Another Wednesday, another excerpt from yours truly. Since I am a writer, I feel like I should share excerpts more than one day a week. Then again, that’s kinda what makes mid-week so special. It’s a sigh of relief because we’re almost at the weekend, but not quite there, and the alliteration just works. I think it rolls off the tongue.
Today, I’m sharing something brand spanking new and fresh out of the oven. My scope for imagination works in weird ways. Exposed was inspired by an incredibly popular Tumblr blog. Once I wrote a fan fiction (which no longer exists) inspired by my marine biology class. Night Writer has a dash of Moulin Rouge! in it, and AFYCSO is loosely based on the album.
This next idea? Call me crazy, but the Manchester attack sparked something in my imagination that was like “hey, I can totally write something based on this.” My original idea involves a similar attack with the themes of hope and community being prevalent in the story. It’s a good start, but it’s a little lackluster.
As I was writing the next AFYCSO chapter, I thought about this week’s American Gods episode and my idea. I thought about Anubis and how his magic feather determines where you end up in the afterlife. Then for some odd reason, I thought about therapy and that TV show Ghost Whisperer.
Melinda helps helps dead people find the light so their souls can rest easy. What if, instead of being judged for your sins when you die, you go to therapy?
It’s a bizarre concept, I know. Yet it works. I don’t have a title for this project yet, but here’s the blueprint for the story:
The main character obviously dies in a similar scenario. First part of the story details the events of their last few days up until the moment they die. In the second part of the story, they’re dead and attend this therapy group for wanderlust souls. In therapy, they find out people have reacted to their death, etc.
It’s rough, but I think it’s a good start. What you’re about to read is the intro/prelude to the story, which kinda sets the scene for the MC, a Persian-Italian pop star whose concert is where the attack happened, on her road to therapy. Famous people in most fiction stories are mostly white, so why go for the obvious blonde, blue eyed pop star? Time to let other ethnicities shine.
Hope you enjoy! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please let me know what you think if you do give this a read. I’ll see you on Friday for my Happy Things post.
xoxo – F
I find myself surrounded by ghost white. Left, right, up, down. No matter which direction I look, all I see is an empty canvas that has yet to be touched by a drop of paint. Even my dress matches my surroundings! This makes it incredibly difficult to know where to go. Which way is north? Which way is south? Is east to the left or right of me? I don’t know. It’s hard to say because there’s nothing around me.
So this is what the Afterlife looks like, I think as I start walking straight ahead. Maybe there isn’t a Heaven or Hell. Maybe our souls wander through an endless vacuum once they leave our bodies. Maybe there is no separation of good and evil. Anubis isn‘t here to weigh our hearts, and there aren‘t golden gates to ward bad people out of Heaven. There’s no way to measure someone’s life if this is the Afterlife.
I travel for an unaccountable amount of time—there’s no use in counting seconds or estimating how long I’ve walked when it looks like I’m taking the walk of shame to Heaven. I just walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. My feet should hurt, but I don‘t feel an ounce of pain in those muscles and bones.
To pass the (lack of) time, I hum Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is The Love?” I love that song. It’s meaningful, powerful, and relevant to the world I lived in. I suppose that song has always held meaning to the world regardless of the year or century. War is inevitable and it will always exist so long as humans live.
Shouldn’t you be tired by now? Who knows how long you’ve been walking. Okay, you’ve been walking in a straight line. That doesn’t take much energy, but imagine how many hours or even days have passed by now. Time could travel ten times as quickly in the Afterlife. It could be a different day.
But I’m not tired, and I’m not breathless. You can’t exactly “run out of breath” if you’re no longer breathing, can you?
Something colorful on the ground suddenly pops into view—a golden road. I approach the road with caution, thinking it might be an illusion, but it’s not. Of course it’s a yellow brick road. I chuckle and run a hand through my surprisingly silky smooth hair before setting a foot on the road. Yup. It’s definitely real.
This probably won’t take you to Oz. Oz is a fictional place. Maybe it’ll lead you to a place with the same concept. Wherever this leads you, maybe that place can answer your burning questions.
