What Follows

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1.2: Tobias

~it’s a little too late . . . i’m a little too gone . . . a little too tired of just hanging on~


I open my eyes as the odd feeling beyond my abdomen fades away and find myself surrounded by black everything. And I’m either lying -or uh, standing- peacefully in, uh, my grave? Or I might have simply levelled up and am now on a higher level of fucked-up-ness, aka hell.

I walk- my bad- I ′glide’ (I think) cluelessly and grimly in the darkness, waiting for something to show up or any-damned-thing to happen. Maybe an ignited meteor to hit me in the head or any other vicious shit because that’s how I imagined hell to be like. Molten lava coming out of every pore and burning my skin alive, torturing me for my heaps of sin.

But here, there aren’t pores and my skin isn’t burning. There’s just blackity black wherever I look. I don’t feel cold. I don’t feel hot. I don’t feel a thing. It’s like hanging out with my literally naked spirit and it really does freak me out.

I glide some more and wonder if I can pull off some ice-skating moves cause this is how moving here feels like. And it’s probably because I can’t feel my body’s heaviness or my feet pressed against anything. It’s like there are no directions. There isn’t a left. There isn’t a right. And there is neither an up nor a down.

Just nothing at all except for my aware spirit or whatever I am. And really I am terrified of the endless possibilities of what this is and there’s nothing I can do about it. Because there are no distractions in the darkness that’s eating me up. Nothing to look at and nothing to think about except for my mother’s tears and dad’s despondency.

“You’re the hundredth person to kill themselves on the fifteenth of May-” A deep, manly voice says and I stop, my ‘spiritual heart’ in my mouth. I straighten up (or at least I think I do) and look around in anticipation, hoping that anything, anything would show up.

“Excuse-” I mutter breathlessly and turn around one more time. And then a light so blinding, illuminating a boy’s figure, no older than eighteen, appears right in front of me. I even have to shut my eyes.

I then slowly open my eyes and blink at him in surprise.

“Hello. I am Tobias.” He says, awkwardly shrugging one shoulder.

I am so stunned by how he looks like, I can’t even answer. And it isn’t because he has three eyes or because he looks handsome or anything like that. It’s just that, wow, somebody is here with me. And that, no, I’m not stranded here alone.

Tobias is thin and tall (way taller than me) with red hair that floats around his big head and with very light and bright hazel eyes. His mouth is quirked up in a small, curious smile as I gulp nervously. He literally looks an animation movie character. And I’m certain that fear isn’t an emotion I should associate with at the moment, because what’s the worst thing that can happen?

I’m literally already dead, and fear, I believe, is for the living.

“Hello?” I speak cautiously as I slowly approach him (I’m not sure if it’s working or not. I’m not sure if we can get closer. If we don’t just have infinite space between us that can’t be shortened).

Tobias touches his nape and blinks at me. “I haven’t seen you before-” He gets closer to me and it seems to work!

“You’re -uh- very bright-” I blurt out, my nerves kicking in. Who is he? And why am I talking to him? Why him? And how is it possible when I’m clearly fucking dead? What bloody hell is this?

“Am I?” He murmurs, stretching his arms in front of him and stares at them. “Really?”

“Seriously?” I irritably interrupt his staring session and he drops his arms to look at me. “Why do you get light for yourself and I don’t?” I ask, lifting the left corner of my upper lip. “Do you have any idea how dark it is? What kind of bullshit is this?”

“I really have no say in this-” He clears his throat as he eyes me thoughtfully, curiously. “Although, I can see you very well. Your light-” He tells me, lifting a hand toward me. “You don’t see your own light. I can’t see mine either.”

I shake my head and purse my lips, noticing the absence of a lot of things that would usually be in any conversation. I can’t feel his body’s heat. I can’t hear rustling when his feet shuffle. I can’t feel anything at all. It’s like we’re so cold, so unreal. Like characters in video games with uncoordinated movements and sounds.

“You’ve been here before? I mean, you reside here?” I ask and get closer to his amused figure, hoping I would catch on something. Anything. But it feels like we’re galaxies apart. “Do you-do you understand what this is?” I search his eyes for anything. “Look, I-I believe that I was dead just a few minutes ago and was with my mom, and now-?” I clench my jaws and inhale shakily. “And now, I’m here. And I’m trying not to lose my shit because I know, I know, it’d be pointless. But what is this ′thisness’?” I rant, waving my arms around and shaking my head desperately. “Private Five Stars Hell for Suicides?”

Tobias looks confused by what I told him, but his eyes spark up with things to say. “You still haven’t seen a thing.” He says in realization. “You’re a newbie. And you need to calm down-”

“Is that a good or a bad thing?” I narrow my eyes at him. He seems to know a thing or two about this place.

“I don’t know. Different people react to some things...differently-" He replies, and it’s only then when I realize that he has a weak English accent.

“Different people-?” I eye him down. He’s wearing a denim jacket over a yellow shirt with a grizzly bear drawing and some khaki shorts, exposing his sticks for legs. “Who the hell are you?” I ask curiously, relaxing a bit since he doesn’t appear to be threatening. In fact, he just appears less lost than I am. But still...lost.

“Why are you here? With me?” I ask slowly, wanting to get my point through. “You don’t run that fuckin’ place do ya?”

“Oh, no-” He smiles sheepishly, looking down. “I’m afraid I’m just like you-”

“You -uh- you killed yourself?”

“Well, obviously-” He shrugs, his eyes running over my hair.

I narrow my eyes. “On the fifteenth of May?” I say, recalling the first thing he told me.

Tobias tilts his head and then hesitantly says, “Well, not exactly. I happen to have a very unusual- uh -death scenario.”

I tilt my head. “Care to elaborate? Cause I just left my mansion, like two seconds ago, if this is how time works here too. It’s so fucking weird.”

“Well, I was committing suicide, right?” He starts slowly and I blink at him. “I thought I wanted it to be special. On my birthday. On the fifteenth of May.” Same birthdays, huh. “I get on that bridge-” He pauses to look at me, then, “-know where it is?”

“Yes, the one connecting the two stupid cities-”

“Yes, the one painted green-”

“It’s grey-green.”

"That-” He presses a smile. “I started jumping at 11:59 pm and died between 11:59 pm and 12:00 am. So I get stuck here for a month and a day, every year-” He sighs. “I came up with this whole theory.”

“That’s unfortunate.”

“Yeah.”

I then furrow my eyebrows when I fully process his words. What did he mean by ′get stuck for a month and a day every year’?

"Hey, wait-” I say, shaking my head. “What do you mean?” I look around the empty darkness in dread. “What the hell is this place?”

And maybe it’s suddenly all starting to sink in. The magnitude of my situation. The loneliness I feel and the fact that I am dead. Dead. Dead. And that this is where I end up. In a dark, claustrophobic, seemingly endless space of God-knows-what with an uncoordinated idiot.

Tobias is about to open his mouth and answer, but I feel that same suction force down my abdomen. My first instinct is to clasp onto Tobias’ forearm in alarm. He looks at me wide-eyed and shakes his head with parted lips.

The last thing I see is the twinkle of his hazel eyes as darkness engulfs me. And no matter how I try convincing myself that there’s literally nothing to fear because I’m dead- I am plagued with fright.

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