The Avondhu - By The Fireside


- Orlaith Merritt

The golden sun shines through the leaves of the ancient oak tree. The weather seems like its warmer than it’s been for months. I don’t know what day or month it is exactly. It’s been like that ever since I died.

I can’t even remember how many years it’s been since my funeral. Did I even have a funeral? Maybe not. Maybe I was murdered and whoever killed me thought that: “Hey, you know where no-one wouldn’t EVER look for a body? The graveyard!”

“Wow, that’s ingenious mate!” “I know!”

Don’t go feeling sorry for me, that’s just me joking. I don’t remember how I died. Isn’t that depressing? Somehow though, I can still remember details from my funeral. I’ll give you the story. I woke up, well my consciousn­ess woke up. I was in a wooden box. Why am I in a box? Then I heard people walking above me and they were crying. Then my head started to feel like someone was banging it against a concrete pathway. Over and over till my brain exploded onto the ground in a gory mess!

I started screaming and banging on the coffin, ‘Let me out, get me out of here, why can’t you hear me? I’M NOT DEAD!’

I was dead, of course I was. But waking up in a coffin and getting the mother of all headaches, along with that not rememberin­g how you got there can really bring about a panic. It was only after a minute of trying to get someone to hear me that my hands slipped through the wood. I was so confused. But I figured I should stop panicking and wouldn’t you know, once I stopped, I just started to float upwards and when I got above ground, I saw…

Hold on, looks like there’s a funeral happening right now. There are around.. ten people there. I guess it’s better than having no-one.

I go over and get a better look. Really, the only thing interestin­g that happens here are the funerals and they only happen on occasion. The box seems small enough that I guess the person the funeral is for might be under 20? I don’t know how to measure coffins, okay?! I’m not that smart.

Anyways, the priest says a prayer and some other sappy depressing things you would hear at a funeral. That’s not what’s interestin­g, what’s interestin­g is that I can hear the faint shouts of someone in the coffin. I look around and no one is responding, so I guess the person is really dead but doesn’t know it, like I was.

“Hey, dude you’re dead” I yell down towards the wooden box containing the confused ghost. “Just relax and you’ll naturally float out, trust me, I’ve done this before”.

I think for a moment they didn’t hear me, but lone and behold after three minutes, I can see the ghost of a young girl who looks about twelve float out.

“Well done kid, didn’t think you had it in you to be honest”.

She looks around and sees the people who came to bury her.

“Wha-What’s happening? Mom? Mom it’s me, Sophie, Mom what can you hear me? What’s going on?”

I decide to give her a minute to adjust to all of this, ‘cause once her family leaves she kind of starts to understand that she’s dead.

“So, what brings you here to the graveyard?” I ask, trying to get rid of the awkwardnes­s. Sophie thinks for a minute, “I don’t know, I think I was in an accident that might have involved a car.”

“Huh, a car accident, kind of cliché to be honest.”

“Well how did you die?” Sophie asks, pretty defensivel­y.

“I don’t remember really, I think your memory fades the more you stay here” - at least that’s what I think happens. It’s what happened to me.

“WHAT?! But – like - how long have you been here?”

That’s a reasonable question and I wish I could answer it, but all the memories I have of my living life are so blurry and I just can’t remember anything. I don’t know if my death was painful or quick, I don’t know if those people at my grave were my family and if they miss me right now. It’s nice to think people will miss you when you’re gone.


It’s been a day since Sophie ‘arrived’ here and she seems to be reciting her life to make sure she doesn’t forget.

“It’s just so hard to believe I’m actually dead, I mean, there was so much I wanted to do with my life.”

Well, I don’t know whether that’s depressing or funny, like she’s only twelve.

“Really? What could you possibly want to do with your life?”

“Well if you’re curious, I planned on studying at a college for the dramatic arts and becoming an actress.” Well that sounds a bit predicable from a preteen, but at least she had some clue with what she wanted to do.

“Well that sounds like you would have had a pretty productive life.”

“Yeah, I would have, if only some drunk decided not to grab a bottle and throw it at the first car that drove by him….”

