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Rated: E · Novel · Fantasy · #2157429
*What happens after we die?* Chapters 1-4
One.

It wasn't the bright light nor the cold wind that went around me that awoke me from unconsciousness. No, it was the head-rush I felt, though I'm not sure if that's the right word to describe it with. Unlike a head-rush, I didn't feel the rush when I opened my eyes and sat up; instead I felt it when I knew I was conscious, which is something weird to think about. How can something that you feel when you awoke be the cause of your waking? It's...quite interesting. But the rush didn't cause any pain. It felt like water running throughout the inside of my head. Only when I opened my eyes, there was a pain.

It was spread all throughout my body, like every muscle in it was sore from something. I sat up to see if there were anything visible about the pain, but no; my skin was clear of any cuts or bruising. It wasn't until I noticed my surroundings that I got a bit...nervous to say the least.

Nothing looked familiar. Nothing at all. I was in a plain hillside covered with long, flowing golden grass, with a dark road to the right of me, and in the distance, I swear I saw a city; those cliche cities too, the tall skyscrapers and few small buildings.

I felt my chest go up and down as I heaved each of my breaths; everything felt frozen, like I'd gone into shock. I tried to think back to my most recent memory, something to say where I've been...but nothing came up. Terrified, I tried to think of even the smallest inking thought...but, there was nothing; not even my own name. Well, no, that's not true; there was a small glimpse of something before, but it was nothing other than two blinding lights, and the sound of...metal? Yes, scratching metal against each other, that was followed by a booming noise, and then...sirens? I don't know. Nothing seemed to be making any sense.

Not knowing what to do, I did what anyone would've done in my position; I curled up my legs and held them towards my chest, and just laid there. Feeling the sun above my head get cooler and cooler, I realized it was turning night; and who knows what may be about in the night. That's when I heard it.

The growl of a machine growing ever so closer. I wanted to look up, but the shock of everything has frozen me from moving even an inch. Luckily, the person saw me.

"Hey, are you okay?" It was a male's voice. The sound was clear and concerning, like he knew what I was going through and that I needed someone's help.
"Where...where am I?" I found I could lift my head a little and saw that this male was around twenty, with darkened hair that almost touched his eyes and was sticking out everywhere on his head.

The male came closer and outreached his hand, wanting me to get up. But I didn't; I needed my question to be answered, as well as the others coming in my head. So I just stared at him, with a scowl on. It was a while before he realized why I was delaying the help.

He bent down to get on eye-level with me, as I was already sitting on knees while I awaited his response.
"I know you're confused, and in a bit of shock, but trust me; all your questions will be answered soon. For now, let me help you.”

My scowl deepened. "And...your name?"

"Evan."

There was silence again after he spoke, and hesitantly, I took his hand and stood up. I wasn't aware of my attire until he started leading me to the small mechanical machine, which I suddenly realized was a motorcycle; my shirt was a plaid red and white the had rounded, small circles leading down to where it met with the material that covered my legs, and ended with a hard, brown material that covered my feet.
It was weird to say the least.

"Do you remember what this is?" Evan looked over at me when he got the two handlebars in his hands; I nodded.

"That's how it'll be for a while; you won't know some things, but it will come back. Although...things like your name or your memories won't come so easily." That caught me a bit off guard.

"Wait, if that's how things are, than how do you remember your name?"

He got on the seat of the vehicle before he spoke; "They give you one."

My questions only grew; "Who are they?"

"Just get on and I'll take you to them; everyone has to go to them first."

The way he keep calling them them, like they were our superior in a way, got me both anxious and frustrated; what if they are the reason why I'm here, with very little memories?

It was a while before I knew he was waiting for me to jump onto the motorcycle, and when I did, I hesitated; I barely remembered what this thing was, and he expects me to just easily ride it?

"Come on, we don't have all day."

I gave out an angry blow of air, and basically threw myself onto the machine, nearly injuring both my elbows and legs, I sliding when I gained balance and threw both legs over.

Evan gave out a laugh from my 'accident', and started the motor. The motorcycle started shaking, and I didn't know what to do to stop from falling over; I set my hands on the area where I sat. He looked back to me and gave another set of laughter.

"You need to hold on to me not the seat." He continue to laugh from the face I gave him. This guy who I just met, first wanted me to trust him that he wouldn't hurt me, then, ride on top of a machine I barely knew that looked dangerous enough to just stare at it, and now he wants me to hold onto him? Uh, no thanks mister.

