Death. Painful business. Yet what if you are sent back to undo your mistakes. The catch? Well you have a deadline and a limited excess to haunt. Never mind, being a ghost, well you don't get to become that everyday.
So come with me, in this tale of a ghost who goes back to earth to....well read the story for that!
So, this is how it felt to die. Yes pain was everywhere, shrouding my very existence, pulsing in every cell of my body. Yet, it was the same pain which kept my sanity in check. It made me unconscious of my upcoming death. There was agony yet everything was numb. The irony. My past life did not mattered much when all I knew that I was already leaving it behind in a matter of few moments. Still, an emotion outshone every sensation in my dying body and fuzzy mind.
I was barely nineteen. Yes, I think I was going to be nineteen. Not that it was important now. And all I had done was to get in a college. I had not even pursued my lifelong dream of becoming an editor. I had not made my ma and pa proud yet. Hell, I had not even a kissed a boy yet! What a pitiful life was I living! No, I cannot die. I did not do anything extraordinary for the world to remember me. Damn! I cannot die in a stupid car accident without making a frigging image of mine in this world!
No, I won't die, I won't......
And with those great thoughts of mine, I took my last breath.
When I opened my eyes, I knew something was different. Definitely different. I have never felt so light yet a feeling of some heavy emotion lingered in my heart, as if something was amiss. Well that was the mental part.
Physically, I felt........nothing.
Literally nothing. Just air. Panicked I stood up. Yeah as if that was possible. All I did was to float and too with alarming velocity which was pumped up by my non-existent adrenaline.
"Easy there, now", a gentle yet timid voice rang in my....ears? Well even without my body, my all senses were working just fine. And how that was even possible was a mystery yet to be solved.
I looked around for the source of the voice. And that was when I to came notice my surroundings. First of all, I was in a big hall. And by big, I did not mean mega big, I meant zeta big. It was plain white. But out of my peripheral vision, the air shimmered with the colours I have not seen in my mortal life. And yes, of course I was not alone. There were many souls, in fact hundreds were floating in that hall. And that meant I was one too.
I did not know how to even react to this. I never had been in this position before.
“Hey it’s alright.” That voice again acquainted me. Finally I took a look at that soul.
She was staring at me, with an unsure smile on her face.
“And you are..?” I asked, with no hint of friendliness in my tone. I was dead and that was something I could not take with calmness.
“Sonja.” She replied, a little taken aback, apparently due to my rudeness.
I felt a bit sorry. After all, she was not the one who hit my car and killed me.
“I am Shikha.” I said, this time with a touch of warmth.
She instantly relaxed, “Hi Shikha. Nice meeting you!”
Yeah nice meeting me. After all, we were just dead. Nothing much of a great deal there.
“So where exactly are we?” I asked casually, my eyes searching for something in the hall. For what, even I was not sure.
Sonja pressed her thin lips into a tight line, as if trying to think the best possible way to answer.
“Not exactly sure, but I think we are in the realm of death.”
“Oh.” Was all I could say. ‘That’ was pretty obvious. But one thing was nagging me.
“But, if we are dead, then why aren’t my human memories all wiped off?” I asked with a sinking feeling, “ Wasn’t death all about forgetting everything and becoming a soul, which was either taken to heaven or cast into the bowels of hell according to our karmas of life?”
Sonja just shrugged. She knew as much as I did.
The murmuring of the other souls was getting louder. But it was not of a cacophony sort, rather as if a light breeze was fluttering the leaves of trees softly.
It was not a noise. It was music of soul’s voices.
“So how did you die?” I asked her, needing to fill up my awkward silence.
“I suicided.” She stated simply.
I was so shocked that for once I was at a loss of words. But my question stirred up something in her. She looked up straight, keeping her back to me. This time I did not feel guilty. I just inquired her about her death. We were all dead so what was the harm in asking? It wasn’t as if we were ever going to live again.
An ear shattering explosion made all the souls scatter, no, to ‘dissolve’ into the air. I myself felt as if the air from which I was made up of, was fused into this world’s. When I regained myself back, I for once was grateful for having been died. Had I been alive, my body would have bled from the explosion.
“Darn!” I muttered.
“Welcome my dead sweethearts!” A voice full of mirth, joy and warmth rang throughout the hall.
I looked up and sucked in a deep breath (and please don’t ask how).
I didn’t know if it was male or female. Whatever it was, damn it was beautiful! It had a body with all the curves yet its limbs were muscular. It glided in the manner as if the very fabric of the air was made up for it. I stared at it, my mouth shamelessly hung open.
And I wasn’t the only one, mesmerized with the charm that oozed from every pore of its body. All around me the souls sighed with an impressed tone.
