Becoming A Ghost

    Carl frowned, biting his tongue with no regard for its feelings on the matter. He had never really thought about it: he had always assumed that there would be no choice in the entire ordeal of death. Someone leads you to Heaven or Valhalla or Nowhere and then drops you. There had seemed no point in predicting it when one thing would happen no matter what you believed.

    But then... that had been before the Billboard Episode. Now, well... it seemed Carl had been wrong. He frowned and imagined how he had imagined death as a child, when one's instincts are always entirely honed. Of course, they were also easily influenced by the television.

    "Well... I always thought, I don't know, that I'd just wake up and not know what happened. I'd think 'Wow, my head hurts!' then look at my hand for some reason and realize that I can see right through it. Then I'd have a brief breakdown in which I realized that I was, in fact, dead. And then I'd spend eternity wandering around and freaking people out..." Carl glanced towards the man, who seemed to be deep in thought.

    "So you're saying you believe in ghosts?"

    "I'm saying I believed in ghosts."

    "'Believed?' You don't believe in that now?"

    "Er, I mean... Yes. I believe in ghosts..." corrected Carl. Obviously this prick wouldn't settle for guesswork, so he would have to be stalwart in his faith in the paranormal. "You know, spirits. Wandering souls."

    The man studied him for a moment, asking, "You'd bet your life on this?"

    What life? "Sure. Of course."

    The angel still didn't look convinced, but raised his hands and snapped both fingers twice. The landscape changed accordingly as Carl burst into more laughter and the two found themselves standing on top of a downed billboard, still cheerfully advertising a nearby casino. Though considerably less cliched, it was unarguably less pleasant-looking than heaven: the sky crackled ominously and the entire scene seemed to be cloaked in gray. The angel was now a full-fledged phantom, transparent and colorless. "Well then, here you are."

    Carl looked around, nodding. "So this is what it looks like now..." He raised a hand and waved it in front of his view, chuckling at the strange phenomena. "Cool! I really am see-through!"

    The angel/ghost rolled his eyes, nodding towards a gravel road a few feet over from where they were standing. A cloud of dust was gently subsiding back into the ground. "Notice something missing?"

    Carl's face was a mask of confusion for a moment, then he jumped off of the billboard and stared with openmouthed horror at the body under it, which held one hand stretched out as if begging for help. "You... You're kidding me!" He turned to glare at the subsiding dust cloud, "Those two... just left me?!"

    The other man sighed, sitting cross-legged straight on a happy casino-goer's face. "I take it we have our first bit of unfinished business?"

    "Oh yeah... Revenge!"


The End

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