"… Where the heck am I?" - ???
That’s my first thought after regaining consciousness. Hey, that’s one on my top 10 lines I wanted to say at least once.
Moving on, the last thing I could remember was falling down the stairs. To top it off, I landed straight on my head. That hurt. I should just go home and…, where do I live again?
Wait, who am I? No way, I don’t remember anything!? Wait, I’m human, I remember that. However, I can’t remember where I live.
What’s my name again? That’s gone too. My age? Nope. Occupation? Nix. Nationality? Nothing!
I do remember about stuff I learned from school, but all my memories about myself are gone. I've got only the knowledge parts left.
I remember being a fan of fantasy literature, both western and eastern, so I’ve must have been an otaku. A self-proclaimed one, but you get the idea. Not so sure that’s gonna help right now. Still, there is bigger stuff to think about now.
What stuff? Is there something more important than losing all your memories you say?
Well, what about a combined airport, spaceport, harbor, train- and bus station, all divided up in rows and floors like in a shopping mall, how about that “what stuff”!!
Looking carefully there is more stuff that’s mashed up with the already messy background, like an empty road that goes into the horizon without end, huge elevators that go up to the sky or down into the ground and even a roller coaster that goes to who knows where. Not to mention that transport gate-looking thing which should be in a sci-fi story.
There are more of these crazy attractions, but it feels like if I keep on listening to all of them then my sanity points will become zero. Oh yeah, the reason I called them attractions is the huge waiting lines that go to them.
Any amusement parks with this many customers would be the richest park in the world. Unfortunately, that waiting line is anything else except amusing.
No, not because I want to ride the, whatever those lines are for, but because the people in the line are looking not so good.
They look like ghosts. Not the type that looks like a floating sheet, but like they’re made of clouds. Some of them look like regular humans plus a transparency filter, but some of them, okay, MOST of them, look like human-formed clouds.
Like they‘re ghosts and are waiting to come to heaven… wait a sec. No, no, that cannot be it, right? Then that would mean that I am… Nah, that’s not true, right? I mean, look at my bo…dy?
Cloudy. Both me and my mood right now.
Okay, okay, relax. You just have become somewhat unclear, right? Always happens, right? So stay calm and DON’T PANIC!! AAHHHH NOT POSSIBLE!!
Like, why do I look like a ghost!? I’ve just fallen from some lousy stairs! That is not enough to kill someone… oh, wait. I guess that is enough to kill someone. Yup, it’s confirmed.
Okay, I’ve calmed down a little now. Some fortune in all of this is that because of my memory loss I don’t despair too much about dying. From the looks of it, I’m somewhat in good shape, even as a ghost.
The problem now is, except for being in the realm beyond, is that I’ve got no clue who I am. No problem. I’ve still got a sense of self, even if I don’t know a single thing about that “self”.
Is this a situation of «I think, therefore I am»? Probably. Alright then.
Now that’s out of the way, or more like, forcibly pushed away, what’s the plan then?
The memory-loss mystery is easy to solve. It’s obvious when you think about it. I’ve must have landed straight on my head and knocked out my memories just before my neck or what else gave up on me and sent me to kingdom come or whatever this place is.
At least it isn’t heaven. Heaven is the final resting place, wasn’t it? But the other ghosts are waiting in lines to be transferred to somewhere else. That’s the common point for all the attractions: they are all going to somewhere else. Let’s call them Departure Points. That’s easier.
I guess that when people die they need to use one of the Departing Points to go to heaven or hell, depending on the person in question. Even now, there are coming people like they’re teleporting from out of nowhere and joining a line. Then this place must be a connection zone that all people come to at default when they die.
Then what’s this place called then if it is not heaven? Ah, who cares, that’s not important at the moment.
The real problem is to choose the Point I go should to. Since I’m dead, I should use one of them, right?
But there are no billboards that are showing which Departure Point, isn’t that a little too long to say each time? Let’s shorten it to DP.
ANYWAY, the other ghosts are just lining up in ones without checking up on anything that could explain the different DPs. They don’t just select the ones near them either but goes for a specific one in mind.
Wait. Should I use one of the DPs? I have my consciousness returned, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the other ghosts. They’re like, walking like zombies. Some of then, notably the ones that still have their former appearance, seem soberer than the rest of them, but just to the level of sleepwalking.
So, if I use one of the DPs, what would happen? Would I go to heaven? Hope I’ve won’t go to hell. Still, either option doesn’t sound so tempting.
Heaven could be nice, except that there won’t be anything to do than small-talk. No TV, internet or any other form of entertainment. That’s just the idea of heaven I’ve gotten from manga though, but still, it doesn’t sound so tempting at all.
