There are plenty of interesting ways to die – Fall in battle, Get mauled by a bear, Strung up by the King’s men for treason. Me? I fell out of a tree. Yep, that’s right. At the ripe old age of fourteen summers, David Chalmen, fell out of a tree picking an apple for a girl he was sweet on. Legend made. I slipped on moss and took a nosedive straight towards the ground, heard my own neck snap before everything went dark.
When I woke up I was still on the hilltop, where the lone apple tree stood, the grass no longer green but a murky grey. The sky no longer blue but a still white. The sun hung in the same shade as a bad bruise. I still held the apple, it was far from the delicious looking fruit that Mandy Simmons had demanded I retrieve for her. The apple was thin, withered and black, it looked like it would kill a man stone dead. So I took a bite out of it anyway. I knew I was dead from the moment I had opened my eyes, so to hell with it, the first thing I would do is take a bite out of the prize I had thrown my life away for. Needless to say it tasted like shit; the texture of ash and just as dry. I immediately spat it into the dirt.
I spent the next few days exploring the landscape of what I had assumed to be purgatory, too harrowing to be heaven and much too dull to be hell. The world of the dead was nearly a replica of the world of the living but with all the colour, all the life, drained away. The only noticeable differences were the obelisks that I found scattered across the terrain, big stone things that looked absolutely pointless. They rose at least fifty feet, I felt like each and everyone of them challenged me so I did the only thing I could think of, and tried to climb one. I nearly reached the top when an eye opened in front of me on the obelisk, scared the death out of me. I hit the ground harder than I had when I fell from the tree, apparently you can’t die twice in purgatory but you can gain a sore arse from the experience.
Days soon turned into weeks, months, years and then time became something long forgotten. I wandered the land looking for others. I had imagined there would be others. In the end I begged for there to be others. But there was only me. I wasn’t all lonely though, strangely I found that it’s the living that haunt the dead. Several days after my attempt at climbing the obelisk I walked into a town neighboring my home. The town itself was empty but I could hear voices on the wind. I ran from building to building searching for the whispers, the laughter of children, the sound of a couple arguing in the distance but every time I drew near the sound would dissipate, leaving only the sound of my own foot steps. It was maddening, back when I was still new to death I had a child’s mischievous hope that being dead wasn’t all bad. I figured I would at least be able to haunt, tease, prank and entertain myself with the same tomfoolery that I had in life. Death was boring.