"No, I'm fine where I am."

When he spoke, he started looking towards the road as the vehicle started forward. "Suit yourself, though you'll change your mind soon."

It started slow, at first, around five miles an hour, until it picked up more than triple that amount. The force of wind that came upon me almost blew me off the seat that, in a reflect action, I leaned forward and tightly crossed my arms around Evan's waist, burying my head into his back. But even with my head concealed from the force, I could not doubtfully feel it along me, like it wanted to push me off the thing; it only tightened my grip.

The road felt bumpy, as the motorcycle crossed every bump in the road. At one point, the machine felt like it left the road entirely and, as I took a peek over my shoulder that helped cover my face, I saw that the wheels of the machine, were, in fact, not touching the road, until they did, which made the whole thing jump; how the hell does this guy ride?

Though, during the whole time, something felt familiar, like I've been through this before; the force of the wind on my back, the bumps of the road, my hair feeling like it's getting tangled with the wind, even the jumps that made the cycle do one too. It all felt...too familiar. I was reminded with the two lights again and tried to focus entirely on it, but the 'memory' was still the same; two shining lights blinding me, only to be meet with crunching metal with a boom, and followed by a ringing sound, definitely sirens, now that I recall them.
I knew we were in the city I saw before when I heard other motors around, and it was also due to the decrease in speed. It made me curious, so I lifted my head and saw it; a full out city, some people in buildings, on the streets, in larger vehicles, which as I recalled, were cars and larger ones that were more rectangular, which were buses. I was amazed by how many things I remembered; cars, buses, signs, speed limits, coffee shops, department stores, office buildings, apartments...all of it. Every item I saw was followed by a name that seemed to pop up in my mind.

It felt like we went to the end of the city, and the beginning of a countryside, but one that looked unfamiliar; it was mostly covered in water, and the people working in the parts with the harvest had small, cone shaped hats. Then it hit me that it was a rice farm; from Asia. The surprise I felt from discovering a new word, one that even was a place, was overpowered by my curiosity; we just went through a city that didn't look like the ones in the place where these farms are found, so how did we end up here? I wanted to ask Evan, but, seeing we were coming to a stop in front of a weird building stopped me.

To say that this building didn't belong here was an understatement; for one, it looked like a small palace, and it was in the center of both areas, the city and the rice farms. It was a pillar in the center of a long, wide and tall building, which was attached to it. The top of the pillar was a sphere, which looks like it could house someone inside, and the sphere was a shade of gold, so light, it looked like it was closer to a beautiful beige color. The building it was attached to was also that color, but it was a bit darker. The top of the building was in the same way of that clique drawing of a castle, where one spot is open and another was not, but it made the place seem...more in a sense. The material used was all stone, except for the sphere at the top, which seemed it was a bubble made of some unknown material. There were small bushes and trees along the whole place, as well as some clinging vines in areas that seemed like it was there for decoration. It overall looked like a castle you'd only see in your dreams.

"Wow."

"That is where they are. Come on."

Evan stopped the motor and swiftly got off, leaving me unbalanced on the cycle; I almost fell of it. He caught my elbows before I hit the ground, while my left leg caught the cycle; if you're confused, let me draw it out for you, it leaned against my left leg, which felt like a boulder. So even though he caught me, Evan's motorcycle brought me down and before I knew it, it was on top of my leg.

"Next time, let me get out first!" Evan was full out laughing at this point, hugging his stomach from the little breaths he got.

Frustrated at the no help, I basically threw the bike of me and slowly stood up, and retrieved the small vehicle and set it on the little kickstand it had.

"I didn't know you knew how to park one," Evan commented between his outburst laughing; it only made me scowl.

"Neither did I, but apparently I can. Come on, you're going to be my guide." I started to tug at his arm, but he wasn't having any of it. Then, suddenly, I felt my knees locked, and I started falling again, but this time, I didn't feel the fall. Because I was somewhere new again. My surroundings changed entirely, from the golden palace in the center of the city and rice farms, to being in some sort of...bed? No, not really a bed; it seemed too uncomfortable. When I looked straight up, I saw a bright, blinding light, but to the sides of me, there were people, with strange metal tools. It took me a while to realize that they were part of a hospital, and even longer to realize they were surgeons. But what was I doing here?

Just as quickly as it came, the 'vision' faded to black, and I found myself half laid down on the ground, someone holding me up. That someone, unluckily was Evan.

