People are used to being different. People are used to feeling alone, ridiculed by life, or anything equally selfish.
I'm not used to this. I'm not used to being dead.
I got up from the bed and groggily walked to the bathroom attached to my room. I leaned over the counter and did my standard procedure of coughing up some blood into the sink; I looked up, had enough time to see the dimming light in my eyes, and repeated. Rinse the blood down the drain, and repeat.
"Marshall?" My younger brother called as he padded softly to my retching form.
"What?" I gasp between breaths.
"Does it hurt real bad?"
I didn't answer him. I wish it did hurt, so I would feel alive.
Finally my episode stops and I straighten up. In the mirror I see my blonde hair plastered to my forehead and my white skin covered in sweat. I noticed I was looking a bit ashen. I guess I was decaying.
"Will I turn into a zombie too?" Johnny asked, pulling my sleeve.
"I'm not a zombie. I'm a vampire." I sigh. I wished I was a vampire…because then maybe girls would like that more than just a walking corpse.
I was not a brain-munching zombie. I was a necromancer. I died two days ago. The elder promised me I would stop decaying tomorrow. Then I would stop regurgitating body fluids and god knows what else happens when you are a walking dead-man.
My job is to sense and purge evil spirits. One can only see them when dead. That doesn't help much does it? So then kids like me are randomly picked to 'serve' for three years. Then I will be resurrected and I can continue aging and what-not.
The signs if you are one of the lucky bastards:
1) Bad, horrible headaches for days straight.
2) Losing bodily functions
3) Mood swings that cause murderous intent
4) The reaper knocks on your door and says "congratulations!"
Then you know you're fucked.
I thought the reaper, if he existed, would be some spooky skeleton in a robe. Instead it was some young guy in a black business suit holding a gun at his side. I guess scythes were a thing of the past.
There was a gush of wind as the reaper suddenly appeared behind me. He put a hand on my shoulder. I coldly looked at him through the mirror I was facing.
"Hey Marshall. I just came by to give you the rules and expectations once again."
"Okay." I monotonously replied.
"So. Once you stop decaying you're going back to school and into public. You are going to purge citizens of their evilness via casual exorcism. Do you remember the procedure for such exorcism?"
"I touch them. And I focus my newly acquired spiritual energy into them, thus pushing the evil out. And then I will absorb the evil. And then I will report to you." I sighed.
"Good. And the rewards for your service are…?"
"An extra three years of my life, immunity of all disease and unfortunate events, and guaranteed salvation for me and my family." I sighed again.
"Good." He disappeared.
Ah man…High school is going to suck.
In perfect response to my thought, I threw up blood again.
I dizzily stumble back to my bed and collapse into it, I did not feel the soft mattress underneath me; I felt nothing. I wasn't completely numb per say, everything just felt dull I guess. It took more energy to notice the sensations. Too much energy.
"The reaper man is scary." Johnny whispered next to me.
"Don't worry, he won't come for you." I patted him on the shoulder. I wonder what did make him come to me. He told me it was completely randomized, but I don't know, it seemed way too important to pick kids randomly for. Maybe it was just my arrogance that something just had to be special about me, when there really isn't.
I keep trying to convince myself being a dead kid would be cool. I couldn't get sick, I couldn't die, I couldn't get beat up as I wouldn't feel the pain. Maybe I can fight crime…
Maybe I can be Dead-Man! They can write about me in the next couple of antihero comic books.
I laugh cynically to myself as I curl under the blankets that used to bring me warmth. Death was a constant cold. A couple little shivers you could never shake off. It was odd, as the feeling was on the inside. As though…my soul was dying too.
I closed my eyes and found that I couldn't dream. All I saw was the dark landscape of under my lids. It was terribly boring and saddening. I sat up and padded to the book shelf to find a book to hold me over for the next eight hours before school started. None of them held my interest, so I slumped to my computer to log unto MySpace. I found the little status window and clicked the drop-down menu to the 'Dead' option. My smiley had X's for eyes.
Now everyone was updated on my mood, and wouldn't know that I really fucking meant it literally.
I leaned back in my chair and sighed, wondering what on earth to do with myself for the next three years like this. I couldn't eat, I couldn't drink, and I couldn't feel. All those things I took for granted. All gone.
