Chapter 2:

The Greatest Loss


Content warning: Dark subject matter and implications, sexual scenes, abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, suicidal ideation, and strong language.

Disclaimer: The nature of this story requires that I depict cultures and demographics that aren’t my own, and thus this story is inherently appropriative. I do not mean to offend anyone. I depict these cultures due to my genuine admiration for and interest in them. I have done research into these cultures and have attempted to depict them as accurately as possible, and without stereotypes. If anyone is offended by this work, I genuinely apologize. The last thing I want is to upset anyone, but just because that is my intention, that doesn’t mean I will succeed. Once again, apologies to anyone this work offends due to my potential failures, and I hope you can find enjoyment from it.


I was dead. Considering I last remembered going to a rave for some heroin, I must have overdosed.

You might assume this would have been the part where I’d be in denial and assume this was a dream. Instead I just thought, “Yeah, that makes sense.”

The only thing I felt besides resignation was anger at myself. I was supposed to get clean, and instead I got myself killed, because I couldn’t resist the slightest temptation. My will was weak. How pathetic could I be? I couldn’t even last half a day of living as a responsible adult. Even when motivated by my desire to mend my relationships with my family, my son even, I broke instantly.

My addiction and my desire to not be in pain were greater than my love for my son, at least in that moment of weakness. Everything was secondary to my desire to feel good, even my self-preservation instinct.

I mentally recited the phrase, “I’m a piece of shit,” over and over like a religious mantra. How could I have believed I could be a parent? I was incompetent. I was selfish. I was undeserving of all the good people in my life. All their kindness had been wasted on someone who couldn’t control their impulses. Dogs were more intelligent than I was. All these self-deprecating statements played on loop in my mind.

The people taking care of my body put it on a stretcher and left with it.

I was alone, and I would be from then on, or at least I assumed so. Apparently I was a ghost, and it was clear that nobody could see me given nobody acknowledged my presence. Would I be a ghost forever? Were there other ghosts? Was this what happened to all people who died? Could I ascend to an afterlife? I had so many questions.

The only thing I was sure of was that I wouldn’t be able to speak to my friends and family ever again. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t, for I lacked the eyes and tear ducts necessary to do so. Despite my lack of a body, I was able to see and hear, but that was it. No smell, taste, or touch, though it didn’t really make sense why I kept any of my senses without a body, or how I could think without a brain. I didn’t understand the mechanics of being a ghost, but I comprehended that I lacked the ability to express emotion, and thus my feelings were bottled up inside me.

My instinct in stressful situations was to sit in a tight space, but I couldn’t indulge in my claustrophilia when I lacked a body that could be confined, or even the ability to feel things around me. There was no way for me to cope without the right stimuli.

But there were certain stimuli I could still intake. I could still see and hear. How could those senses be used to make me feel better? What did I like to see? What did I like to hear?

The answer to those questions was obvious. I liked to see and hear my loved ones.

My bodiless existence passed through a wall, and then another, and another.

I reached the outdoors. The Sun was shining, yet I couldn’t feel its warmth. A breeze was shaking nearby trees, yet I didn’t feel cool.

Given I wasn’t bound by gravity, I was able to rise upward with a thought. I reached just below the clouds and looked out at the city. It was an awe inspiring sight. Without a vehicle or a high perch, I could still see a massive portion of New York City, all the buildings that contained numerous lives, and all the people who would keep on living without me.

The view also let me get my bearings. My ghost descended towards the closest of all the stops I wanted to make.

I entered an apartment that was sparsely decorated with only a few stock family photos, a bookshelf full of random books, a folding table with some refreshments on it, and a big bed. A crew of people was prepping the room for the film they were about to shoot.

Amina sat in a plastic chair, reading an erotic vampire novel, a porno script titled “Jasmine’s EXXXtra Credit” in her lap. She was wearing a slutty schoolgirl costume. While she thumbed through the pages of her book, I just watched her. It sounds creepy when I say it that way, like I was a ghost haunting Amina.

