Death: A List by Tanya Bryan [fantasy]

Imprint - Fantasy Imprint Logo 200wDeath: A List by Tanya Bryan

1. Die. Try not to make it too messy, if at all possible.

2. Despite what they all tell you, do not go into the light. You are not a firefly. Do not get zapped.

3. Attend your own funeral to see who shows up. Mock those who are obviously fake-mourning to get attention. Notice Cousin Jesse is the most upset, not fakely. Try to console her and realize she can feel your presence, which makes her shiver. Realize haunting is the greatest thing about being dead.

4. Decide who to haunt. Start with your ex, who still owes you three hundred bucks. Next, Uncle Donald, who gave you mothballs for Christmas last year. Do not forget the crazy yodeling neighbor. He haunted you for a long time with his caterwauling.

5. Learn that haunting crazies gets dull quickly. They tend to just lump you in with all the rest of the crazy already filling their heads.

6. Take up spying on people. They know they’re a little colder when you’re around, but most are too dense to realize why. They just put on a sweater and shake your presence off. Watch everyone you’ve ever known. Then turn to watching celebrities in ways that even paparazzi haven’t found a way to do. Yet. After seeing Alexander Skarsgård sleep, realize how creepy you’re being. You are a creep. Even for a ghost.

7. Stop being a creep.

8. Try to find that light that everyone talks about. You are a firefly now. A creepy, stalker firefly, ready to get zapped. No light. Boo.

9. Hang around your own grave. There’s no going back into that rotten corpse because no matter how cool the media makes zombies seem, they’re gross. Even worse than being a creep. You’d be a smelly creep. But it is comforting to see that Cousin Jesse visits every month, at least for the first ten or so years. Then even she forgets about you. Life takes precedence over death.

10. Vocally wallow in sorrow. Get mistaken for a cat in heat, a banshee, and a mermaid, despite the fact you’re nowhere near water.

11. Try to meet other ghosts. No one wants anything to do with the cat in heat/banshee/mermaid ghost.

12. Attend séances just to talk to someone, even if it’s a middle-aged hippie who changes everything you say to some nonsense about the other person in the room’s relatives—the smart ones who’ve already moved on, into the light that you were too stupid to go into.

13. Understand why ghosts go all poltergeisty. Being dead is boring. It’s like being stuck on a hamster wheel without a runner’s high. Your only joy is throwing temper tantrums, and even those aren’t satisfying when no one reacts. Reality TV has made everyone immune to the oddities of this world.

14. Revisit your ex, who didn’t age well. Thank the stars you died before marrying that hot mess.

15. Start haunting priests so they will exorcise you. It tickles.

16. Attend funerals of strangers for something to do. Realize you actually know everyone. Take comfort in the fact that your funeral had better attendance than most of these poor saps got.

17. At one funeral, notice that it’s Cousin Jesse’s. And she’s a ghost, standing next to you. She smiles at you, puts out her hand. “I knew you’d wait for me.” You take her hand. Turn to the light that’s supposed to be just for her. You drop her hand, push her out of the way and run.

18. Zap.

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