It's a very odd thing to die young, and an even odder occurrence to die of your own volition. Death was nothing like I had been taught in fifteen years of living. It was not some awakening experience, nor was it a peaceful slipping away, I was just simply breathing and then I was not. I had been lying in a tub with glass of wine to soften the feelings of pain and slicing, and all of a sudden I was here, standing next to my body. It hadn't even hurt that much, it was almost indescribably, though a poor attempt would be liking it to plunging into a pool of water and then breaking the surface. Only when I broke the surface I wasn't breathing.
I don't recommend suicide now, its leaves one with a very odd feeling of…well no feeling. Honestly I don't think this how your suppose to feel when you stare down at your own cold body as the blood runs down the drain that you forgot the clean once again, allowing some blood to pool. Stupid Anita, I told her to clean her hair out of the drain but then again being six didn't exactly make her have the best memory when it came to cleaning things. At least I wasn't going to be the one cleaning up this mess. I turn my head away from my image in the bathtub to the large ornate mirror my mother was so fond of. Perhaps I shouldn't have done myself in here in my parent's bathroom it was a tad on the obnoxious side.
It screamed teenage depression and angst, most likely leaving myself open to much speculation by psychologists after I died. "Did she do herself in her parent's bathroom because of some inane desire to punish her parents for her life?" they'd most likely ask. The truth was the bathroom I shared with my older sister and brother simply had a shower instead of a bathroom and it was easier to do myself in, well, in a tub.
I looked into the mirror to see…the bathroom tub with my dead body in it. I guess that was my hint that I was no a soul without a body? I could feel my usual sardonic smile climbing its way up to my lips before I could even think about it. I wonder what they would think to find the overachieving Vivian Nile lying their in the clothes she had worn to school that very day? Faintly, I thought as I wiped the smile off my face, I didn't really care. Now what to do with myself? I take one step testing to see if I would float upon the ground, only to find to my disappointment that I simply walked. I left my draining body in the tub and walked through the closed door of the bathroom. You'd think I'd be more emotional about this? I was no dead and walking around my empty house.
I walked down the nice, homely stairs in our small but homely house. Steven was at soccer practice, and his twin, my eldest sister, Lizzie was at choir practice. Mother had taken Anita to the mall to shop for her birthday party next Friday. Father was most likely with Richie, my youngest brother, at basketball practice. Athletic, artistically talented and popular where what my siblings represented, not that I was the oddly placed middle child or anything. In fact, I could happily say I shared in the abilities they demonstrated. I was on the tennis team, had a rather tight knit band of friends, was esteemed for my writing skill and superior to my siblings in intelligence. I was the Nile's genius child, my father usually joked. That wasn't far from the truth my IQ was just slightly lacking to be called genius.
As I reached the end of the stairs, a sigh escaped my lips death was a whole lot more boring then people described. There was no dastardly intimidating figure to bring me before a judger and deem rather my sins where to great to be in Heaven. It was kind of disappointing. I sat down on the bottom stair, finding that I didn't pass through anything in less I wanted to. Should I just wait until someone came to pick me up? Or was death just simply wandering around the Earth until….well until something happened? I leaned my back onto the stairway feeling nothing. Well that was another point different from life, I no longer felt anything. Not the hardness of the stairs, nor the soft white carpet. I could remember the feelings but it was like a poor substitute for touching the real thing.
I curled up on the stairs, laying my head on one of the higher stairs and pulling up my legs to where I had laid my bottom. This was all so pointless. I wonder if I should attempt to find the others? The others foolish enough to follow my words of advice. At first it had been simply an experiment to see if they would listen to me and then suddenly a few people had become zealous of the idea of a mass suicide. It had been so repulsing to listen to them hype on their problems that I had simply picked a random day instead of the day they had all chosen (funny enough on Anita's birthday).
Was I a bad person to have instigated a mass suicide? I have no idea, it was their fault for listening to me, my head reasoned. Even as my morals told me I was being absurd as I fed them lies about the fulfillment of death. Scholastically, from a psychologist point of view it was amazing how fast teenagers took to the idea as long as a group did it. I curled up tighter into the little ball I had made myself into on the stair.
