Annemarie Musawale

Writer, Editor, and Designer in Nairobi, Kenya

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Excerpt from In The Shadow of the Styx

Initiation

Well, Harpreet wasn’t quite right about that. Lillian and Phil were not peaceful at all. They were agitated and afraid; being suddenly torn out from your body when you weren’t expecting it was hell on the nerves.

“Phil? Wot’s going on? Why can I see our bodies over there, yet we’re standin’ over ‘ere?” Lillian asked tentatively.

“Probably because we’re ghosts judging from what that old lady just said. Weren’t you listening?” Phil asked a tad irritably.

“No. I was probably too busy dyin; but wha’ever…now wot?” she asked, clinging onto his arm.

“Now…we wait I guess. I expect someone will be along soon to tell us where to go.” Phil said with more certainty than he felt. But Lillian was clearly panicking and so he would have to keep it together for both of them. He squeezed her hand reassuringly, keeping tight hold of it and hoping no-one was going to tear them from each other.

“Phil? Do you think ‘ell exists?” Lillian chose this inopportune time to ask, “Because if there is well…I don’t know Phil, I just might be going there-“

“No one’s going anywhere!” Phil said, a bit louder than necessary. His voice echoed eerily, and the nurses faltered in their agitated conversation, as if they’d heard something. Phil and Lillian continued to stand, waiting to see if any doors would appear, or perhaps an angel or a white light at the end of the tunnel... but nothing whatsoever happened and little by little, they began to relax. The morgue people came for their bodies, and Phil and Lillian debated whether or not they should accompany them.

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