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The next life

You would think that after a lifetime of working hard that I would finally get a chance to rest once I’m dead. Well things don’t always go as expected. Like my life or I should say my past life. I didn’t expect to die IN MY 30S alone in my office from a damn heart attack.

I was healthy enough to you know live a little longer at least. But now I’m stuck here in what they call “limbo” giving therapy sessions to restless souls so that they may have the chance to move on or go into the light. I was told that by doing this I will learn the reason of why I’m still here. In all honesty, I don’t think I’m making any progress.

“Good morning John.” I passed by his desk.

“Morning hoe.” He fixed his hair in the computer screen.

John here is kind of like my assistant but without the assisting part. He also died pretty young from an overdose at a club. Me and him, I wanna say we are on the bff stage.

“So who do I have today?” I settle into my desk.

“Uhhh, it’s Sally Mo-something I don’t know. She annoys me. Like damn it Sally pull it together! Anyway her appointment is at 1 pm. Then you have Hebert the oldie at 3 pm and Alex my future husband at 5 pm.” He scrolled through the iPad.

“Aww look at you actually working today. What changed you?” I tease him.

“I know it’s disturbing but I had to. So that I could find out when Jacey was coming over. I got to look good for my man.” He did a little hair flip.

“Whatever you say. When Sally comes just send her to MY room 1 please.”

“Wait Lily did you get coffee for us?”

I sighed.

“First off it’s Lili. Like no isn’t that your job?”

“Yeah but that’s a lot of work though and you know Lili is my nickname for you.”

“I’ll be in room 1 if you need.” I walk away just done with him today.

“I do need you. I need you to go get us some coffee. I’ll die out here without it!” He yells after me.

I entered room 1 preparing everything for today’s patients. It’s always the same thing. They’re sad because they didn’t get to say goodbye or angry because there was so much more that they could’ve done or should have done. Either way, I still don’t see the reason why I’m stuck here. Why I can’t move on. I’m not angry or sad. I don’t really feel anything. I’m just here, sitting in one chair watching the hours pass by patient after patient. I glanced at the bookcase hesitantly. It was tempting. I reached my hand out staring intensely at a certain book. Maybe I could just-

“Lili?” I quickly turned around.

“Oh hello. Welcome Alex glad to see you made it back in one piece.” I sat down in a chair next to the couch.

“Yeah for the most part. So how’s work today?”

“Slow but eventful.” He was one of my favourite patients. He was just so relaxed and laid back.

“Yeah, I heard Sally having a full-on meltdown all the way from outside.” He laughed.

He is pretty cute with that little gummy smile of his. I just want to squish his face but um let’s get back on topic.

“Alex let’s talk about you. How is everything?” His face changed letting his smile fall.

“Pretty hard. I miss my old life and more than anything I’m worried about my mom. She must be so broken over this.” His eyes watered.

“What makes today especially hard for you?”

“I-it’s my birthday. The first one since I died.” He tried to smile.

“Usually mom would wake me up blasting a gawd awful song screaming happy birthday. We would always try and make our own cake and each time we failed and ended up having to buy one instead.” He tried to remain calm.

“Now she’s alone and I have to celebrate it without her. We only had each other. I never wanted her to be lonely. And now because of me, she is. I promised her.” He broke down.

“Alex.” I sat next to him on the couch.

“Your mother misses you just as much but I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to see you suffering like this. What happened to you was horrible and unexpected. And I know it’s unreasonable for me to tell you that you need to move on but you have to. I know you have gone to visit her recently.”

“It was only for a second I swear and I didn’t do anything.”

“Don’t worry I’m not going to tell anyone. But you know that seeing her can make it harder on you.”

“But it also brings me peace.” He looked down at his hands.

“Oh boy come on, get up.” I stood up first going over to the bookcase.

“Why? Where are we going?”

“To see your mom so you can see that she’s okay. And if she is you have to say goodbye and go into the light, agreed?” He happily nodded.