I grabbed the box cutter that for some reason was in my room and pushed up the blade. I prodded my fingertips with it until I was sure I would've been bleeding. I felt no pain, just a dull pressure, and no blood emerged. I threw up the last of it earlier.
I started to giggle now, as I realized I was worse than an emo kid, I feel so dead…so alone…
And no one could help me.
"Fuck it." I smile, as I turned to find my little brother gone. I decided to watch random YouTube videos until the birds chirped into my cozy fucking room.
"Marshall! It's time for school!" My mom hollered, and then she entered and saw me. She froze. I could see the fear in her eyes. I did not look like her son anymore. I was thinner, nearly grey in my decay, and just plain scary looking. "I'm sorry. I forgot…how do you feel?" She asked softly, in her motherly tone. She was the most supportive in all of this, my dad just thought it was all a joke.
"I don't feel actually. It's weird. Do I really look that bad, mom?" I asked gently, giving her a smile showing her that the honest answer was okay.
"Oh honey…well, um, you just look like a stoner, baby. Sorry." She laughed nervously to let me know she meant it was good-humored.
"I guess I'll fit into school, but damn it. I wish…I don't know." I whined, I shot up out of my chair and walked to my closet. I took off my shirt, I decided I'd just wear the same jeans.
"Oh dear." She sighed as she walked over to me. "Look at you. My god. My poor baby…" She muffled into her hand.
I looked down to find evidence of slight blood that decided to hemolyze. That means there are visible veins that become slightly greenish from blood congealing. My skin looked pretty ugly.
"Reaper said it'd go away. It takes a few days for my body will recompose itself to where it's look like just an hour after I died...instead of days."
"I don't like that man. I don't know why he had to pick you Marshall! There are plenty of boys out there! Why did they decide to take mine!" She started to cry and I felt bad for her.
"Look at it this way Mom, at least everyone in our family will go to heaven no matter what."
"But sweetie, we're Christians…there isn't supposed to be reapers or necromancer children! None of that was in the Bible! We were going to heaven anyway!"
I bit my tongue; my mother still didn't know that I was in fact, atheist. Or at least I was, until this bullshit. Now I'm just as fucking confused as her.
"Well, now we won't have anything bad happen to us." I perked up.
"Jesus is watching over us, nothing bad would've happened without reason—"
"Damn it mother! Will you just shut up!" I screamed, a sudden fury burned in my being. "I'm trying to justify this shit okay!? That's what faith is isn't it? Making everything that goes fucking wrong in your life okay? I'm dead for three years; I'm a slave to a freaking Grim Reaper in a monkey suit for Christ's sake! Do me a favor and let me feel like I'm doing something good for us, and that this isn't all for nothing!" I grabbed a black T-shirt and slipped it quietly on. At least the black would hide the slight bloating of death.
"I'm sorry Marshall. You're right. I'm proud of you for handling all this shock so maturely…" She walked out of my room.
I shook my head miserably. It's always been my job to take care of things around here, considering father was usually gone at a job. I didn't like this vulnerable position where my world is turned upside down. I still can't even wrap my head around the last few days. Between getting a knock at my door, having a cardiac arrest in the living room in front of everyone ( my last words were "What the fuck is this shit") , and then having to deal with accelerated decaying, and now the decay is reversing only barely…damn it all. Now I'm supposed to continue my senior year like everything is peachy keen?
I bent down to tie on my Chuck Taylors, and noticed grimly my joints felt a bit stiff. Just what I need, walking down the hallway like Frankenstein. I went back to my bathroom mirror to make some sense of my hair. You know, I felt I was a pretty attractive kid, I had girlfriends (you know, the four-day ones you just have sex with) and popular friends…but I wonder who will stick around with these changes. I can't tell them I'm dead exactly, but they'll wonder why I can't eat, drink, or anything. Or why I look like I was found in a gutter.
My mom entered my room once again carrying a few bottles of cover up.
"I know you're going to argue make-up, but it'll take the slight grey and blue from your face." She offered somberly.
"You know, that's fine. I'd rather make-up then having to explain this…" I let her pat a layer on my face and neck. She also touched up some discolor on my arms. I looked back in the mirror and looked more like my old self. It was comforting.
"Want me to drive you honey?" She ran a hand through my hair as apparently it wasn't a style to her liking. It's called 'stylishly' messy. After she removed her hand I reverted it back initiating her slight eye-roll.
