Ava woke up with a start. It wasn’t the sticky, unpleasant fear-tainted awakening she’d been having latterly, but she was still jerked to wakefulness by something beyond her dreams. Struggling to her feet, she clutched at the bathroom counter to pull herself up, head throbbing miserably, the light in the bathroom seeming far too bright.
She had a vague memory of struggling, and of cold metal in her hands, and the sensation of losing control of her body, but at the moment the fever-heat burning in her skin and sound of rushing water in her ears was too overwhelming to focus in on those faint ghosts of memories. Resting her head against the cool marbletop of her counter, she closed her eyes and grumbled.
Then it occurred to her that the sound of rushing water wasn’t just in her ears.
Her tub was overflowing.
“Aw, shit-“ She started, moving to turn off the bathtub’s faucet. “…Aw, shit!” She shrieked, when turning to the tub found her facing herself, quite literally. “No! No no no!” She screamed, grabbing the edge of the tub. Her body slouched back in the warm water, still flowing, the toaster resting at her feet.
She had to admit, it was a rather strange scene, once she finished screaming and trying to pull her own body from the tub (an endeavor which proved ultimately impossible). Laying back in the tub, fully clothed, eyes forever closed up at the ceiling. After taking a few seconds to calm down, Ava could even find the scorching on the wall around the plug, where the toaster had shorted itself out, and looked over the red burns on her legs.
“…I’m dead.” She finally whispered, to herself, letting the realization sink in for quite a few silent minutes, staring at herself. “…That sucks.” An astute observation.
Just as she was wondering how long she’d been laying there, and how long she’d be left there, she heard a banging on the door. The super! Of course, the owner of the apartments would have thought something was strange if the water was running for long enough to flood the bathroom. “I’m in here!” She shouted. “Mister Atkinson, I’m in he- oh, damn it. Can’t hear me, can you?!”
“Miss Phillips?! You had better open this door!” He shouted. His keys rattled in the lock, and she jogged out to the living room, listening to him mutter to himself as he struggled to get the door open. “Probably left the tub on and left. Feh! Irresponsible little girl. Never should have let her take the apartment.”
“Yeah, well I never cared much for you either.” She snarked as he finally got the sticking door handle to turn.
“…Miss Phillips?” He entered, and she decided that she didn’t care much to see someone discover her own body, sitting on the couch and crossing her arms, wondering absently if there was going to be a bright light any time soon. “Oh my God! Miss Phillips! Ava!” Mr. Atkinson shouted. She heard splashing and the water turning off, and frowned to herself as he pulled out his cell phone, coming to watch from the bathroom door.
She didn’t like him, but that didn’t mean that she wanted him to go through the trauma of finding a dead tenant.
“Hello? 911? One of my tenants- I just found her in the bathtub! With a toaster!” Ava winced and closed her eyes, trying to block out what he was saying. What happened, she wondered, thinking back to the previous day.
Her body! It had killed her!
That son of a bitch! “That son of a bitch!” She thought, then shouted.
“Yes, she’s still breathing-“
Pulled from her thoughts, she suddenly turned her attention to Mr. Atkinson on the phone. “Wait! What?!”
“I can feel a pulse in her neck.”
“What?!” Ava knelt by herself, staring hard. How had she not noticed? Her breathing was shallow, but it was there, her chest rising and falling steadily, and she wasn’t blanched or soggy, like she would have expected a dead body in water to be. She was alive! “Yes! Thank you, God!” She whooped. Maybe this was all some fluke! An ambulance would come by, revive her, and she’d be back in business!
Who knows? She thought to herself. Maybe this is just what happens during a near death experience. Wouldn’t that be something? I hope I remember this, I could write a book about it!
“Ava, Miss Phillips, don’t worry, there will be people here soon.” Mr. Atkinson told her body, while Ava paced nearby, near-ecstatic with relief. Things went fast from there on out. She climbed on top of the stretcher the EMTs strapped her onto, and watched as they went to work around her in the ambulance. From there to the hospital, things seemed rather…boring, listening to doctors discuss her medical history, watching as they poked and prodded her body (which, according to them, was in fine working order, she was just unconscious) and waiting, eagerly, to be returned to her physical form.
The eagerness began to fade after several hours in a quiet hospital room, sitting beside the bed and awkwardly watching the nurse change her catheter bag. With no-one to make small talk to, the ghost thing was quickly starting to get a little uncomfortable.
“…Screw this, I’ll be back in a bit, Ava.” She told her unresponsive body, giving herself a pat on the head. “I’ve gotta stretch my legs.” Slipping out through the open door, she found herself in a quiet hospital wing, near-empty except for a few nurses and the occasional doctor. A cursory examination of the nearby walls found her a chart for visiting hours and a clock. Doing a bit of mental math, she figured that she’d fried herself almost a full 24 hours ago.
“…How long do you think you have to be unconscious for it to count as a coma?” She asked a passing nurse, who walked right past her without the slightest notice. “Yeah, I thought so.” Ava looked back at the clock with a frown, wondering when this was going to be over with, before she heard her mother’s familiar voice.
“Room 354…356…357! Oh, my Ava!” She hurried back to the room, finding that her mother had already taken up residence at her bedside, holding her hand, looking utterly miserable. Her father, a more reserved man, simple took a seat in the room and frowned. “Oh, I knew something was wrong with you, I just knew it! After those things you said, I looked up your condition on the internet, and I bet it was stress and depression and oh…my poor baby!” Her mother started to babble on and on, and Ava smiled.
Then, her body twitched, fingers curling around her mother’s hand.
“…yes…yes!” Ava cheered, hurrying to her own bedside. “Yes!” She closed her eyes tight and waited to feel solid flesh again, ready for it. If anything had been learned from this brief, horrible experience, it was that she really enjoyed being alive. Ava took in a deep breath, waiting.
“…Wh…who are you?” She cracked open an eye at the sound of her own voice, expectant smile replaced by a frown, and looked down at herself. Her body was awake, looking around weakly, and pulling it’s hand away from her mother’s. “…Where…where am I? Who are you?” It asked.
Ava stared as the nurses hurried in to help her body, completely at a loss for words or thoughts, before she did the only thing she could think to do. She slumped to her knees, thrust her arms at her body, and screamed.