I wrote this super short story as the beginning of a project that ended up falling through. I might pick this one up later on when I have time, because Noah was such a fun character to write for such a short period of time, or maybe I’ll just add on to this one in other blog posts when I have the time. I hope you enjoy After Death Academy, a place to go for a second chance at life while taking away someone else’s only chance.
After Death Academy
The last ten seconds of my life, summed up in five words, will be forever etched into the stone placard marking my grave near the tallest palm tree of the Eternal Life Cemetery.
Noah Ryan Thomas
Brave. Selfless. Gone too soon.
The five stupid words are the reason I’m also not enjoying my afterlife, partying it up with all the people who died before me. During those last ten seconds, as I watched the Dodge Ram swerve in the direction I was jumping, I knew I’d get hurt, but I had no idea the force would shoot my soul straight from my body into what I can only describe as an otherworldly dimension that lacked the clouds and pearly gates I assumed awaited me.
But, what people say about dying, you know, with the bright light and harmonious voices—that part was true. Unfortunately, the bright light wasn’t the tunnel to Heaven, but a bare light bulb in a boring white room. As soon as my ears stopped ringing, the voices turned nasally and more annoying than my grandmother trying to sing her favorite song on my little sister’s karaoke machine after spending the evening smoking a pack of cigarettes with Earl, my recently widowed next-door neighbor. Those voices belonged to the After Death Recruiters, who were expecting my arrival.
A woman with white, curly hair, tightened her black robe at her lumpy waist and offered me a sad smile. Without a word, she pointed to the sign hanging on the wall behind her.
We believe in second chances.
Are you brave?
Are you selfless?
Did you die a heroic death?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the After Death Academy and Grim Reaper Next Life Learning Program is for you.
I remember laughing, staring at the recruiters like someone was playing a serious joke on me. How the heck was I, a sixteen year old junior at Quinn Baker Prep, even remotely qualified for a position I thought to be based on myth?
Looking back at the day of my death, I should’ve asked a few more questions. Instead, I nodded yes, and with a wave of her scythe, the recruiter teleported me into the administration office of After Death Academy, and it’s where I’ve been sitting for days, waiting for someone to tell me what’s going on.
The clock on the wall strikes twelve for the eighth time since my arrival, and a woman in a black robe flies into the waiting room. She looks at her clipboard and then to me.
“Welcome, Noah. Sorry I’ve kept you waiting,” she says. “I’m Ms. Josette, the head mistress of the academy. I’m sure you have a lot of questions.”
I push up from the chair, wobbling on my legs from the lack of sensation. I guess death does that to you. “Am I being punished?”
She tilts her head to the side for a moment before shaking her head. “No, definitely not. You’re being rewarded. Because of you, Gillian Kingston gets to live a long, fulfilling life.”
She’s talking about the kid I pushed out of the street when I saw the truck run the stop sign. I didn’t know who she was, but I was walking home late from school because of the unfair detention Mr. Peters had given me for speaking my mind. All the girl had to do was look up from tying her shoe, and I’d have never been in this mess.
I rock on my heels. “I’m a little confused. Those people—”
“The recruiters,” she says, interrupting.
“Yeah, them. They pointed at a sign about second chances.”
She beams a smile and pulls a stack of papers from her clipboard. “At the After Death Academy, we offer second chances to live again after successfully collecting the souls from your list before someone else does.”
My eyebrows knit together. “Huh? Who?”
She lifts and drops her shoulders. “No need to worry about that now. Everything is in the packet. Read up, Mr. Thomas.”
And with the wave of her scythe, the world shifts, and I disappear.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments, and I might just continue on.