A Few More Deaths – Part Two

<< Part One

I stare at the top of the Karma board for a couple of minutes, carefully not glancing at the bottom right corner.
“Still not allowed to move forward?” Teresa asks before planting a kiss on my cheek. “This is getting ridiculous.”
I follow her gaze to the bottom of the board where my dreaded account balance is displayed. A surge of anger shakes the molecules forming my temporary body.
“One point! One effing point and they’re going to send me back to hell. How is that fair?” I spin on my heel and find a spot at the nearest table where I can bury my face in my hands and grumble in peace. I feel like I just flunked a final exam by one percent, coming so close to liberation only to be sent back in the pit where privileges such as choosing my incarnations and knowing my soul mate is denied. Apparently, love is a distraction under-evolved souls shouldn’t experience.
Until I reach the “zero” threshold, I’m stuck with reincarnations in time frames prior to my initial life. “Harsher times teach valuable lessons.” If only time was the linear progression every earthling believes it to be, middle management couldn’t force me into a witch’s body during the Inquisition or an Egyptian slave doomed to die on a pyramid. “The most painful the death, the higher the Karma point value.” Craptastic.
I should really stop quoting Limbo’s sales pitch or I might shoot myself. Again. Which would pull me back ten reincarnations.
The sound of the Karma board processing another inquiry piques my curiosity. Teresa, ever so perky, shuffles left and right in a slow dancing motion as she waits for her file to appear. Jealousy pings through my absent heart when the bold, green, flashy numbers display her Karma points. She skips up to the chair in front of me with a wide grin and a giggle.
“Ten points left and I’m out of here!”
I sigh. Our first life defines a lot of things about us; most of us retain the name and gender of our original incarnation. Teresa, as in Mother T, started way ahead in the race to eternal life in Eden. I don’t hold it against her but I can’t keep from being a little bit annoyed; she reincarnates in futures I can’t even dream of.
“Good for you,” I mumble. I have a hard time bearing the idea she’s going to move on soon while I am stuck here for another twenty “live, die, repeat”.
“Don’t be so grumpy, Dave,” she scolds. “You’re missing one lousy point to officially reach the good lives patch. You should talk to your counselor.”
“And say what? ‘Please can I have a freebie?’” Teresa punches my shoulder.
“No, silly! Maybe you can cut a deal and earn the Karma through a little community service instead of another crappy incarnation.”
My jaw drops. I never thought about that. Then, as the idea forms and the possibilities unfold, I realize that option might be even more painful than taking on another meat suit.
“I doubt I can handle giving three hundred ‘Welcome to Limbo’ speeches.” I’m nowhere near a poster boy for the valuable lessons of multiple lives. “It might actually kill me.”
A crystalline laugh emerges from Teresa’s throat. The aerial notes float around the room, stopping souls on their way to the buffet or spoons on their way to mouths. She’ll be an angel soon and everything about her already breathes grace.
“That’s the long way.” She puts her hands around mine. “You could achieve the same by reaping a hundred souls.” I stiffen. Glorified taxi driver hardly fits my idea of a good time. And that isn’t even the worst part.
“I can’t work with Z.” I withdraw my hands from under hers so I can cross my arms over my chest to stifle a shiver.
Z, the derogatory moniker of the head reaper. Z as in pronunciation of “the” before a vowel with a heavy French accent.  He bothers so many of us with his arrogance we figured if he ever had a first life, he had to have been Parisian. No one knows who died to make him the big boss’s pet but he makes a point of constantly reminding us, little souls, how insignificant we are. And if we dare reply, we can be sure there will be a painful delay for our pick up at our next death.
“Dave,” Teresa sighs. She effortlessly vaults over the table, almost flying, to land on the chair beside me. A few souls lose their trail of thoughts. Teresa smiles and greets them. They blush and return to their business. “A little bird tells me The Reaper and you have a few things in common.”
The doubtful cocking of my eyebrow brings a smile on her face. She wraps her arms around my shoulders and shakes me gently until I relax. Once I lose my overly rigid posture, she runs her fingers through my hair, detangling the knots of frustrated nerves. A few jealous glances are shot our way. Public display of affections never really bothers souls, what with the lovey-dovey soul mates wondering around. Lust doesn’t exist up here. However, Teresa is coveted, to say the least. It isn’t about her looks – everyone here looks young and perfect – but her status on top of the Karma chain. A lot of souls wish she would be revealed to be their soul mate.
“You both share the same angst, for one,” she affirms. I scoff. “He can never become a real angel and you don’t think you’ll ever reach that point either.”
“That doesn’t make us the same.” I reply.
“You both scare people off your friend list.”
“Hey! That’s not true!” I turn to face her. “I have you.”
“I don’t count. I’m one, soon-to-be departed soul. The almost-angel on your shoulder.” She winks.
“I’d rather lobby for a freebie than work for Z.”
Teresa folds her legs over my lap and rests her elbows on her knees. She cradles her chin in her hands and squints at me. The staring contest begins. Her blue eyes force seriousness through my carapace. I reconsider her idea but no matter how strong her will to convince me is, neither option is bearable.

Part Three >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

2 responses to “A Few More Deaths – Part Two

  • Jenn

    This is really different that a lot of your work that I’ve read. I’m enjoying it & like any new book that I start, I’m still guessing where this is going. If you game me more than just one chapter at a time, I would sit & devour the whole thing, I think.

    • Aheïla

      I like to try different things and remain flexible in my writing. It’s good that my attempts are not complete failures. *laughs*
      At least this story isn’t stretching over the whole year. 😉

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