Present

His naturally pale skin looked even more translucent in death. His blonde hair which he kept long, hung limply at the sides. Unseeing dead eyes open, looked out to the world as if drinking in every last detail before his soul fled. There was an odd beauty to this figure, even though his protruding tongue made it look grotesque.
Adam Church admired his dead body hanging in the privacy of his bathroom, aided by the shower curtain chords.
“Handsome even in death” he whispered, caressing his cold, stiffening cheek.
Very handsome”

Weeks Earlier

“…..I’d say you’re going mad! Seeing a dead man? Yup! Mad it is!”
Adam sighed and looked at the beautiful woman sitting opposite him at Costa Cafe with exasperation.
He sighed again.
“Listen Anna, it was just a rhetorical question. Something somebody asked at work.”
He watched her knitted auburn brows relax with relief.
A small but dazzling smile touched her face. She put her hand over his and gently squeezed, changing the topic.
While he pretended to listen to her prattle about ‘God-awful Jane at work’, his mind went back to the question he had asked.
‘What would you say if I told you, I saw your ex-husband?’
The truth is that he could bet his high rise apartment and car that he saw his ex-friend.
Hallucinations caused by guilt?
Nah!
He was a man without scruples. Guilt didn’t come naturally to him. He wouldn’t have gotten to his current office position if he had been a man prone to guilt.
Maybe it was madness.
I wonder what mother would say? Wayward son, dead. Golden son, mad.
No.
He couldn’t confide in his mother.
He nodded noncommittally to Anna’s stories, glad she was oblivious to the little changes in his behaviour.
Anna: Beautiful but dumb.
How he liked them.

Then he saw him.
They were seated opposite each other, with Anna, directly backing a mirror.
That was where he saw him.
On the mirror.
His hands, gently resting on Anna’s shoulders, dead malevolent eyes, glaring at him, his horribly life-like lips stretched in a wicked grin.
Adam’s heart skipped a beat and he tore his gaze away from the spectre massaging his girl friend’s shoulder.
“Anna let’s go” he said, getting up and leaving the cafe.

*****

Andy admired himself in front of the mirror.
“Thirty-two and perfect” he whispered to himself, exposing his pearly-white teeth.
He stared into his deep blue eyes fanned by silky long lashes. He had inherited his mother’s looks. Instead of looking effeminate, he managed to transform even the smooth rosebud lips into handsome MALE features.
He smiled at himself again and suddenly, he yelped, jumping back from his reflection.
There he was again, staring at him through the looking glass, in the privacy of his own bathroom.
He ran out of the bathroom, closing the door behind in with a resounding THUD.
What was this?
This was the fourth sighting.
Adam ran into bed, regretting his sending Anna home, as he cowered under his duvet.
His reflections cowered with him in the mirrors which he had used to surround his bedroom. He was a man prone to vanity after all.
“Pathetic” he whispered, suddenly angry.
He jumped out of bed and walked to the bathroom, brandishing a bedside stool.
“Fuck you if you think I’d cower! Fuck you!”
He stood by the door, looking at himself in the mirror, waiting for his nemesis to appear.
“Goddamned stupid fool. I bested you at everything. So what? I took your bloody job! So what! You were a blubbering idiot! I was better looking and more suited! Your wife left you for me! SO FUCKING WHAT!”
His chest heaved in anger…and fear.
“I was better. We were best friends man but damn you! I was better! You didn’t deserve Anna. No you didn’t!”
He saw movement at the periphery of his eyes and turned sharply, stool raised in offence.
Shadows.
He was losing his mind.
He walked into the bathroom and peered closely at the mirror.
Nothing was behind him.
No one.
1 minute.
5 minutes.
10 minutes.
“All in my mind.”
He sighed and trudged to bed, making a mental note to get an appointment with a private therapist.
He fell asleep, surrounded by reflections of him asleep.
Had he opened his eyes that moment, he would have seen the apparition staring at him through his looking glasses of vanity.

*******

No help.
No one could help.
‘He’ was everywhere.
At the boardroom meeting, on the boss’ reflective table.
At the back of the car, in his rear-view mirror.
On Anna’s shiny silver chain, winking at him as he made love to his former wife.
At the gym, watching him sweat to keep in shape.
Everywhere!
Even drinking didn’t help. He saw him on every bottle, on every glasses. Smiling, winking, laughing, with that evil glare in his eyes, suggesting to him what he had to do.
Swing.
Swing.
Swing Swine.

Back to the Present

“So the swine finally swung.”
Adam turned back sharply.
“You!”
He walked up to his nemesis and landed him a solid blow.
“Fucking Bastard! Look what you did to me!”
David Winslow smiled at the fury of his former friend and wife snatcher.
“Oh you had it coming. Had I not died in that fatal car crash, I’d have shot you and Anna dead. Yes! That was my plan”
Adam’s eyes widened.
He moved to hit David again the slowly stopped.
He sighed.
“What have you gained? What?”
David smiled slowly.
“Oh my work isn’t done yet. Anna would be joining us in a week.”
“Fucking Bastard! Leave her the fuck alone!”
David became enraged.
“Why! Tell me why! Bloody Adulteress! She deserves to die! You two deserve to die! You ruined my life!”
Several deep breaths later, he calmed down.
“Follow me. There’s someone you’d like to meet”

“Why would i go anywhere with you?”
David shrugged.
“I guess you don’t want to see your wayward biker brother then”
Adam paused for a moment.
“Let’s go”

They walked out of his apartment, strolling amongst the living until they got to a park where a young man sat idly on a bike.
Adam was rooted to the spot immediately he was close enough to recognise the biker.
“Charlie”
Charlie got off his bike, a look of disbelief on his face.
“Adam? The hell you doing dead mate?”
Adam stared at his brother.
“Did you kill him also?” He said, furiously addressing David.
Charlie looked at David confused.
“You know my brother? Wait you knew me before? What’s happening?”
David smiled at them.
“Remember my unfinished business Charlie my boy? Yeah, your brother is half of it done.”
Charlie’s eyes widened in surprise and anger.
David glanced at Adam.
“No. He died on his own. But he did give me the special idea I needed for yo..OW!”

Pain.
He could feel it reverberating through his body.
He glanced down and saw what he suspected.
The Numbness.
“Not yet!” David screamed as he fought the swirling darkness that has enveloped his legs.
How didn’t he notice it earlier?
Tears dropped from the corner of his eyes as he continued his struggle with Fate.
Not now!
Please…

*****

Adam watched his former buddy disappear under a black cloud of darkness.
He felt Charlie pull at his shirt.
“Come on bro! He’s gone. I’d explain but we gonna be next!”
They ran to the bike and with a kick, they zoomed off into the darkness, leaving a ghostly cloud of dust in their wake.

And there it is, the real story behind the after-life.
Our dearly departed hover around us, until they are finally taken away by The Numbness.
So shall we hover, until we are all taken away, by The Numbness.

The End

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