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His attention focused on a woman waiting at the bus stop with a bag of groceries. She was a sad sight to see. Looking back in the window, he saw the television playing music videos inside.

Maury looked down at his feet as he stepped off the ledge and began his descent. Feeling an uninhibited sense of freedom, his heart rose as he swam downward.

Time slowed down.

Looking down behind the silhouette of his feet, the steps seemed to come toward him in a series of still-shots that he was allowed to gaze and study. His body turned and somersaulted, as he flew down. Face down, his arms stretched forward.

Accepting his killer, he closed his eyes as the air skimmed past his skin. The the air seemed to clean past him as it shaved his body and made him lighter.

Opening his eyes one last time, he saw the steps to his apartment about a foot away from his face. One flash later, everything was gone.

Lying on his back all he could see was the night sky. He heard footsteps but couldn’t sit up to see who it was. Completely paralyzed, he could move his eyes.

Looking to his right he saw a pair of legs walk by. They neither hesitated nor stopped.

Just walked by.

“This is odd,” he thought. “I would expect a small crowd gathered around my mangled body.” Maury felt no pain.

He looked as far to the right as he could, and saw the lady at the bus stop. She didn’t notice him, just got right on the bus. The swooshing air of the closing bus door rang in his ears. The bus was heading toward him and it didn’t look like it was going to slow down.

He looked at the stars one last time, closed his eyes tight and started to laugh. The sound of the tires against the pavement grew louder and louder. He could hear the engine right above him but felt nothing. He expected to be mangled by the bus tires, but nothing happened. Opening his eyes, he saw the exhaust pipe of the bus pass overhead.

He desperately tried to move his head to see what his body looked like. Couldn’t move a muscle. At this point, he just wanted to move. He couldn’t see anyone, but felt that people were watching him, a weird feeling he couldn’t shake. He moved his eyes around to see if anyone was around, he never saw anyone. He just had that feeling.

He couldn’t think of anything else but getting himself to move…getting up. He felt like he was under some kind of spell and convinced himself that if only he could move…anything, his foot, arm or hand, then the spell would be broken. He decided on something small. His finger. If only he could move his index finger, then the spell would be broken and he would be able to get right up. He concentrated on moving that finger. He felt that his life depended on it. It was humid in the thick summer air and sweat dribbled down from his forehead and into his eyes. Ignoring the sting, he kept on trying for that finger.

Then he decided to concentrated on the sensation of moving his finger. He tried not to think about it…just do it. His finger raised an inch and a great fear lifted from his body. Finally cured, he tried to sit up. He couldn’t.

The stars in the sky started swirling around as everything started to fade to black. Just as he was losing consciousness, he heard a thunder crash and from the corner of his eye, he saw a blue flash of energy crawl around on the ground.

“You’ve been lying there for a long time,” a calm young voice say.

I sat up in the and looked around. Things looked…different.

“I thought you’d never get up,” a voice appeared in my head.

“I can’t see you.” I said in a weak voice. looking around, I tryed to put the pieces together. No people. No cars. No Buses. Things were different.

“What happened to everything?” I asked the invisible voice.

“They’re still here, you just need to concentrate. My name is Allison, what’s your name?” The little girl answered.

“Am I dead?”

“Well, yeah…kind of…not really. I don’t know. You’re here, that’s all I know,” her voice became flustered, “Can you see me yet?”

“Allison huh? I have a grandma named Allison. I Still can’t see you.”

“I told you, you need to concentrate. You’re in-between. Concentrate on my voice.” She said.

“Were you sent to me?”

“Sent to you? Keep concentrating. No one is sent to anyone, I was just bored. Can you see me now?”

“I’ll let you know” I replied.

“Boy, were you a mess when you landed! My folks would never have let me see something like that on tv! Whew, what a mess. It’s pretty neat when everything comes back together.

“Do you like to fish? I never went fishing, will you take me fishing sometime?”

“I can see your outline on the steps. Maybe you should go fishing with your folks.”

“My parents…” her eyes turned downward, “My parents are alive.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that.”

“I guess.” I wasn’t sure if that was the right response. I’m not up to date on afterlife ediquette. The details inside the girl’s outline started to form, she was about ten with sandy hair. I couldn’t tell the color of her eyes yet and I started to see the outline of others walking by.

“There’s a lot of people here aren’t there? They look busy.”

“Most people here are not very friendly. I guess it’s the place. They all have something to do.”

Thunder clapped and down the street, I saw that blue flash of energy again. It stayed on the ground with three appendages of blue lightning extending toward the street in different directions as it crawled around. It a appeared to be looking for something. Then it wrapped its arms around a tree trunk and dissolved into the tree.

“What was that?” I inquired.

“That was someone who was tired to being here.”

“Where did he go?”

“I dunno. But he’s not here anymore and he’ll never come back.” She replied. “There are older people that know about stuff like that, I’m just waiting for my mom and dad.” She paused for a minute looking toward the horizon.

