Monday, October 19, 2015

When Lucas awoke that morning before the sun had even begun to rise, he knew that something was horribly wrong. The place on his belly where Pumpkin usually slept was strangely cold, and when he looked down, he saw nothing but the crumbs of the donut he had eaten the night before.

"Pumpkin?" He shouted, immediately jumping up from his sofa. "Pumpkin, baby, where are you?" He looked in the kitchen, no luck. Underneath his old bed, no luck. In his closet, no luck. Eventually Lucas found himself searching in the oddest of places including the toilet, the long broken refrigerator, his old shoes. Nothing.

His heart began to race. Oh where oh where had his little Pumpkin gone? His heart sunk when he saw that his apartment door was slightly ajar, letting in a small stream of light from the hallway. He must have not closed it all the way last time he went out.

"Pumpkin? Pumpkin! Where are you?" He shouted down the empty hallway, but his voice was swallowed by the stuffy walls and filthy carpet. The black cat did not come scampering towards him.

He skittered down the hallway on light feet, occasionally calling out the name of his beloved cat.

Without Pumpkin, he was all alone in his personal limbo. He had no one else to keep him company, for death had veiled him from the rest of the waking world.

The elevator doors opened, and Lucas let out a little eep! of surprise. Another man was in there. Hopefully he wouldn't be too worried that the door opened on a floor where no one was there. In fact, he hoped that he wouldn't worry if that happened on all the floors. So, Lucas smashed all the buttons with his fingers.

The doors opened, and he poked his head out. "Pumpkin?" He cried into the empty hallway. He did this multiple times before the man finally spoke.

"Are you looking for something?" The man had said. "I've been here for a while, maybe I can help you find someone?"

Lucas coughed, then choked, spattering saliva everywhere. He wasn't talking to him- no way, no way. He was probably just talking to himself, or maybe he was on his phone! Lucas decided not to look at him.

"Man, what's going on? I need to get to the lobby. I gotta go to work."

Lucas spun towards the man, his purple rimmed eyes wide. "Huh?" He said meekly through chapped lips. "Are you talking to m-me?"

The doors opened with a bing, but Lucas was too distracted to do anything.

"Uh... Yeah?" The man seemed rather confused. "Come on, man. Why're you doing this? I gotta go, I'm gonna be late."

Lucas coughed more. "A-are you some kind of clairvoyant?" He stepped towards the man, and reached out to stroke his cheek. He couldn't be real.

The man visibly retracted from his touch.

It was a sign- it had to be. He never had to be alone, ever again. Once one presence in his life leaves, another will enter. Maybe his new presence would be this man.

"I'm Lucas, and I'm dead, let's be friends."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Of Cat Food and Wet Ducks

Lucas knew that he had to leave the apartment today. He didn't know what would happen, really. Perhaps he would walk through the doorway, and reappear in his living room completely unscathed. Perhaps as soon as he left the threshold of his home, he would disappear into nothingness. Perhaps nothing at all would happen. But alas, whether he exited his home was a matter of life and death (No pun intended). Not his own life (death?), but Pumpkins.

The orange cat had grown cranky in the past few days, the only thing to sate his hunger were the cockroaches that scuttled about the filthy apartment. So much so, that his persistent "mews" became yowls, and the impatient pacing became frantic scratching at the front door. So it was either his cat's life or the slim chance that he would be erased from this realm. And of course, Lacas being the selfless, valiant soul he was, chose the former. He couldn't take seeing his darling Pumpkin suffering like this much longer.

He stood in front of the open door, staring into the hallway that he had not seen in almost four weeks. His body stood rigid and tall, and his hands were clenched into balls at his sides.

Deep breaths. You can do this.

He gulped, squeezing his tired eyes shut, and charged through the doorway.


Lucas slammed into the wall opposite of his apartment. He blinked, and stared down at his shaking, pale hands. Still here.

So, with a kiss goodbye to Pumpkin, he headed down to the ground floor in nothing but his weeks-old boxers (no one could see him, right?)

As he entered the front lobby with a ding! from the elevator, the man sitting behind the desk didn't even bat an eyelid at him. His landlord. Lucas chuckled heartily. How stupid he was, to think he could somehow force Lucas to leave his own territory. He poked his tongue out at the cranky man, and pushed open the front doors.

The light was almost blinding. Though hidden by dark, churning clouds, the sun still seemed to burn Lucas' eyes, which had grown used to the musky darkness of his home. He pattered down the sidewalk with his bare feet, a smile on his face. Why, he should have done this weeks ago! He could feel the wind on his bare skin, smell the dank city air, and even hear the traffic from a few blocks over.

