Writing Wednesday: Ghostly Flash Fiction

Decorative image of a person obscured by a white linen curtain.

I died a few days ago, and moving into the Afterlife was a struggle—but why would it be very different from moving in the Mortal world? Bureaucracy. I thought I would bypass it when I died, but then again, the alive now occupy the dead.

I was given a grace period after I died. I was permitted to watch the funeral services—I was cremated, and I still felt a little queasy at being burned; but that still felt right. My family and friends were initially sad, and I was sad too. Their soft faces hung down and some cried. One of my friends, bless him, cried for the first time in my existence. We had known each other for thirty years. My mother and her shaking hands, from grief and age, decorated the stand with photographs, trophies, a few of my books, and flowers. My step-father picked the urn. He has impeccable taste.

The services were short and secular. The funeral home was gracious and solemn. My step-father and my mother hosted a party, of sorts, after the service. They even hired a caterer, who brought vegan sandwiches for my group of friends and traditional funeral finger foods for the ageing family members.
Their rainy smiles from the service parted into cool, jovial breezes as they remembered me. I took some time to explore the house, the one my parents had moved into after their youngest moved out. Their style was definitely old. I felt my spirit smile softly, the grin growing with every laughter from the sitting room or the kitchen.
When I went up the carpeted stairs, still not sure of the feel of it under my feet, part of me expected to find a childhood bedroom. But there were only two bedrooms, a computer room, and a three-piece bath. Quilts everywhere. Vacuum lines on wall-to-wall carpet.

I didn’t get to see everyone leave the house. I was guided by Grim’s Guards (the spirits who bring the new recruits, because, in their words, “There are too many people for a single Reaper to handle.”) to the next phase for my… initiation, I suppose.

Based on the religious society I grew in, I expected judgement. But there was none. No gates, no gavel, no figure of Good nor Evil to cast me into a group of Better- or Worse-Thans. Instead, I was debriefed with hundreds of other spirits from around my city on what to expect in the Afterlife.

I’m still learning, and of course I’ve forgotten that session.

Eventually, I was released to find housing, and I had fifteen days before Grim’s Guards re-processed me.

Because a spirit wandering around will inevitably get into trouble.

Prompt: You’re a ghost looking for a new home in your neighbourhood. Where would you choose? (Source: WritingExercises.co.uk)