Life, after life? [Daily Slice entry for 08-10 prompt].
If Trey Whitcomb had known how things would turn out, he might not have jumped.
By most standards, Trey's life had been rotten right from the start. He'd been born two months premature and had had a generally sickly childhood. He'd been a favorite target of bullies throughout his school years, owing to his shortness of stature. The girl of his high school dreams had scarcely acknowledged his existence, and had certainly never stooped so low as to be seen speaking to him in public.
Life as an adult wasn't much better. He despised his job, as the tasks were mind-numbingly repetitive and he was all but ignored by his coworkers. The pay barely sufficed to cover his meager expenses; luxuries were out of the question. They only appeared to him in what most would describe as the happiest of dreams. Taunting him with their unattainability, they created his darkest nightmares.
Miserable and alone, Trey decided that, on the occasion of his twenty-fifth birthday, enough was enough. He took the stairs to the roof of his apartment building and climbed over the railing.
Ten floors. As sure a bet as I've ever had in my life, he thought to himself. His headlong rush to the ground took a surprisingly long time.
Trey screamed. His body hurt terribly, but his head and neck felt as if they were aflame. What had gone wrong? How hadn't he died?
Suddenly, he felt a touch at his left shoulder, and the pain relented somewhat. He looked to the left, but saw nothing. Then a voice in his head spoke.
"You've shattered your vessel and all but broken the connection between it and yourself. As long as the vessel exists, so will you. You'll continue to feel what it feels, or should feel. You'll retain an awareness of your surroundings, until the connection is finally gone for good. Good-bye, Trey."
"Wait! What...? Who...?" But there was no reply.
From somewhere outside himself, Trey watched as the paramedics transported him to the doctors, who worked furiously on him until, at the last, they gave up. His time in the morgue was horrific, as he experienced his own autopsy firsthand. Finally, he was laid none too gently into a pine coffin for disposition. He could hear the attendants through the wood.
"Worms are the kid's only friends, now. Load him up, Willie."
Trey thought about the worms. Thought about them burrowing into him, slowly eating him, digesting him over a period of days, weeks, maybe even months, and realized he'd be aware of each and every second.
Trey screamed...a long, long scream.