I felt a sharp jab in my thigh and slowly opened my eyes. I looked up to see the mysterious hooded guide glaring down at me, and prodding me with her toes, a look of pure disgust on her face.

"Wha's happ'n?" I slurred, wiping the sleep from my eyes.

"Get up," was all she said.

I stood and stretched, trying to ignore my eyes screaming for sleep.

"Can I ask you something?" I asked, a little more awake now.

"No." I ignored her and asked anyways.

"What's your name?"

"Irrelevant," she replied coolly.

"Okay, that's a weird name. So, Irrelevant, please explain to me what's going on. One day, I'm alive and, well... frankly, not dead. I know how I died, and I know why. But I don't understand why you're leading me through this hell to god knows where," I went on, trying to keep up with her pace.

"My name is not Irrelevant. It's Avalynn; and I don't understand why it matters to you." I was shocked, no, stunned. I was stunned that she had given me an answer, though not without reluctance.

Not willing to allow her to wiggle out of giving me a straight answer, I ignored the last part of her remark and said, "Okay, Avalynn. Why am I here?"

"Because he wants you to be here," she answered.

"Who is 'he'?" I tried.

"I'm fortunate that I'm not privileged to speak of him freely," she said.

"Yes, Avalynn. That's very helpful," I retorted acerbically.

"I'm sad to hear I was of service to you." She refused to look at me, and picked up her pace, forcing me to jog just behind her again.

I gave up. It was useless. Trying to get reasonable, sensible answers from her was impossible.

I jogged, head down, behind her in silence.

"Jerimiah," I heard someone whisper.

"Did you say something?" I asked, looking at Avalynn.

"No," she said. She didn't appear to be worried, but she did slow down a little bit.

"Jerimiah," I heard the whisper again.

I was going to say something to my guide, but before  I could, something like rope wrapped around my ankles and slithered quickly over my body like a snake on adrenaline.

My vision went black, and I could feel myself falling.

The End

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