Writing Prompt #63 — Paperwork of the Afterlife

Prompt: When you die, you’re asked to fill out a feedback form: “Which design did you purchase? How did you find the human form? Rate from one to five stars. Did you find opposable thumbs useful? Any comments, suggestions, other feedback?” 

When I opened my eyes, I was no longer looking up at the ceiling as blood oozed from my forehead, but was sitting in a uneven chair in an empty, square room. The linoleum floor had an ugly, vomit pattern and the yellowed ceiling dripped with blackened water in the sagging corners. A clipboard was on my lap, a pen pinched in between the metal clamp on top, with a single sheet of paper. Atop, it read: Feedback & Suggestions of Life, below in tinier lettering: To Possibly Improve or Enhance Those Still Existent or Those Who Will Become Existent.

I glanced around the room again. There were no paintings on the moldy green walls, no windows, no nothing. The ceiling was the same, as was the floor. I was the only person there. I took a deep breath before turning to the form again, and smelled and tasted onions. Below the title were five questions. I pulled the pen out form the clamp, uncapped it, and began the first question.

Which design did you purchase?

“Design?” I muttered. “Purchased?”

After a moment, I put down: I don’t know… Boy design?

The second question read: How did you find the human form?

“Uh…” I wrote, Okay, I guess?

The third: From one to five stars, how would you rate your experience?

Two and a half, sometimes three.

Fourth: Did you find the opposable thumbs useful?

Absolutely.

And the last question was: Any comments, suggestions, or other feedback?

I stole another glance around the room, tapping my pen against the tablet. I scratched my nose, rubbed the bullet hole in my forehead. I hummed as I wrote down: Maybe make it a bit easier? Like, make money not as important or make enough of it for everyone? And religion, I don’t know, make it not such a big deal — don’t remove it — just… make it less important. Oh, and, can people calm down about everything? Someone saying something mean doesn’t mean they should shoot that person in the head, really.

At the bottom of the form was a line for the Date of PassingDate of Signature, and Signature. I filled those out, capped the pen, and slide it back inside the metal clamp.

A bell chimed from somewhere, and a seam ran down the wall from across the room. The two sections parted like sliding doors and a tall woman in a black suit with dark red trim strode over to me. Her silver hair was tied back and her eyes glowed amber. “All done?” she asked.

“I—uh—ah, yeah,” I handled her the tablet.

She skimmed over it, then tucked it in between her arm. “Wonderful. Now,” she turned aside, pointed with a jagged finger, and spoke quickly, almost too quickly for me to understand, “go through that doorway, take a left, then a right, and another left and you’ll be at the Office of Transference. There they’ll have you fill out some other forms, and after that you’ll be directed to the Office of Acceptance and Positioning. There they’ll have you fill out some other forms, then have you choose where’d you like to go and coming to terms with that — if you need it, of course. Then, after that’s done, you’ll be transferred to the Office of Transportation, where, as the name states, you’ll be transported to the place you chose previously. Got it?”

I dumbly nodded.

“Wonderful. Well, have a good rest of your afterlife,” she said, then vanished, leaving behind a cloud of fine, red mist.

I sat for a while in silence, staring at the doorway that would leave to a never-ending cycle of forms and offices, wondering if I should bother going and just stay there. Then a bit later, I prodded the hole in my head again, looked around once more, then sighed and stood up. I walked to the carpeted hallway with its peeling, floral wallpaper, took a deep breath, then continued on, following the lady’s directions the best I could.

Read my previous prompt, “Demon’s Caffeinated.”

Purchase my work on Amazon.

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