Chapter 4 - Coming HomeMature

As soon as I
had left the party at George’s house, at which he had told me that I had to go
back to Earth in order to renew a blessing, my Grandpa had teleported away
without saying a word of goodbye. I didn’t blame him.

Following
his motion, I decided to teleport to my own house. Just before I did, I heard
someone call my name.

“Hey,
Jordan!” It was the voice of Amanda Gregory.

I turned
around to see her walking in my direction.

“What did
George want to talk to you about?” she asked me.

I took a
deep breath. “It’s… complicated”.

“Can you
shorten the explanation then?”

I nodded.
“To put it as simply as I can…”

I was unable
to finish my sentence. I wasn’t exactly sure how to tell her about how I was
going to be on Earth for one last week.

“You’re
going back to Earth” she said, her voice much less audible.

I looked at
her in amazement. “How do you-“

“My father
was a police officer. I knew from him how to guess what people were doing or
thinking”.

“Well… yes…
I have to go back. For a week”.

“Why?”

“There’s
this blessing… that protects my family. Without it, my family dies off. I have
to go back and renew the blessing so that we don’t die”.

She nodded.
“Okay… so are we still going to meet tomorrow?”

“George
said-

“George
instructed you to do this?” she said. “You must mean a lot to him”.

“We’re
actually related” I told her.

She opened
her mouth in surprise. “You’re related to the most powerful man in this world?
What’s the likelihood of that?”

“It is
pretty incredible to have someone like him in my family”.

I brought
back the topic of seeing her the next day. “Anyways, he said he wants me to go
tomorrow, anytime, just not too late”.

“So want to
go out in the morning then?”

I shrugged.
“Fine by me”.

She smiled.
“Great!”

As we stood
in the outdoors, a question popped into my head.

“So why are
you out walking around?”

She said
nothing in response to my question.

“Are you
okay?” I asked her. She seemed to have grown completely silent.

“I didn’t
want to tell you” she muttered.

“I told you
that my guardian here didn’t like me too much” she said. “She only took me in
for the sake of not leaving me on my own. Afterwards…” her voice trailed off.

“She treated
me horribly. Had all of these strict rules and such… and I’m just not sure why
such a person is in this world. I thought no evil could reach us here”.

“So you’re
just taking a walk to cool off?”

“Not to cool
off… to wear off…” she took a deep breath.

“She shouted
at me… louder than she ever has”.

“She shouts
at you?” I asked, taken aback by her revelation.

She nodded
in response. “I thought she was going to hit me… so I got up and left”.

“Left as in
left her place forever?” I asked.

“I won’t
live with the likes of her if that’s how she treats me… and especially in a
holy place like this”.

I couldn’t
believe that such individuals could reach the afterlife. My happiness I had
achieved upon forgetting my past life was slowly but surely deteriorating. I
went to party and instead I received a mission with dire consequences, most
likely lost my grandfather’s trust, and now I know that evil can in fact get
into the afterlife. Could Hunter reach the afterlife? At this point it seemed
anything was possible.

“Well… where
are you gonna go then?” I asked her. She couldn’t just live on the streets.

“I was going
to go back to my place” she replied quietly.

“And just be
by yourself?”

“Aren’t you
by yourself?” she pointed out.

Without my
grandfather, I was on my own it would seem. Originally, I thought she could
stay at my house, but since there was no other person there it would be pretty…
awkward to say the least.

“I want to
be with someone though. I hate being alone”.

“Well, where
do you think you should go then?”

“I was
thinking I could just spend the night at your house”. I raised a finger to
object, but she held up a hand.

“It wouldn’t
be for too long. Just until I find someone else to stay with”.

I sighed. “I
guess there’s no real problem with it”.

She seemed
to have noticed that I wasn’t too thrilled about her idea.

“Are you
sure that’s okay?” she asked for clarification.

I shrugged.
“It’s fine… just a little awkward. Don’t you think?”

She nodded.
“Slightly” she said.

We both
stood smiling until we broke out into a random burst of laughter.

“Well, why
don’t we get going then? I don’t want to be sitting out in the dark any
longer”.

“Sure”.

“Wanna
teleport?”

“Let’s just
walk it”.

So, I guess
that was that then; I had just told my newest friend that she could live with
me. Did I still feel pretty weird about it? Very. It was nice having her around
though. She was still reminiscent of someone I had met on Earth. Maybe when I
went back to Earth, I could see who it was.

It was a
long walk through the darkness of the night. We continued to talk about
whatever came to our minds. I thought that someone as nice as her should at
least get one day back on Earth. People like her deserved such things. There
were also people like Hunter that didn’t deserve anything but a slow death.

“So where do
you live anyway? At the edge of the Earth or something?” Amanda joked.

“Beyond” I
responded, playing off of the pun.

We both
laughed. It seemed as though the two of us shared a good sense of humor and the
natural ability to play off of a joke successfully without making it sound
silly.

