Chapter 2: Brother

Prompt(s) Used: Write a scene at a funeral from the viewpoint of the dead person


“What’s happening? Why isn’t he waking up?”


I opened my eyes and saw my baby sister, shrouded in a thick fog. Baby… She was already eighteen. Why the tears, baby? Did someone hurt you? Did something happen to your girlfriend? Did your girlfriend do something to you? Baby?

The fog gradually lifted and I could see Sarah clearly. I didn’t even know we got fog in the area and I’ve lived here all my life. Funny what you don’t notice while you’re alive. Wait, “while you’re alive”?

I looked at Sarah. She was crying over a large wooden box. No, it was a coffin. Someone close to her had died. She needed me to comfort her. I tried to go to her, but something felt strange. I felt lighter, like I could float over there. So I did. I floated. I hovered over the baby crying over my lifeless body.

“The jerk got me good, didn’t he?” I laughed.

It was coming back to me. Someone had ambushed me in some back alley. I should have been able to fight him off, but he caught me off-guard. He didn’t look human. His form resembled a person, but his eyes looked dead at first. When he brought his face close to mine, I saw it. He had the eyes of something dark and evil. Something like a demon. No, not a demon, a fallen angel. They were so clear and lifeless. Like mirrors, they reflected more than they revealed.

I could analyse them at length now, but I didn’t have the luxury of time then. The last thing I remember was seeing my mangled body reflected on them, wishing that I was looking at Sarah’s beautiful face instead.

It’s a weird feeling – crying while dead. The tears never come. You never feel the sweet release of pent up emotions. It’s like losing a sneeze. You just feel it about to happen, but it never does. You feel like you should be feeling an ache in your chest and a warmth from your cheeks. You don’t. It just simmers within you without feeling real. Perhaps that’s how actors feel like all the time. I wouldn’t know. It’s not like I could ask any of them in this state.

“Come back, I need my big brother!” Sarah screamed.

She pulled at the suit hanging off my torso. I would be relieved if she ripped it off. I never did look that great in a tux.

“Hey, don’t you dare lay a finger on my baby sister!” I yelled at the man who was trying to restrain her.

He looked up as if he heard me. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were wet.

“Oh, what are you crying about?” I shouted, “It’s not like you cared about me when I was alive. Stabbed me in the stomach, remember? I did. You’re some brother, Michael! I dropped out of school when Dad died to take care of you, and you gave me nothing but your stinking attitude. Take your hands off Sarah, you jerk!”

He didn’t seem to hear me this time.

“Hey, you!” I reached down to grab him, “I sai-”

Odd. I felt heavy again.

I had my arms wrapped around Sarah. She was clinging onto me like I was a lifebuoy that was running out of air. She was both desperate and cautious.

“Please, Michael, don’t leave me again. I can’t lose another brother,” she begged.

I lifted a hand to my face. I was Michael now. I didn’t know how this came to be, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away. I was going to be the Michael that he always should have been. He had his chance. I wasn’t going to screw up mine.

“I’m sorry, Sarah,” I whispered, “I’m never going to leave you again. Not if I can help it.”

“You’re different.”

Nobody could say that Sarah wasn’t perceptive.

“Loss… Changes you,” I said.

“I didn’t think you two were that close. You never seemed to care about him.”

“You know what they say: you never know what you have until it’s gone.”

“I didn’t realise that having your brother die would turn you into a platitude generator. Why are you really here, Michael?”

“What do you mean?” Michael’s heart was pounding, “I’m here to take care of my baby sister.”

“Since when do you call me that?” her eyes narrowed, “What do you want, money?”

“No, I-“

“Then, what is it?”

“I-… I wanted to be able to take care of you before you know… It’s one of our turns.”

“That’s sweet. Forgive me if I don’t believe it.”

“Sarah, please give me a chance. I’m different now. Please, let me take his place.”

She averted her gaze. That was it. I wasn’t going to be able to come near her again.

“No,” her voice shook, “Don’t be him. Be Michael. You don’t have to be him. He wouldn’t have wanted that.”

Well, this makes things a whole lot more complicated. I couldn’t be like Michael if I tried. Would I have to be like him with his friends? Could I just avoid them? How was this going to work?

I looked at Sarah and my heart sank. She wasn’t looking at me the way she looked at me when I was alive – with eyes filled with adoration. She was looking at me like an estranged brother that she wanted so badly to reconcile with. She didn’t want another me around. She wanted the brother she thought she lost. I wanted to give her what she wanted.

“Okay,” I swallowed hard, “Just me.”

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