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Afterlife Tech Support

Trixie fell out of the hospital bed. She failed to notice that she left her body behind. Before her stood a black clad figure clasping a scythe.

Death, she thought, dazed.

Trixie noticed that Death was a woman. A woman currently engrossed in shaking the wrinkles from her robe. “Damn discount cleaner.”

Death glanced up.

“Oh. Come on, to your feet.” She hauled Trixie upright.

“Name?” Death whipped out a clipboard.

“Uh, Trixie Barker.”

“Middle name Claire?”

“Y-y-yes.”

Death took out a felt black pen and made a check mark with a flourish.

“Nondescript life. Work, good to your folks, nice to animals. Except when you flushed that goldfish, Mr. Winky. He wasn’t dead. You didn’t realize that, so we struck it off the ‘bad’ record. Looks like you go through the pearly gates. Congratulations!”

Death took out a party horn and gave it a half-hearted toot.

Trixie’s mouth was agape. Her brain had shut down ten seconds into the overview of her life.

“Thanks,” she finally managed. A thought sparked. “I’m...dead?”

“Stiff as a board.” Death sniffed at Trixie’s expression of horror. “Stepped off the sidewalk, futzing with your phone. Splattered by a public transit bus.”

Trixie’s stomach twisted. She had died reading the lyrics of a Justin Beiber song.

"I swear I don’t like his music. Please let my phone have been destroyed."

Death’s knowing look said that, too, was in the paperwork, and that Trixie was lying.

“Give me some room. I’ll open the gate.” Death waved her scythe in the air. Swirling colors bled into a vortex that abruptly imploded with a piff.

“Ever since they outsourced to Hell everything has gone to, well, Hell. Give the damned something constructive to do, my ass.”

Death pulled out a phone.

A whiff of brimstone accompanied the voice, “Afterlife Tech Support. Asmodeus speaking.”

“I’m having trouble with my scythe. Again.”

“Registration and model number?” Legions howled in the background.

Death flipped her scythe over and squinted. “1008SP1R1T, 33366642.”

“One moment.”

Trixie found her eyes drawn to the body, her body, behind her.

The phone crackled.

“Sorry, Death 687. Pearly gates have malfunctioned.”

“I have a list of deceased, Asmodeus!”

“We’ve set up a detour a bit south, er, of the border,” Asmodeus giggled.

“Fine.” Death hung up. This time the portal was an alarming red. A blast of heat singed Trixie’s eyebrows.

“Wait. Isn’t that...”

“Hell, yes, but it’s not for an eternity.” Death shrugged. “Consider it Mr. Winky’s revenge.”

“You said that was taken off the ‘bad’ list,” Trixie protested.

Death narrowed her eyes, whipped out a pencil, erased something on her clipboard and scribbled hurriedly.

“T-this just doesn’t seem very...ethical,” Trixie trailed off as Death advanced.

“In you go. I have more souls to close. And I don’t work overtime,” Death planted a foot on Trixie’s backside and catapulted her through the portal.

Trixie’s last thought was two-fold. One, that she was filing a complaint and, two, she had never liked Mr. Winky.

This story was written by Adrienne Lockhart. She has had two short stories published in print anthologies, and several novels/short stories up on KDP.
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