I could feel my own skin and that was it. It was as if I existed on my own plane and so could only feel myself. I felt tired all of a sudden, as if I had just went through two straight games of Tennis without rest or water. My throat felt suddenly parched and I felt strangely tired. I wonder if I'm going to get punished for instigating a mass suicide? Or for committing suicide? Though the former I highly doubt was actually going to happen, the ones who had taken to becoming leaders as I had ostracized myself from the group with foolish people. It would be quite obvious in the coming week what they were planning when they sent out the chain email to all participating members. I know someone was going to be stupid and open the letter up at school or at home and leave it wide open to let someone see it. And the whole thing would be blown out of proportion and our school would be made an example of as an overbearing private school driving its students to suicide.
I closed my eyes sighing deeply. And someone would say "Vivian Nile started it!" and the incredulous looks turning into scowls was a clear image in my head. I knew once my body was found the adults would be aghast at the students blaming "poor, good Vivian Nile". After all it was disrespectful to the dead to blame them, they would argue to the students who most likely could not argue back. Those students would then face lives of mediocrity now, faced with the scar of having been part of that almost mass suicide. Oh, I don't want to think about it anymore. Sleep seemed much more amiable then thinking. I wonder if the dead could sleep?
The question was answered when I awoke to screaming and the feeling of being run through. I sat up groggily just as feet passed right through me on the stairs. I looked up to see my father reacting to what I assumed was my mother screaming. Anita hovered clutching Richie at the end of the stairs frightened. She never liked loud noises and Richie looked ready to bolt up the stairs after. I stood up and besides them. Not many people got to watch the after effects of their death; could it be counted as a blessing or a curse?
"What's going on?" I heard Steven behind me as he opened the door with Lizzie trailing after him. Steven looked sweaty and tired. Beside him my eldest sister looked tired herself, most likely having sung her pretty soprano voice out at practice. Almost immediately our darling angel Anita clung onto Lizzie.
"Don't ask. You don't want to know." I whisper knowing full well they weren't going to hear me. This was almost certainly a curse, the looks on their face made stabs at my heart as my mind looked on with curiosity. The deep wails of my mother penetrated deeply making me wonder had it been worth it? But I think if given the choice again, it would have played out all the same.
"Steven call the ambulance. Call it damn it!" My father hollered as he stumbled down the stairs seeing the dumbfounded stare of his eldest. The bottom of his shirt was stained with blood. The wails of my mother still be heard behind him. Without saying a word my brother bolted for the phone almost tripping over Richie.
I stared up at my father's face. My father had always been the quiet, imposing but pillar of our family life. His satirical humor and his soft smiles matched perfectly with my mother's dramatic personality. However right now his face had been drained of all color. His eyes looked larger and frightened. His winkles becoming predominant on his face as he slid to a sitting position on the stairs clutching his head. I turned to look at Lizzie holding on to the two youngest muttering comforting words when it was evident that she too was confused on what was going on.
I sat back down on the stairs and stared at the three frightened members of my family listening to my father's quiet sobbing, my mother's incessant wails and my brother yelling on the phone. I already knew what image awaited me if I went all the way up the stairs to the bathroom. My mother holding my body, rocking back and forth in that large tub she had been so proud of sobbing. The image was almost before my very eyes. I felt the sardonic smile of mine, something inherited from my father, climb its way up to my lips again. There was one more interesting thing about death, crying felt exactly the same insufferable way as it did in life.
Even odder then dying, I believe, is watching your own funeral. I sat on the casket, looking inside as I watched the people fill up the church. I almost snorted, it was preposterous we were holding it in church. Everyone knew that my family forgets to go to church like the president forgets to fulfill his promises during election. I really did snort then, my inner dork as my brothers put it, was coming out. I crossed my legs still in the clothes I had worn when I died. I didn't smell thankfully and I didn't need to do any bodily needs. I just simply existed, no hunger, no thirst and almost no feelings.
I scratched the back of my head as I looked down at myself. The mortician had done an impeccable job on me, I hadn't ever looked this good even during Homecoming a month ago. My short brown hair had been brushed out to fall on the velvet blue pillow, my favorite color, even working in the way my hair curled at the end. My skin had never looked so good in my life, it looked clear and my long eyelashes fell against my cheeks like a models. I think mascara was used here, I thought raising my eyebrows, my eyelashes were never that thick. Biting back my laugh I glanced at the clothes they had put on me. It was my favorite sunflower dress. The nice baby blue one with sunflowers so gold they looked like the sun against the blue. The white sash was to symbolize the clouds in the sky, so that the overall look of the dress would appear as the sky did. I had gotten it as collaboration present last Christmas from my siblings. Grumbling about how he could have spent the money on new shoes, Richie had presented the present. That Christmas they were treated to my usual obnoxious tongue silencing with astonishment. The dress had been incredibly expensive and something I had looked longingly at in my sister's fashion magazine.