“I am Death.” The figure said, with a booming laughter, which made me smile involuntarily.
“And I welcome you all to my kingdom.”
At that point of the time, I finally understood why people said that death was beautiful. And not just physically. I had never felt so peaceful, so calm in my entire life. It was as if I had been longing to be in the presence of death right from the moment I took my first breaths.
“And you are dead!” Death said, a great smile carved out on its beautiful face.
Normally I would have rolled my eyes on such an obvious statement but right now it was Death who was saying it and I like a puppy nodded as if for the first time I realized this thing.
“But tut, tut…” Death clicked her tongue, as if whatever it was going to speak did not amuse it at all.
“You did not embrace me wholly.”
I felt angry now. For not dying properly. And that was stupid because I had already died. Yet I wanted to die again, this time in a proper manner.
What the hell was wrong with me!
“When you were on my bed, “ It continued “ Deathbed” and it again laughed, on some inner joke,” You did not wanted to come with me. And as your vessel withered to the grains of time, you still refused to enter my realm.”
Something amidst the charm of Death started to make some sense.
“And so, you, my deadlings even after shedding your mortal body, did not entirely leave your human life.” Death pouted.
Finally as some of the Deaths craze left my mind, I understood why I still remembered my past life.
Death spread its beautiful, muscular arms as if to embrace us all and smiled “Your time to rest in peace with me has still not yet come.”
And suddenly I felt sad to disappoint my dear Death for not dying as I was supposed to.
“You all had some or the other wish in your mind, whilst your last moments. And it was so deep and….strong, that it created an impenetrable wall for me. And I couldn’t reach you lovelies, as I should have.” Death sighed dramatically, yet a hint of amusement still lingered in its voice.
“SO, you all will get another chance to redeem your faults and correct your mistakes which you committed in your mortal life.”
At this point there was an ear drumming silence in the hall. Not even a single soul stirred.
Death chortled good naturedly “ Soo, go back and live your life again until your last wish has been fulfilled. And I will be here, waiting for you.”
But of course that was not all. I felt that Death had some surprises stored for us. And sure it had.
It raised its delicate eyebrows “ ‘Only’ you will be bound to few…rule and regulations.”
Here it paused and surveyed each and every soul. Yeah, me including.
Though we were in hundreds, yet in a matter of few seconds, we were all scanned thoroughly. I could feel my innermost secrets being stripped off my mind, laid in front of Death, naked.
“Hmm…” Death mused, “Interesting turnout this year. I can feel those emotions, the last sparks of your ‘human’ thoughts drowning every other sentiments.”
Its eyes narrowed for a moment.
I felt as if the very shame of my secrets, from which I was burning, would engulf my existence.
Then Death chuckled, “Oh don’t you shadow your hearts with my grim words. After all, you all are going back!! Smile!”
Despite myself, I couldn’t help but crack up a bit. Well, Death knew being human was the best and the worst thing back on earth. Yes being a superior race was a great thing but then humans are humans. The humanity was every time overpowered by the viciousness of the human deeds. And yet we always hoped for a better future.
Wow! I never knew I had a quota for philosophy in me. Death certainly was affecting my senses.
“So now, BACK TO RULES!” Death spoke warmly.
“Yes, obviously you will be a spirit or ghost, or whatever you want to call yourself, in the human world. Mortal shell is granted only once , sweet deads.” It said affectionately.
“You can only haunt thirteen humans. I know, soo less but rules are rules. BUT, try more than that and I will personally give you a quick tour to hell.” A bleak smile broke on its face.
“Midnight and afternoon will be your strongest time when your powers would be at their peaks.”
Powers?? Yeah baby!! That’s what I am talking about!
“Ah, I can feel the vibrations of excitement shimmering in the atmosphere.” Death itself had some naughtiness in its coal-black eyes, “well then, I am not going to tell you what are those. Let it be a surprise from my side.”
Damn! It was cool being dead!
“And now the last thing.” Seriousness fell in the hall.
“Do NOT mess with demons. They are….” Its eyebrows knit together with an angry-sort of expression, “well evil. If they get a taste of you, I don’t think even hell be open for you. So kindly beware of them and stay away!”
I swallowed dryly. Nothing was ever a pure gift-wrapped happiness, huh? Obviously something has to happen. What the…okay not hell. Screw this abuse.
“Okay, that is it then!” it rubbed its hands enthusiastically.
“Go and do your thing. Enjoy!” it smiled, “And, oh yes, one more thing. You will only get thirty three days to complete your task. I think that is all for…now. Now off you go!”
Wait a second! Only thirty three days!
What am I supposed to uproot in frigging thirty three days!
And then my world went black, swallowing me into the dark pits where I dared not tread.