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Excerpt from: Feels Like Heaven

Chapter One

They say life's a bitch and then you die, but what no one ever talks about is what happens next. And ain't that a kick in the head--to borrow another turn of phrase--'cause from where I'm sitting, it looks like maybe death's a bitch as well.

So where am I sitting, you wonder? Well if appearances are anything to go by, I'd have to say I'm back in my old hometown, seated on a hill overlooking the high school athletic field. I'm pretty sure I'm not actually here; but, at the same time, I'm equally sure this is not a dream. The ground beneath my butt is a little too hard for that. Small stones and bits of dried grass poke into my palms as I lean back on my hands and look around. The air is muggy and still, thick with the scent of dried leaves rotting slowly into mulch. In short, everything here is too real and very much as I recall it...all except for the field below me.

That field is where the whole town still gathers every Fourth of July to watch fireworks. A somewhat random detail, you might be thinking. I mention it only because there are fireworks exploding overhead right now. Blue, white, red, green, an occasional sizzling burst of gold; each rocket a glittering reminder that there are times when what you see isn't necessarily what you get. And yes, by the way, in case that's something else you're wondering, I'm pretty sure this is one of those times.


For one thing, instead of being packed with people, said field is deserted. There's no one here but me. For another, I appear to be wearing a suit--an off-the-rack, navy blue, winter-weight wool suit, to be specific. Not something I'd ever be likely to choose in this location. Or in this season. Or at all, really. I can feel my shirt sticking to my chest. Sweat trickles down my back and pools under my arms. It's all too unpleasantly real for my tastes.


But wait, it gets worse.


You see, I'm almost certain this is the suit I was buried in; the suit I watched my two older sisters pick out for me, after my death, agreeing with each other on something for practically the first time in their lives, or definitely in mine. I didn't like it then and I don't like it any better now. In fact, I'd have been happy to tell them I wouldn't be caught dead in anything this hideous if they could have heard or seen me, or if they would have listened even then.


Or if, like I said before, I wasn't sitting here right now. Wearing it.

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