“You wanna meet someone older who knows about stuff?” She didn’t wait for a reply, she just started trotting down the street, “Follow me!But I still want to go fishing you know.” She headed down the street without me.

I caught up and started with more questions. “So what happened to the people who are alive? Are we in a place that looks like Chicago, so we have reference points?”

“Nope we’re still here, neither of us have ever left.”

“Then what happened to all the people? And the traffic? Where is everything?”

“They’re still here, you just have to concentrate to see them. Boy, you don’t pay attention very well, do you?” She giggled.

We walked for a good long time, could have been days of regular time, but I never got tired or hungry. Allison told me all about her parents and her “stupid brother, Mike,” whom she really misses. Along the way, we had seen several blue flashes that looked around and finally dissolved. But Allison refused to talk about them. She said it was all too confusing and I should ask “the professor” when we get to his house.

We finally reached a house that must have been in Wisconsin. And there he was, working in his garden. Not just a professor – “The Professor,” the guy from “Gilligan’s Island. I couldn’t resist, “Hey Professor!” I yelled out.

He looked up and smiled.

We went to his house talked about who and what we are, and what we were doing here. The Professor explained most people here don’t know anything about our current existence, any more that living people know about theirs. We’re just here. If you concentrate you can see the other world, which made the professor believe that we still exist, but on some alternate universe or dimension, or something.

He showed me the “live” people that were occupying the house that he choose to live in. Allison kept making things fall down in the house and the occupants would get startled, then she would giggle.

Until the Professor told her to cut it out. He explained how some people become obsessed with communicating with “the other dimension,” and that’s all they do. He didn’t want Allison to fall into that rut. They’ve been friends for a while, I gathered.

“It’s sad, really. They try so hard, but it never comes to anything.”

“The people they’re trying to communicate with, either don’t put the clues together or they refuse to believe in ghosts.” I added.

“Exactly,” the professor added, he looked out the window where Allison was playing with his dog in the yard. “Only when they start accepting that we are something else, do they leave.”

“You mean the blue flashes?”

“Yeah. I noticed that it always happens after someone accepts where and what we are.”

“You don’t seem to have a problem with it.”

“There’s something else. It appears we all have a purpose. First comes acceptance, then we have to find our purpose and accomplish the task. I think a lot of people just stumble on it and then they’re gone. That’s why the “ghosts” are such a sad group. They’re so distracted with communicating with the other side, they never get to leave.”

“It doesn’t seem too bad here, why would anyone want to go?”

“The professor leaned forward and spoke quietly, “Allison has been here for a very long time. Longer than me. I heard she did not arrive as a child, but she passed before her parents, and now she’s waiting for them. I pretty positive that they had come, a long time ago and have already been recycled.”

“Then she’ll be here forever? Waiting?”

“She already has. She may be insane by now.”

We spent the rest of that night discussing theology and making up new theories that could explain our existence, and how to save Allison from eternal nothingness. We didn’t come up with any solutions, but I decided to take her fishing. If we couldn’t save her, at least we could help her have some fun.

The next afternoon, we were on our way to a small lake that was a few miles from the professor’s. We got our fishing gear from a sports store down the street. Of course we didn’t have to pay for anything, it’s just there for the taking.

After an hour of sitting and waiting, I started to think of grandma Allison and got an idea, “Allison?”

“What Maury?” she replied in a bored sleepy voice.

“How long have you been here?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you remember about “the before times.”

“Just that I miss mom and dad.”

“And Johnny?” I asked.

She looked up, “Johnny…” she whispered, “Johnny, should be fine at home. I’m waiting for mom and dad, they should be here soon. Did you tell him about Johnny?” She looked toward the Professor.

“No, we didn’t talk about him at all,” the professor replied with a lie.

“Then how do you know…?”

“Johnny’s my uncle, and he died 15 years ago. His grandparents, your parents died over 20 years ago. Your my great-great grandma and your parents have already come and gone.”

Allison looked out toward the water for a minute, not saying a word.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you…sonny boy!” Came here eventual reply. Just then she got a tug on her line.

“What do I do! What do I do!” She shouted in a laughing frenzy of excitement.

“Try to be calm. Reel it in nice and slow. Nice and slow, don’t go too fast or you’ll break the line. Nice and slow.” Before I knew it she had a one foot fish hanging from her line.

“You get it, I don’t want to touch it…it’s icky!” She said with widest smile and the brightest eyes I’ve ever seen.

I had just put the fish on-shore and was taking the hook out of its mouth when I heard a familiar thunder clap.

I saw Allison’s grin for the last time, as she and the Professor transformed into blue flashes of energy. The two blue flashes combed the ground and dissipated into the earth.

Just as they faded away, I heard the thunder again and I was being engulfed by the blue light myself. My entire body tingled as I transformed.

That was the last thing I can remember.

The little girl playing on the tire swing that hangs from one of my branches, reminds me of Allison.

More Strange Stories…

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