”Fuck ” I yelled, looking at my half transparent hand as I arrived in what I assumed was the land of the dead. The last thing I remember is falling backwards after some kids ran around me while I was walking up my apartment stairs with bags of groceries.
I looked around me and saw myself in the back of a long line of shuffling half transparent people walking towards a giant open golden gate. Golden clouds and green plains are the only thing I can see around me. As I stare in wonder, the people around me continue to shuffle forward. ”I guess those are the gates of heaven or something ” I say to the person in front of me. The only response I receive is silence and him continuing forward with a blank look on his face.
As I look behind me at the recently arrived ghosts, I see the same blank expression on all of their faces. There are about 20 of them and the blank expressions and silence from everyone is starting to creep me out.
Suddenly I hear a voice in my head. The voice can only be described as heavy. It was not masculine or feminine but also strangely not robotic. Just heavy. ”An anomaly ” it spoke before I suddenly saw nothing but black around me. The darkest black that I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. ”Interesting ” spoke the same voice from earlier. ”You are truly an anomaly to me ”
I look around blindly feeling like Im in water but not going in any direction. I can no longer tell what direction Im facing. The feeling of panic is slowly starting to take over me. Besides the voice in my head, I can feel absolutely nothing else. The total lack of sensory input is only increasing the feeling of panic steadily growing inside me. I don know how long I waited for the voice to continue but it felt like an eternity. ”Who are you? ” I screamed to what can only be described as the void around me.
In response to my question a copy of myself before I died appears in front of me. I say before I died because he doesn share my half transparency. He stood at 62 with lean muscle from military service for most of my youth and camping in the forest that surrounds my old city. He had dark brown skin that I inherited from my African mother and brown eyes and black hair that inherited from my Arabic father. He wore a white t-shirt, basketball shorts, and basketball shoes which were the clothes that I died in. ”I am called many names. The Ferryman, Death, Lucifer, Hades, and many more ” The being wearing my skin replied while smiling at me. ”You can just call me the Manager. ”
Now that there was something besides the infinite blackness around me I started to calm down. I never realized how terrifying seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, and feeling nothing was. ”Why am I here Manager? ” I spoke to the being in front of me.
”You are not supposed to be capable of thought Malik. ” The Manager replied with the same smile. ”All beings that die and move on from their world souls are damaged critically by the process of traveling the void, getting to the gates of Reincarnation. Their souls crack and they lose all the experiences that made them a unique individual and the gates of Reincarnation heals their souls, deletes the final traces of whatever form they had previously, and provides a layer of protection around them so they can arrive safely to their next life. ”
The Manager pauses and looks at me with inquisitive eyes, ”Since I came into being and started managing this process nobody has ever deviated from the process. Except for you. Your soul is regular in every way. So that just begs the question why? ” The Manager gestures to the blackness around him. ”Even now when we sit in one of the farthest reaches of the voids, you are completely okay? Its like your soul is a part of the void but that is unheard of. Not even I can change the void to do something like become a part of a soul. ”
”You are an exceptional mortal but a mortal all the same. I can tell from watching your life from your memories that you don show any supernatural characteristics so what are you? A mortal whose only characteristic is to survive the void or something more? ” The Managers smile slowly grows to inhuman proportions as he continues his speech. ”How truly magnificent. Something that is unknown to me. ” The Managers face quickly goes back to normal and he looks at me with a small smile like that episode never happened.
After pausing again for a moment the Manager continues ”If you agree to a deal that I can observe the characteristics of your soul as you journey through your next life I will provide you three wishes. They can only be things that change race, appearance or something similar. I am the manager of death and reincarnation so I can only change what is random for everybody else. You also have to be a female and can be human so I can see if that causes any changes to your soul. ”
Throughout the Managers entire monologue my shock only continues to grow. Knowing what happens after death which everyone on Earth could only make assumptions about is mine jarring. The fact that there is something special about my soul also comes as a shocker. The final nail in the proverbial coffin was this powerful being that apparently manages death and reincarnation wants to make a deal with me just so it can monitor my soul.
In my 23 years of living I have lived a pretty average life so suddenly being told Im special is weird to me . I am not proud to admit that it took me a few seconds to calm down and catch my bearings after it finished speaking. The Manager seems fine with staring at me waiting for my response. ”Before I answer I have a few questions ”
”Ask away ” is all the Manager says.