Come to
think of it, my house did seem to be very far away. I think it was on the edge
of the whole afterlife! At least, that’s how it began to feel during the time
it took for me to go back there.

I recognized
the structure coming up over the horizon; my house, which had the exact same
design as my old home’s exterior. The interior had yet to be finished, and I
wasn’t sure when I would complete it.

“There are
no beds in there yet, so I hope you’re comfortable sleeping on the floor” I
said.

Amanda shook
her head. “There will be some. It just takes time for the basic furniture to
transport”.

“So… some of
my furniture comes back then?”

“Only the
basics”.

I opened up
the door, which was a bad sign; even in the afterlife, I should remember to
lock it.

“So you
won’t be here too long? Pretty soon, I’ll be leaving” I asked for
clarification.

She nodded.
“Just for the night”.

I led her
inside my home. I took a right turn, as I thought the stairs were there, but I
instead came across the still picture of my life. It remained unmoving, much to
my enjoyment. I wanted the picture to go away, and as fast as possible.

“Is that
your still picture?” Amanda asked me.

I nodded. “I
don’t wish to talk about it”.

“I
understand. I hate mine too”.

I walked out
of that room and made a silent promise to myself to never go into it again. I
then found the staircase and led Amanda up it. I turned left and into a room
that now had a fully made bed with a dresser along with it.

“I guess
this is where you’ll be” I said, gesturing to the room. “I don’t remember
putting anything in here, though”.

“Stuff takes
time to transfer, like I said” she replied.

“Will this
be alright for you?”

“Yeah… it’s
fine”.

She walked
over and laid down on the bed, sighing.

“I think I
might just go to sleep now” she said.

“Might be a
good idea for me to do so as well” I said.

Amanda sat
up, yawned, then fell back and closed her eyes. I walked out and closed the
door behind myself. I strolled down the hall and into my room which now had a
bed inside of it. Without bothering to put on night clothing, I jumped on the
bed and immediately fell asleep. I needed the rest, and badly. Tomorrow, I had
to go back to Earth, back to my old life, on a mission to renew a blessing that
would save my family from certain destruction.

I wasn’t
ready to go back. I was ready to wake up the next day and do nothing at all but
hang out around the afterlife.

I drifted to
sleep as quickly as I could. As I laid down sleeping, I began to have a dream…

I saw a
face, and I knew who it was. I had seen the face before, and I knew that I knew
it, but I had no idea what name belonged to the entity. She was familiar, someone
I had met before, but I couldn’t tell who.

I saw more
faces, and I thought they were my friends on Earth, but I couldn’t place names
on them.

Who were
these people, and why did I feel like I knew them? If I couldn’t place names on
them, then why was my mind bothering bringing their persons back into my life?

I was going
back to Earth… maybe my mind was trying to tell me about who else was on Earth.

Wait a
minute… if I was going back to Earth… I’d be able to see those people again.
I’d be able to be with them as I think I had been before the car had hit me.

The car…
Hunter… I was going back to Earth… Hunter was on Earth. If I could clench my
hands in my sleep, I would; Hunter was the one who had ended my life. Revenge…
what if I could get revenge?

Damnit, I
just need to be quiet for once, just so I can get a little bit of sleep. No
talking, no thinking. No talking, no thinking. No talking, no thinking… no
talking…

My eyes
slowly slid open as the morning hours arrived. I had an awful time trying to
convince myself to actually go to sleep, but finding my antics futile, I laid
in my bed for around an hour and a half before I decided to try and get some
rest.

Stretching,
I got up from the bed and noted the time on the alarm clock; 7:30 AM. Way too
early.

I took off
my old clothes and put on some new ones. I presumed I was doing my own laundry
from now on, assuming that there was a laundry drier and washer to begin with.

George had
told me he wanted me anytime, just not too late. I guess that meant around 3:00
PM before I headed out. That was plenty of time to get my thoughts, and
apparently my motives as well, sorted.

All I could
think about last night was what I was going to do on Earth excluding my actual
mission that I had been assigned. There was that one girl I had to see, the one
that reminded me of Amanda. I think now her name was Amanda herself.

There were
those friends that I had seen, and I felt like I knew them well. If only I knew
their name. I could recall a Jack and a Brant, but that’s all that came to my
mind.

Then… there
was Hunter. The kid who had killed me most likely on purpose. The kid who had
basically opted to ruin my life as soon as I entered middle school. The kid who
gave everyone else in the world a bad name. I was going to find Hunter,
alright; I had already decided on that. And when I did… I’m not sure. But I
know he’ll feel pain as I did.

I strolled
down the hallway leading to the stairs. Amanda was still sleeping, and I was
incredibly jealous; if only I could have gotten a few good hour’s sleep in. I
quietly walked down the stairs and entered the kitchen. By now, there were
plenty of appliances in here that I could use. I looked into the refrigerator,
got a waffle, and popped it inside the toaster.

A TV must
have been transported to my house overnight. It was the old one I used to have
in my room on Earth. It had been the best birthday gift ever, to get to watch
my own TV at any time. It wasn’t very technologically advanced, but it worked
just fine. I grabbed the remote and turned on the television, making sure to
turn down the volume for Amanda’s sake.

