"One thousand one hundred fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three . . ."
I woke to someone counting rather obnoxiously over my head. A guy, judging by the depth of the voice.
"Hey, you. Wake up. You're next in the ticket line."
I opened my eyes the rest of the way, finding a man holding a ticket out to me. He seemed annoyed that he had to deal with me at all.
"Who are you? And where am I?! Did you kidnap me?!?!?"
His eyes rolled, indicating that for some reason, he must get those questions a lot.
Editor's Note: This is Chapter Two of a short story installment entitled "Dead Girl?" More chapters will appear in subsequent issues
"I'm Micah, the gatekeeper to heaven, and no, no one kidnapped you, you died. Satisfied? Now take the ticket, there's a lot of people in line behind you."
My whole thought process stopped at that one. Dead?!? No way!!! I'd just fallen out of a tree, which lots of people do and don't DIE from!! This all just had to be a sick prank.
"You're joking, right? This is all some crazy prank to play on the loner girl. Very funny, you guys have really outdone yourselves this time."
Micah's eyes softened slightly, leaving me very, very confused again.
"Gwen, this isn't a joke. For your sake, I almost wish it was. You fell out of a tree and died. If you weren't dead, how could I do this?"
And he put his hand through my stomach. Just right through me. I stepped back, so I was out of his reach, and took the ticket. Why not go along with this, especially since Micah had proven his point? It's not like I wasn't just a little happy to know that I never had to go to school again.
"What is this ticket for?"
"Keep it for now. You're going to need it when the time is right. When they call your number, it's time to go make a choice."
"Wait, what should I do until then? What do you mean, make a choice?"
"You go back to Earth. Do whatever you please. All the ghost rules apply, but you're not audible or visible. That's all I can tell you."
"And how exactly do I get back to Earth from here, wherever here is?!"
And, in a bright flash of light, I was back in my tree. I sighed, now convinced that all I had experienced was true. I was dead. Curious, I glanced down to where I would have landed when I fell. My body was lying there, pale, with the neck broken. So that's how I had died. My luck must have been TERRIBLE. I mean, really, how many people fall out of a tree onto their head?!?! But now, I didn't have any worries, so I needed something to do. This just might be fun!