All in all, I looked good. I didn't have any bizarre make up on and looked quite comfy in the casket. A casket that had almost caused a fight between my parents and grandparents. My grandparents had argue that I needed an expensive, lavish casket with all the settings while my parents had argued for this casket with its nice comfy simplistic look. Thankfully my parents won out as I don't think leaving my body in a over lavish, to expensive, going to be stuck in the ground anyway casket was what I would have wished.
During the three week period between discovering my body and getting it rushed to the hospital, where the doctors had quite plainly (in consoling tones of course) that I had been dead for an three hours already and there was no saving me, I had followed around each family member. There where six of them separately, one for each day and then the final day Sunday, I spent wandering the streets looking for anyone else to talk to. It looked like no one else had been in the dying mood.
I glanced up at the incessant wailing of my maternal and paternal grandmothers. I shook my head, all four of my grandparents where still alive and bustling and getting along fabulously well. It was most likely because of my grandmothers where known to have this "healthy" as my mother put it rivalry. I wondered if they were actual wailing for me or because they wanted to out due each other?
I slid off the casket and looked to see Anita in the corner clutching onto Lizzie with her face buried into the young woman's skirt. She looked adorable in her black dress with her black curls pushed back in low ponytail, if it wasn't for the grief stricken confusion on her face she would have looked perfect. I walked over leaning against the pillar they were behind. A few of Lizzie's friends, mostly boys where giving consoling words. I sighed, man couldn't they wait until the girl stuck her sister into the ground before they hit on her? It was no surprise of course, my sister had inherited our auntie's movie star looks. The usual vivacious girl didn't take the bait today instead opting to look distance and removing her mind from the conversation. I brushed my hand against the top of Anita and over Lizzie's arm causing them to shiver. They always assumed it was the cold, and seeing how it was almost winter I wasn't surprised.
I walked by them now to find my brothers. I had trailed Richie a couple of times but all the boy did was sit in his room throwing a basketball against the door. At school he was treated with a kind of isolated awe as his teachers desperately clamored not to tread on his emotions. It was hard as his usual short temper always seemed to be at the end of it's fuse. The first day I trailed him, was a school day and when he had gotten to school he was so tense that one kid who had bumped into him, he had slammed into the locker. I knew perfectly well my brother was more then a bit of a bully and we did try to squelch it out of him but it was just part of Richie's personality. Nevertheless, the slamming into the locker had been to excessive and he had been dragged into the principal's office by a teacher who did not particularly have good will towards him. There he proceeded to snarl at the principal until the teacher had yelled at him that nothing could excuse his behavior and they would have him suspended. I had let out a small bitter laugh when the principal's secretary had picked that one moment to walk in without looking up to deliver the information that "Richard and Anita Nile's older sister Vivian had died." Oh , the look on the adults' faces had made me laugh hard. It had abruptly stopped when Richie had thrown the chair he had been sitting in at the wall and stormed out.
I imagine his teacher still feels guilty to this day as later in the day said teacher had given him an A on an a test I knew he hadn't even bothered to fill out. I had been looking over his shoulder to see a completely blank test and an A on it. Aah, there he was standing with a group of my classmates and their little siblings in the same elementary as Anita and him. He had shoved his hands deep into his pocket and had slicked back his brown hair like father during a business meeting. He was like a little version of our father but with our mother's explosive dramatic attitude. It was obvious whatever my classmates where sobbing about he didn't give two cents about. I floated near to listen, just for a few moments. You would think that hearing all those good things about you after your death would never be tiresome, but if I heard one more "Vivian had been such a kind soul" I think I shall scream. That or cause some ghostly happenings at this funeral.
"Vivian was such a kind soul!" said one of the younger sisters of a girl I recognized to be in my third period AP Calculus class, uh, Melissa was the older sister I think. Good lord, I didn't even know who the younger sister was.
