In death, you felt nothing. Everything was numb, sometimes your vision was blurry, and the sounds around you were fuzzy. Now, not all that were dead experienced this—only those who hadn’t been able to cross to the Otherside. Those that crossed were really dead, and those that didn’t were stuck in a haze, lost and confused, wandering the earth in a state of abandonment as all who were alive around them ignored them, oblivious and blind and deaf to their presence. Sometimes not all who were lost knew they were dead, while others did, and suffered in their own agony and woe.
Travis did not know he was dead, but he did know something was terribly, terribly wrong with him.
Was he sick with a fever? He wondered. Was that why everything seemed to move in slow motion, why it was hard for him to discern between emotions and feelings and thinking? He’d gotten Malaria when he was nine; maybe it was coming back to him. The doctors had warned him the injections at the time may not be enough to cure it completely. The state of loss he was in reminded him of it. But how come when he tried to think about yesterday, and the day before that, and even before that, everything was dark? His memories suddenly stopped—were cut off it seemed—like he was trying to see what was at the bottom of a mud puddle. It was murky and indecipherable. He didn’t understand, and it . . . troubled him. What is happening? Am I really getting sick again? But if I’m sick, why am I in a grocery store?
He was meandering his way down an aisle, the one that held pastas and soups and the like. Had his parents sent him out to get something for dinner? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember anything at all up until finals, which had been three weeks ago. After that—nothing. Frowning to himself he paused and absently grabbed a can of soup, reading the label. Shaking his head he returned it to the shelf and took a step back, and stumbled into someone. “Sorry,” he blurted, turning around and holding his palms up apologetically at the older man. Strangely the man did not respond, instead continued looking up and scanning the rows of soup, a pinched expression on his face. “Um . . . sir?” Travis prodded gently. Still, no response. Blinking he took a few steps away, unsure whether to be offended or not. He’d just backed into the guy—had he not cared? He’d acted as if Travis hadn’t even been there, or spoken to him. Weird. . . .