It was a quiet day; the type that you are neither happy nor sad about, the ones that cling to you like the itchiness of your Mum’s old jumper and kind of made you uncomfortable but reminded you of home. It was the type of day that Jack spent lying on the couch eating popcorn and reading a book- today’s was Crime and Punishment- without bothering to put either a shirt or pants on. I mean really there was no real need for either items of clothing as he was currently without a roommate and even then it didn’t matter all that much.
Jack was in all aspects an average Joe except his name was Jack and he wore very extravagant clothing, he had brown hair that was sort of shabby and brown eyes that sometimes looked hazel. He was not all that interesting and had given up about a year ago on trying to date, his life was beyond dull.
It couldn’t be helped; his ex-roommate that had been dead for a month was the interesting one but now he lay, dead, in the morgue where Jack worked. Mathew was the sun to Jack’s moon, a man with too much charm and a happy disposition that would make anyone want to take a gun to either their head or his on a rather bad day. He was blond, too, with rather big glowing green eyes that peered at you the way Jack’s cat did when it wanted to play. In all reality Mathew was not your usual kind of guy; he was a notorious player who prowled night clubs and brought anyone willing home.
Like the time he forgot his keys and had to knock on the door with a red-head, looking like a cat that had brought home a dead mouse.
In all reality, now that the house had turned quiet and the rooms cold and the idea that every time he came home there was no smell of food on the stove, Jack had begun to miss Mathew. He would take it all back: the dishes in the sink, his missing bread, even the late rent that he had to cover because Mrs. Cray was demanding and scary-- and may have actually been related to the Cray twins. Not giving her rent would be the worst mistake ever made by him or anyone.
The clock chimed one so he decided to turn to bed. He had work in the morning and there is only so many times you can put organ failure before agents knock on the door wondering if there is an epidemic. At this hour there was nothing more that looked like Heaven than the large well made up bed. He flopped down onto it, exhaling as he went. He bounced three times before being hissed at by a small blond cat that ran from under Jack’s head and took a far corner away from his human counterpart.
Jack did not react, simply snaking onto the bed and curling under the duvet and not moving again. Well that was until the clock chimed three…
The grandfather clocks chime echoed like a summoning about the house, his cat hissed out and darted with a screech under the drawers. Jack began to feel stifled, wriggling uncomfortably under the duvet, kicking at it until it eventually fell off the bed and he lay there in his boxers with a cold sweat. There was a hellish hot glow that leaked out from under his door its origins leading to the living space on the other side. There was a wind that kicked at his door and something that sounded like a million dead souls screaming for their lives from the other side.
If this is my bloody neighbours again, I’m calling the police.
He opened his door, not grabbing a dressing gown from his way out and stumbled upon what could only be a literal portal to hell. It was alive and moving with red smoke that danced about the air leaving it hot and humid and yet right in the middle stood Mathew wearing what could only be assumed as red satin jock strap and nothing else. As the smoke cleared both young men were left to stare at each other in a somewhat level of dismay, I mean one was meant to be dead and the other hadn’t expected to see his ex-roommate for another eternity.
‘Hold on, you died.’
At first, Mathew didn’t reply.
‘Yeah, well, it didn’t stick,’ Mathew said simply. He leant over the couch arm and picked up a hidden bottle of merlot, pulling out the cork with his teeth. They looked, and Jack rationalized this due to the lighting, as though there were four elongated fangs.
‘What do you mean? That isn’t how death works.’ Jack was more than flabbergasted at his friend as he threw his arms about in great exasperation before settling down on the couch too.
‘Well, I was killed because God thought I was a good match for Lucifer,’ Mathew said rather nonchalantly.
‘Wait- they’re real?!’
‘Yes,’ Mathew again replied like it was a perfectly rational thing to say to someone who has 1) never died and 2) was a strong atheist. ‘So I went down to Hell, and Lucifer was at the gate and what I didn’t understand is that I’m a very good catholic and I repent all the time so I tried to figure out what it was I had done before I died.’
Jack knew as a fact that Mathew was not a good Catholic and he did not repent for every sin he made in that room of his. Only the ones he found to be an unpleasant experience.
‘Anyhow,’ he took a sip from the merlot, ‘I say is it because I do it with everything that says yes,
‘And he replies no-- apparently they changed that rule ages ago.’
Another sip. ‘So we go through everything and he was just about to call Peter to the gate when he asks if I’m gay. I tell him I’m Bi and he looks like someone had hit him in the face.’
Jack snatches the merlot away and begins to down a good part of the bottle; it was more down to the part where his friend thought this was a perfectly reasonable story to share. ‘So he mutters something in Enoch and he takes me aside to his palace and he pours me a glass of wine and we get talking-’
‘You were chatting up the devil?’
‘Yeah.’ He takes the bottle back. ‘So we start dating and everything’s good-‘
‘You were dead a month. Not even buried.’
‘You’re awful at your job and that’s twenty years in Hell,’ Mathew says. ‘So we get dating, then he wants to go slow and I say no because I don’t want that type of commitment.’
‘So then we start arguing. He tells me I shouldn’t be dead anyway and brings Azrael into it. She was pretty peeved.’
There wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to get him drunk enough for this story.
‘And she’s like yeah, he’s not actually meant to be dead, and voila! I’m back here.’ He gulped down the rest of the bottle. ‘Worst breakup ever.’
It was the first time in that month that Jack wished for quiet and then his phone rang: The morgue.
It’s not like it’s four in the morning or anything…
Or that there was a missing body.
By Chloe Howard