Working Class Ghost

Finalist in the 'Beyond Words 2015' competition

The night sky stood on the precipice of dawn as I closed my eyes. A moment later I opened them to a rather packed room, where a glaring woman asked for my name. I noticed immediately that almost every other person in the room showed signs of recent fatality. A completely drenched man with a pale complexion was standing closest to me. He removed his hat to incline his head, and more water sloshed out and over him, soaking him further. Mortified, he avoided my stare and turned away.
The glaring woman noted the direction of my gaze.
“You had better not ask anyone here questions regarding their passing; don’t you know that’s a very personal matter?”
I felt my cheeks flush at her words and stammered an apology, before a hooded figure entered the room and I saw my companion stiffen.
The hooded figure began to speak, but did not reveal its face.
“Welcome to the afterlife.” The voice, neither male nor female, spoke with slight sarcasm. “I apologise for the lack of cherubs, but worry not; you may very well enter under His-” it jerked its head upwards, “sacred roof soon enough, depending on how well you serve me here.
“You are here because you are all recently deceased- pardon my insensitivity- with regrets veritable enough in nature that you have not passed on. You are to work here as ghosts and maintain humanity’s belief in the afterlife by scaring the wits out of people until you make peace with your regrets. But be warned; many have grown bitter and resentful after staying here too long and now take their jobs a little too seriously. Don’t look so appalled, you won’t be possessing anyone, that’s not really our department. You’ll only be assigned small jobs: slamming doors, flickering lights at frighteningly inconvenient times, messing about with those ridiculous Ouija boards, things of that sort. You’ll spend so much time with people at their most vulnerable that you will come to appreciate your own life, regrets and all. Phantom Morana will give you your assignments.”
It left through a door then, and I almost made out what looked like a skeletal hand turn the knob before it vanished into darkness.
The angry looking woman- Phantom Morana- then gave out instructions. I was to reveal myself, suddenly and quickly, to a group of teenagers planning on playing Bloody Mary- a game which was apparently hugely offensive to many of the staff phantoms working in the afterlife. I learnt the prayer that would take me to the edge of the mortal world, so that I could step in and out of it. I practiced my most haunting stare in a mirror with a few of my new colleagues. I recited my prayer and travelled to my post and watched the young adults light candles in preparation for their night. And no one- not one spirit, phantom or ghost; realised that I was not actually dead.

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