My name was Carl, I was 14 years old, and I had the ability to communicate with earth-bound spirits.
Then I died.
A while before my death, I began to notice that the spirits were getting darker. Their transparent bodies masked a strange shadowy haze. Roughly one month after the spirits began to darken, they became nothing more than moving shadows, for which I could only see out of the corner of my peripheral vision.
I of course didn’t think much of it at the time, as my mind was being overtaken by the constant thought of cake. You see, it was my 14th birthday party, and I was tasked with the grueling job of assisting my parents plan for my big day.
I already gave out an invitation to all 20 of my classmates, including Joel, who I absolutely despised. My parents, on the other hand, treated Joel as if he was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong, my parents hated him too, as he was a snotty brat-nosed kid. However, that brat happened to have some extremely rich parents. Specifically his father, who founded the largest technology company in the world; TechCorp. His father was a very important man, and my parents wanted to take advantage our supposed relationship. Hell, they practically forced me to be friends with him.
My first party guest arrived two hours early, which is rather unusual considering the fact that I’m not the most popular of kids. If anything, I’m probably one of the least popular kids in town, if not the whole state.
I live in a fairly large house, which some may even consider to be a mansion, just outside of town.
As I was making my way to the second storey kitchen, I caught a glimpse of a dark shadowy figure standing within a dimly lit room.
This figure had no discernible features, other than a pair of piercing red eyes which seemed to hover in front of a shadowy silhouette.
While most people would cower in fear, I decided to ignore this entity, and continue on to the kitchen. My stomach was my only concern.
Once in the kitchen, I decided to make a quick grilled cheese sandwich, since my party wasn’t scheduled to start for another ten or so minutes. I figured I could sneak in a quick snack before it was time for cake.
After carefully removing the frying pan from the hanging rack on the ceiling, I got out some bread, put cheese on it, and threw it on the pan.
“Shit!” I screamed as I realized that I picked the only kitchen in the house that uses one of those gigantic professional ovens. I can barely operate a microwave, let alone a $180,000 super-stove. Then again, it’s still just an oven, and the frying pan still goes on top of it. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
After flicking some switches and twisting some knobs, I finally figured out how to operate this beast of a food maker.
“Carl, it’s time to open presents” my mother called out to me using the speaker system from the lobby downstairs.
I bolted out of the kitchen, ran past the not-so-scary ghost still standing in the room, and zoomed my way to the lobby, panting heavily and sweating like a possessed water faucet. I really do wish that this house had a working elevator, like it did back when it was a hotel over a hundred years ago.
I was greeted by a large pile of perfectly wrapped gifts, neatly situated in a circle. A large leather chair sat elegantly in the center of the circle-le-gifts.
The instant I sat down on the chair, a deafening bang flooded my ears, and the lights in the room went out.
No, the lights didn’t go out, the entire room just vanished! I was sitting on a floating chair, surrounded by darkness.
Did I somehow die without realizing it? What in the hell was going on?!
And then without warning, the room reappeared; engulfed in a blazing fire.
The bodies of my friends and family were melting before my eyes. The skin on their arms bubbled in the intense heat, and piles of skin and muscle began to melt off of their burning bodies, forming a demented puddle on the hardwood floor.
After most of the skin had already melted, the eyeballs began to ooze out of their sockets. The melted eyes then formed their own separate puddle on the floor below, and seemed to sizzle like a well-cooked egg on the fryer.
What had happened? Why did this happen? Why now? Why do I feel no pain? I had so many questions, yet no one to answer them.
I tried to escape the grasps of this leather chair, but was shoved back into it by some unknown force.
I began to look around the room, purposely avoiding eye contact with the burning corpses on the ground before me.
I was looking for a way out. A way to escape this madness.
The front door was blown outward, and the walkway leading up to the house was covered with shards of burnt glass.
A few items in the room remained untouched by the monstrous fire, including an old Victorian mirror that was hanging on the wall near the front entrance.
The mirror was reflecting a completely normal party. Everyone was still alive, and the fire never happened. There were no dead bodies, and all of my friends seemed to be enjoying themselves. Everything was there, except for me. It was as if this fire had never happened.
And yet, I sit in a magical leather chair, surrounded by the corpses that once belonged to my family and friends. The mirror was nothing more than a dreamy illusion.
“I wish none of this had ever happened!” I screamed aloud, hoping that one of the corpses would hear me.
A dark figure appeared in front of the mirror. He had red glowing eyes, just like the one I passed in the hallway on my way to the second storey kitchen. In fact, it was the same spirit that I had passed.
I could now see some distinctive facial features, and none of which were human. At least, it didn’t appear to be a normal human being, dead or otherwise. This was something else entirely.
“Hello Carl. We are sorry that you had to experience this. We believed it was a necessary experience for you to have.”
The figure spoke to me in a dry whisper, and had no tone to its voice.
“Who… What are you?” I asked in a scared yet questioning manner.
“We do not have a name. We are here to transfer you to our plane of existence”
I was shocked and horrified at the same time, and was unable to formulate a proper response.
“During your life, you had the ability to see and communicate with the dead. You did not choose to carry these abilities. We are now giving you the choice to accept a new kind of gift. The gift to become an immortal, and to provide aid for the living, rather than the dead. Do you wish to accept this gift?”
A part of me was in disbelief. Was I really just offered the ability to become immortal? How did I die to begin with, assuming of course that I am actually dead. God, I have so many questions!
A cake appeared before me.
“Do you wish to accept your new gift?”
Yes. Yes I do.
I blew out the candles on the cake, and everything went dark.