At first, the road was icy cold to the touch. As I walk along its winding path, it becomes warmer. It’s like I’m walking on a sandy beach instead of a hard road. My toes sink into the brick like sand, and I can even feel debris between them! Maybe the Afterlife isn’t so bad.
I skip down the road for X distance, singing my favorite songs at the top of my lungs to keep myself company and playing games along the way. If anyone saw me, they’d think I’ve gone insane. Alive me would care, but not dead me. I could care less about how crazy I look now that the world isn’t here to judge me.
A large golden gate meets me at the end of the road, and a golden castle-like structure is placed behind it. Ah, now I’ll be judged for the live I’ve lived. This looks more like the Afterlife in movies.
“We’ve been waiting for you,” squeaks a small blonde girl who came from nowhere.
“What is this place?” I ask. “Am I pre-approved to enter this place?”
“But of course! You’ve always been considered. I’ll open the gates. Follow me.”
The gates open once she says the word. They draw back as a choir of angels sing, or maybe that’s all in my head. The girl shyly smiles and takes my hand; I think she’s a fan.
Suddenly, colors arrive from nowhere. Green grass springs from the ground as well as trees, flowers, and I think I see a pond in the distance. This place must be something special if there’s life and color here. Maybe I was on the Heaven waiting list and this is where my soul will live for the rest of eternity.
Large wooden doors with brass handles tower above the blonde and me when we reach the castle. She knocks on it just once, and the door creaks open. She turns to me and flashes a smile, then lets go of my hand. She steps onto the doorstep and disappears without a word, probably assuming that I’ll follow her.
I take a deep breath and gather my skirts before following her lead. My jaw drops and eyes fearfully widen at the castle’s interior. I don’t know if this is an illusion or a sick joke, but I run down the path and catch up with the blonde, anyways.
“I-I’m sorry. What’s your name?” I question as she leads me down a hallway that eerily resembles the arena I played before I died. “And what is this place?”
“I’m Erela. You’ll find out soon enough. We’re almost at your room.”
“But why does this place look like the AccorHotels?”“It’s different for everyone. The halls you see are the last halls you walked on Earth. “Ah, here we are!”
Erela and I stop at a fairy tale pink door adorned with a wreath of pink carnations and orchids. A fitting door for someone whose favorite color is pink and name means “like a fairy.” I anxiously regard Erela. I don’t know what lies behind this door. This is enough torture; this door could lead to another bad memory.
“You’ll be fine. Take a deep breath, open the door, and step in,” she suggests.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I grip the silver handle, turn it clockwise, and it clicks open. I keep my eyes closed as I release the handle and hear it swing open. Someone—I assume it‘s Erela—pushes me into the room.
I crash into someone. I don’t know who they are because my eyes are still shut tightly. I don’t know if I want to face them. I already feel terrible for clumsily running into them; gazing into their eyes would make me feel worse.
“You can open your eyes. Don’t worry, I’m not mad,” says a man with a very thick, sexy Eastern European accent. “Please introduce yourself to the group. Tell us how old you are and how you died.”
My eyes instantly open. I’m faced with a much smaller audience than I’m used to seeing, and they’re all seated in a circle. It genuinely looks like I’ve stumbled into an AA meeting.
I turn to my right and see the man behind the voice. Slick black hair, a jaw line that can cut like a diamond, and brown eyes the shade of bark meet my peripheral, and I embarrassingly blush. He’s cute. He also doesn’t appear that much older than me. He smiles and turns my attention back to the seated people in the room.
“Um…hi,” I croak. I anxiously smooth my dress and clear my throat as I scan the faces before me. “I uh, I’m Parisa Nicchi. I’m Persian-Italian, nineteen, and a pop star. I performed a concert at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris the night I died. It was a terrorist attack—a s-suicide bomber detonated explosives just five minutes after I got off stage. Last thing I remember was walking backstage. And now I’m here. What is this?”
“A therapy session for wanderlust souls with unfinished business,” the Slavic man explains. “And I’m your personal Melinda Gordon, here to guide you into the light.”