As he giddily made his way towards the All-mart, swinging his arms as he went, he passed by many people (perhaps looking to find shelter from the impending rain). And if he weren't so focused on the many familiar sensations of the outdoors, he would have noticed that many heads turned in his direction and many eyebrows raised.

"Um... Why aren't you wearing any clothes?" A girl said, sitting on the bench beside him. He continued walking. Surely it wasn't directed at him. "Hello? I'm talking to you, you know." If he had turned his head to look at her, he would know that the girl calling out to him was his neighbor, Poppy Nixon. And he would have also noticed that she was staring right at him.

Now, Lucas didn't have any money. He had no need for money, or a job, or an income. And three weeks ago, he was fired from his first and only job. Luckily, now that he was no longer living, he could go wherever he pleased and take whatever he pleased.

He arrived at the All-mart, and somehow managed to drag an entire bag of kitty food to the front of the store. The only cashier, though, was asleep at his lane, his slobber dribbling onto the register. It was not a busy day, was it? It didn't matter to Lucas, however. In fact, it made his job all the more easy! He had no worries of a terrified cashier shrieking about a floating bag of cat litter.

Lucas managed to hoist the heavy bag onto his shoulder, where he could carry it easier, and began to make the short trek back home.

However, Lucas didn't want to go home quite yet, after all, he had not seen the sky for at least three weeks. With nothing else to do, he found himself wandering towards the rave yard, one of his favorite places before his death. It was nothing more than a few acres, but the heavy aura of decay and mirthlessness that practically drowned the place intrigued him.

As he entered through the creaky old gate, the familiar sight of gravestone upon gravestone in rows across the vividly green grass greeted him.

If he had died in a more, ah, conventional death, he would have liked to have been buried here. Lucas Jones-Dewey, the enscription on his gravestone would read, misunderstood martyr, undervalued intellectual. 

He had thought about this more times than he could count.

The rain began to drip down from the sky. A soft drizzle that soon turned into a steady downpour. A crack of thunder penetrated Lucas' eardrum. He couldn't help but let out a triumphant laugh as the water beaded on his skin and dribbled down his pale emaciated body. He had missed the rain.

He stood there in the pouring rain for a few minutes in his glory, an eerily large smile dancing across his face. A flock of ducks rushed past him, 20, 25 at least, interrupting his peaceful reflection. They were rushing in the direction of the lake.

What a beautiful day.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lucas died two weeks, three days, and thirteen hours ago.

When he awoke half-naked and covered in his own vomit and piss in his bathtub, he knew that something was different. Of course, death was nothing like he expected. He could not float through walls, or move things with his mind. He was still stuck in this realm and was stuck with the limitations of a living being. He also still felt hunger, and thirst, and even had to relieve himself from time to time.

At first he was distraught. His sister left countless voicemails in his inbox before his phone service was cut off. Not long before that, he was laid off from his job. Not only had he nothing left, he was stuck for the rest of eternity in his boxers, chapped lips, and purple rimmed eyes.

Lucas opened his eyes to those of a cat staring right back at him, it's paws kneading painfully on his bare chest.

He grumbled, lifting the grey cat, and placing him on the ground beside the sofa he had slept on. "Pumpkin, ouch." He glared as he hoisted himself to an upright position.

Being dead and not leaving your apartment for two weeks had it's downfalls, unfortunately. The food supply had dwindled down to only a bag of pretzels and chunky soy milk. Filth and garbage littered the floor, and he was starting to reek of body odor and decay.

He looked down at his body, which was beginning to look emaciated and sickly, even more so than before. Perhaps this was what afterlife was like. Withering away in the In Between, until he became nothing.

"Is that what you want? Food?" The cat looked up at him expectantly, and licked his paw with a little mew. "Alright, buddy." He sighed, pulling himself upward. He stumbled a bit as he stood. He hadn't eaten in a few days. Perhaps it was time to treat himself to a few pretzels as well.

He dragged himself to the kitchen, which was no more than 8 feet away. As he poured the remaining cat food onto the ground (Now, where had that kitty bowl gone?), he noticed that his hands were shaking.

"Hey! It's your landlord!" A man was shouting behind his front door, and it felt as if the entire apartment was shaking with each pound on the door. Pumpkin skittered away to the bedroom. "You haven't paid your rent in almost three weeks. I know I've been loose with you, but now I'm cracking down. If you don't have the money in by Friday, you're gonna have to find somewhere else to live."

Lucas laughed, sitting on the kitchen counter munching on a handful of pretzels. Jokes on him, there was no way he could get him to leave unless he performed some sort of seance.

"Hello? I know you're there." The pounding continued for a bit longer, but eventually the landlord gave up with a sigh and left.

He was going to be here for ever and ever.