by Stephanie Kraner
I don’t know what I miss more: sleeping or waking. Both represent a change, something new and terrifying. Not many people see it that way, but I have a unique perspective.
The last time I went to sleep, I woke up dead.
Caught me off-guard, especially since I still went to work. Christ, that was a bad day. The goddamn computer wouldn’t work and nobody even looked at me. Then I went home and found my body. If I could’ve shit my pants, I probably would’ve.
My ex-wife used to say I’d die before I stopped working, and I guess the bitch was right.
I stretch, watching her as she lies in bed.
Not everyone gets to come back. Just the stubborn ones. The anal ones, Karen would say. The ones who don’t even call off dead.
Karen stirs. When she sees me, she’s going to flip. Then I get to tell her she’s dead. Win.
It sucked being alone when I woke up for the last time, so I made this my job. A man—even the ghost of a man—needs a purpose.
Karen’s spirit gets up. She sees me and glares. Then she sees her body. Then she starts screaming.
Typical Karen—always making a scene.
“When you’re done,” I say, “we need to talk.”
Stephanie is a small-town girl who recently moved to Pittsburgh—and she loves it! Her hobbies include people-watching while stuck in traffic, being overly-opinionated about the aesthetics of bridges, and getting lost in parking garages. She also likes lizards, hockey, and trying craft beer based entirely on the design of its label. Her fiction has appeared in flashquake, Defenstration, The Battered Suitcase, and was Editor’s Choice in Anotherealm.