"Hey, can you hear me now?" He sounded concern; who wouldn't be, when a girl you found on the side of the road suddenly falls and 'passes out'.

"Yeah, unfortunately." That gave out a snicker.
He slowly set me up as I started complaining, "Hurry up, I want to know where I am, since I won't be able to get anything out of you. Come on!"

It was ridiculous, yes, but it couldn't wait any longer to know where I ended up, not even wait for the questions I wanted answered, since the more time I'm here, the more seem to pop up. So without a word or a small set of laughter, for the first time, he started leading me towards the impossible palace.

Two.


Upon first appearance, the palace doesn't look like it had a door of some sort, not even guards protecting it like how a palace should have. But when we became literally almost two feet away from the blocks of the building, I saw it. There wasn't any door because the center of the building was a mirage.

The blocks at the center seemed to be...different, in a way that made it look like a curtain...but then again, not. It's rather hard to explain, but it literally looked like a curtain camouflaged very well with its surroundings, like it was literally apart of it.

But, I didn't get it right away, and almost bolted running in the other direction; of course, I didn't say a word, or ran in any direction due to my overpowering curiosity.

"Stop gawking at it and let's go" Oh, so no laughter but a smile now? This guy is way too cheerful. Though, his comment made me realize I was staring at the building too much, and now he was the one tugging on me.

We phased through the mirage, and was met with a wide open room, like the courtyard into a palace, though, unlike in real life, this 'courtyard' was inside the building. The ground was of a golden-white colored concrete, like the color was from the rays of the sun, and there were pillars at the sides of it wide area, that looked like those in an Asian palace, very fitting for its rice farms neighbors. But there were also people around.

They came in a variety of sizes, with different tones of skin too. They all seemed to be from every place imaginable on...Earth; I was taken aback by how long it took to remember the place. These people wore clothing that was the same all around the place; an ivory shirt with a golden trim, with black slacks; at least that what they seemed to be. I looked at Evan, and saw that he wore the same clothing as them, though instead of an ivory shirt, he wore all black.

He led me through a dense crowd of people and into a different room altogether. Here, it was completely empty, the color still that golden-white. There were no other people, like before, except for us and three others. These people looked...different.

Their skin was grey, like...ash. No...that white substance that falls from the sky when it's cold, with ash. They each wore different things; one wore a dark attire, with a red color that looked like it'd been spilled, another wore the opposite, all white with hints of black at the edges of the fabric, which was a...flowing oversized blouse, and the last wore their clothing in a dark green, the area covering the chest seeming to have a...tree alive beside a withered, dead one, the fabric being the same as the other, other than the fact that it showed her shoulders and arms, unlike the other one. It took longer than it should to remember that the two were wearing dresses and that the white substance that described their skin was snow.
The one in the black had dark brown-red hair, and there seemed to be a sort of tattoo or scar that was a broken line, like those on a long stretched road, that ran in a Y form coming together where there was the most skin visible from the shirt he wore. He also wore a...a thin rope around his neck that held a golden shape...Another second of thought reminded me that the 'tattoo' was in the same cutting a dead body gets once having performed an autopsy.

The female in the green dress seemed the most lively, her stature seeming to have more movement even while standing. Her hair was a dark black-blue color, which was pulled over her shoulder and was parted in half, and intertwined with each other. Her dress was also the most colorful out of the three people, as well as her skin; one of her arms was covered in a waving, fluid blue art piece, the other covered in a light green, more solid than the blue and her skin near her collar bone had a more movement piece of art, with the glowing color of red-orange. That same golden shape on the male's rope-neck was on her hair, but it wasn't on a rope, but rather used to hold her hair.

The last female in white seemed the most secluded out of the others. Her dress concealed her neck as well as her arms, and was a gray-white, and the bottom of the folds of the dress got into a light black. Her hair was shorter and a light brown, pulled back behind her ears. She didn't seem to have much on her, and with her skin hidden, I couldn't see any scars or art work she could've had. The same golden shape was dangling from her ears...earrings.

The only thing they all seemed to have in common, other than their skin and golden shape part of their attire, was their eyes; one silver, another gold.
Evan let go of my hand where he pulled me, and...sort of bowed to them and started talking to them, his voice echoing throughout the room

"She was by the out road of New York, close to Oklahoma." His voice was serious, like it was his job to deliver this piece of information.