Seeing my friend just living her life as normal made me feel nice. She was okay, even if I wasn’t, and she appeared happy enough. I was brimming with sympathetic joy.

That said, I also felt how little my death was impacting the world around me. Even as I was dead, the world kept moving, and my loved ones continued on without me.

But that was a good thing. It was better that my loved ones kept on living and finding happiness rather than forever wallowing in grief over my passing.

Ringing came from a purse on the table. Amina groaned and dragged herself out of her chair, going over to the bag to take out a cellphone. I floated close enough enough to be able to hear what was said on the other side of the line.

“Hello?” Amina said.

“Amina, it’s me.”

“Hey, Tyronica. What’s up?”

“How should I put this? So Eve went to a rave last night, and she did a bunch of heroin, and she OD’d. Eve’s dead.” Tyronica spoke slowly, letting each part of what she said have time to set in.

“Of course.” Amina sat back down and leaned her head back. “I knew this was gonna happen eventually. She had no self-control.”

Amina’s face was phlegmatic, not losing its blankness for even the slightest twitch.

“You okay?” Tyronica's voice rose to a higher pitch. “You don’t sound like someone who just heard their coworker died.”

“Of course I’m okay. I never liked Eve. She was always saying rude and gross shit without thinking, she never stopped yelling, or talking in general for that matter, and she was so annoying.”

“I mean, you ain’t wrong, but it’s kind of fucked up for you to say all that after Eve just helped you out but handing you a ton of cash.”

“It’s not like I don’t appreciate that, trust me, I really do, I’ll always be thankful for her for that, but that doesn’t change that she was a pain in the ass most of the time. A few good deeds don’t change that she made working the corner with her fucking torture. She just wouldn’t shut the fuck up!”

“Again, you’re right, but it’s still not okay to badmouth the dead.”

“Oh come off it! You hated her more than I did! Don’t pretend like your opinion on her actually changed, because she got herself killed by being an idiot! Or, what? Are you gonna be like, ‘well she actually had a lot of nice parts to her that I didn’t appreciate before. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.’” Amina held a hand up daintily while speaking in a breathy voice.

“Don’t be a bitch. I’m just trying to have some tact.”

“Eve didn’t have any.”

“Listen, just ‘cause she sucked doesn’t mean we have to suck too. That would make us just as bad as her.”

“I'm thinking of all the bullshit she’d always do now. How many fucking times would she say something mean, but then she’d be all, ‘oh, I didn’t mean to say that! I wasn’t thinking!’ What a load of bullshit! She was such a judgy cunt.”

“Y’know, you’re the one that’s starting to be annoying.”

“Fuck you. Anyway, did anything else happen, or was Eve croaking everything?”

“That was it.”

“Then I wanna get back to my book.”

“I’ll see you later.”

“See ya.”

Amina hung up and returned to her erotica, her hand caressing her crotch. She didn’t spare me even one thought after she put down her phone.

Tyronica and Amina hated me. I spent so many years with them, and I never noticed even an inkling of how they really felt. How oblivious was I? It turned out I was a dumb, airhead, bimbo piece of shit.

Of course my coworkers would hate me. There wasn’t a single aspect of social etiquette I was good at. The fact that Amina and Tyronica were able to tolerate me for so long without giving up the ghost showed they had the tolerance of saints.

I wondered if I was really so insensitive that I could completely fail to recognize how my friends thought of my behavior. Perhaps I was just that self-centered. Previously, I considered myself at least a decently thoughtful person, but maybe that only extended as far as I chose to see. Anything beyond my immediate interpretations of reality was nonexistent to me. I never even thought to try and pay deeper attention to what was going on around me.

The only real question was whether my behavior was because I was a bad person or a stupid one. It could have been both.

How insufferable had I been to make Amina and Tyronica hate me?

A possible answer came to me. It was possible I wasn’t actually that horrible, and Amina and Tyronica simply kept their hearts cold towards me just in case I died. Death’s fingers were always looming close to the necks of anyone who worked illegal jobs like prostitution. Seeing the lives of those you knew cut short wasn’t at all implausible, or even a rarity, so it was reasonable that you’d want to keep an emotional distance between yourself and others. If you didn’t grow attached to others, you didn’t have to worry about getting hurt when they died.

