Underworld Ave.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Originally, this was going to be a cartoon series I was planning back in 2009, but then I wanted to write it as a book about a suicidal skeleton in the underworld. But instead, it's a short story about a skeleton named Will, working in the underworld and he's given another chance at life.

Submitted: September 04, 2016

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Submitted: September 04, 2016

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A line of houses along the block, painted dull gray and black colors. Dead plants and empty trees as a mailman walked along the cracked sidewalk. Lifeless? There is no true way to sum it up, after all, it is just the  Underworld Ave.
Will stood before his cracked mirror, adjusting the blood red tie. Staring back at him was just hollowness. His cheekbones visibly high and teeth cleaned very well. What did I used to look like? That, my friend, he questioned everyday when getting ready for work. Did I have brown hair or blonde hair? Was I balding? Were my eyes green? Hazel? Brown? Blue? Or another kind of color that I'm beginning to not recall?
Was I young or old? It was all a mystery to him. He wasn't even sure how long he has been gone! His trail of thought vanquished as knocks on the front door brought him back to remind himself that he's dead. Inside and out.
Sighing, he walked back into the bedroom, yanked the dark coat up, and rushed out of the room. He opened the door, greeting his best friend, Darius, as he waited on the porch. "Ready for work," his friend asked.
"Better now than later," Will mumbled and closed the door. He threw on his jacket in the cold air. After all, a skeleton has no flesh to keep warm.
Yes, Will is a skeletal man. And Darius, he was a rotting corpse. Understand that in the Underworld City, it is a mix of, I guess you could say "cultures".

There are the skeletons. The corpses. The damned made to suffer everyday. Even occasional fallen angels. Practically, it's like the underworlds you read about: Sheol, Hades, Aralu. Limbo? It is a mix of the

good and the bad. Will wasn't sure what part, or side, he was properly on; but he knew the bad wasn't to be around.
Darius however, it was hard to tell for him. Did he do good deeds like a hero or vigilante? Or did he do bad, as a villain or monster?
"... Anyways, after work, you wanna hang out with the others and get drinks down town?"
"What," Will asked and attempted to frown, the best way he could achieve as a skeleton," I'm bones, Darius. I can't retain liquids."
"Oh yeah," Darius laughed," I forget sometimes." He shook his head, the decaying flesh on his neck wrinkling then returning to post wrinkle as he hid some form of concern. They crossed the street as they came upon the place they worked at, which was the Department of the Underworld. The government building of the underworld.
They kept track of everyone that is sent to the underworld. They take their name down and that's about it. Other branches of the business dealt with weighing the good deeds versus the bad deeds. And might I add, they are very thorough about it.
The two friends made their way into their appropriate work desks and began taking names of new deaths, joining them in the underworld for eternity.

Will repeated every day the same: Get up, work, return to the dull home he inhabited. His bones felt tired out, forever sore. At one point, he kept questioning why he was here. What brought him to this, this... Demise? This suffering of eternity in the depths of a forever dark and dull place?
Was it suicide? Murder? An accident? "Oh you will get over it eventually," Darius would say. "Everyone goes through the same as you and they get out of it just fine," Susan, the ghostly blonde, would tell him.
More trouble came. The day finally came when Darius slipped into the same place as everyone else. He could no longer recall anything. He forgot Will's name, where he resided at, why he was here, as his skin began to fall off.
Did I go through that as well, Will asked himself and he feared he would never get an answer. Never.

I need to know! Will, skipping out on work, wandered away, passing others, keeping his eye sockets cast down at the damaged sidewalk. Soon it became nothing but dead trees, constant flashes of lightning and fog as he could see the more hideous beings of the underworld.
They trudged in the woods, blending within the thick fog, ignoring the fact that there was a lone skeleton, walking. In the distance he could see the river of flames, resemblance to lava as he walked and walked until he swore the sockets in his knees would give way and cause him to collapse.
"Where are you walking to?" He froze as a voice spoke. It was almost a soothing tone, much different than the voices of the monsters he knew all too well.
"... Where are you? Show yourself!"