I stepped
back in shock when I saw what I did; it was Earth news. I suspected that there
was some sort of afterlife news station around here, but apparently there
wasn’t.

I wanted to
change the channel, but I was drawn in by the reports. This was what was
happening in the realm of my old life; there was some sort of inner desire I
had to see what was occurring.

Right now, a
reporter was discussing with some analyst about the presidential campaign race
that was going on so far. From what I could gather, all of the candidates were
neck and neck, each one with some sort of redeeming quality. Even so, I trusted
no politician; they can put up a smokescreen and then hide what they want
behind it.

“That’s
what’s happening in the political world. Back to you, Dan” the reporter said.

The news
switched to local news. The man named Dan came on the screen with a solemn
expression on his face.

“A very
tragic event has happened in the community of Jeoman County yesterday” the
reporter started off.

Jeoman
County… that was where I used to live! I stepped closer to the television
screen, wondering what exactly was going on. Were they going to talk about the
accident?

“At Jeoman
High School, something much unexpected occurred. A young boy by the name of
Jordan Dikes was hit by a car piloted by a Hunter Feworth. Jordan was found dead
when the ambulance arrived”.

Oh my God…
they were talking about the accident. I wanted to turn the channel or turn off
the TV entirely, but I still wanted to watch for an unknown reason.

“Hunter was
driving with two other individuals. One of them, Carlos Smithens, was confirmed
dead earlier today. The other one, Kenny Burns, is in emergency care”.

“Feworth was
later discovered to have been under the influence of alcohol when he crashed
into Dikes, authorities reported. His friends as well were found to have traces
of alcohol in their systems. The school had this to say about the catastrophic
incident”.

The camera
changed to show a man wearing a very expensive black suit. I recognized him as
the school superintendent Charley Dems, or the ‘Invisible Man’ as we called
him. We heard his name, but never saw him in person. All we knew was that he
got rich off of the school and other businesses, and he didn’t give a damn
about the well-being of the school.

“We are
quite shaken by the turn of events that took place yesterday. I assure you
there will be action taken place” he said. “I wish to speak no more”.

I shook my
head in disgust. What a bastard! He barely said anything. All he cared for was
the money that landed in his pocket.                                                                                                        

A group of
students were shown, and I recognized them as my friends and the one girl I
kept seeing. I knew that I knew her… but what was her name? Why could I not
remember her name?

“It’s… not
fair” one of the kids spoke up. “It’s… just… not right…”

The girl
spoke herself. “If action is not taken place… I will make sure that something
will”.

The camera
went back to the reporter. “Those were Jordan’s friends, who are clearly
devastated by the incident. In fact, I believe we all are. Such an event like
this is awful, very awful. A trial for Feworth has already been scheduled to
take place on Sunday morning, with Hunter charged with the killing of Dikes and
drinking underage, and also drinking and driving”.

“I encourage
you to please send your condolences to the Dikes family. Every little bit will
help. As the school has said, action will take place to hopefully prevent
something like this from ever happening again. Back to the weather with-“

I clicked
the power button on the television remote and fell back into a chair. I was
rendered completely speechless at what I had just watched. My emotions were
confused, and I could only sit with my eyes and mouth wide open.

The tears
came, and I couldn’t control them. That was closure then; that one news report
finally wrapped up my life on Earth. The memories I had tried so hard to get
rid of were now coming back.

The girl was
Amanda Hundson. She had been my girlfriend. The other boys were Jack, Brant,
Sam, Quintin, Harrison and Zach. They had been my friends, and most of us were
going to go bowling on the day of my death.

I laid down
on the couch and got a grip on myself; crying was, and never was, going to
help. All it would do is make me feel worse. That news report however will be
forever fresh in my mind from now on. I had no doubt about that.

I heard
footsteps coming from upstairs. Amanda was soon standing at the foot of the
stairs, yawning and stretching. She looked over and saw me, and obviously knew
something wasn’t right.

“Are you
okay?” she asked me.

I shook my
head. “The polar opposite” I muttered. “There was just a news report… on the
TV”.

“What was it
about?”

I sighed.
“It was… talking about the accident”.

“Accident?”

“The one I
was in. The one that killed me, ended my life”.

She bowed
her head. “I’m sorry…”

I took a
deep breath to further calm myself down. “It’s fine, really… I’m already over
it”.

She looked
at me funny. “You don’t look like you’re over it”.

“Okay, the
truth; I never will get over it. My death was just broadcasted on television on
a popular news station. It basically signifies the end of my life on Earth… and
now that I think about it, I never wanted my life to end… I should have been
more wary of the things I already possessed”.

She was
silent for a while before speaking up. “I always wanted my life to go on
forever, never-ending. But then it ended… and I felt like I lost everything.
But I came here and realized that I didn’t lose it all”.