If Tyronica and Amina didn’t want to be upset if I died, then it would make sense that they’d avoid growing fond of me, and even make themselves hate me.

With that Gordian Knot of logic tied around my heart, I left the set. I was sure Amina wouldn’t want me secretly watching her star in a porno.

Given I lacked mass, I could move at light speed or even faster since it was only my will that got me moving, not any kind of energy. Despite that, I decided to fly through the city at a leisurely pace anyway. New York City was where I was born and raised, and it was admittedly kind of nice getting to see it from new angles. I wanted to look on the bright side of my passing.

My second destination was my parents’ place. There was a sign saying the restaurant was closed.

Three people were gathered in the restaurant at a table next to the picture of Rabat, all of them dressed in black. Two were my parents, both of whom had blank expressions similar to what Amina had before. My dad had a yarmulke on.

The third person was my sister Laylah. She was the youngest of we siblings at 35, while I was the oldest. Her hair was in an updo and she wore a deep frown as she looked at our parents.

“Oy gevalt,” my dad murmured. He noshed on a ghriba, a Moroccan cookie. There was a plate of them at the center of the table. Normally he had no appetite when he was sad. “What a morning.”

“You think she had a will?” my mom said.

“Of course not. She didn’t own anything.” Laylah ate a ghriba.

“I think she said she wanted to be an organ donor,” dad said.

“I doubt many people want her organs, especially not her liver or lungs.”

There was silence.

I watched my family sit there and slowly eat through the plate of cookies.

A digital chime played as the front door opened. In came a man with a thick curly beard and a yarmulke.

“Eli, how are you doing?” Mom got up and jogged over to the man to give him a hug.

“I’m good, mom. How are you, y’know, taking this?”

“Fine. Your father and I are fine.”

“Hi, Eli.” Laylah got up and gave Eli a hug too. My father’s leg was still hurt so he settled for waving.

“Hey, sis. Hey, dad.”

“I hope this wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for you. You had to miss work, right?” Mom guided Eli over to the table where everyone was sitting.

“Don't worry, I’ve had a bunch of sick days that’ve been sitting around collecting dust for a while now. I might as well use them.” Eli sat down and immediately took a cookie. “Are Noel and Andrés coming?”

“It doesn’t seem like it. We tried calling them, but they never picked up. I think it was a reception issue. They haven’t seen the texts we sent them either. ” Dad scratched his cheek.

“We could postpone the funeral. The rules for a Jewish funeral say we have to do it as soon as possible, but we could delay it a bit as long as it's still within twenty-four hours.” Laylah said.

“I don’t know if they’d want to come anyway.”

“I figured they still cared about Eve since they let her visit.”

“That’s just a pity thing.” Eli finished his cookie. “It’s the same reason mom and dad kept giving her money.”

“It wasn’t pity. It was because we loved her.” Dad sat up straight.

“Loved. Past tense. You stopped loving her at some point. Right?” Eli ate another cookie in one bite.

“You read into things too much.” Mom waved her hand.

“But am I wrong? I can tell you I stopped loving her a long time ago.”

“It’s the same for me.” Laylah nodded her head. “She leeched off of you two for too long, all while pretending she was trying to change. She never grew from when we were kids, and she’d be partying while her grades were as low as they could go.”

“Then she grew up to be a druggie and a prostitute who threw her money away.”

“You shouldn’t talk about your sister like that, especially when she just passed away.” Dad didn’t raise his voice or anything when he said that.

“They…” mom started.


“Nothing. It’s nothing.”

“What is it?”

“It’s nothing, really. Don’t worry about it.”

“Just tell me what it is.”

“It’s…I just think that Eli and Laylah aren’t wrong. Eve failed at everything in life, and half of why she always failed was because of her own…issues. I mean, just yesterday she borrowed money from us, and then she went out to a rave and bought enough drugs to kill herself.” My mother’s voice became harder as she kept speaking.

