Date Published: January 9, 2014
Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore.
“Come.” Samyel gestured, indicating that they should follow him. “We must go.”
“Go? Go where?” Irene asked.
“Away. Inside. Or they will see.”
“Who will see what?”
The dark glasses revealed nothing as he stood impassively for a moment. “Everyone.”
Samyel was attracting a lot of attention. The crowd moving around them was giving him a wide berth, and he was the focus of a lot of strange looks, which just confirmed that he wasn’t dead—people could see him. Irene knew that it looked like a seven-foot tall man in a trench coat and dark glasses was talking to himself in the middle of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be long before the cops came to investigate.
Irene gestured for Samyel to lead the way. “Fine. Let’s go.”
Irene heard another choke of protest and glanced at Jonah. There was a silent exchange of mouthed words, pantomimed gestures, and angry, exaggerated looks.
“Don’t be crazy,” Jonah hissed. “You can’t go with him!”
“You’re the one that always wants to stop and talk to every weirdo we meet,” she countered.
“And what do you mean ‘you’? We’re both going.”
“Uh uh,” Jonah said. “This is your idea. If you get murdered, I’m not saving you.”
With an exasperated look, she motioned for Jonah to follow and set out after Samyel, who was nearly out of sight. Jonah reluctantly followed. Irene gave him a wry look as they trailed, side by side, a few feet behind Samyel. “You know, at some point, we’re going to have to talk about your propensity for picking fights with people bigger than yourself.”
“A really bad habit that you should stop.”
Jonah’s expression turned unreadable for a long moment, as if he was debating with himself, and then he looked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets and bowing his head to stare at the sidewalk as they went.
“I’ve changed the password, by the way, so you can’t do that again,” he said darkly.
She grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. “Jonah, listen to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you trying to protect me. I do. Even when it’s annoying and misplaced, like with Ernest. You’re the bravest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met, but I’m dead. You’re not. I’m already probably going to Hell for dragging you along on this adventure. Don’t add being the cause of your death to my list of crimes, okay?”
The tips of his ears had turned pink and his head was down, shoulders hunched. Then, to her surprise, he suddenly looked at her, his eyes inquiring as he searched her face. She didn’t know what he was looking for, but he was gazing at her so earnestly that she blushed.
About the Author
Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and science fiction stories from beautiful Downeast ME, where she lives with her husband and multi cats. She is the author of the paranormal/contemporary fantasy “Afterlife” series, which includes Hereafter (Afterlife #1) and Thereafter (Afterlife #2), and several short stories in various anthologies. Visit her on the web at www.terribruce.net.
Hereafter is on sale – just 99 cents! – until May 15th (and then returns to the regular price of $4.95)