”Will you be watching me 24/7 while Im in this world, why are you making a deal instead of just doing what you want, why didn you just read my mind to see my questions, and what will happen if I say no? ” I asked
”The answers to your questions in order is, no, I already tried to touch your soul after I paused the second time. It seems to be resistance to an unknown degree to outside sources and I can tell if I continue to mess with your soul then it will destroy itself, the deal will specifically be to make a live copy of your soul to leave here that will reflect and change after you reincarnate. To do something that specific with your soul requires a special deal that can only be made between equals which requires me to leave your mind and body outside my influence. Lastly you will go through reincarnation normally and I will hopefully see your soul when you come back here. ” Replied the Manager with the same small smile like he didn just admit to the fact that he just admitted to trying to tamper without my soul without my permission.
I feel a mix of anger and hopelessness from that admission and the fact that I can do anything about it. I don really have any complaints about becoming a woman. I lived and **ed as a man and Im curious about the women side of things. I am straight and was never attracted to men. Wonder if that will change. ” I stop that chain of thought and get back on the topic at hand. There seems to be no downside to this deal. I just have to make sure of one thing
”What can you do with the copy of my soul? ” I asked wearily. The trust I have in this being going in the negatives after the admission of tampering with my soul. The feeling of hopelessness is still firmly embedded in my chest.
”Nothing. It will be like looking at a globe of Earth that updates itself if anything happens to the Earth. ” replied the Manager
”Then I agree to the deal. ” I replied confidently.
The Managers grin grew to inhuman proportions again and a constricting feeling appeared throughout my body. The next second a black and gray orb appears in the beings hands. The Manager stares at the orb in utter fascination. I wait awhile then clear my throat. ”Im ready for my wishes now. ” The Manager turns towards me. The inhuman grin was a permanent feature on its face now.
”Oh. I apologize. What will they be. ”
”I wish for my mind to no longer be able to be read by others, to be able to customize everything I can about myself, and for me to be able to see my status like in a gaming screen ” I list off my wishes that I been thinking of ever since I finished asking my questions about the terms of the deal.
”Done ” the Managers replies. ”Your soul is basically indestructible except to beings like myself. I will make it to where your body does not have a brain to read. The reason that I can read your mind now is because the body before you died had a brain and you haven been reincarnated. Whatever body you choose will send the signals straight to your soul. Usually your soul would buckle under the added weight but your souls circumstances fix that issue. You will also have to pick a magical race so that your body won have any issues. ”
”Magic? ” I ask in disbelief.
”Yes magic. ” The Manager addressed my next wish. ”Here is everything that you can choose from. ”
Blue screens fill my vision. Different screens hold different options. One lets me choose my race, another lets me choose my height and so on. I browse the races until I see the vampire race. In every anime and novel Ive ever read the one that always stands out the most to me is the vampire and dragon races. Ive never had a real phobia of blood and I don see a dragon option so I quickly choose the vampire one.
The rest of the options aren as interesting as the rave option and I quickly pass through them. For height I choose 6 0 even. For face and body I choose to keep them default. While choosing the options I take one more browse through the race bar. The succubus option for some reason catches my eye. I will admit I have a high libido and the idea of getting stronger through sex appeals to me.
I ask the Manager if I can choose a hybrid race. He looks away from the orb to say, ”Depends. To be a hybrid between a vampire and a succubus would be impossible under normal circumstances. Vampires can only mate with who they drink blood from. Demon blood is highly toxic to all species so succubus do not make that list. Also succubus only gives birth to succubus so that will also be impossible. ”
He pauses to think for what I think is a couple minutes. ”I can make it happen but you will have to go through a test to make it happen. Every parent of a progenitor of a race has to pass a milestone. You will be becoming one yourself so you will have to do a trial immediately after or you will be torn apart by your own existence. No mortal soul, not even yours will survive that. ”
He looks me in the eye for the first time without a smile on his face. ”If you choose this option I will put you next to a dungeon on one of the most dangerous worlds and you will have to beat the dungeon in 60 days. Thats how long you have before you will be torn apart. Your attributes will also only increase by 1/3 from everything from exercises to get stronger to potions to increase strength to make the trial harder. ”
I don hesitate from pressing the succubus option to after the Manager finishes. Bigger risks equal bigger rewards. There is no way that I will miss this chance. After I press the succubus option, the screen closes. The Manager put the orb away for the first time since getting it and looked at me once again. ”That is all. It is time for you to go on your next great adventure. ”
Before I can respond I find myself in front of the gates once again but this time Im right in front of it. Someone from behind shuffles into me and I fall straight through the gates. ”FUUUUCK! ” was the last thing I screamed before losing consciousness.
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