Dad looked at my mother with wide eyes.

“Don’t tell me you hate Eve too.”

“She was a disappointment and she used us.” Mother looked down at the table. “I know she was our daughter, but that doesn’t mean she was a good person. It’s thanks to Eve that I realized that even a mother’s love isn’t unconditional.”

“You’re all serious?” Dad looked at his family.

“I know you feel the same way.” My mother looked dad in the eye. “You just don’t want to admit it.”

“That’s ridiculous! Eve was my daughter! I loved her!” Dad smacked the table with his palm.

“You’re using the past tense again.” Eli pointed at dad.

“Quit-” Dad stopped, his lips pressing into each other. Everyone was silent as he stared straight down, his hands in tight fists. His breathing became labored. A tear hit the table. “I-I-no-I-I can’t…You’re right, I do hate Eve. I’ve hated her for a long time. I hate my own daughter. What is wrong with me? What kind of father am I?”

“It’s not your fault.” My mother rubbed my father’s back as he cried. “It’s sad to say, but not everyone is deserving of your love, not if they use you all your life. Feeling this way about Eve doesn’t make you a bad person, especially when we continued to help her until the very day she died. We did our best, it’s just unfortunate that Eve didn’t.”

“Mom’s right. You did your best. All we can do now is continue doing our best and move on,” Eli said.

“Eve’s the one who burned the bridges between her and us.” Laylah took her father’s hand. “She reaped what she sowed. It’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do now. Like Eli said, we have to move on.”

“Okay.” My father wiped the tears from his eyes with a handkerchief and took a deep breath. “You’re right, I think.”

“It’s about time we head out.” Eli looked at his watch.

“Then let’s go.” Father nodded and mother helped him get up while Laylah put his crutches under his arms. My parents and siblings left the restaurant, and I was once again alone.

Accepting I had died was easy, and while it hurt to learn my coworkers didn’t like me, I could move on. Finding out my family despised me was a far more harrowing revelation. My love for my family was deep, and I wanted them to be happy, so to learn that I had caused them great misery made me want to disappear. How was I such a fuck up? I never met a single one of my parents expectations, and I sucked money out of them like a mosquito sucked blood.

There were no excuses I could make for my actions. I had ruined my relationship with my family due to my mistakes. How much wealthier would my parents have been if I didn’t keep taking their money only to throw it away on drugs, booze, and parties? How much happier would my siblings have been if they didn’t have to grow up with me annoying them all the time?

My family hated me. The people I trusted the most, the people I thought I could turn to no matter what, hated me. It was my parents and siblings who acted as an anchor for me when my life got out of hand. Without them, I would probably have died way sooner, and yet I did nothing to repay them. All I did was take and take.

It wasn’t a leap in logic to suggest that my family was probably happy I was dead. Now they wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore. That was a thought that made me feel sicker than heroin ever did.

A safety blanket I had relied on all my life had been ripped away from me.

I followed my family to my funeral. The graveyard’s rolling hills covered in graves made the already small group that showed up to my burial seem even smaller. There wasn’t a single eye that wasn’t dry. Every person who bothered to show up displayed no grief over my passing. It was as if there wasn’t a funeral going on. That isn’t to say people were talking giddily or anything like that, but neither were they looking forlornly at my coffin as it was lowered into the dirt. If I had to guess what everyone was feeling, I’d say boredom. They wanted to get my burial over with so they could leave and do what they wanted or needed to do.

Could there have been no one who would truly mourn me?

That question left me feeling panicked. I looked at my family one more time before flying off. There was only one person left who might care about my death.

I phased into Noel and Andrés’ apartment, but they weren’t there.

The desperation inside me grew, and I began searching all over the city for Andrés and Noel. I traveled as fast as I could while still being able to comprehend my surroundings. Structures zipped by as I traveled the streets. My consciousness traced the halls of buildings and I checked the face of every person I encountered. Apparently my ghostly mind could think as fast as I could move.

