I wasn’t dead you see. I had been executed by firing squad without the formalities, yet there I was still aware and being carried out from the facility by this being. You must now come to understand the fear that I felt; not because this thing that had control over me may have been evil, but rather I was in fear because it something that I felt was the beginning of something I wouldn’t be able to even comprehend. I had trust in it but there was also a deep hatred; burning from deepest, most primitive corners of my heart. Why had this thing that took the form of a man let me shot? If it could revive me from death or near death, then why didn’t it save me from the guards?
“Because your physical death was necessary” it spoke.
It seemed to communicate that way preferably, through thought and mind rather than breath and mouth. However, how was I to know this? How was I to know what awaited next? What did it mean by “physical death”, that there lay an afterlife? Why did I have to go through this; being dead yet not dead within my own body; rather than simply dying and having my soul taken away?
“You are now in the stage of half-life and half-death; you are a Phasmatic Corpus”
We passed through the security doors to the laboratories like ghosts, but I felt the whole process of walking through the doors in a most displeasing manner. I felt the cold, hard metal pass through my body; through my skin, my bones, my stomach, my lungs. We were heading now to the entrance; it didn’t need to be said. I watched as more guards headed in the direction of the incident, and how the others I had studied and lived with carried on with their tasks like it was just another day. The lucky ones.
“The sun will be bright and hot, prepare yourself”
By that time we were in the train station, but a huge metal wall stood on the tracks completely eliminating any chance of escape. The thing walked down the steps from the platform onto the ground and we passed through the door into the flaming light. That was it you see; all I could sense then was a pure white light which I instinctively knew to be the sun and a heat which seemed to flow in waves around me. I was set on the ground again on my feet and was weaker than before. I nearly collapsed, but the being caught me; supporting me by holding me up from under my arms. It took a while, I don’t exactly know how long but I did stop swaying enough for it to let go of me.
“It is one O’Clock, the sun is at its strongest in this world”
I spun around nearly falling over again to see it. He was extraordinarily tall, nearly seven foot. I really wanted to be sick yet I had nothing with which to do the action.
“It takes a while to get used to it”
“Get used to what?-” I barked, suddenly realising I was slowly regaining strength. The world was beginning to make itself visible to me from the whiteness it once was: the trees, the grass, the railway tracks, but he was by far the clearest thing object I could see.
“-Being in the phasmatic corpus state. To become physical again you will either have to stay in sunlight or stay near me”
Once it said that I realised that I could run; or at least try. The world was still a little blurry but I could see properly now; nearly as well as before. I could have used the tracks as a road and-
“-but you don’t know where they lead do you? Also, you don’t know where you are? Could you really survive the trip to London?”
I thought on this and understood almost immediately; it was right. I didn’t really care that it knew where my home was.
“Why am I dead? Or a phasmatic cor- . . . whatever you call it!”
“I think you should sit down, let’s go to that tree over there” he said, pointing to a great oak a couple of metres in the distance on the edge of a small wood. Reluctantly I walked with him over to it. There really was no point in trying to escape; I was completely powerless now.
“Sit” he ordered. I stared rudely at him and sat down at the base of tree’s trunk. However a burning cold ran through as soon as I entered the shade, making me sit with my knees drawn up to my chest. A little while later he came and sat down next to me, gazing at the scenery before speaking again.
“You will be like this when you are out of the sun in this realm. Life requires the sun; but because you are not fully alive you will require more of its nourishment than those who are alive.”
“So I’m basically a ghost?” I asked, getting the feeling that he might go off-topic.
“In a way, you see ghosts are souls that have not for some reason had a proper death. You however are not a ghost. Place your hand on the ground.”
I did as I was told and felt the dirt and twigs. I felt the life in it all and pulled away my hand in shock.
“A ghost would not be able to do that you see. Their hand might go through the ground, or they might try and drain the life out of whatever they were touching. If they hold something for too long, then that object or even person they were touching will become possessed and the soul is trapped until rescued.”
I looked to him, then to my hands as I came to understand what he was speaking of, it is difficult explain what I felt back then; but it most simple way to put it was that I just understood it all yet had no idea about anything.
“You are shivering, here.” He spoke in the calm, emotionless manner that he did. He took off his blazer and put it around me, something that proved difficult because of our size ratios. I thanked him and we sat there under the great oak for hours, just looking and appreciating the beauty of it all. I had become grateful for everything in the world; I had realised the sanctity of life, even the flies and stinging nettles had become so beautiful. But then I was taking into account and coming that I wasn’t truly alive anymore. That was what made it beautiful. I wanted that which I had had for fourteen years. Life.
“It’s nearly sunset now, we will have to move”
He stood and offered me a hand up. I took it and stood still a little dizzy, but perfectly capable.
“Where are we going?” I asked, holding onto the blazer. The cold was worse now that the sun was going to sleep.
“Our meeting point, once there we will wait for other team members to assemble”
“You’ll see” he said, approaching me quickly, I stepped back not liking the speed with which he was coming towards me but before I could take another he already placed both his hands over my eyes.
I was cast into darkness.