“But what if she isn’t?”

“Then you can stay and visit her as much as you want. So do we have a deal?”

“Yes.” He smiled brightly.

I took a deep breath before reaching out to pull on a pastel blue-covered book. Gears grinned together as the bookcase split in two disappearing into the wall. Alex’s eyes went wide with amazement. It was nerve-wracking standing at the entrance of this cave-like tunnel. Mainly because it held something I was curious about. Maybe it had the answers to everything. His and mine. The tunnel was lite with glowing orbs floating in the air.

“W-what is this place?”

“Why don’t you follow me and find out.” I confidently walk in like it’s not my first time actually doing this.

I hope we don’t get lost in here.

He follows behind me quietly. It looked so peaceful. The orb’s soft glow made us feel safe. The walls expanded giving us more room to walk around until we reached the end. And there it was. A chalk circle is drawn on the wall. You know I was kind of expecting a lot more than this. Like really? They could have at least added a fancy looking door or something.

“How did you find this place?”

“Honestly it was by accident but I’ve never actually gone inside before.” I examine the chalk circle.

“So you just led me down a strange cave where we could have gotten lost?” He looked un-amused.

“Oh hush you were curious about what was in here too. Plus what’s the worse that could happen? We are already dead.”

“Anyway, how does it work?”

“I have no idea.” I scratched my head.

“My faith in you is fading.” He went to the other side of the room.

I looked closely at the centre of the circle. What is that? Fingerprints?

“What are looking at?” He leaned in next to me.

“Let me see your hand.” He willingly let me place his hands at the centre of the circle.

“Nothing is happening.” He looked at me confused.

Hm, I thought that would work. I really wish this thing came with instructions.

“How do you even know about this thing?”

“I heard some of the elders talking about it. They say it takes you to what you desire most. They also mentioned how it helped a few lost souls find their way to the light.”

“I don’t see how this is going to help me. I just, uhhh I just want to see my mom. Just one last time.” His eyes squeezed shut desperately.

A warm glow surrounded his palm, spiralling out against the wall. The lavender glow filled the circle blinding us within seconds. It seemed as though the air was flowing out from the circle.

“W-what’s happening?! Lili!”

“Don’t move.”

Alex’s chest rapidly moved up and down. His breathing was unsteady. If this is going to work I need to try and calm him down.

“Alex concentrate.” I gripped his shoulder.

“Focus on what is important. Do you remember what your mom looks like?”

“Y-yes. She has short red hair that sometimes fades into a pinkish kind of orange because she forgets to dye it. Her skin is slightly tanned and she’s a bit on the small side.” He smiled to himself remembering their moment together.

“What else?” The glowing calmed down.

“The last thing she said to me was ‘don’t get too crazy. I want you home safe and sound.” A tear rolled down his cheeks.

“I want to tell her that I’m sorry that I was so stupid. I wish I didn’t go to that damn party. That I should have just stayed home with her. That I should’ve minded my own business instead of trying to be a hero. I didn’t know he had a knife! But I couldn’t ignore that girl crying out for help. I couldn’t.” As he opened his eyes the swirling wind around us stopped and the circle became clear.

An image of an older woman appeared. She was cleaning Alex’s tombstone. She set up candles around the front as she cried into her palms.

“Mom?” He looked like he was about to start sobbing.

Without a second thought he entered through the portal. And I don’t know why but I was hesitant to follow after him but I needed to. I couldn’t let him do this alone.

“Mom! It’s me I’m right here. Please don’t be sad.” He touched her shoulder.

She shivered.

“Can you feel me here? Please don’t cry.” She raised her head and smiled to the sky.

I was just as confused as he was. She swept back her hair and sighed deeply.

“Happy birthday Alex!” She yelled out as tears flooded her eyes.

He couldn’t hold it in anymore and sobbed violently.

“Ms. Allen are we too late?” A blondish boy appeared.