Hell is immediately rejected, for obvious reasons.
Maybe I can be reincarnated to a new life. That would be the best. However, if I would be reincarnated into a new person, then my current self would probably disappear.
Scary! Well, my memories are already a lost cause, but I’m still alive, eh, unalive? It doesn’t feel right to go to your own oblivion, ghost or not.
Anyway, the final option I can think of except those three is total annihilation, but that’s the biggest no go of them all! Then what should I do?
Then again, there is a fifth bonus option that I didn’t mention. That would be the doorway close to my position. There are more of those in other areas, divided between several DPs.
Not sure why, but I get the feeling that those doorways are some kind of staff-only area. They look important, but the ghosts are ignoring them, so they aren’t DPs, I think.
They kind of look like those gates at airports for international flights, except that the door is of the regular wood type instead of the slide doors made of glass. On the door, there’s some kind of writing, which while I can’t understand it, but my hunch of the door being related to the DP-staff is going up thanks to it.
Almost all of the lights by the gate close to me are turned off, probably showing that the gate is out of use. The sole exception is by the door handle, where there’s one light that glows green.
Out of use or not, that doorway my best bet to get more information about this place. Just a few problems with that. The guards.
I didn’t mention them before, but there is some strange-looking, eh, whatever they are, that’s watching over the dead ones in the lines. Probably some form of angels. Not the human-like kind but the one that kind of looks like the ones in games where angels are an enemy mob: inorganic and sculpture-like, made solely of sky-blue colored crystal.
They have a human-like form, except for the wings on their backs, and that their head is made of one single crystal with no eyes and mouths.
That does not stop them from keeping a watch over the dead ones. The front of their faces is watching the lines so they must be able to see in one way or another.
Some of them are dressed in ancient togas, while some have security uniforms from this age. Those uniforms are the biggest reason that I think that they are security guards. They’re probably making sure that the ghosts are going to the DPs without trouble.
But if they’re really guards, then they would not let me escape through the gate. Worst case, they would eliminate me on the spot if I show a rebellious action. That’s what happens with irregulars in stories like this, right?
They still haven’t noticed me yet, but that’s just a question of time. Especially since the ghost-lines is moving so smoothly…
Ah! Forget that. Some of the more human-looking people on a lower level are starting to make a ruckus.
Geh! Those people don’t look like your regular office worker, despite the suits some of them are wearing. It looks more as if they are part of some mafia group. One of them even has tattoos covering half of his face. And there are lots of them! Has there been a turf-war between mafia lately?
No, that has to be it. Nothing else could explain why so many of the mafias are here.
If that’s true, then the people with their old appearances must have died in sudden accidents and arrived here before they could understand that they died.
Some of the transparent ghosts still doesn’t look like they’re conscious, but that must be the level of suddenness in their death.
They must have been in a state like, “I can’t die in this place” or something like that. Then they died all of a sudden, like falling from the stairs as me.
The mafia-guys must have had such overconfident thoughts in their mind during the fight, for then to get a bullet in their head or something.
Then I could be in the same situation if I didn’t lose my memories due to falling on my head. I could have maintained my old appearance instead of looking like a human cloud. Aw, come on!
Okay, enough moping. If that happened, then it’s not sure that I would regain my conscious again, so I’ll take what I get.
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Hmm? There’s action down with the mafia-guys. They are shouting out something, but I don't understand what they're saying. It must be a different language.
Looks like the turf-war ended in massive casualties for both sides and they all ended up at the same Departure Point. Now that they have noticed each other and begin to quarrel with each other.
I don’t understand what they are saying since it's another language and all that, but you don’t need to be a genius to understand that things are starting to get messy down there.
I mean, you were just killed by this guy and ended up in what could be the afterlife, for then to meet up with your killer. You would have to be a saint for not wanting to… START A FIGHT!?
No way! They really started a brawl! Guess it didn’t happen at once because they couldn’t find their weapons at first, so they made use of their fists instead.
I mean, come on! You have just died in a battle, and now you want to fight some more? Not mature, man.
The guards are starting to notice the brawl, and are rushing up to the mafia guys to stop them before the situation grows out of control. Wow, even the guards on this floor are going down as reinforcement.
Huh? Isn’t this the opportunity that I needed? Can’t I escape through the door now that the mafia-gangs are duking it out?
Let’s see. Are there more guards on this floor? Nope, all green.
I quietly went to the gate and reached out for the door handle.
Please let the green light mean that it’s unlocked.