"You didn't even fucking know her!" Richie growled spitting on the floor next to him and stalking off.
"Now that wasn't very nice but my sentiments exactly." I sighed as I trailed after him. I looked over my shoulder to see the girl crying and the other teens looking distraught.
Richie stalked over to Steven who was in the field bouncing a soccer ball around. He was doing it with such a ferocious scowl on his face no one would come near, except for our young brother. Richie stood a foot away just staring at the ball a similar scowl on his face. I stared for what felt like a long time. Until Steven dropped the ball under his foot and looked over at our young brother. They stared at each other for a moment. Well, awkward male moment anyone?
"What's up?" Steven asked gruffly.
"Not much. You?" Richie replied.
"Not much." And the awkward silence continued.
Good lord, these two. It was common knowledge in our family that the two didn't talk very much, though they hung out to play video games at least once a week. Mother had always said it was because the males of our family were never very good at communication with each other.
"Vivian is a bitch." Richie suddenly said. Well….that was slightly unexpected, but I think I much prefer it to the numerous cries of sadness and false comments about the goodness of me.
"Yeah, a pretty big bitch." Steven said rolling the ball under his foot. Uh, well thanks? Silence filled the air for a second.
"I miss her." My younger brother sniffled and all of a sudden the dam broke. Aw, damn don't cry.
"I do too." My older brother's voice was gruff and sounded like he was holding back tears to.
I brush a finger against each other their faces, for a second they stopped with a freaked out expression, then looked at each other. They let out a shaky laugh as if it had been a personal joke between them. And Steven kicked the ball to Richie and they slowly rolled the ball towards each other.
Well that had been rather emotional. Wiping my face with a sleeve I walked back into the church. Sniffling a little as I reentered, I really can't say I regretted doing this. Nor could I really deny what my brothers had said about me. Because I was a bitch. I had always been one.
No not like the ones on Television who flounced down the hallway with the glitz and glamour of high school life around them. The kind who knew what picked at a person's worst vulnerabilities and took in joys at picking at them. I was the kind who said the worst possible thing and people would love it, because everyone loves the nitpicky bitch.
I took a seat right next to the pew by my father's feet. My parents were already seated with my mother buried in my father's shoulder. I looked up at them and then at the casket where I laid. The priest made a movement to signify that the funeral was about to start and I could see my siblings lining up next to my parents. My aunts and uncles took the pews behind. My classmates had the other side and family friends sat behind my other family. I yawned now, because I knew that the sickeningly sweet speeches would start now. My brothers had been the closest to actually saying the real thoughts of the attending mass. Funny how funerals make one so sentimental, even for a person who obviously wasn't a good person.
I stretched my feet out next to the pew and looked around. Some people where quietly sobbing in to handkerchiefs while others, like my mother, were wailing away into shoulders. I wanted to snort and shove the priest aside to announce that everyone need to shut the hell up. The only one whose wailing was even a little acceptable was my mother's, as hers was most likely the only one sincere.
"Does anyone have any words?" The priest asked looking around the room. I snorted again, I'm out of here. I already know what my family wants to say, or rather Lizzie and my parents because they are the only ones in my family who'd say something. There were also the only ones in this whole procession that mattered to me. I got up to leave.
"I want to go." Anita announced her voice clear and ringing through the church. Well that stopped me in my tracks. My youngest sister untangled herself from Lizzie and made her way up to the podium. A lot of "aws" went through the funeral.
Her face was seriously stressed I could tell, and there were sleepy lines under her eyes. The priest pulled out a little stool for her to stand upon and she stood, looking over the procession. I walked a little closer to the front and sat down directly in front of her to stare up at her. Anita was well spoken for a girl her age, lord knew that her memory was shit and she couldn't clean to save her life but she was smart. Not as smart as I per say but with me gone she wouldn't have much competition. She took a deep breath.
"My sister wasn't a good person, in fact she use to always pick at everything people did wrong. Vivian was mean and she always worked for herself. She use to make me cry more times then she actually knew." Ouch, a quiet hush penetrated the room, "I know all of you thought that too. She was to much sometimes and made everyone angry more times than any of us can count. But," her face contorted now into the start of her heartbreaking sobbing, "I miss her. I miss her every day now. I want her to tell me that I was stupid for getting that math problem wrong or steal my cookies. I want her to wake up and tell me I was stupid for believing she was dead. I want her to come and hug me without a word like she did before. I want Vivian but she's dead. And it's all her fault! I hate her so much," she was sobbing now, "I hate her so much! Vivian I hate you!"