My faster than light search eventually bore fruit in a subway where Andrés and Noel were standing next to some turnstiles. Noel was leaning against a white tile wall, one hand firmly holding Andrés’ whilst the other was lifting a cell phone up to her ear. I heard the voice of my father on the other end as he explained what had happened to me.

“Okay. Thanks for letting me know. Bye.” Noel’s jaw clenched as she looked down at Andrés, the boy blushing from having to hold his mom’s hand in public.

At this point I had no illusions about how Noel felt about me. We had gotten divorced for a reason.

What I wanted to know was how my son felt. I didn’t want to see him cry over me, but I wanted to at least see that he felt some degree of sadness over my passing. Hell, I’d have been okay if he was slightly bummed out.

Part of me was disgusted with myself that I wanted my son to feel any negative emotion at all, but I was distraught due to how little everyone missed me. I desired the validation of knowing that my life had a significant positive effect on literally anyone.

Noel’s expression shifted around as she squeezed Andrés’ hand.

“Come with me. I have something to tell you.” Noel led Andrés to a bench where they sat down. My ex-wife looked our son in the eye. “Andrés, that call I just received was some bad news. I don’t want to stall, so I’ll just say it. Your other mother, Eve, has passed away.”

“Oh. Okay.” Andrés’ expression didn’t change.

A pause.

“Are you okay?” Noel put a hand on Andrés’ shoulder. “It’s okay to be upset.”

“I’m not upset. I honestly don’t really feel anything.” Andrés shrugged his shoulders.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. I was never that close to my other mom, so I can’t really feel much about her being dead.” Andrés wasn’t looking around nervously. He wasn’t fidgeting. His eyes weren’t tearing up.

Andrés really wasn’t upset about my death.

“Alright, but if you change your mind and want to talk about how you feel, don’t be afraid to talk to me.”


“They already buried your mother due to the rules about Jewish funerals, so we missed it, but we can still visit her grave if you want.”

“Can we go home instead?”

“We can.” Noel and Andrés stood up and headed through the turnstile.

The conversation was so brief.

My son didn’t care that I was dead.

The despair I felt in that moment was so all encompassing that I still struggle to fully articulate what it was like. Andrés was more precious to me than anything. It was thanks to visiting him once a year that I had so much strength to go on.

“Such is li-” I couldn’t bring myself to lie and say ‘such is life’ again, not even in my own mind.

I could live without my friends. I could live without my parents and siblings. I could live without Noel.

Andrés wasn’t so easy to live without.

Melancholy wasn’t quite what I felt. Emptiness made my experience sound too simplistic. Depression was close, but it was more than that, or maybe that downplayed just how multifaceted depression could be. I had experienced the greatest tragedy in my life up to that point, and I was filled with emotions so varied and grand that I couldn’t process them all, and thus I felt something infinitely close to nothing at all. The only conception I could parse was a determination, or perhaps denial, that refused to let me give up.

I followed Andrés and Noel home. He had to have been suppressing his feelings. That’s what I told myself.

Andrés played video games on his computer. No tears. No trembling. He was smiling.

Andrés went to school and hung out with his friends. No hesitation. No sighs. Plenty of laughs.

Andrés confessed to a girl he had a crush on, and they went on a date. They had fun.

Andrés tripped and broke his hand. He cried, but only from the physical pain.

Andrés attended the wedding of Noel and her new beloved. He cried tears of happiness.

Never did Andrés cry for me.

For days, weeks, months, and years I watched over my son as he grew into a man, waiting for him to feel something over me, or at least mention me. The day I awaited never came, for it didn’t exist.

I meant nothing to Andrés.

That should have been a good thing. He wasn’t stuck in the past.

But it hurt so fucking much.

I was such garbage that I was hoping my son would be unhappy. It was yet another shame of mine to add to the mountain.

There was no one who cared about me. I failed to bring any good into the lives of those around me. Was it worse that most people who knew me hated me, or that my own son didn’t even care enough about me to feel hatred?

Nothing remained that I could grasp onto.

