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No one actually knows what happens to us when we die. Some people see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some believe they are going to some happy, beautiful place in the sky, or some burning place underground, if they weren’t as good. Some believe we get infinite do-overs until we get it perfect, others that we cease to exist, met with only nothingness. The funny thing is, you never know until you find out the hard way.
I just died. Well, my Body just died. I’m a soul. Kind of like a ghost, but without the creepiness. Today started as a pretty regular day. My Body was in his car on the way home from work, until he was hit. The crash was so bad the car flipped, and I think my Body’s neck broke. I kept trying to wake him up, but I wasn’t strong enough. I was trapped inside of him as he was trapped in the car, with no way out and no way to call for help. I stayed inside of him, crying.
What purpose did I have now, without a Body to call my own?
Police cars began to show up, and the sirens scared me. I curled up in on myself, shaking with fear and sadness.
Then I saw something standing outside the car. It was person-shaped, but with less substance. No one else seemed to notice it, but I could tell it was looking at me, hidden from view inside my Body. It waved at me, not in a friendly way, but to make sure it had my attention. I slowed my crying and nodded back. Even though it looked far away, it was outside the car in two strides. Its mouth didn’t move, but I could hear it asking me to come outside.
I can’t. My Body died–I’m stuck.
It shook its head, and it promised me I would be okay, if I reached out and touched its hand. I made contact with it, and was immediately pulled out of my Body. I looked down at my Body, covered in blood, an empty shell with me gone.
Come with me the stranger seemed to say, already moving away from me. I struggled to keep up, disoriented without a Body to move inside. I realized I was very cold.
Where are we going? The creature ignored me. It grabbed me and everything went dark.
We arrived in what looks to me like a giant factory. It’s very loud, and I’m shaking with terror. I follow the stranger, who appears to be very important here. I notice a nametag on the creature says R.E.P.R. I don’t know what that means, but it seems to go wherever it wants, and no one gives me a second glance. I wonder how many scared, abandoned souls they’ve seen before.
I see a large sign that reads: SoulCo. The Afterlife’s Leading Soul Recycling Plant
The stranger leads me to a large shower, with the word Clearing on a sign overhead. I shudder.
I step into the shower, and two things approach me. I have no words to describe their strangeness. They grab me and start scrubbing me with coarse, hard brushes. I feel the colors being scrubbed off of me. All the memories of my Body, being sloughed off and rinsed down the drain. It’s getting harder to remember why I’m here, or what happened to me. The things keep scrubbing until I’m a blank canvas. I have no reason to be sad or scared.
When I’m done, someone I don’t remember ever seeing before, with a nametag that says R.E.P.R., approaches me and leads me to another room. This sign says Distribution. I enter the room, full of other blank souls, split up into four lines leading into four doorways. Every second, a string of words appear above each doorway. At the sound of a bell the souls in the front of each line step through, and the new words appear. I’m getting close enough that I can see the words.
I wait for my turn. The lines move rapidly. I’m scared. I don’t know how to be a soul. I don’t remember ever doing it before.
What if I mess up?
Three souls left in front of me.
Girl, Manhattan, the screen reads. Wish me luck.