 

"It's not safe for a lonely skeletal to be out here. After all, Belial will not be pleased." He turned around, facing a being. A... Human?? A real living human! He wore a dark coat, the hood pulled up,not even revealing eyes. He gave a sense of warmth, carrying a gold handled sword, clean enough to glint as lightning flashed.
"You're a real human," Will spoke out loud. The man slowly smiled.
"Not exactly. My name is Azrael." He stepped closer, almost as if the ground beneath Will's bones shook, making him feel like shaking loose from the sockets. "And you should know very well that Eremiel and Belial will be unhappy that you are disobeying orders."
"With all due respect, Azrael, I do not care anymore;" Will spoke, a bit worrisome that this man will strike him down for defying the rules set in motion.
"Why do you not care? What made you want to leave your home behind?"
"Because, it is not my home. Sir, I am losing so much there. My mind, for one. My best friend Darius is slipping away, that he doesn't recall who I am. He is rotting away and will be gone forever. I cannot recall my own life from before and it's getting worse every time I see my own reflection. It saddens me and I wish to be alone, in hopes that my bones become more brittle and I be put out of my misery."
"All that will do is return you to the home you have, to go everyday in repetition." Will wanted to protest, but instead, asked.
"Azrael, you are the angel of Death. Is there any way you can remind me of how I got here?"
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"More than anything. As long as I know before I continue walking until I fall to pieces. I must know." Azrael stepped closer and put his right hand upon the skull of Will and suddenly, Will was walking.
He was pushing a dark stroller along, when a man came out of the darkness of shadows and pointed a gun at him.
"Give me all your money and that wedding band, now!"
"Put the gun down, please."
"I said now," the man lowered the gun at the small child in the stroller.
"Alright!" He took out his wallet and walked forward, before handing it over, his fatherly instincts kicked in as he tried to wrestle the gun away, trying to keep it from pointing at the child.
Boom! A shot. The sudden, intense, unbearable pain hit him hard as he felt another sharp pain after another boom. Will, finally letting go of the stranger's arms, fell to the ground as the man ran away, down the street.
"Daddy," he heard the child cry. Will coughed as bits of blood came up from his mouth. He was shot in the stomach and his left lung. The feeling of not being able to breathe, causing a suffocating feeling as he looked at a group of people gathered around him. He turned his head to the left, seeing a toddler boy in the stroller.
His dark brown hair tousled as tears streamed down his little chubby cheeks, stretching his small hands outward for his dying father. Will, reaching his left hand out, felt his son's fingertips as his child faded away, leaving him in the dark.

Will snapped back into the underworld, Azrael still standing before him. "I had a son," Will spoke.

"And a wife," Azrael added," they were both the world to you. Just as you were the world to her and you were your son's hero. You saved his life by risking your own. You died for his safety."
Will recalled his wallet, it had his son's baby photos. Photos of his wife, and he remembered her too. Long, dark hair, shining brown eyes that lit up when she was around him and their son. Will looked at Azrael.
"Azrael, can I return? I want to be with my wife and my son. Even if I need to just be a ghost, haunting them, as long as I can remain with them for as long as they live." Azrael looked on at the skeleton before him.
"Bring you back to life?"
"Yes, that will be even better!" The angel of Death stood before him, thinking it through as he silently informed God of Will's request.
"Are you sure that is what you want? Your body is already in the process of decomposition. You will need to be placed in another. Or, possibly even briefly reborn, taken all the way back to the age you were when your life ended."
"As long as I can be with them again. I'm losing myself here. I don't want to ever forget my wife, whom I loved since our teen years. I don't want to forget my son, he didn't deserve to lose his father." Azrael remained silent for a moment before giving a final nod.
"God knows this wasn't your fate. You were not to die there, but at an old age, when your son was grown and your wife, old and feeble like you. He is granting you this rare opportunity. You may return." Azrael walked forward again and touched Will's skull again.
There was a strong sensation, making his bones feel like lightning strikes ran throughout the marrow within. Everything became dark as he bid farewell to the underworld.

William. My name was William. He opened his eyes, staring up at a fluorescent light. Machines kept ticking a steady rhythm, signaling life in his heart as he coughed.
There she was. His wife. Seated in an armchair across the room. She looked over, eyes tearing up as she ran over and smiled.
"Will," she sobbed. Moments later, all in a rush to him, nurses and doctors examined him. They had shown disbelief in him waking up to life. It was something different.
Days later, he was back at home with his wife, Amy, and his son, Robert. Everyday he hugged Robert tightly and read books to him for bed time.
As he walked outside to collect the mail, he took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air. An aroma of the honeysuckle flowers on the tree nearby strong, mixing with freshly cut grass. The sky was bright blue and the street was alive with life. Sidewalks perfectly fine as the mail man continued his stops and deliveries.
Here, it was beautiful. It's worth it to be here, in this lively place. Where he can recall things, where he could be with his family. Where his bones are safe beneath layers upon layers of flesh and skin, working organs.
He was glad - no, thankful that he knows his eye color (brown). He worked as a professional photographer. Hair was brown and he had a love for coffee.
It was better this way, his only friend, Darius, would have forgotten him by now. He would've been alone then.
But he smiled slowly, returning into the house as he heard his wife and son playing, laughing. Things are better here, he thought, after all, this is better than Underworld Ave., and he shut the front door.


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