CHAPTER 1: PROLOGUE
A/N: I've decided to take a bit of a change with this story - less fluff and more action. Because of this, CHAPTERS 2 & 3 have been replaced. I suggest re-reading those. If you are upset with the change, don't worry! Many things will remain the same, and we will still get to see interactions with characters mentioned. But, it won't be anytime soon -
"What the fuck?" I said, leaning onto the desk in front of me and glaring at the tall, faceless mask-wearing figure in front of me. "What do you mean I'm dead?"
The figure standing behind the desk (who just happened to be wearing a three-piece suit) nodded as if to confirm my outburst. I groaned in frustration.
The faceless mask-wearing freak ignored my howling, choosing instead to reach under his seat and pull out a small brochure. He clasped the clean leaflet in his gloved hand and passed it to me gently, before pointing towards the brown leather seats that had been set up against the wall. My eye twitched.
"This looks like a fucking waiting room," I murmur, looking at the chairs before turning back towards the receptionist desk in front of me. I stared the face-less mask-man in the… face before biting out, "What a fucking joke."
He ignored me, turning away to rustle through some strange blue-tinted documents lying around his work-space.
I gave him a long, hard, look before sighing and making my way over to the seats that currently occupied the otherwise plain, white room. I sat down with a grimace and sagged against the worn leather of the chair.
"This is genuinely ridiculous," I muttered my eyes roaming around the room before returning to the desk and the faceless suit behind it. I cleared my throat, before addressing him. "Who the fuck even are you? Some kind of god?"
He didn't even glance up once.
"Motherfucker," I said, rolling my eyes at him. Even though I was pretty much apathetic at this point, I still had to put on a decent show, right?
"Wait…" I paused. "Why do I not care that I'm dead?" I glance at the face-less figure. "Is this your fault, shithead?"
Nothing. Not even a nod. He's just shuffling through his papers, again. What exactly is he waiting for, anyway?
When I was a kid - or alive, for that matter - I had always imagined the afterlife being something akin to the Christian belief - that I'd either end up in Heaven or Hell after death. It was simply what I had been taught.
Or, barring that, something more exotic, like the Greek Underworld, or maybe even the Egyptian Afterlife. Shit, even the whole Norse Valhalla setup would've been appreciated - or whatever alternative existed for the non-warrior bunch.
Instead of all that cool, exciting stuff, I get stuck with the boring white room of nothing, with only six leather chairs to each side, no doors or carpets, and one mahogany receptionists' desk manned by a snarky, stupid suit-wearing mask-dude that won't even answer my damn questions.
Looking around the room just seemed to confuse me further, if anything. Firstly, I was utterly lost as to how I even got here at all, since I don't remember dying, to start with.
Come to think of it, I don't remember much of anything about my past life, to be honest. Only a few things regarding the afterlife.
I snort, looking down at my palms. My shitty memory of anything not-afterlife related is weird as fuck, but strangely fitting with the rest of this fucked-up scenario.
After that, of course, my messed-up brain decides to take a quick trip into the existential.
''Who even am I?'' I wondered out loud, my hands wounding into fists. ''Or who was I? Considering that I appear to have hit the sack and am currently dead, with no memories of just about anything...''
Ugh. Brain, stop.
Instead of continuing with that dangerous road of self-pity, I chose to glare at the faceless mask behind the desk. He - I'm pretty sure it was a dude - simply waved me off, as if to say "I don't care, just get on with it" before pointing towards the leaflet still in my lap.
I huffed, before crossing my legs and flipping open the plain white brochure. My eyes scanned the front of the page, noticing the distinct lack of anything ink-written on the leaflet. I turned towards the man behind the desk again, raising a silent eyebrow at him and held the brochure up, pointing at its blank surface. He was distracted by something in his lap, but I quickly remedied that.
"There's nothing here!" I called, glaring at his figure again.
The faceless mask jumped as if startled. He glanced over at me once, before turning his attention back towards his lap. I was about to call him again when he snapped back immediately and braced himself against the desk, leaning forward as if trying to catch a better look at the piece of paper in my hand. I wondered at that as I shoved my clenched fist forward - it wasn't as if he had any features at all, but I swore he looked somewhat panicked. At the very least, confused and frowning. Maybe it was his posture.
"Well?" I prompted suddenly, causing him to startle from his scrutinizing. "Why did you give me a blank piece of paper. Is this some kind of joke?"
Mr Mask (screw it, I'm calling him that now) shook his head almost disbelievingly before moving away from the desk and towards a small latch on the side. Weird, I hadn't noticed that before.
Mr Mask unlatched and swung open the small wooden gate that marked his 'receptionist' desk, before stepping out and making his way over to my seat. I held out the brochure smartly for him to take a look; clearly, something wasn't going according to plan. Fantastic. I couldn't catch a break, even after death.
Mr Mask brought the pamphlet up to his face and glared at it with such intensity that I swore he would've been furrowing his eyebrows - if he had any, to begin with. Naturally, he didn't have any, so he wasn't. Because he didn't have a freaking face.
Then, Mr Mask held the paper closer to his nose for a few more seconds before nodding… reluctantly? He handed the brochure back to me quickly, before wiping his palms on his black suit and raising a forearm to his head, as though he were wiping away a bead of sweat—
—or possibly fighting off a heat stroke.
I coughed, and he stared at me for a moment, before pointing avidly at the paper in my hands and miming a book. I understood immediately, but it didn't mean I needed his snarky attitude. I flipped him off, and he smiled? But he couldn't have - he didn't have a face. Nevertheless, it felt like he was beaming at me.
Mr Mask then flashed me a thumbs up before standing up and turning around sharply on his heel. He disappeared with a soft, almost comical 'pop!' of displaced air.
Wait, what the fuck?
That action, if anything, cemented the idea that this wasn't real life anymore. I'm pretty sure people - beings - don't just disappear into thin air, even if they're creepy-mask-wearing weirdos.
I sighed, sinking further into my seat. It was impressive that I was still keeping my cool, all things considered. Maybe it was an after-effect of dying. The term 'at peace' sounded strangely valid right now.
"Well," I muttered. "If I want answers, then I should probably take another look at this paper."
Feigning a nonchalant attitude (even though no-one was in the room to see me freak out) I flipped open the brochure again, genuinely expecting to find the same old white canvas.
Imagine my surprise when it was not the same old white canvas.
I managed to catch a glimpse of what looked like a glowing blue power-on button in the centre of the previously blank inner-page before something clicked in my head and a warm, fuzzy feeling dripped down over my body, like a lukewarm cup of water had just spilt on my scalp. Instantly, my vision went hazy and I felt my muscles going limp before I blacked out completely.
My last coherent thought was something vaguely resembling:
'Great. Just great.'
Only slightly more vulgar, of course.
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