The answers; not all that satisfactory but it will have to do for the protagonist. (And you. ;) )
In the doorway.
It was open now. I never heard it open.
"Hi, Peter," she simply said.
She looked just like the last time I had seen her. 17, almost 18. A beautiful young woman. With two functioning legs, no wheelchair. Her eyes were fixated on my face, a smirk upon her lips.
I just stood and stared. I glanced in the direction of the TV set but found it to be gone. Back at Laura. She frowned slightly.
"Aren't you gonna say 'hello' at least?" she pouted. She used to do that a lot.
"Laura?" I asked dumbly.
She nodded, "It's me, Pete."
"What happened to me?"
Like a sledgehammer to my skull. I knew it was true, I knew it. But to hear Laura say it...To hear DEAD Laura say it to me...
She walked over to me and took me by the hand, led me to the bed. She sat down and patted the spot noxt to her for me to follow suit. After I had done so she continued, "You want answers, right?"
"I want my life back."
She looked at me sadly, squeezing my hand softly, "I'm afraid that's not gonna happen, Pete."
"Why did you do this to me?"
She shook her head and looked at me in disbelief, "What makes you think I did this?" I wanted to answer but she didn't give me a chance. "And this is not Hell, Pete, despite what you're thinking. In fact, Hell doesn't exist. Neither does Heaven. It's all just one place for everyone."
She stopped for me to comment on what I had just learned.
"This is kinda hard to grasp," I said.
"I know it's overwhelming at first," Laura smiled sympathetically. "But you get used to it after a while. You stop missing everyone and you're just... you just stop worrying. It's a good thing. It's one of those things you just shed after your life is over: Fear. There is nothing to fear. Most people waste so much time worrying about things that they forget to appreciate and value the little time they have."
"So where's the fairness in that? Everyone gets to be in one place," I inquired. Doctors who had saved lives, murderers, innocent babies who had gone too soon, mentally ill rapers. And Laura herself. Mixed with the whole variety of human characters, the good and the bad.
"Life isn't fair either, is it?" she replied. "However, there's one big difference between life and this: Everyone here is in the same situation. It doesn't matter if you were a 43-year-old family father or a famous rock star when you died." She pulled a face upon that last remark. I knew she wouldn't approve. "There's no reason to be egotistical and hurt others because everyone has the same."
"So the afterlife is Communism."
She laughed, "It's nice to see you haven't lost your sense of humor."
"No, just my sanity."
She eyed me for a moment, "You have no idea how happy I am to have you back... Even though you probably wish the circumstances were different."
"So this was like purgatory, right? If you didn't do this to me, who did?"
She thought for a while and then replied, "You can call it purgatory, if you like. But it's not to 'wash you off your sins' or anything like that. The process you just underwent is something innate in everybody. Your own conscience is responsible for that, Pete. It was you coming to terms with your life. The only person you owe anything to, the only person you have to justify your actions to, is yourself. It's not about an external force imposing what's right or what's wrong on you. It's been you all the time."
"How come I've been mostly confronted with hurtful things then? This hasn't been my entire life."
"I really wouldn't know. It's different for every individual, I guess. I think what you see basically is what your mind is preoccupied with the most. It's obvious you didn't think very highly of yourself when you came here, Peter. And this was just the consequence of your guilty conscience. It wore you down like a steel anchor."
"I didn't kill myself on purpose, Laura." I hated for her to think I would have ever done something like that. I wasn't lying, I didn't mean to take my own life. I was just tired, I wanted my brain to shut off. I wanted to sleep, that's all. But suddenly I felt like scum. I was here because I had overdosed on sleeping pills, it was my fault. Even if it hadn't been a deliberate action but had happened out of carelessness. And she was here because of some dumb fuck of a drunken driver. Oh, I forgot. There's no fairness in the afterlife either.
"I know you didn't."
"I honestly didn't want for this to happen," I almost pleaded.
"I believe you, Pete. I know. But unfortunately, the effect is the same. You cannot make it undone."
"I can't go back ever?"
She shook her head, "No exceptions. Not even for rock stars."
"I'm not gonna hear the end of it, will I?"
"Eternity is a hell of a long time, my friend," she stopped joking when she noticed the concerned look on my face.
"Laura, I have a son. I didn't know it until now but I have a son. I've got responsiblities."
"Not to be rude or anything... but you have to get used to the idea that you had your life and it's come to an end. Make the best of what you have now. You don't have a choice. It's not that bad, you'll see. I've been here for... actually, I don't know. No time and no age." She used one hand to point at herself. Yes, she hadn't aged. "No mental or physical handicaps either, obviously." I noticed that.
Then she looked me up and down, "How old are you anyways?"
"Wow, 10 years, huh... Seemed a lot shorter than that. Well, time flies when you're being dead, I guess." She nudged me. So she's been watching me in here. For some reason I found that more reassuring than freaky.
"So if there's no time here, how come I got a countdown then?"
"Transitional phase," she replied matter-of-factly. "Helps people to adjust themselves to the new cirumstance."
"And that was my inner clock or what?"
"Something like that. It fades eventually, take it from me."
I guess my estimation of time wasn't all that bad then. Or maybe perfected in this kind of environment. When is the Twilight Zone theme gonna set in?
"So, did you meet God yet?" I wasn't even kidding. Not fully, at least.
She giggled, "Can't say I did."
"Is there a God?" I inquired further. It was about time someone told me.
"I don't know more than you regarding that subject, Pete. Wouldn't surprise me if there was but wouldn't surprise me either if there wasn't. What's the difference anyway? Things are the way they are."
Then she changed the topic, "Is there anyone you'd like to meet?"
"Hm, meeting Hemingway would be pretty nifty."
"I knew it! I just know you too well, Pete Wentz." Laura laughed out loud and grinned, "We might have to get in line though..." She winked at me.
And out the door we went, into my new... afterlife. With Laura.
_ _ _ _ _ _
Thank you for reading (and reviewing/ rating). I can't believe so many people were actually patient enough to read a story with hardly any action and a stereotypical picture of everybody's favorite boy. ;)
Ah well, it just goes to show that Pete Wentz could probably sell anything. Even sanitary towels, right Crystal?
Any questions you still have about this -> review section or private message. :) Always looking forward to that.
This was definitely a new experience for me. But I'm glad it's over. Back to purely humorous stuff now. Beware on December 25th. (No, I don't have a life. Not even on Christmas.)