"No mom, it's fine. It's only been a weekend of this madness and I want to have some normalcy." She slowly slid the keys into my hand.
"I thought your joints would be stiff. Are you sure you can drive?"
"Yes, mother." I tersely responded, pushing past her as I grabbed my bag. I was probably being unfair to her, but I was a selfish teenager with some major issues.
I was out the front door before anyone else showed overbearing concern for my 'condition'. I slammed the car door and the engine rumbled to life.
I shook my head. I didn't want to really think into this. It was difficult managing the clutch with my stiff knees, but I noticed they were getting better the more I moved.
Finally I was at the school and I hastily went to my first class instead of hanging around the wall talking to buddies.
"Hey Marshall!" Shaun called. I grudgingly turned slightly, wondering if I was sweating—wait. I don't sweat anymore…right. The foundation plastered on my face was safe.
"Hey Shaun…" I said in a little hoarse voice.
"Whoa hey man, you don't look so good. You look a bit pale…er…blue…" He scratched his head full of dark curls girls loved so damn much.
"Yea, well I don't feel good okay? Lay off." I walked away.
"Jeez Marshall, is it the time of the month for you already or what?"
I stopped and swung at him, which he easily dodged.
"Well, I guess that really isn't abnormal for you. You always had a temper problem ha-ha."
"Go annoy Hayden or something." I grumbled, "I'm in no mood for this shit."
"Ah fine man. Come talk to me when you stop bleeding." I watched him turn the corner.
"Bleeding…" I sighed, "I guess if I was a chick this wouldn't be so bad. They wouldn't have periods anymore…ha-ha." Boy was my humor humorless. I started walking again and that's when it hit me.
Something was eerily out of place, and I felt a shiver and my skin crawl. Oh my God I fucking felt something! Yet I knew it was only me sensing an evil spirit hording up in someone. It happened to be a little freshman who was sitting on the stairs looking all lonely.
I sat down next to her and asked what was wrong.
"No one likes me…" She whined in a typical freshman voice. I saw she was wearing undie-shorts and a spaghetti top showing her back as she leaned forward. She was the easy target in a high school party, I could tell. If I saw her I'd only not pursue her for her age, despite her obviously asking for it.
I placed an arm around her, as physical contact must be made.
"It's okay little one. I'm sure some boy will like you. Just stick with those your age."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She leaned into me and I momentarily gagged, except I couldn't gag. I didn't remove my arm as just now did the dark energy start slipping into my dead body, where it could not affect me and control me as it did her.
"Well, usually freshmen try to get with seniors…like me." I hinted, "It's a horrible dangerous idea as they can get taken advantage of." I felt the last of it creep into me. And I removed my cold as death arm. I sensed low-self esteem in the energy. She instantly perked up.
"I wouldn't mind being taken advantage of if it was you…" That was my cue. She was getting brave with the downer gone. I gently pushed her away and stood up.
"I'm not the kind of guy you want. I'm sorta dead inside." I smiled bitterly.
"Oh…gothic huh? That's weird; you look more like a skater. Maybe that's why you smell like death and coffins." She was obviously joking, I hoped. Yet would she have leaned into me if I smelled like a rotten dude? Doubt it.
"Well, either way, I don't do freshmen." I bowed slightly and walked away. I heard her sigh after me.
That's me, Marshall, a real drop-dead-gorgeous ladies man. I laughed and people stared.
I kept walking to my class and slowly sat down. I felt another cold shiver and I jerked to the right where Christian was staring at me. He was a really pale guy with dark features. Typical scene guy. His hair was black with red streaks that fell into his eyes making him look like he was trying to look intense. His eyes were grey, and his lips were twisted into a smile.
"'Sup." I spoke, no longer creeped out by anything. I met death, I am death. What was this kid gonna do? Kill me? Ha.
He said nothing and simply turned away. I shrugged and slouched in my seat.
The rest of the day was without incident, no one was suspicious of my deadishness. Everyone just thought I was sick.
I went home and did my homework, as I couldn't sleep the day away, and I watched T.V and decided it wasn't so bad. I couldn't get fat from eating, and I'd never feel pain when I fell off my skateboard so…I don't know. I could make it work.
Then it hit me.
If I had no blood…how would I ever have sex again? Viagra doesn't work on the dead, does it?
My depression cycle started all over again.