Why should only real life creatures have afterlifes?
|Being dead is no fun at all. Being dead when you've never existed is even worse.
You see, its all-right for you humans. You have a body when you're alive for your soul to be loosed from. Me, I'm an imaginary creature to start with. So when my 'creator' died I was stuck between volume 6 and 7 of his glorious 'graphic novel' opus, the light of Norus. Yeah, that's me Norus. I'll have you know I'm the son of a god and a great warrior princess from an amazon race lost in the midst of time, so if I was you I really wouldn't laugh at the frankly ridiculous name. Not that I could hurt you much. That's another problem with being fictional, I cant actually haunt anyone who doesn't believe in, though as I understand it I'm lucky to be here at all. You see it turns out there are three types of characters ghost. The biggies, your immortals - these are the ones psychoanalysts like to call arch-types or your icons. These are the ones you all know - the ones buried in the deepest part of your humanity. If I say Tarzan or Sherlock or Merlin or Hercules, then you pretty much don't have to say nowt else. They get to everyone somewhere sometime. Then we come to your drifters. The ones that come and go - fashion faders if you like, or as my creator liked to call them, resurrectionists. Their spirit gets brought up every now and then, when a movie or book character comes along that blows everyone away, some stick around, others fade...then you got my kind, the maybes and we're the weakest ghosts of the lot. We're new see, with a bit of a cult following but nothing to worry your average family massacred vigilantes/boy wizards/space knights or alien orphan types. Oh, there WAS talk before Greg Treadmore snuffed it in a traffic accident a couple of months back of a movie deal, but nothing concrete, so I could just have vanished.
Course I didn't know all that when I first showed up. You gots to have lost your creator before you get ghosted, cause that's when I get let out. I tell you its hard getting used to that the fact that you're not a hero just words on a page. Oh and don't get all - 'well ain't you lucky' Mr muscle-bound medieval fantasy warrior." cause it stinks. Living in this horrid limbo world when all I know is how to please politically incorrect and anatomically-unlikely women and kill fantasy beasts of the id, oh and all the drinking pits east of Valans forest. But fat lot of good that does me here eh? Most of them vanished anyway along with Greg, (I spot the occasional ghost image of the monsters and the wenches, but those tend to vaguely appear over comic shops which tell me that some kid is probably just shuffling through the bargain bins and they tend to vanish an instant later, and I haven't built up a rogues gallery famous enough to while away the time in the lobotomised limbo I'm in. I just got to wait around till all the tributes to Grieg die away and the re-issues fail to sell and all the geeky fan-boys and girls go to find another cult character to waste their lives on.
At least that was my hope. But that was before Nigel. I mean doesnt that very name SCREAM nerd to you huh? well to me he's the bane of my semi-after-life, the geezer who should not be allowed near a Keyboard. cause HE wont let me go. He's Convinced Himself HE can carry on where Greg left off doesn't he? wants to finish off the great mans 'legacy'. Honestly have you ever heard such Quazartz in all the seven realms? see? even as a ghost I cant swear properly. I was made as a kid friendly creation and the publisher wanted to tone me down a bit from the usual bloodthirsty and basted mouthed butcher anti-heroes that have cropped up everywhere. So I cant swear or drink (not as much as I darn tooted wished I could!) Anyways, where was I?
Okay, so the first thing I realise when I wake up, is that Im not in Wakandana anymore, thats my fictional homeland. Nothing special, just your regular lost realm hidden from the eyes of man, and populated by wizards, trolls, time-lost dinosaurs and orphan boys seeking their destiny in this big bad cursed realm of mayhem. I was in a rather grubby, dingy looking bedroom that on first viewing looked like the the bog of eternal doom that I had to traverse in volume two on my quest for the Skull of Diogenes but upon second glance turned out to be the tiny bedroom of the bespectacled giggler who was sitting in a corner of the room, staring at his screen busy bashing up some troll who seemed to me even less real than the ones I was used to. I admired his points collection though, at least it was clear he was dedicated. If thats the word.
I coughed and he turned, not as many spots as Id have expected, and actually there WAS a surprising amount of genuine intelligence in those eyes, behind his horn rims, and you can trust me on that. Greg made me with a special gift at my birth, imparted by the immortal upon my unborn mother, that the child would have the ability to pierce the shadows of man through their eyes and perceive their true character. Okay so its not x-ray vision or invulnerability but it helps a quadzartz of a lot when facing con-artists at the local tavern or when one legged, puss-covered tramps come to you with words of 'prophesy' and a suspicious looking wooden staff to sell that grants the buyer special powers.
As I say, He turned and gazed at me with such a look that the seven devils of Aznagar would have doubted their own existance at such a shock. He could barely speak or believe his own reality as he finally somehow uttered to me.
"how, what the?"
"I see that my fans are not quite as verbose as my creator." I said, barely concealing a smile.
"you..you cant be here, your not real."
"and yet you have no concern with pixilated reality" motioning back to the screen where his horrendously animated avatar had just received a stuffing from some mountainously breasted teen witch who was probably some overbloated over stimulated 40 year old loser geek from Kansas with even more pronounced social deprivation difficulties than my 'captive' here.
"oh hell and I was nearly at level 62 too, damn it." But his dissapointment at not reaching the magically mysterious level where he might attain a new power or weapon of mass distraction, was fleeting as he again beheld me.
"But You cant be him. Horus is.."
"Yeah yeah, look can we pass over the introductions? Hows about we take it as read that either youve slipped into some alternate reality or Im your subconscious or.."
"the spirit of greg personified in the body of his final creation?"
I paused then and considered a moment. "Not bad, and points for not being as freaked by me as I expected ya to be but sadly pal Im not the ghost of your favourite writer...ya get that idea from yar Stephen King reading yeah?"
He had the grace to look momentarily embarrased at his lack of original explanations.
"heh dont worry big fella, if youre gonna steal a psychological explanation for your parasychological encoutners then by all means steal from the best I say. though youve no idea the kind of confusion he caused with the number of ghostly writers hes created over the years. Na Im me, the one and only Norus the Night barbararian.