“Nope, not at all.” She cleaned her face as a large group of teenagers crowded around her.

“Come on guys we can’t keep him waiting forever.” We watched as they decorated the place in lights and flowers.

One of the boys brought out a speaker.

“Honey don’t sit on the ground. Here I got you a chair.” A man helped his mom off the ground kissing her on the cheek.

“Mr. Delga? My teacher? My mom is dating my teacher?! Ew.” He laughed to himself.

“So she’s not alone.” A soft smile crept onto his face.

“This is for you Alex! We miss you man. School really sucks without you.” A blonde hair boy raised his cup.

“I really wish you could be here.” A girl cried.

“Hey we agreed no tears. We are here to celebrate his life. My boy lived so vibrantly. He was the light of my life.”

“M-mom.”

“Honey, you were stupid to go against that man.”

“I know I’m sorry.”

“You were so much braver than I ever was. I am so proud of you.” She quickly wiped away a tear.

“I’m so s-sorry Ms. Amon.” A girl with puffy red eyes spoke up.

“If it weren’t for me he’d still be alive.” Her cheeks were stained with streams of tears.

“Don’t blame yourself. He wouldn’t want that. It is not your fault.”

“I-I just feel so,” She sniffled.

“You saved my life and it cost you yours. Thank you Alex and I’m so sorry.” Her friends held her.

“This is for you A-man!” They turned on the music and he instantly started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked not really understanding the situation.

“They are so stupid. Listen, do you know this song? This was one of my favourite songs. We would play it when one of us needed a little pick me up. Because no matter what happened, at the end of the day we would always be dancing together. Like the fools we are.” He laughed gleefully watching his friends and family sing and dance together on his birthday.

Like they should be. Always together and always happy.

“See I told you she was okay.” I patted his back.

“I’m happy to see that she’s not alone. She’s happy.” His smile grew even wider.

“Do you still regret it?”

“Which part?”

“Going to that party.” He smiled up to the sky.

“Yes and no. Because I would still be alive if I stayed home but if I didn’t go, then I wouldn’t have seen her being attacked and it would be her standing here with you instead of me. And I know it’s stupid but I’d do it all over again if that meant she gets to live.” A warm gust of wind brushed passed us making Alex’s stare in awe.

“Do you see that?” He smiled so brightly it scared me a bit.

“See what?” I tried to find what he was looking at.

“T-that, that light. It’s so beautiful and I-I see my grandma. She’s waving me over.”

“Then go. It’s time.” I step aside.

Now that he has come to terms with his death and knows that his mother is going to be fine, he can now move on.

“Lili?” He turned around.

“Yeah?”

“Thank you, for everything.” He smiled warmly at me.

“And Lili,”

“Yes Alex.” I teared up just a bit.

Goodbyes are always hard. They never get any easier. I’m gonna miss this boy.

“I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.” He continued to walk away fading into the light.

“Until we meet again.” I sent him off grinning from cheek to cheek while I cried.

Instantly a glowing light swirled around me and the next thing I knew I was back at the office in the lobby.

“Now that is a cool trick.” John clapped.

“So since your here alone I’m guessing that Alex is gone.” He sighed walking over to me.

“Yeah. He’s in a better place now.” I cleaned my face.

“Lily, don’t you get tired of doing this? Helping everyone but yourself.” He draped his arm over my shoulder.

“Sometimes.” I sighed.

“You take care of everyone but who takes care of you?” He looked at me sincerely.

“That’s a good question. Let’s find that answer while we go get some dinner. I’m thinking maybe Chinese tonight.”

“Okay deal.” He agreed grabbing his jacket.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have that experience of going into the light but as long as I can help others reach that heavenly place, I think I’ll be okay. After all, this is my afterlife and I kind of like it this way. Wish I new life does go on , and we continue to the next…one way or another.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction, Faith, Fiction, Happy Read

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