The one with the black clothing, who appeared to be older than anyone I've yet to see stepped away from the others and towards me. He was expressionless, in fact, they all were; they all had that blank look on their face, like this was all business.

The man reached down and picked up my hand to his mouth, where he kissed it. Disgusted, I quickly put it back, making Evan and him laugh.

"She's a feisty one," he stated chuckling. "Sui, Nat, come here and take a look at the girl; what should she be?"

I was getting a bit worried, but mostly scared as they all started to come towards me, all with now curious eye.

The two woman, who I assumed where Sui and Nat, came too close; it didn't help that the older man got close as well, leaving my guide alone in an empty space. Much. Too. Close!

Too soon, they were all literally rubbing elbows with me, surrounding me in their small, three-person circle. They all smelled...in one word ancient. That old smell that seems to be in shops where other people stuff is sold; antique stores. They all had smiles on, their eyes closed, their heads bent down with their hands clasped together behind their backs.

They all murmured the same words, soft yet harsh. These words were from a language I could not understand, or even comprehend where it was from. Each word rolled off their tongues, effortlessly, even though they should have been stuttered by the normal speech.

There was a flash of white. Then black. Then, pictures flew by me. Images...memories.
Two people staring down at me...a white fluff of fur jumping...a small room... The images got too fast, that I had to catch a glimpse to actually view one. A dress hanging...colors...a red motorbike...more colors...some person yelling...black now...two lights...
When my eyes focused again, the three people were still there, still too close in their little circle. The two women, Sui and Nat I presume, were looking at each other with concerned looks on their faces, while the man was still focusing on me.

"She yours or mine?" asked the female in white to the male. "I mean, the motive looks like it's mine, but the way..." She looked towards me; I'm sure she could sense my confusion, curiosity, and overall displeased feeling.

The male, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice any of this. Or he did, and chose to ignore it. "These types of ending are always difficult. But, seeing as-"
The edges of my vision started to fade, and I felt a sharp pain on the lower part of my torso and somewhere on my head. Their voices started to fade and...

No. No, no, no, no, not again! Not now!

I brought my hand to where the pain was on my head, but lead my other hand to my lower body. I felt myself scream softly in pain, or whimper, not caring who listened or saw. The lower part of my body felt like someone was sticking a knife somewhere around a certain area...seemingly looking for something. But it hurt! I shut my eyes to try to control the pain to somewhere else, but when I did, that same image of a blinding light and people over my lying body showed up.

I just wanted to raise myself up and tell them to stop! That what they did was more painful than what they thought. But I couldn't move anything!

I faintly heard someone say something, and before I knew it, I was back again, for the second time, only now everyone, including the jerk, was less than an arm's length away. Everyone stared, not a good, defined emotion showing from their look. The silence and confusion was too much for me.

"Can someone explain all this to me? This confusion is eating me up and those-those...visions are too much for me to go through. The least any of you can do is tell me where I am, how the heck I got here, please?" That last part came out without thought, but it went and I couldn't take it back anyway.

The main three looked at each other, not in fear, but in an agreeing way. The woman in white started.

"Well...you see dear...technically-"

"You're dead," the male in black finished in a flat tone. The two looked at him, their expressions mimicking each other in that displeased and annoyed look
I just stared at him, not amused at the game he was playing.

"Yes, I'm dead, haha very funny. What's really going on?"

"Dear," the woman in the white started,"I don't know how to say this, but...it's true. You're...we're currently in what mortals consider the afterlife..." She was talking quietly.

I looked at each of them, even the douche bag, Evan, and they all had the same look; focused on how I would react.

But...how does one expect for someone to react to something to that? Do they expect more denial? Anger? Sadness?

I...didn't feel any emotional reaction...everything was numb and...blank. Although, there was a bundle of questions coming up.

"How did I die," I responded.

Three.


None of them seemed to react to my response. But what else was expected? I still have no accurate remembrance of anything from before; so if there was anything to be sad or get angry about, it was all forgotten to begin with. But...that also begs the question. What if...I lost something? Something...or someone important...and now they may be able to remember me...but-

But I don't. And isn't forgetting someone, without the knowledge that you did, is worse than...death? Maybe...this was the reason for anger and sadness?

I pondered over this, wondering if I would know for sure...if I would have this feeling of...emptiness maybe? But there was no feeling of this so called emptiness or a sort of abandonment anywhere.

