to see me again when I really die,” I offered up, earning me a roll of his eyes.
“Just shut up and sit down so I can explain.”
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