We both
smiled at each other. I don’t think she knew just how much better I felt right
then. To get such a compliment was a rarity for me. Did I finally find someone
who liked and understood me here?

“I didn’t
lose everything either” I responded. “More like gained something”.

A knock came
on the door just as Amanda and I moved closer to each other. I got up and went
to answer the door. I opened it up and saw my grandfather standing there.

“Good
morning” he said in an average every-day voice.

“Hi Grandpa”
I replied. I was unsure as to what to say afterwards; he was probably still mad
at me for last night.

“I just
dropped by to see how you were doing” he said.

“I thought you
were still mad at me” I said quietly.

“You should
now I don’t keep grudges” he responded much more happily.

I smiled. I
guess he wasn’t as mad as I had believed him to be. “Well, I’m doing fine,
thanks for asking”.

“Get home
okay?”

I laughed.
“This is a good neighborhood, there’s no trouble around here”.

He nodded.
“Of course. Went brain-dead for a second there”.

Grandpa
brought around the subject of going back to Earth. “So when are you planning to
go back to Earth?” he asked me.

“In a few
hours. George said I could be there any time, just not too late”.

“Hmm… is
that so then” he replied.

The two of
us stood awkwardly for a while, just in front of my house outside looking
everywhere other than our faces.

“Well… I
just wanted to drop in. I’ll… see you later?” he said as more of a question
than a statement.

“Alright…
bye” I said.

He nodded in
response and walked away at a brisk pace. Before I knew it, he was already
gone, probably heading for the After Café.

I returned
to my house and closed the door behind me. Amanda cocked her hide slightly
sideways so as to ask who was just at the door.

“Grandfather”
I answered.

She nodded
in response and got up to go to the kitchen. I walked back over to the couch
and turned the television set back on. Thankfully, there was no more news on my
untimely death. Unthankfully, there was no news that was actually interesting.
I turned it off in maybe a minute.

Amanda came
back and sat next to me and turned on the TV back on. I looked at her wondering
why, when she changed to channel to a different news station.

 “If your death was on the news, I was just
wondering… out of some morbid curiosity… that maybe…”

“You want to
see if they’re talking about you” I asked in more of a statement form.

She only
nodded in response. “I just… I don’t even know why”.

“You
probably won’t even see anything” I told her. “And I don’t think it’s smart
that you’re trying”. There was only a small, coincidental chance she would find
anything. I still wondered why she would really try, but I didn’t voice it any
more. It was all under her control at this point.

The news had
just changed from the weather and to the local news. This was it then; would
she too be on the news like I had been? I listened closely, waiting for the
reveal. Something like this is certainly unheard of; two teenage death reports
at the same time about two friends.

“Down in
Foarmen County, something incredibly shocking took place just yesterday”.

I looked
over at Amanda. Her skin had turned purely white, her eyes holding back tears.
Why exactly did she want to watch any more of this was beyond my imagination.

“Just turn
it off” I advised her.

“A young
schoolgirl by the name of Amanda Gregory was found stabbed to death in Portan
High School’s courtyard by a teacher at the end of the school day. The murder
weapon, a 6-inch switchblade, was found in the possession of Frank Jones”.

“Jones was
discovered to be an ex-boyfriend of Gregory, who has been referred to as a
great friend and smart student by many people. Jones claimed that Gregory had
insulted and threatened him, and he had only acted in self-defense. A heap of
evidence has been piled against Jones for the trial coming up on Saturday
afternoon”.

Before the
report could continue, Amanda turned off of the television and leaned back in
the chair, taking deep breaths.

I couldn’t
believe what I had heard. Someone as nice as Amanda was stabbed to death by
some sort of dumbass, much like me. But stabbed to death? Was the world really
coming to this brutality? And a better question; why exactly did she opt to try
and find a report in the first place? The fact that she did actually find one
was pretty shocking.

“That’s that
then” she said more calmly than I expected.

“I can’t
believe… I’m sorry” I said quietly.

She shook
her head. “It’s fine… I anticipated the pain that would come so… not too bad”.

“Anticipating
pain” I repeated her words. “If only I was able to do that”.

“Can you
anticipate anything good?”

“Nothing
good happens in my life much so I would say no”.

“Maybe you
should give your life more credit than you do”.

“Not much to
give credit to”.

She came
closer to me. “You’re going back to Earth, aren’t you? You should go back into
your old life. Appreciate what you had. It’ll probably make you feel better”.

“I feel
better not being in my past life. I like my life here” I replied.

“I can tell
from you watching the news you probably want something like… closure. You could
always get closure back on Earth. See your friends just for one last time
before you have to come back”. She sighed. “It’s something I wish that I could
do sometime”.

I sat still
for a while. Finally, I nodded.

“You’re
probably right… I need to get some sort of ending to my life. Some stupid news
report doesn’t count. And not for you either”.

She
disagreed. “Well… there’s not much else I can get. It’s not like I could send a
message or something”.

An idea
popped into my head. “I could always ask George for a favor. Maybe he’d be nice
enough to enable you to send a message of sorts”.

