After drowning in a riptide, Ameya Martinez arrives in a strange hospital. There, she's told that she's no longer alive and that this strange new place is the afterlife. After a slightly tricky encounter with the 'Death Receptionist', Matsuko, she's invited to stay with the gloomy woman and her peppy little sister while living arrangements are figured out. Little does she know, her life, (Or should we say death) Is about to take a left turn into crazyville.
Ameya was too scared to open her eyes. Had she been rescued? She had been in the ocean, struggling against a rip tide, and the next thing she knew, she was lying down somewhere cold and chemical-smelling. Hesitantly, she opened her eyes……And saw nothing but mist. In her surprise she opened her mouth, and coughed at the gas that filled it.
Ameya heard a muffled voice, “Doc, C’mere a second, I think she’s awake in there.”
Tap, tap, tap. She jumped a little, surprised at the vibration the noise caused.
“No, that’s very unlikely.” Replied a man’s voice.
Wherever she was, she was awake. Ameya tried to move, only to find she was strapped down.
What the hell?
“Where am I? Unstrap me!”
She heard a surprised grunt from the man, and watched as the mist dissolved and was replaced with a man holding a fuming glass dome. She was in a large, white room with three other people lying down in the same state she had been just a few seconds ago.
“Well that’s certainly odd.” Said the man who Ameya assumed was a doctor.
“Where am I?” She questioned, blinking hard.
The doctor waved his hand and the nurse removed the straps holding her down.
“You’re in the Above, Sweetie,” Said the nurse with a smile. “You died.”
Ameya simply blinked at her. “I- I what?”
“I know this is all a little confusing, but I need you to take your papers down the hall to the front desk. It’s a busy day today; there was an earthquake in Russia.” Interrupted the doctor.
“Wait! What? Hey, this isn’t a funny joke! How did I get he—!”
The doctor simply helped her up, handed her a stack of papers, and pushed her in the direction of the door. Wide eyed and confused, she took a few steps in her bare feet out the door, and into a hallway painted maroon. I must be dreaming… she thought. As Ameya looked around she noticed that there was soft old swing music playing in the background, and old black and white photographs hanging on the wall.
It was strangely eerie.
Quickly, she shuffled through the hallway, until she came to a door with a bright light shining from inside. She stopped, and stared into the white haze. What if this isn’t a dream? What if I am…..Dead? Ameya felt a chill run through her body. She quickly dismissed that idea, and took a deep breath. She stepped through the doorway, and blinked furiously. Trying to gain her sense of sight back, she rubbed her eyes and discovered she was in a small waiting room, with a desk and filing cabinets. At the desk sat a young woman, sprawled lazily on a chair, dark hair covering one of her eyes. “Pffft,” She rolled her eyes at her book, “What kind of idiot is he?”
Ameya cleared her throat loudly.
The woman squeaked in surprise, dropped her book, and jumped into place at the desk, pushing her hair behind her ear nervously.
“H-hello,” She stuttered, “My name is Matsuko and I’ll be your Death Receptionist, are you dead?”
“…No.” Replied Ameya determinedly. There was no way.
Matsuko raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean you’re not dead?”
“I-I can’t be. I’m only fifteen. Besides, I have a big test tomorrow in school that I can’t miss.” Ameya countered, suddenly starting to sweat. She clenched and unclenched her fists nervously.
“Great, so now I have to function as a counselor too?” Matsuko sighed, “This wasn’t what I signed up for.”
“What are you talking about!?” Ameya said.
Matsuko sighed again, and rubbed her temples. “Okay kid, sit down. I’ll help you make sense of the situation.”
Ameya sat down in the plush black chair, and frowned. I hate being called a kid. She thought. This woman can’t be more than five years older than me.
“Where were you before you woke up here? Were you feeling okay?” Asked Matsuko.
“I was in the ocean.”
“What were you doing in it?”
Ameya frowned and bit her lip.
“I was…I was caught in a riptide.”
Matsuko gave her a quizzical look. “Then what is so hard to grasp about this?”
“ I just am not dead! I can’t be!” Ameya shouted, almost pleading.
“Look, kid, I don’t want to have to call security. This is my first day and I don’t want to have that sort of reputation.”
“Hey, don’t call me kid, alright? You can’t be that much older than I am.”
The dark haired woman raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? I’m almost 90 years old, beat that, KID.”
Ameya blinked twice, mouth agape.
"How are YOU 90?"
"Ah, your learn later in the informational session.” said the death receptionist briskly. "But right now we REALLY need to get a move on."
Matsuko sat back in her chair and clicked her pen.
"So, let's try this again. Hello, I’m Matsuko and I'll be your death receptionist. You ARE dead. Now how old are you."
Ameya swallowed. "I am Fifteen, I was born in 1998."
Matsuko nodded and scribbled on her clipboard. "hand me your papers now."
Ameya looked down, and realized she had forgotten all about the stack of papers she had been given by the doctor. She picked them up and passed them across the table to the Death Receptionist. Matsuko flipped through the packet and looked back up at Ameya.
"Name, Ameya Rita Tonevitez. Time of death, 2:43. Date of death, June 18th, 2013. Cause of death, drowning. Does that sound right to you?"
Ameya nodded at her. "Yeah."
"Do you have any family members that have died?" Inquired Matsuko.
Ameya thought for a moment. "Yes, my great aunt died nine years ago."
"Good, then we'll make arrangements for you to stay with her until you're 18."
"What?! Uh, no thanks. She really hated my mother, and won't have anything to do with me my siblings because of that. She's a real witch."
"It's either that or a community home."
"But she probably wouldn't let me within 20 Meters of her house. She just wouldn't take me." Ameya explained.
Matsuko looked amused. "Geez, you really are one special case. It's mostly the elderly like me that come around here. Plus, you were so confu--"
Just then the phone on the desk rang. Matsuko grimaced and picked it up.
"Hello? Yes. No, not yet. Well, she was a bit tricky--Yes Sir. Right away Sir. Sorry."
She hung up the phone. "Okay I have to get you out for the next person, but we're not done yet, okay? I'll help you figure something out. Why don't you go wait in the lobby until I finish work, I get out at 6:00."
Ameya was surprised at the dark woman. Although she knew very little of this strange new place, she could tell that what Matsuko was doing for her was beyond her work arrangements.
"Thank you very much!"