Okay, I finally got the words to flow right. I'm still churning out short chapters but I find I work better not having 5 million pages already written...I'll try to update as often as I can anyway.
As usually, reviews are greatly appriciated because I'd love to hear what ideas you guys may have about my stories.
"Step on my shoes."
It was a really weird order, but I did it. When we sank through the floor, we landed in the basement. I was balancing on the tips of my toes on his boots. That was probably the only way to keep me from falling again. Nick was holding the sleeves of my jacket tightly in his fists. I buried my face into his shirt.
"Oh God, you killed me," I said, muffled, "You actually killed me, I can't believe you. Oh God, I'm dead, oh God oh God oh God, I'm dead…" I started shaking.
"Listen to me," he said, "if you don't concentrate now, you won't be able to stand. I promise you, you'll have all the time in world to lament later on, but right now, I'm asking you to just take a deep breath and focus on making the ground solid. Understand?" Numbly, I nodded my head. "Good. Okay, I'm going to let go. You are going to imagine the ground as solid, and that you are light as a feather, and you can stand. Okay love?" I nodded again. He let go, pushing me back. I didn't imagine anything. Immediately, I started to sink. I was to my knees before he threw up his hands in frustration and, mumbling to himself, reached down and pulled me up. I felt cold and numb all over. My chest felt like I had a giant hole in it.
Nick lifted me up like a doll and carried me to the nearest door. The basement looked almost like my own at home; pipes exposed, random bits of wood and tools lying scattered around, half rusted. There was a blue painted metal door on one end of the room. It had a sign on it, but it was faded away. He kicked it open with one foot. The door was torn clear off the old hinges and bounced away. Inside was dark, but he didn't even hesitate before stepping through.
His arms slipped away from me. I felt a vicious pressure settle on my chest. I was floating alone in complete darkness. In a panic, I began screaming into the void, clawing the nothingness. I heard only my own breath escape my chest. And then it felt like someone had punched me in the face.
"For a second there, love, I thought I lost you," said a static-y, wavering voice, as though the owner was speaking into a fan. A dim, yellow light washed over me. I was lying on the cold ground, with a throbbing pain to my nose. "I dropped you." My arms and legs felt too heavy to move. I moaned into the ground. I'm also pretty sure that I was drooling like an idiot.
"Get up. You're okay." The voice said, drifting in and out like a bad cell phone reception. I gathered my strength and rolled myself over. I was staring into two black holes on a white, blinding sky.
"Oh God, where am I?" I said, feeling hot tears scald my lids.
"Why must you bring God into this?" said the sky. "Try to sit up. He only helps those who help themselves." I covered my arms with my hands. They felt like they were filled with rocks.
"Please, love. I can't help you here." Slowly, I pushed myself up. The sky moved away from me, shrinking until I could see that it was a face. A white, featureless mask, it covered a black, vaguely human shaped shadow. The shadow flickered like an old TV station, warping into gray, shaking lines for a split second before flickering back.
"What are you?" I asked, hearing the hopelessness in my own voice. I was tired of this. I wanted to go home.
"You don't recognize me?" asked the shape. His voice echoed around us as though we were in a giant hall. I looked around. It seemed we were inside a warehouse; the walls were so tall I couldn't see where they ended. They simply faded into blackness. They were covered in windows. Tall and industrial looking, they showed a dark blue sky, dotted with tiny pinpoints of light.
"Nick?" I called out. The shadow floated closer to me. I shrank back.
"I can't maintain a body here," said the silhouette, "the gravity is much too strong. But rest assured, it's me."
"Where are we?"
"Technically, we're between rooms. See that behind you? That's where we came from." The shadow pointed behind me. I turned as much as I could, actually hearing myself creak like an old rocking chair. Behind us was a wall, as tall as the average sized ones in a house, with a door cut into it. I could see the basement of the mall inside.
"You may feel a slight…pressure…here," said the shadow faintly, "if you had a normal body, it would be crushed into a mass the width of an atom by now. Even your spirit feels the weight."
"I want to go home," I said finally. The shadow sighed at me.
"I can't touch you," he said, "and therefore can't drag you anywhere. If you wish to sit there and panic, feel free. But for every second you waste grieving is just going to be added to your sentence. For your own sake, please get up and follow me." I hugged myself, but stood up. It was hard work, like I had an elephant on my shoulders. My knees wobbled under the weight of my upper body.
"Where are we going?"
The shadow turned its white face away, and began moving down the aisle between the walls. There were so many of them, each with a door, and a different room inside. I followed him grimly, wrapping my arms around myself.
"Gravity floats into your world through the openings," said the shadow, pointing a flickering finger up at the tops of the walls. These were rooms without ceilings, I realized.
"Oh. Wow. String theory."
"String Theory says that gravity is from another dimension, and it floats into our plane. That's why it's the weakest force, supposedly." I told him. I remember watching a documentary on it once, a few years back, while getting ready for school. I didn't see more than 12 minutes tops, but I do remember them talking about gravity. I was surprised to find out that they were sort of right.
"Huh," said Death ahead of me, "then I guess it won't be long before they start figuring things out for themselves, will it?" I heard a raspy, crackling noise and realized for he was actually laughing. It sounded like rustling paper. "I can only imagine what would happen if they found the way here."
"What's out there?" I asked, looking up at the windows, at the night sky.
"Is that really the sky?"
"Every sky is the same," he said, "and every plane sees the same sky." He stopped floating and I nearly walked into him. He jerked out of the way quickly. "Careful love," he cautioned, "you don't want to touch me here."
"Because right now, if anything alive, or existent, for that matter, of your plane touched me…they would cease to exist."
"Oh." I stepped away from him. He pointed ahead of us at a long wall with dozens of doors cut into it. When he didn't drop his hand, I realized that he wanted me to step through the doorways.
"What's in there?"
"I'm tired love," he said, "I don't know if you noticed, but this place isn't here to support anything that can feel pain, or exhaustion. I want to return to the real world. So just get in already. Or I'll leave you behind."
I scurried in. There wasn't that moment of pressure I felt the first time through. Instead, I found myself standing in what looked like a school hallway. I felt a presence behind me.
"Ahhh," sighed Death, "I love this place. The human world…it's such a…hopeful place to be." He stepped out from behind me and stretched. We were both standing in a hallway of what appeared to be a school; a row of gray lockers lay spread out down the hall like a deck of cards, a bar secured across them to stop anyone trying to open the badly-fitting doors.
"This is a school," I noted.
"That's right, love. Nothing like an abandoned school to haunt, right?" He pounded on the wall with the side of his fist and sent a shower of white plaster from the crumbling ceiling to settle in my hair. I went to go brush it off and got the first shock of my afterlife. My hair was white. Not just really blond (I had been bleached out severely some month before my death anyway), but a pure, clean white. The color of a cotton ball. I glanced down at my hand and saw that my skin too was a transparent sort of white; dull blue and purple veins were visible on the back of my hands. A little horrified, I crossed my arms protectively.
"Don't worry about your skin," said Death, murmuring in my ear. I jumped at the sound, not having seen him move so close to me. "It'll…" he paused and I felt him shrug his shoulders. "It'll…uh…become less….ghostly. Eventually. Over time." He moved away. I shivered without meaning to.
"Ok," he clapped his hands and gestured broadly to the opposite wall, "This entire school is ours to play with. Where would you like to go first?"