She
shrugged. “Maybe”.

“You can
count on me asking” I said confidently.

She smiled.
“Thanks, Jordan… for all of this”.

I shook my
head. “It’s not much”.

I went on.
“It’s only just a nice thing that nice people do. Even mean people sometimes
will bend over backwards to do something. There’s a sort of feeling in the
world to be nice sometimes, but every day I was on Earth I felt that feeling
was evaporating quickly, but I guess seeing people like you and I means that
there’s still a few people out there, and-“

Amanda quickly
came over to me and kissed me, hugging me and holding me closely. I had almost
never had such feelings enacted on me, and I felt as though this world, the
afterlife, was much better than I previously thought.

She let go
of me and smiled. “Sometimes… nice people talk too much”.

I nodded.
“Seems true enough”.

I had only
known this girl for maybe a day, and already I felt like she was the best
friend I ever had. Some bad people can reach the afterlife, but the majority of
the people here are good, the sort of people I need to be around. That reminded
me of what Amanda had said earlier; I should go see my friends one more time.

I looked
over at the clock and noted the time; 11:30 AM on the dot. I guess I had a few
more hours before I had to get taken back to Earth by the leader of the
afterlife himself. Somehow, I had to renew a blessing that I could only obtain
in a church being harassed by anti-religious activists. That, oh that, should
be fun.

I decided
maybe I’d ask for a plan.

“Amanda, if
you had to somehow get into a church surrounded by anti-religious people, what
exactly would you do?”

She laughed.
“That’s certainly the most interesting question I’ve heard”.

“What would
you do?”

She took a
minute to think.

“It depends
on how aggressive the people are. If they aren’t so aggressive and they leave
eventually, just sneak in. Maybe through the roof?”

“That’s been
my general idea” I responded. “I’m unsure how exactly how I’d pull it off
though”.

“Do you know
what this church looks like?”

“Actually… I
have no idea”.

She cocked
her hide sideways. “That’s not much to work on you know”.

“I’ve
realized that now that I’ve said it out loud” I replied. “I probably should
have asked George about the building’s layout”.

So far I
seemed to know virtually nothing about this church. My only plan my brain could
come up with at this point is just to plain wing it. More than half of the time
that doesn’t work out.

Amanda must
have known what I was thinking, which wasn’t the first time that happened.

“You’re just
going to wing it then?”

I frowned.
“I hope that I don’t have to, but it seems like I might have to unless I get
some info on that place”.

“Ask George
about it when you go meet him” she suggested.

“That’s the
most I can do at this time I guess” I said.

We sat down
on the couch in silence for quite some time. Amanda turned the television back
on and watched one of those reality shows. It didn’t interest me in the
slightest. My mind began to shift to my plans on Earth. Last night, I had been
making up my own that pertained to everything but my actual objective. How
would I approach my friends who thought I had died? And not just thought; they
were looking too I bet. Hunter, however, would be an exception; I would
approach him in any shape or form. He’s in trouble, and if he somehow isn’t
when I arrive, then he will be.

Thinking
back to Amanda Hundson, the Amanda on Earth, I began to feel an awful feeling.
She had been my girlfriend, and we both liked each other well. Yet, I already
kissed another Amanda here in the afterlife. In my defense, I didn’t know I was
going back to Earth previously, or thought about it much.

“Do you care
much for this show?” Amanda asked me, breaking my train of thought.

I shook my
head. “Reality TV has never been my thing. It’s stale”.

She laughed.
“Couldn’t have set it better myself”.

I raised an
eyebrow. “Then why are you watching it?”

She
shrugged. “They’re too bad to resist. My mom and I used to make fun of this
particular show all the time… that brings back some memories”.

She raised
another question. “I still want to know, how did you forget so easily?”

Over time, I
realized something about forgetting. “I never really did forget, truthfully. I
thought I hated my life… ignored the good things that I had. But every time I
blanked out my mind, the memories came back. They never stopped coming… and now
I think I should just stop trying. It’s useless in my mind”.

She bowed
her head. “That makes… much more sense”.

I brought
her head back up. “It’s important to keep your memories close. Don’t try to
forget. If you succeed, you’ll just be without a soul”.

I nodded
towards the clock. “I’m hungry, how about you?”

Her face
brightened. “I should have eaten last night. I’m extremely hungry. After Café?”
she suggested.

I agreed.
“Sounds like a good idea”.

Amanda ran
upstairs to change her clothes while I waited for her downstairs. I was an easy
person to make bored or impatient, so I quickly become so. I looked around for
something to do and only saw one option. Breaking my promise, I stepped into
the accursed room which contained my still picture. I was surprised to see it
moving once again. Instead of the school, it showed my friends at a courtyard
somewhere. They were talking, and I wished I could hear them somehow.

I walked
farther into the room and over to the picture. I gazed at all of the details; I
wanted to see what Earth looked like again. I could only think of how the
beautiful afterlife was like.

