“Welcome, we’ve been expecting you.” A woman said cheerfully. Or rather as cheerfully as she could manage. She even smiled. It was scary.
“Thanks” said Uther tenetatively. What do you say to the dead? What are their social practises? What is accepted and what is not? You could never be too sure. “Thanks” seemed to be harmless enough.
She didn’t seem to mind. So “Thanks” was not something that offended these people. Cool.
“So, I’m dead?” asked Uther. Stupid question of course. His spirit had seen his own funeral. Stupid idea that was. Watching all those people cry was terribly depressing.
“Well ,yes” she replied patiently. Denial was generally the first reaction while making this transition.
“You need to rest and get used to this. I’ll show you to your room.”
She led him down the street. On earth this would be called “scary as hell” or “wrath of god” or maybe “The end of the world” , but here in Necropolis the sky was ‘pleasant’ blood red. “You are lucky to come today. Such lovely weather!”
She took him to a huge structure and led him to a room. It was simple. One table, one bed. Thats it. The dead don’t wear clothes. Complete waste of time.
Uther’s first reaction on seeing the bed was to ask “Can I lie down for a bit?” She nodded understandingly and walked out of the room closing the door behind her.
He slept like a baby, like he had never slept when he was alive. He woke up and went out. Shit. He hadn’t asked for her number or any other way to get in touch. He hadn’t even asked her name. He hadn’t even told her his name for that matter. But that was more because he was embarrassed of it than anything else. Who the hell is named Uther? King Arthur’s father? Seriously?
“Hi” said a familiar voice behind him. It was her. “i am so sorry about earlier. I was really un-gracious. I’m Uther. What’s your name?”
“That’s a nice name. So, Nadine, what do you guys eat out here?”
Nadine looked at him as if he had politely asked if he could chop her head off.
“What about, um , dating and stuff?”
“We’re dead, love. Can’t have a ‘life’ can we?”
That made sense. Somewhat. This death thing was getting increasingly depressing.
Uther tried changing the subject. “So how’s the weather here?”
“It’s okay today, it’s not raining.”
“It normally rains a lot here?”
“Oh yes. Does it still rain on earth?”
“It did when I left. Uhh , how long ago did i leave?”
” No idea. Just a few days ago i guess. Of course we can never tell the difference between days. There’s no concept of night or day here you see.”
“So, who sent you to pick me up? I thought a scary dude with a scythe normally does that.”
“Umm, I am the reaper! ”
“No. sorry. Haven’t joked about in a few thousand years. Couldn’t resist.”
“You’ve been here that long? You don’t look it.”
” No need to lie any more kiddo. You’re dead now. You can be honest. It’s a wonderful feeling. Just saying what you feel to whoever you feel.”
“Okay. You look hideous.”
“Thank you. So do you.”
This was going take some time to get used to.
“So what do you do all day?”
“We work of course. It can get so boring down here. Especially as there is no concept of lunching out and stuff. We help people make this transition- between the two worlds”
“So is there some training required for this?”
“No. Once you are at ease with this place, you’ll be ready to help others.”
“So, I’ll have a job similar to yours?”
“Yes. Everybody has a job similar to mine. I am a rookie. Hence was assigned this task. As you get better at it, you get the complex cases.”
“Oh, such as?”
“Well, for starters there are the people who steadfastly refuse to believe in the afterlife. It’s quite a tough task to convince them of their own existence.
Then there are more complex cases with people who believe they should never have died. They keep fighting and cribbing. ”
“Aren’t there a lot of those?”
“Most people don’t carry that bit across. Most people who reach here have accepted it to some extent. Actually, honestly, most people see that it is simply better here. Here you get to say what you want, never feel hungry or thirsty, talk to interesting people across millennia. Most importantly, here, you can be yourself. You don’t need to pretend. Everybody almost looks the same. The physical dimension does not make an appearance at all. It’s like …like freedom.”
“Yes, that’s true. It is a relief to be free of all social stigmas and stuff.”
She looked at the sky which looked exactly the same as it did at the beginning of the conversation.
“So, I gotta go with my friends to …to do a few after-life kinda things. You know, things that make you feel truly alive. You coming?”
“Sure. What better time to live than after death?”
This is arguably the randommest story I have written. Of course, since it is only my fourth story, that does not really mean much. I’m not sure what I am trying to say or if I am saying anythng at all. But anyway. Here goes.