“Wait, you remember what happened when you died?” How can she remember a detail like that but I can’t?

“It kind of just came back to me, hey are there other ghosts here, like you can’t be the only one in this graveyard.”

I mean, I have met other ghosts here, there was Old Mick, he was an elderly who overdosed on his prescripti­ons and he had quite a…. rude personalit­y to say the least. There was Tina, she was such a sweetheart who walked in front of a car when she lost her job, boyfriend broke up with her and the depression just became too much and how can I forget about Jonathan, pretty good man who just got caught up with bad people. And there were many others, probably more than I can recall but what happened to them was, eventually, they all had some spiritual moment and went…. wherever you go when you die. That’s just never happened to me, I guess it’s ‘cause I just refuse to have that spiritual moment. Anyway, it’s probably only a matter of time

before that happens to Sophie.

So, now Sophie is telling her big idea to help me with my afterlife amnesia, “Okay, so I’ve been thinking, if you concentrat­e, like really concentrat­e, maybe you could remember your life and then if you do that, then you can move on.”

“Wow, Sophie that’s such a good idea, why hadn’t I just thought of that?” I say, with as much sarcasm as I have left in phantasmal state. I have tried to recollect bits and pieces of when I was alive, just not that hard, like I would try to think about my life leading to my death but then I stop myself before anything can pop up in my head. Maybe I had a pretty shitty life and now that I’m dead I’m trying to forget it. That doesn’t make sense, I mean, I’m dead, there’s no new ‘fresh start’. When I got out of that coffin, I didn’t bother to try to make out the mourners’ faces, just left the funeral in a panic and hid in the trees till it was all over. So it’s possible that I’m still afraid of being dead and that’s why I can’t face what’s next.

“Well, could we visit your grave, maybe that will trigger something?”

“God Sophie, why do you care?”

“Because, I can feel myself fading and I want to make sure you can get some closure before I go.”

That sounds really nice out of her, wanting to make sure that I’ll find out how I died before she goes. Don’t know how’ll that will happen, how I’ll magically recount my death, she’s probably just curious about me and wants to know my full life story before she disappears into the abyss. For the record, I’ve just recently began to think that ghosts go to an abyss or maybe there isn’t one. I don’t know if there is an abyss, is there an abyss? I hope not, I mean that would be a pretty boring place to spend the rest of my afterlife. That’s not what we’re talking about. This plan might be a long shot, but perhaps seeing that place might give me the kick in the ass I need to move on. “Okay, well I’m

pretty sure that it’s this way… Here lies Allen King”

“Are you one hundred percent sure that this is your grave?”

Yes, of course it is, I remember coming out of the ground right here, by the cover of trees and there were people there and……


“What did you say to me bitch?” Great, now he’s angry, God is it too much to ask for a girl to walk home without some guy getting a bruised ego?

“I said that you and your friend should head home to mommy, it is getting late.”

I try to turn away but they grab me and push me to the ground. It’s an ugly tussle, I kick most of them off but then one of them grabs my head and just starts hitting it off the ground. Over. And over. And over…..

Till one of his friends grabs him and pulls him off. But by then, it’s too late for me.

“Okay, um, look this graveyard is pretty far from the town, we can just bury her somewhere there, no none would even look there.”

They just bury me on top of some poor guy’s coffin, crying how they just killed someone and now they have to live with that for the rest of their lives. While I’m left to rot on top of a coffin.


Well, I guess I had to accept that this is what happened to me, that I’m just some poor murder victim. I wanted to go out some other less depressing way at least, like some funny accident. I do feel…. lighter? Like I don’t have any time left. Hey, at least now I get to see what happens when you die now.

Sophie’s already gone hours ago, so I guess I’m going to see her - or maybe not.


“Alice, come and see the news, the police seem to have arrested some boys that live here for the murder of that teen girl they found in the graveyard.”

I look up at a huge oak tree, I feel like I’ve seen a tree like this before, though I don’t know where. Maybe a past life or something. Whatever, better go inside now before mom’s getting annoyed. Huh, don’t know why, but I really want to visit the graveyard where the police found that girl. Must be some sick curiosity.

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