I had been
seemingly enticed by the image. Closer and closer I strode towards it. I
reached out my arm, my hand barely breaking through the portrait. Suddenly, I
was jolted inside of it! The scenery around my changed into the environment
that I had seen my friends were in. Somehow, it seemed as though I had gone
inside of the picture! I could now listen to my friend’s talking.

“What do you
guys want to do?” Brant asked everyone.

Jack
shrugged. “I don’t know”.

“I don’t
feel like anything” Quintin said. “I can’t get over Jordan dying”.

“How the
hell does stuff like that happen?” Sam said angrily.

Jack bowed
his head. “The world’s messed up. I think we can all tell by now”.

“I’m going
home” Quintin said, already walking away. “I don’t feel much like anything…”

“Don’t just
leave, stay for a bit” Brant said as sort of a question.

“I don’t…
can’t…”

And with
that, Quintin walked off at a brisk pace. He obviously seemed to be completely
knocked off of his feet by my death. I wished he would feel better… maybe I can
improve his mood when I go back to Earth today.

The others
said little after Quintin’s departure. Slowly but surely, they all started to
leave the courtyard. I didn’t want them to get hung back from having a good
time just because of me, but I guess if one of them had died instead of me I
would’ve felt the same way.

I heard
someone calling my name, but I couldn’t see where it was coming from. I rapidly
realized that it was coming from the afterlife, my actual life at this time. I
stepped backwards and I proceeded out of the picture. I left a mental note in
my head that walking backwards will take you out of pictures. I think I might
jump into that particular image a second time in the near future.

Amanda
walked into the picture room and found me there, still looking into the empty
courtyard my friends had been in just a moment ago.

“I thought
you hated this room” she said, voicing my opinion of the awful piece of the
house.

“I do” I
responded. “But I couldn’t resist looking… it was Earth, and since I was going
back, I just wanted to know what it looked like again”.

She shrugged.
“Well, I’m ready to go when you are”.

I nodded
towards the door. “Let’s get moving then”.

I opened up
the door of my house and departed, Amanda by my side. Thankfully, the After
Café was in the courtyard just a minute or two away. All along the way, I could
only think of Earth; what I had to do, what I wanted to do, and how I would do
it. My thoughts were all in a jumble, and I couldn’t get them sorted. Maybe all
I needed was to eat something to fuel my contemplations.

It didn’t
take long to reach the Café. I opened up the door and walked inside, spotting a
nice two-seater table by the window as I did. I liked window seats, so I
quickly chose to go there.

I looked
over at the clock that was positioned on the wall; it was 12:30pm. But… how
could it be? Last time I had checked, it had been 11:30… there was no way I had
been at my house for another hour before coming here. I thought back to my
foray into my still picture. Could it be possible that it disrupted time
somehow? I’ll leave those thoughts for later; they were far less important.

“So have you
figured out what you’re going to do on Earth?” Amanda asked me. She was
obviously trying to be as helpful as she could. I guess it was due to her love
of Earth and her desire to go back to it.

“Well… I break
into a church, renew a blessing, say hi to my friends, and get reven-“I stopped
myself before I revealed my secret plans for dealing with Hunter.

She looked
at my curiously. “Reven what? Revenge?”

I should
have known Amanda would figure that out with relative ease.

“Hunter…
deserves whatever happens to him”.

She shook
her head. “Don’t try to sink down to his level then. You’d feel bad after what
you do if you do it”.

I shook my
head as well in response. “You don’t understand”.

“I’m sure I
do” she said. “He killed you, ruined your life… that doesn’t mean you do the
same to him! You might not even be allowed back in the afterlife for all you
know!”

I didn’t
think much about the after effects of messing with Hunter. I tried to consider
them, but the general agreement in my mind was to do something severe to him,
physically, mentally, or both.

“You just
said it; he ruined my life. People like him can’t get away with that”.

“You can’t
be seriously considering this. I haven’t known you for too long, but I know you
enough to know you wouldn’t do this. And I bet you know deep down that you
shouldn’t”.

I sighed.
“You don’t know all about Hunter”.

“That
doesn’t mean you escalate to murder! You’re no killer!”

Thankfully
we have been talking in a moderately low tone so no one could overhear is. Even
so, I decided to say no more on the subject for the sake of being overheard and
discussing more personal matters with Amanda.

The same
waitress that had served me here before, Jane, came over to my table.

“I remember
you. You were with your grandfather” she said.

I nodded in
response, but said nothing.

“He’s a good
man, your grandfather. Very kind”.

She went on
with doing her actual job. “So can I get you anything?”

Amanda and I
went on to order our meals for the day, and that was the only time we spoke for
a while. I assumed that she was angered by my planned courses of action, but
she didn’t know the full story behind my pure hatred for Hunter. I knew what he
deserved, and I knew that Amanda couldn’t tell me otherwise. Besides, she said
she had a great life; she wouldn’t understand how it felt to be bullied all of
your life.

The food
came along later and Amanda and I continued on in silence. She finally decided
to start a conversation of sorts, but it didn’t last for too long.