Part of me had hoped that I could spend my afterlife observing my loved ones happily going about their days, but to do so after realizing how they felt about me would only be self-harm. I considered that such torment might serve as punishment for how I hurt those around me, but I managed to dissuade myself from such thoughts.

After one last glance at Andrés, I flew away. I didn’t have a destination in mind, I just needed to be far away from anyone I knew.

My aimless flight eventually guided me to Central Park. I stopped in the wide walkway known as the Mall. The path cut through an array of trees whose branches formed a canopy above it, orange, red, and yellow leaves dotting the ground. A short fence lined the edges of the pavement along with occasional benches and lamp posts.

I hovered over one of the benches as if I were sitting in it. A breeze rustled the trees which made some leaves fall. They aimlessly traveled through the air. I played a game where I would guess what spots the leaves would touch down. Not once did I guess correctly. After three rounds I gave up.

All I could think of was how all the people precious to me hated me or were indifferent to my death. These thoughts became just as much of an addiction as heroin had been for me.

My ADHD made my mind oscillate between topics, but only for brief interludes that would give way to more thoughts of the truth I had learned.

I’d think about my pain, then a pretty leaf, then my pain, then a bug that crawled by, then my pain, then a small scratch on the bench I was on, then my pain.

Because my mind kept switching topics, I would always restart my thought processes from the beginning. I would begin feeling sorry for myself over how I ruined my relationships, but before I could find a route to closure, I’d get distracted by something and forget what I was thinking about previously, forcing me to start over at the beginning and feel sorry for myself again.

The loop of my thoughts kept on spinning, my malaise keeping me unmotivated and leaving me to endure the hell in my head.

My progressless existence, my journey without a destination, kept on going and going and going and going and going.

I kept torturing myself with the same questions.

Why couldn’t I improve?

Why did I have to go out to the rave that night?

Was it too late for me to make amends with my loved ones?

If I hadn’t died, would I have been able to turn my life around?

What was the first mistake I made that set me on my doomed path?

Were my failures more the fault of my own flaws, the systems around me, or bad luck?

Was I worthless?

I returned to reality to find it was winter. Snow formed a carpet on the ground and the trees lacked leaves. Flakes gently meandered down from the gray sky. There was no wind, and no one was traveling down the path.

Over a century had passed since I died, and my existence had yet to change. I just kept on wallowing in self-pity. Nothing was being achieved.

In that case, why did I still exist?

It was as I raised that question that it became more difficult to form thoughts.

What thoughts I could manifest mainly consisted of how the world really was better off without me. Even my ghostly self was probably causing some kind of problems; it was in my nature to make everything worse by being around.

Being reduced to nothingness might have been the only happy end to my existence. I wouldn’t hurt anyone else any longer, and I wouldn’t have to suffer from the consequences of my actions.

My mind grew slower, as if it were a machine that someone were ripping parts out of, a gadget struggling to keep moving despite the gaps in its systems.

Was it a mercy to stop existing? Life was full of so much pain, and often when you tried to avoid feeling that pain, you caused pain to others. When phrased that way, it made it seem like whatever may have created us was encouraging humans to pick between the self and those around them.

It was easier to give up.

Fewer thoughts were forged in my mind by the second. Everything grew slow and silent.

I was so tired, and sleep sounded lovely. The gears in my head were about to halt. My ghost was about to fade away. All I had to do was stop thinking and there would be no pain, no guilt, no regret.

And no happiness.

My engine roared to life as I felt the weight of being nothing. I lacked a heart, and yet I felt something pounding inside the core of my ghostly incarnation. Terror beyond anything I had ever felt before recreated all those parts which I had lost.

To be nothing wasn’t just to lose everything bad, it was to lose all the good as well. No more happiness, no more intrigue, no more comedy, no more memories, no more love. Every pleasure would be stipped away. You could call those positive emotions mere interludes between moments of suffering, but you could just as easily say that the instances of suffering in our lives were interludes between the good times. What mattered was perspective formed from the health of one’s mind.