Father collected her from the stage as her grip from the microphone slipped and she turned into a crying mess. I swallowed what felt like a giant lead ball in my throat and gritted my teeth. I could feel my own sobs wanting to come out. Damn Anita. Damn her, I didn't regret any of this. Not even a little bit until now. Shit. Shit. SHIT.
I ran then, right out of the church. Away from the sobbing that had now picked up from my siblings. Damn Anita thought I could pick at the very thing that hurt people the most? Well she could pick at the very things that brought people heartache. Damn her, I ran as fast as I could from the church, down the path leading towards the cemetery part. And I tripped.
I stupidly tripped right in the middle of a couple of tombstones and laid there, because I was stupid and sobbing. Who knew a kid could say everything that brought a whole mass of people to tears? Who could say something that could make Vivian Nile cry? Man, death was so retarded. I have never cried so much in my life.
"I've been looking for you forever!" a voice above me announced and I quickly scrambled up, not being able to bear the feelings of someone thinking I looked retarded. Quickly wiping the dirt off my face I looked up and put on my best glare. Oh wait, I was dead and no one could see me.
The person above me was a young woman, most likely in her late twenties. Her black hair was pulled back completely in a low pony tail with it pulled over her shoulder to show off the curls. She wore an obnoxious bonnet of wilting roses and a torn black gown. It was a large black dress that covered her from neck to toe and looked right out of a Victorian gothic novel. She had an umbrella to cover her head despite the hat. She was beautiful though, in a classic sort of way. Large blue eyes fanned with dark eyelashes and high cheekbones. Her lips were deep red and her skin a rosy porcelain color.
"Now don't look at me like that darling. You took absolutely forever to find." She said her voice now a whole lot less irritated. I looked around, who the hell was she talking too? "To you darling, now get up and wipe yourself off. You look like a frightful mess."
"If I do you look like you need a needle and a flower shop." The words tumbled out before I could think. No one insulted Vivian Nile.
"What a snappy thing you are! It's kind of endearing, anyway are you ready?" she said lifting her skirts to show rain boots.
"Ready for what?" I managed out as I covered my ears. The sound of water rushed through my ears. What was going on?
"For Death, honey, or rather for in between, suicides have the tendency to have to wait forever in the pending list." I heard her voice clearly despite the rush of water. I felt my body lift and this eerie feeling of being lifted.
"Stop it! I feel funny!" I yelled and all I heard was laughter.
I hate being wet. I always have. My family adored going swimming but I hated it more than anything. It wasn't that I was averse to swimming; in full actuality I had no problem with it. I just hated that feeling of stickiness between being dry and being wet. That is why I usually avoided swimming or it would put me in a horrible mood. The fact my whole back was now soaked wasn't working on my mood.
"Well you took to it better than most. Most of them usually were quite nauseating when they came, puking all over themselves. Now, come along stand up! Welcome to the Stream of Reflection. I have to check you in so come on." Ordered the woman in a bemused tone, I looked up and was ready to give her a searing remark.
Then I saw them, billions of stars, of lights and blackness above us. I looked around bewildered, I sat in a slightly to big to be a stream but a slightly to small to be a river, body of water. Besides the water was….stars and more blackness as if we were in the center of the universe. It was frightening and breathtaking at the same time. I felt a star go by my face across the stream.
"Oh god, did I finally go to heaven?" I said stumbling to my feet and the woman laughed, it tinkled and echoed.
"No, honey, we are in the Stream of Reflection and we must be going now." She replied and looked at me as if expecting me to freak out. Alright Vivian breath, you are intelligent and have lived your life by the code of calmness. I drew my shoulders back and gave my best diplomatic smile.
"Alright, then let's get going. I assume you know my name, Vivian. What should I call you?" I answered and she burst out laughing.
"Virgo, but you can call me…well Virgo." Virgo told me brushing a strand of hair from my face. I tried to move my face away and she gave a laugh.
Alright, so where am I going to end up now?
A/N: This is my first chapter for my NaNoWriMo work. Sorry if the work is jumpy especially from the funeral to the Stream of Reflection.