“You
shouldn’t do anything to him”.

“I can’t let
him walk of free, even if he does get into prison”.

“You’ll ruin
your life in the afterlife, don’t you understand that?”

“Then I’ll
see him in hell”.

She sighed,
obviously frustrated with me. “Go ahead and deal with it however you like,
then. You’ll ruin your life, but just go ahead. And I thought you were smart”.

We finished
eating in a very short time. Amanda stood up and walked out the door without
waiting for me. I didn’t even think she was going back to my house. Was she
just going back on the streets?

I sighed,
starting to feel a little angry at Amanda. I thought she understood me, but it
would seem as though she didn’t after all. If I explained the whole story to
her, maybe she would fully comprehend my motives.

I got up and
walked out of the establishment as well. I looked around for Amanda, but I
didn’t see her anywhere. I looked up at a clock that was hung in a nearby store
window; it was 1:15pm. If I couldn’t find her, I might as well just go back to
Earth already. I don’t think she cared all too much for me at this point, or of
my situation.

I slowly
strolled back to my house, still trying to configure my intentions. I couldn’t
get anything sorted… I felt as though I was going insane! All I could think
about was how I would go about doing my mission on Earth, and seeing my
friends, how I would deal with Hunter… I had an incredibly severe headache…
maybe I just needed to lie down, but that risked the chance of me being tardy
to meet George. I sat down on the front step of my house and covered my head
with my hands. I hated my life, then I started to appreciate it; now I didn’t
even know what to do with it, what to call it, etcetera. I wanted someone to
just shout at me right now, “This is what to do with your life!” so I could
understand it more, the meaning of it, and what I would do with it. I just…
didn’t know at this point.

I opened up
the front door with great force, causing it to slam against the brick walls of
the exterior of the house. I stomped inside and turned into the one room I had
used to avoid; the picture had now changed to a different scene, but this one
showed Amanda. Amanda Hudson, the girlfriend I had back on Earth.

Without
halting to observe the image, I ran inside of it and I was immediately
transported to the setting that she was in. She was lying on her bed crying
softly. A book was by her side as well as a paper. A knock came on her bedroom
door, and her mother entered. She was holding a beautiful white dress with a
black jacket to go with it.

“Does this
look good?” she asked Amanda.

Amanda only
shrugged in response. Her mother sighed, showing obvious concern for her
daughter.

“I know
you’re upset, but I need you to cooperate with me on this. Do you think this
looks good?”

“Fine”
Amanda said reluctantly. “It’s fine”.

Her mother
left the room without looking back, and silently closed the door behind her.
Amanda let out a sob and picked up a piece of paper that had been lying on her
lap. I recognized it instantly; it was the picture of the two of us when our
families, who were good friends, went on vacation to Florida. We were standing
in front of a very attractive garden… and I remember we had kissed there behind
some leaves when no one was looking. Seeing these good times, and recalling
them, feeling what they were like, brought me on the brink of insanity.

I
hypothesized that the clothes her mother had shown her were dress clothes for
my funeral. I didn’t even know I was having one, and definitely not this soon.
It gave me an idea; I could go to the funeral myself and… no, scratch that. It
would be incredibly awkward if I came to see her at my own funeral… wouldn’t
it?

“I don’t
know how…” Amanda muttered, her crying ceased. “Why would this happen… why…”

I felt as
though if I stayed in this scene any longer, I would lose my mind. I quickly
walked backwards and out of the image, breathing heavily. Seeing my
girlfriend’s despair definitely didn’t make me feel any better… but it did in a
way now that I think of it. I’ll be able to see her for a bit and make her feel
better. Seeing her made me wonder how the other Amanda was feeling at this
time, but then again I didn’t care much for her that much anymore as she didn’t
care much for me.

Oh, what am
I thinking? I should go apologize to her. I was ready to go look of her when I
noticed that the clock said 2:30pm. My mouth dropped open in pure shock. How
could time pass by so fast? I was fully convinced that jumping into pictures
affected the time in the afterlife somehow.

I sprinted
out of the front door, opening it up with too much force once again. In less
than a few seconds, I was running through the courtyard and off to George’s
residence. I didn’t want to be any bit late, and I had no intention of being
so.

As I ran, I
noticed a body lying on a bench by the sidewalk. I slowed down and approached
it. I recognized who it was instantly.

“Amanda!” I
said harshly, trying to waken her. She was fast asleep.

“Amanda!” I
repeated myself.

She finally
arose and turned to face me. I could tell from her facial expression that she
didn’t exactly want to see me.

“What is it”
she responded drowsily.

I decided to
get straight to the point that I wanted to get to before the curious jump in
time.

“Listen, I
know I’m possibly one of the last people you want to see right now. I know that
you don’t like my motives, and I’m sorry for dismissing you so easily. I…
shouldn’t have ever done that”.

“So you’ll
leave that one kid along” she said, prying for me to say more.

