Afterlife in Another World!!
Kikuchi Emiko’s nose itched.
Emi's nose itched more than she could bear. However, no matter how hard she tried, she found herself incapable of relieving the itch.
Eventually, she resigned to lying flat on her back, arms spread wide, staring at the bright white ceiling.
The ceiling was so far above her that she wondered whether there even was a ceiling.
In fact, the room appeared to stretch endlessly in all directions, even beneath her.
A bright white room?
I've got a bad feeling about this...
The longer Emi stared at the ceiling, the more unnerved she became.
In books and movies, people often found themselves in a bright white room after dying, right?
Panicking, Emi sat up and glanced about her. The room truly looked to stretch endlessly in all directions.
However, the fact that she was stark naked startled her more than her unfamiliar surroundings.
Since her hair stopped just below her collar bone, she hurried to cover as much of herself as she could with her slender arms. She was suddenly grateful for the bright white room, which was so light that its ethereal glow somewhat concealed her naked form.
Okay, now I really have a bad feeling...
She glanced about the infinite room and cast her eyes over her body once more.
I'm floating? she realised, noticing her posture.
‘Language,’ a sickly-sweet voice interrupted her.
Emi turned to the voice and yelped.
A strange creature was hovering over her. It was like no animal she had ever seen before, not only because it had just spoken to her. Its fur was iridescent, and it had three long fluffy tails and a pair of large, erect ears.
Curiously, it wore a long white sheet akin to a cheap Halloween ghost costume.
The creature was upside-down.
...or am I upside-down? Emi wondered.
The sheet made it difficult to tell whether the creature was supposed to be a fox, a cat, a dog or something else entirely. All she could see was its silhouette, four fluffy paws, three tails and a pair of beady eyes, which bore into her like a pair of all-consuming black holes.
‘I’m dead, right?’ Emi sighed, getting the hint.
‘Yep,' the creature told her cheerily. 'Completely and utterly done, dead, kaput, finished, deceased, decaying-'
'Stop,' Emi told it. 'I get the picture.'
She shook her head and noticed that her dark hair was on end.
Yep, I'm definitely upside down...
‘So, how did I die?’ she asked, unable to recall what she had been doing before waking in the bright white room.
In fact, all of her memories were fuzzy.
She shook her head again.
'Never mind, don't answer,' she told the strange creature, avoiding its eyes. 'Are you an angel?’
The cosplay ghost laughed at her.
‘You can call me Angel if you'd like?’
‘Sure,’ Emi said dismissively while trying to massage out the sudden throbbing in her temples.
Then she remembered that she was naked and returned to shielding her body from Angel's dark eyes.
‘So ... what happens now?’ she asked after calming a little.
'I suppose you could say you'll be reincarnated.’
‘And if I don’t want to be reincarnated?’ she asked. ‘I am Kikuchi Emiko, next in line to head the Kikuchi family and inherit Kikuchi Corporation. Several universities are already fighting for my attendance. I was loved by everyone. I like - or rather, I liked - my life. I had everything planned out-’
Emi yelped. Angel’s black eyes suddenly appeared in front of her, piercing her.
'You're dead,' Angel told her. 'You have no future.'
Emi pouted to hide the fact that her lower lip was trembling.
‘Well, that sucks,’ was all she could think to say. ‘So, what happens now?’
‘Now…’ Angel said, its sweet voice darkening.
Emi screamed. She fell. However, it was difficult to tell if was truly falling since her surroundings did not change.
Then her throbbing head hit something.
I guess the room wasn't infinite... was her last thought before all went dark.
Emi started and woke up.
She had fallen asleep at her desk in school. She glanced at the clock on the wall and heaved a heavy sigh of relief.
It was only twenty-eight minutes past eight, meaning homeroom had not officially started yet.
As though reading her mind, her homeroom teacher arrived and called her class to attention. Emi stood, bowed and greeted her teacher alongside her classmates.
When she retook her seat, she noticed her desk was littered with flowers and cards.
Who put these here?
She glanced about the room, wondering why nobody seemed surprised by the sorry state of desk. Her desk was so littered that there was no room to lay down her notebook.
Is this a prank? she wondered, glancing at her classmates.
Nobody had ever pulled a prank on her before; nobody would dare to upset her.
She was Kikuchi Emiko.
At the top of her desk, facing the board, was a framed photograph. Emi leaned over her desk to take a look.
It was a photograph of herself.
Her classmates’ attention remained on their teacher, who was registering attendance.
Did he just skip me?
Emi glanced about the room again. Nobody was smirking or glancing at her out of the corners of their tired eyes. Uncertain of what to do, Emi raised her hand.
Her teacher ignored her.
‘Excuse me,’ she said quietly and, when nobody responded, repeated herself. When yelling did not work, she waved her arms wildly until she could no longer stand the aching in her shoulders.
Then her nose began to itch. Emi grumbled and made to scratch it.
She yelped when the hand travelled through her desk. An unpleasant tingling sensation filled her palm and wrist.
Then suddenly, the plastic stool beneath her disappeared, or rather, she travelled through the stool to land on her bottom on the classroom floor.
Emi stood as quickly as she could, flushing, and glanced at her classmates again, expecting everyone's' eyes to be on her.
No one was looking at her.
‘Hello?’ she whispered to no reply.
Desperate, she waved her hand in front of her desk neighbour's face but he did not seem to notice her.
Emi noticed that the date in his notebook read the twelfth of June.
She moved back to her desk and scanned the cards scattered amongst the flowers.
Rest in peace Kikuchi - Arima Hana xx
You were so nice! I’ll never forget you - Murakami Riku
You were the sweetest girl I ever meet! You’ll be missed – Etoh Honoka
Sitting next to you was fun - Miyazawa Minato
The messages went on in much the same way, calling her 'nice' and 'sweet' and telling her that she would be sorely missed.
Emi scratched the tip of her nose. She could feel her hand against her skin but struggled to feel much else; she could not tell whether she was warm or cold or whether she had a pulse. She could not feel her heart beating in her chest.
Then she remembered her conversation with Angel.
Wasn't I meant to be reincarnated?
She backed up, walking through tables and through her classmates, shuddering.
‘Okay,’ she mumbled to herself, her voice rising. ‘Something has definitely gone wrong here.’