I looked at the main three back and forth, awaiting their answer. The woman in white was fidgeting with her fingers, the other two looking at the ground while Jerk-face had a somewhat concerned expression on him. It was a while before the white dressed woman spoke.

"Well, dear, technically you've been in a car accident and that's the main reason for your being here. Although-" she continued, "it's uncertain if it was also due to a...suicide."

"How...how can you determine that, exactly?"

"Well, what we did before, when you saw those...images pass by, we were seeing your life. From the beginning to the unfortunate end. And in the process of doing that, we were able to also feel your emotions and know your thoughts..."

They all stood quietly. But there was still a question that hadn't been answered...well, one of the many that seem the most critical.

"Why do I have those..."out of body experiences", like what just happened a while ago?"

"Because you're still not completely dead yet." The man in black spoke.

"You are still in a state of 'living' back in the 'mortal realm' if you'd like to call it. This happens at times when your body is either still, or is in the process, of being brought back. So, your conscious mind is struggling between this world and the mortal one. Once your body is no longer capable of holding you, you move here."

"Think of it like a shell," the woman in green added. "There's this animal, a hermit crab, that has a house, a shell, on its back. Once it out grows the house and it can no longer protect them from dangers, they move out of it and enter another house."

Hermit crabs...small little creatures with little legs and bugging eyes...

"So," she continued,"this is like your second shell."
"Is there anything beyond this?" Is there a way...where that could happen?

"Oh, no! There is nothing else beyond this 'life'."
I burrowed my eyebrows to concentrate on the information given on me.

"Don't try to take it all in just yet, dear...we should probably give you a name. Oh, late introductions, I'm Sue. I represent and help those who took their own lives, back in the mortal world, as much as I can in this one," the female in white explained. "She's Nat-" Sue eyed the woman in green, "-and she helps those who were taken from a natural cause, such as a disease. And that handsome gentleman there-" said 'gentleman' bowed "-is Occi. He represents and helps those who lives where ended by another's help."

"Murder, darling. Call it how it is," Occi corrected, with a wink towards me; I gave a glare back.

"Anyway, we'll need to get back to you on who shall be looking over you," Sue continued. "As for now, Evan, the one who brought you here, will look after you." Great. Just fantastic. "For your 'experiences', as you describe, well..." She paused. "That's for you to decide. You may still feel your body when you go back so, it'll be painful." Her face contorted into a worry expression, and one of her hands went to her heart, the sleeves on her overflown dress went down a bit, and showed a portion of her arm; there were red, faint lines, as well as some bruises. I couldn't help but wonder if the lines hurt her; did she do it to herself or were they already there?

"Guess we'll be seeing you soon, Carol."

"Carol?"

"It's your new name, sweetheart," which unsurprisingly came from Occi.

"Well, we'll be leaving now. If anything else occurs, I'll notify you," Evan said, starting to scoot me away.

"Goodbye Carol!" Nat said with pure excitement. Does she want me to leave, or is she just this excited overall?

"Um, bye?" I awkwardly replied, with an Evan leading, no more like pulling, me out from the room.

And with that, I got one last look at the three rulers of this new world I may inhabit.

******


"Okay idiot, now what?"

We were outside of the golden palace by now, and I just sat behind him in the motorcycle, my arms crossed together into an...annoyed gesture? I couldn't really tell whether I was actually annoyed, or I just wanted to cross my arms over my chest, so I can prolong not having to have my arms around him again.

"Now, we wait until we're summoned," Evan said in a jokingly deep voice as he turned to look back at me, a joking look on his face. "In the meantime, however, your going to become my suckerfish."

"I'm sorry, your...what?" What's he talking about, me being some sort of fish? I'm pretty sure I neither smell nor look like any sort of fish...do I?

"Those little fishes that stick to sharks," he explained in a laugh.

"What's a shark?"

"Never mind. Here, hold on; I'm going to start it." I unwillingly wrapped my arms around his waist, but I kept my head high, the distance between us as much as I could keep, whilst keeping my arms intact to my body and on the bike.

He already took the kickstand out, so all that was left was to start the motor. Of course, we should have been wearing a sort of gear, but apparently, he didn't give it a thought. The wind started picking up as the motorbike accelerated, and I could feel some of the dirt starting to fly by my face as we were getting onto the actual, and made, road. It was already dark by now, and a lone, white light stood out in the sky. It glowed like the sun, but less, and it didn't hurt to look.
It was mesmerizing and...what's a good word? Exquisite...lovely...beautiful...they didn't seem to convey how it appeared in the dark sky. Is there something like this back on...Earth? Something at least similar to this grey-white orb, with its glow that lights up the dark hours of...night?

