prompt: pending, title: second person singular in misc. flash fiction

  • Sept. 21, 2023, 4:16 p.m.
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  • Public

We’ll cut to the chase: we’re sorry to inform you that you’re dead. You’ve been dead for a while now. We’re not certain how long exactly but we’d love your assistance in figuring that out. Once you’re over this initial shock, of course. We understand how finding out that at some point in the past you died and the balance of your “lifetime” has been a mystical hallucination, depending on what you felt you subconsciously deserved, an imaginary construction of an existence you never received, it’s all pretty wild. It happened to many people we’ve worked with, hell, that happened to a few of us when we died as well. The problem is that as the departed, it is tough for us to tell the difference between the reality of the living and the projected dreamscapes of those who have not yet come to terms with the fact they are deceased. Hope and self-hatred have such power that they will bleed out into the world around us and can muddy the perceptions of those of us whose eyes have pierced the ferryman’s veil. Okay, we love metaphors in this here-after, we’ve a literal eternity to confabulate them, we apologize for all that, as well.

But you in particular, your sense of guilt, your burning desire to punish yourself for sins, real or imagined, it’s messing things up for all of us. We haven’t much to do while being dead, you see, until the End of Days, other than create analogy, craft metaphors and watch what’s happening to the not-yet-dead. Maybe you like the term “still living” better? Admittedly, it gets difficult to be delicate about that distinction when you’ve been divorced from the material as long as we have.

The problem is that the unbelievable power of your own self-loathing, in creating this phantom extension of your mortal coil, is making it hard to see the difference between your self-imposed punishment and the actual current state of humanity.

We need to know how many of these terrors are real. Are these hurricane floods and heat-wave wild-fires really at such a crescendo? Did a serial rapist actually sit at the president’s desk? Did audiences think BIG BANG THEORY was funny? We’re dreadfully sorry to put this on you so bluntly but we need to know, where does reality end and your cartoonishly bad self-flagellating damnation begin? Our hopes and fears for Mankind are all pending upon when you really died.

Think back for us, please, as soon as you’re ready, when did you start noticing things getting this ridiculously awful? That must be the point when you died and all these cruelly grotesque events began. We’d like to know why you believe you deserve all this, but we need to know when you died. And no offense, of course, but we do hope you are dead. If all this is real, that’d be awful depressing to have to observe in perpetuity. Our apologies again, but we do hope you are dead.

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