“You don’t
understand what he’s been doing to me my entire life. He teased and beat me up
for a large chunk of it… and I’m not going to let him rest easy in a prison for
the rest of his life”.

“Don’t harm
him!” she insisted, stepping closer towards me. “I told you what could happen…
and I know I haven’t known you for long, but you’re definitely not a killer, or
any sort of aggressor!”

“I told you,
he ruined my life! HE KILLED ME!” I replied, my rage building up.

She shook
her head, defending her opinion. “Think straight for once, will you? You’ll make
your life worse! You won’t be known as the nice teenager I believed you to be,
but instead the senseless killer!”

I sighed and
stomped off. “I’ll do what I want, and you won’t tell me otherwise!”

“Ask
yourself, Jordan” she called after me. “Who the hell do you see yourself as? A
killer!?”

“I see
myself doing what’s right” I said.

She got up
from the bench and walked off. “I don’t know who the hell I had grown to like
then. If you want to ruin your life, go ahead, screw it over. See how much I
care”.

I no longer
felt like trying to apologize to her. She obviously couldn’t see my point of
view, and I wouldn’t want to be with someone who had no chance of understanding
my life. I had a slight want to turn around and see if she was looking back at
me, but I ignored the wanting feeling and continued on my way.

George’s
residence was on the horizon, and I wasted no time running off towards it. My
mind had begun to erase Amanda Gregory from all of my memories, making her like
an invisible man. There was only one other Amanda I wanted to see now.

I had
finally reached the golden gates that led into the giant household of George.
They opened up at a much quicker place than I had seen them do so before,
making me believe the situation was much direr than I believed. I wasted no
time opening up the large double doors that led into the much larger main room
of the house.

“Up here,
and hurry!” I heard someone call. George was on the second floor of the room,
gesturing for me to come up to him, and quickly.

I sprinted
up the stairs, taking them two at a time. George had already started off
towards a room at the end of the hall, and I picked up my pace to catch up to
him.

“I know I
don’t need to be late, but why are we in this much of a hurry?” I asked him,
trying to keep up with his rapid walking pace.

His skin was
pale white. “The protestors have gotten restless… they’re even throwing rocks
at the church! I can’t let that brand of insanity continue for any longer!”

“I thought
this was going to be somewhat easy!” I responded angrily.

“That’s what
I believed, but they’ve gotten tired of their antics getting them nowhere. I
need you to get going, and now!”

We entered
the room, and I was instantly amazed. Assorted on multiple tables were various
objects; shiny crystal balls, golden staffs with sparkling jewels on top of
them, various bars of rocks and other materials, large stone sculptures
depicting numerous objects, and many more matters that I couldn’t possibly hope
to describe; there were so many diverse items.

Dominating the
room was a large stone arch that had many symbols on it, possibly
hieroglyphics. A large hole was in the middle of the arch, large enough to
probably hold something in it.

George
pulled a silver stone out of his pocket that was radiating a dark purple color
and put it in the indent. A blue flash emitted from inside of the arch multiple
times, then stopped.

“Okay, we
have to get moving, and fast. Very, very fast! If we wait any longer, the
church will be in a lot of danger!” George exclaimed, moving around very
hurriedly. His face was beginning to get covered with sweat.

I walked
towards the arch.

“I’m ready
anytime” I replied confidently, still bitter over Amanda’s attitude.

George
looked curiously at me as though he could sense that I was partly in an unsatisfactory
mood.

“How do I go
to Earth exactly?” I asked, which was a very important question at this point.

George
walked over to the arch and gestured to it.

“All you
have to do is step inside of this arch. The stone that I placed inside of it is
and old Egyptian relic that was believed to be the gateway from the afterlife
to the real world, except it actually works. It doesn’t stay online and working
for a while at one time, so I need you to jump into it immediately”.

I nodded.
“All I have to do is go into a church and renew a blessing. That’s it?” I asked
for clarification.

“It’s not as
easy as I had foreseen. The anti-religious folks have gone over the edge, and
if they aren’t settled down soon, the church will be forced to close down due
to all of the fuss about it. Something like that cannot happen!”

“Here’s just
one thing though; how exactly do I break into this church to renew the
blessing?”

“I was
thinking going in from the rooftop” George suggested.

I sighed,
dismissing his comment. I had realized a while ago that most likely wouldn’t
work, and definitely not at this point. The only chance I have right now is to
think on my feet once I get to Earth.

George
gestured once more to the arch, this time with more velocity.

“You need to
go, now!” he ushered.

I began to
think about what I was planning to do. I had sorted it all out in my mind as I
raced to George’s house. I would go see Amanda Hundson, the only Amanda I truly
cared for, and hopefully I could spend a lot of time with her. My friends, Jack,
Brant, and all of the others, I would visit as well. I planned that one day we
could go bowling like we were going to on the day I perished. That left only
one other important individual in my life… and I would make sure that certain
entity would feel incredible pain… agonizing, terrible pain.

Without
wasting any more time, I sprinted inside of the arch and jolted forwards to
Earth, to my old life, to my closure.

The End

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