I stayed looking up at the grey, glowing object throughout the ride. Sometimes the wind will tell me to get down and hide, to no longer have my head up, but I didn't listen and kept looking. Then, it'll tell me it will drop me off the street if I don't pay attention, but I didn't care; it's not like I'll die.

This ride might've taken longer than the ride that took me to the palace, but I paid no attention to it, my mind set on the glowing orb that seemed to follow us. I wondered what it was made of, and what made it glow so brightly but kept it from being blinding. I thought if I could touch it, and if I could, how it might feel.

But, the more I looked, the more I noticed other tiny lights in the sky. They were hard to make out, but they were certainly there. In fact...they were everywhere, surrounding the grey, glowing object like they were its followers. The lights shined instead of glowed, but they still gave a small light out, like little dots of white in the sky with its master, the moon.

Moon? That's an interesting word. Moon...is that the name for the grey object? Very strange, and very...inappropriate to name something as such. This moon, in my opinion, shouldn't have a name to go with it; it leaves out how it looks, only to be replaced by a single word, instead of many, more suitable words like-

"Hey, did you hear me?"

His voice sounded tired now, not that joking tone from before. How long has he tried to speak to me?

"Hmm...," was my return. I noticed we were still on the bike and then I remembered what I asked from before.

"Oh, sorry," I apologized, as I got off the bike. Evan soon followed me and put the kickstand to park it. As for me, I was still hypnotized by the glowing, magnificent moon. He seemed to notice.

"You, uh-"

"Don't you think the word 'moon' is not the correct word for something so magnificent?" I interrupted. Evan was clearly taken aback.

"Well, that was what it was always called. You think it's-" he looked up at the sky"-beautiful?"

"No, there are many other words to describe it, but beautiful seems to be one of the many words for it. Do you know any other words for it or different names for that matter?"

He started walking towards whatever place we stopped at, but I was too curious to pay attention. His idiotic face went to a focused and thoughtful one; how is it possible for such a joking and highly hyper person to look as such?

"Well, another way to say moon is luna or lune. Of course, there are many different languages so there are different ways to actually say it. But-" he continued, looking back at the sky"-they all mean the same thing; moon." He looked down at me and gave a ridiculous smirk. "Seems someone likes astronomy."

I rolled my eyes before muttering, "What's astronomy?"

Cue the laughter of a dying...hyena? No, that's offending the poor creature.

"So, where did you decide to drop your cargo off?" I asked between his laughter. I stared at his laughing state until he stopped, cleared his throat and answered.

"You're going to be staying with a friend of mine until you have a place of your own."

I happened to look around and saw we were in an area heavily populated with tall, green carrying thick, wooden sticks, and in front of me was one of these stick carrying vegetation, but this one also held a large, wooden box. I stared in awe at the structure.

"It's a treehouse, darling."

"Don't you dare call me that," I replied with a glare, and started towards the box supported by the...branches.

There were these large and thick blocks of woods that seemed to be attached to the nature stick; they seemed to lead up to a small square at the bottom of the box, which seems to have a latch attached to it. I put my right foot on one of the blocks and grabbed my left hand to another block, but higher. I moved my other foot to the block above my right and did the same with my hands. I repeated the action until I was able to reach the small square with one of my hands and knocked on it.

"Come in," a voice said from the inside.

I pushed the square inward, and stuck my head inside the box, and slowly heaved myself inside; Evan soon followed.

"Hey, Leo," Evan greeted the host once he was up on his feet.

"Hey yourself, Evan. Who's the girl; your new arm candy?"

"I'm right here," I grumbled, not amused at this new male. Is every guy here like this?

He chuckled and held his arms up in surrender. "I'm just joking, miss." Leo looked somewhat older than Evan, but not as old as however Occi was. His hair was a red-orange, short and trimmed. His eyes were a dark green and surrounded by small spots on his face...freckles. His structure was slim and small, seemingly my height or a bit smaller.

"Leo, huh?"

"That's my name, don't wear it out! Oh, um, there's a couch behind you, you can sit." I looked behind me and saw Evan already there, clearly relaxed. I turned back to the redhead and said," I'm fine." I sat crisscrossed on the floor, the square already closed so there wasn't an opening for me to fall out off.