True death of the consciousness wasn’t sleep or an eternal aimless dream, it wasn’t an eternity spent in a void of black or white, it was nothing. No thoughts. No comprehension. It’s something the human mind can’t even imagine or simulate for the mind does not know what it’s like to not think. The horror of being nothing was a Lovecraftian nightmare of inconceivability. I felt like the world was moving on without me now, but to stop existing, to be unable to observe and fathom the world around me, that was what it truly was to be left behind. Even if nobody thought of me, I could think of them, and that was a connection I could latch onto and find meaning in. As long as I continued to think, I could eventually find happiness. If I was nothing, then I’d never have the opportunity to be happy.

I refused to disappear yet. No, I refused to disappear ever. Until the very end, I would fight against the death of my mind, even if I had to squirm in the mud like a worm, even if I had to lick the boots of others and give up my pride, even if I failed utterly in the end.

Until I knew happiness, not the half-hearted happiness that was destined to collapse like I had known until that point, but true joy without any caveats or concessions, I would never give up. It was unlikely that I’d ever achieve the happiness I seeked, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the fight to achieve that impossible dream.

If I feared hurting others and making them hate me, then all I had to do was try my hardest not to do that. I’d put my heart and soul into making those I cared about happy like I wanted to be. All I could do was try my best.

I would keep trying my best no matter what. It didn’t matter if everyone hated me, or that my own son felt nothing at my passing. My will would compromise for nothing.

Even as I lacked a voice, I roared so loudly I swore the world began to shake.

A light erupted from my consciousness and flooded out until I couldn’t see anything but the radiance, but even then I refused to stop my cry.

And then my cry turned from internal to external sound. I could feel my vocal cords vibrate. I had vocal cords.

I had a body.

A tingle traveled through me as I was elated at my resurrection.

My nose took in the scent of a sterilized environment. When I tried to move, I found that my body was wrapped in something soft that constricted me. I heard familiar voices, and crying that wasn’t my own.

Realizing that I wasn’t revived as my old self, my ecstasy was replaced with unease.

The light faded from my eyes. I could finally see.

There was a giant woman in a hospital gown who was holding me in her arms, a giant bearded man in intricately embroidered robes at her side. Both of them didn’t look real. They had a flatness to them like drawings, and their colors were vibrant in a way that was unnatural. The woman’s cyan eyes were gigantic, her skin was very dark, and her green hair was long. Meanwhile, the man’s eyes were red and his hair was magenta, his skin similarly dark to the woman. Atop his head was a single thin hair that shot upward from the top of his cranium and then curved downward all the way down to the elevation of his neck. This man had an actual ahoge. I was looking at two anime people who had the voices of anime English dub voice actors I recognized.

“They’re both so cute. It’s like looking at my baby pictures.” The woman was smiling. “I wonder if they’ll take more after you or me.”

“They best be like me if they want to take the throne one day.” The man smirked and tapped my forehead with his finger, his hand consuming my vision when it got close.

The duo kept saying ‘they’. I turned to look at the other individual in the giant woman’s arms, and it became clear that neither the woman nor the man were giant.

Cradled in the woman’s other arm was an infant with magenta hair who was the source of the crying. My body was comparable in size to the newborn.

To prove what I had already figured out, I let out a groan, and that groan came out in an infantile voice.

I was a baby.

I had been reborn as a baby in an anime world.

And that wasn’t all, because I recognized the man and woman.

“Scheherazade’s so quiet.” The woman moved her face closer to mine.

“Hopefully she’ll be this well behaved when she’s older.” The man poked my head again.

Scheherazade. My new name was Scheherazade.

It wasn’t any old anime-esk reality that I was in.

I was in the world of the anime I hated the most, Al-Kimiya: I Died as the Djinn King My First Time Around, so This Time I’m Going to Try to Live a Quiet Life, but All These Girls Won’t Leave Me Alone in this Inside-Out World!!

If that wasn’t nightmarish enough, I was Scheherazade.

Who was Scheherazade?

Scheherazade was the main love interest in Al-Kimiya.

I was a member of the main protagonist’s harem.

I was a waifu.