Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 - Page 38

Peering into the darkened hall, Matt could make out the large oak casket near the altar. It was closed (which would make sense if it were his body after the accident), with several people gathered around... and Matt could hear them. It was like a walkie-talkie, as the muffled voices of his immediate family spoke in hushed tones, just under the continuing organ music.

The music stopped after a time, and people took their seats. An older man in ornate robes began to speak from the pulpit - Matt could hear him, though couldn’t quite make out what he was saying. Something about doves and eternity.

Then Matt began to hear something else. It almost sounded to him like the high whine that older electronics sometimes make, only louder, and growing. Soon, it was all he could hear. He watched as a new figure walked toward his casket, right in front of the man in the pulpit and the rows of attendees, who didn’t appear to notice. The figure was glowing, and Matt’s mind immediately went to the assumption of something holy, or angelic (after all, that’s how all the shows had depicted angels, right?). They stood in front of his casket, their back to Matt outside. Reaching forward, the figure’s arms went to the casket lid, and through it.

Matt screamed out in searing pain, shocked at the sound of his own voice. The figure quickly withdrew their hands and whipped around to the sound. The pain immediately ended, and that’s when Matt saw the figure fully. The figure’s face was a glowing, surprised mirror of his own. The doppelganger suddenly darted forward, gliding toward Matt, as the first emotion of any kind gripped Matt entirely - fear.

He began to run - or, float away as quickly as he could. He didn’t need to move his legs to propel himself anymore, but they were flailing in the air like he was on an invisible treadmill as he moved up and away quickly. Matt could feel the light off of the form behind him, and the terror continued, propelling him away. Matt couldn’t explain it, but he knew, he knew something

horrible would happen if the glowing figure caught up. He darted above familiar streets, sinking through the roof of a fast-food place when he thought himself out of sight.

Inside, a couple customers quietly enjoyed their meals. In the back of his head, Matt could still hear the man at the pulpit droning on, but it felt distant - pushed out of his mind by the fear. Outside the windowed front of the restaurant, Matt saw the glowing figure dash by, and away.

After a moment, a head popped down from the ceiling, with two long pigtails hanging.“...it’s after you too?” the girl from the mortuary said.“Y- yes.” Matt said after a moment, unused to speaking.

The girl’s head disappeared back up, followed by, “Come here!”

Matt rose, and just caught the girl’s legs disappearing through the side of a crawlspace wall. She led him from building to building, taking the shortest routes between the attics and storage rooms of businesses and homes. Matt noticed that she moved horizontally, extending her legs behind he as she glided, and began to do the same almost without realizing.After several minutes, Matt followed beyond a hardware store wall, and out into the open, where the little girl waited.“They can’t follow us here.” she said, drifting slowly down and away, over the rows of headstones.Matt followed, as the girl settled in front of a small mound. There were stuffed animals and flowers surrounding the marker, where Matt could just read Our Beloved Maria in an ornate font.The little girl stared intently at a small, red teddy bear, clutching a heart. Suddenly, she swiped her hand, grabbing the bear, and-

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