"So..."

"So..." I answered back. This was getting awkward.
"Who wants to play twenty questions and learn more about each other?" Evan suggested behind me.

"Seriously? What are we, kids?" Leo jokingly shot back to Evan.

"What's twenty questions?"

"It's a spoken game where someone asks someone else yes or no questions to guess what they're thinking of. Once they already asked twenty questions, they can't ask anymore and have to guess what the person's thinking," Evan explained.

I fidget with the circular...button on my shirt, thinking through the game. I didn't notice before, but in the sudden silence, I could hear how the branches swayed around the tree house, the leaves rustling softly alongside each other. It was quite relaxing, actually. That, added with the soft glow of lighting in the elevated house, made everything peaceful in a sort of way.

"Wait, how can I guess anything if I don't really know anything?" I asked both of them. It was a flaw I noticed, and extremely disrupted the meaning of the game; especially if we're supposedly learning about each other here.

"Well, we'll modify it then. Let's see..."

It took a while to come up with this 'modified version', but I think...I enjoyed the progress. During the reconstruction of the game, I came to the conclusion that Leo's alright. He always worded his words carefully, so that it never came out offensive or confusing. He also seemed slightly more mature than Evan. Slightly; there were some of the boyish impression on him. Speaking of such...

Evan was still a douche. Although, I noticed he dialed his jerk levels down a bit with Leo around. He seemed to be more considerate of the people with him (Leo and surprisingly, me), and he didn't talk as much either; Leo and I were the ones mostly talking while he commented every now and then. It was strange, but a long-expected change in character...no that sounds rude...it was more like an unexpected but greatly appreciated event.

The game we came up with was somewhat similar to the original; we each would be asked simple questions, and name different objects, events, or feelings as answers. And instead of saying yes or no, the person that was asked the question would choose one or both objects, which would leave the guesser to try and see what they have in common. For example, if someone asks "what's your preferred color," and follow up the question with objects like, "apples or grapes." The person asked would respond as "both" or "none" or just choose one of the two.

As for me, I'd have to explain in further detail on something I couldn't find the word for. So basically what I usually do.

It was strange, but it seemed entertaining.

With the new game planned, we started with Leo, mostly since he volunteered to go first for some reason.

"Okay, so Evan...where did you die? Pasta or steamed rice?"

"Way to start off these 'light hearted' questions. Both"

"Hey, just trying to break the ice...was it the States?"

"Yup; medicine."

"Why was that?" I jumped in. Immediately, I thought of how impolite and rude that sounded, but I couldn't help but ask. He didn't seem to mind though.

"Lethal injection; it was a form execution."

I bit my tongue before speaking this time, hoping that this game would somehow lead me to my answer. "Let's see...Carol; last thing you saw. Rose or raven?"

I answered rose, after a long silence filled with swaying leaves as I thought it over; he guessed light after a couple of more questions.

We were each asked around ten to thirty questions before one of us passed out (Evan). The reason as to why he was executed never came about, since whenever it was my turn, I won't be able to ask and Leo just never seemed too. Although, I did learn that Leo had lost a long battle to a certain sickness, Evan apparently used to like the 'arts' as both he and Leo put it, and I seemed to had a dog or some other furry creature (I was reminded of the white fur jumping in that much too fast 'flashback' when the three rulers were going through my life with their little circle). The various other questions were just trivial; what animal do you prefer? What liquid did you usually drink? Where did you wanted to go before? Even going as far as asking 'what is your favorite color'?

With one person already taking the couch, I was given a small guest room, which was surprising for a house in the trees. It was filled with a slim bed whose side was facing a small window, where there was a small clearing between the branches and leaves.

After I was lead and was left alone in the empty room, I went straight to under the covers of the bed. I wasn't tired really, but...I couldn't help but think this was just some strange and very long dream. A dream that...well wasn't bad, but was weirdly realistic, over-exaggerated, and carried out for far too long.

The only thing that made it feel like this was all real was the lost memory; I'm pretty sure no dream is like this.

I got comfortable in the bed, well, as comfortable one could get when in a new bed, in a new place, with two new acquaintances just past the door...
I let my head fall to the pillow and buried myself in the covers, turning my body to the side facing the cut-out window.

It was hard to view, but there they were; the soft glowing lights hidden behind the darkened leaves that swayed ever so softly.

My eyes were growing heavy each second before I felt myself slip into...the living state of mind.

Four.

“-and me the basin………”

It felt weird...every aspect of the situation felt weird…
The room was filled with a multitude of noises but...there was nothing that could be seen; just noises. Instead of color and images, all I saw was a void of color; like black but...a darker, colorless and empty black.

One dominant noise was a beeping that was continuous, yet slow and soft. There was also a soft clink clink that appeared after the voice spoke. The voice in question was a male’s; it held authority and also patience.

“Is there still blood loss?”

“No, doctor.”

“Hm...well, there is still some glass that has cut into the body, see?”

I felt the tiniest of tugs on the midsection of my torso, but it only lasted for a second and was gone as quickly as it came. The rest of my body was numb; I couldn't feel any of my limbs, let alone move them. The same went for my eyes.

Clink, clink!

Each tug was followed by a clink, while the beeping kept its own beat.

I tried to hear for something else, to see just where I was. I knew for certain I was ‘alive’ again; one does not simply go to a new place by sleeping. But...the location as to ‘where’ was still a mystery.

Wait...are these people...those surgeons I saw? Why is it no longer painful, what are they doing to me What...is making that ‘clinking’ sound? Was it the...glass? Where did this glass come from...was it from those lights from before...the car crash?

There was glass...in my body? Is...that why it hurt before? How are they getting it out? Did...they cut me open?!

Suddenly, beeping had started to escalate, and my body was growing more heavy, turning into an anchor that would hold me down and keep me silent.

“Sir!”

“Steady her.”

The numbness was starting to fade and was slowly getting more painful...much, much too painful!
The pain was starting to grow, getting less and less tolerable to manage. I wanted to move, to scream, to do something to no longer concealed the pain in my body. But I still couldn't do anything.

My environment grew louder; the rabid beeping, the booming sound of commands being ordered by various of people, the whish of air made by the moving bodies...the list went on and on.

I could suddenly feel my body thrash around on where I laid, but it only caused more pain to the already growing amount there was. Something, or various of somethings, was trying to calm me down, keep my body steady and unmoving. But it was a vicious cycle of pain that kept at me; if I was too still, the pain will bubble up, but if I moved, it would only create more.

The torturous feeling was the only thing I could focus on; it consumed every space in my mind...pain, pain, pain, pain, pain…

I wanted it to stop!

Stop!

Just. STOP!

My request had seemed to be answered when the pain slowly started to numb...but it was an agonizing wait as it calmed the harsh feeling down. It was with my arm and chest first, then it spread out, calming every part of me. I could finally be able to rest.

“Okay, the sedatives are working. Let’s finish this off so we can send her to her room.”

“Poor girl...I can’t imagine the pain she was in...and those screams...and with her body still open...haa, let’s finish this so she can recover peacefully.”

Was I screaming? I couldn’t tell what with that single feeling in my head.

The procedure was done quickly, well, as quickly as something could happen without any concept of time. The surgeons conversed from time to time, but it was mostly quiet, the beeping now back to being slow and steady and the occasional quick clink, clink!

I could tell all the glass was out once there wasn’t that faint stinging in my torso...it also helped when the person who seemed to be in charge declared when the glass was all out.

I felt myself be rolled into another room, one filled with a less harsh light; I could tell due to how it felt against my eyelids. The place where they put my body on was somewhere more comfortable than the place before...it felt softer and had a less of a harsh texture to lie on. It also smelled less of...blood or organs...or whatever you find or smell in a place where someone is operated on. Instead, it smelled more of medicines and...that ‘new room’ smell with a combination of cleaning products. I heard the footsteps of the person who moved me go towards...the entrance of the room...the door.

“Your visitors will be coming soon…rest up honey.” Their voice was filled with...concern. How badly did I scar this person? They must’ve been through something like this before, they must’ve seen someone’s pain like that before too...right? The pain I felt before didn’t seem so prominent now.

The door closed after the person spoke, leaving me alone with my thoughts and a quiet beeping.

So far...all I’ve known is I was injured in a car wreck...injured badly enough to have glass puncture into my body. What I was curious about now though was...what happened before. What...happened that made the crash seem like...I wanted to die?

It was all too confusing…

Luckily for my growing, aching chest, unluckily for my tolerance levels, my mind slowly slipped from my heavy, grounding body and back to where the idiot and his friend where.
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