Hollywood soundstage tutor Otto Brennington has always felt invisible. Then he meets super hunk Shawn Slate. Hot sex on their first date leads to a marriage proposal. With their whole lives ahead of them, they wed in Hawaii, then celebrate with a skydive, where death does them part.
Otto is in for the shock of his afterlife upon discovering where he’ll now spend eternity. Once there, a series of sweet yet unexplainable visions lead him to believe the life just lost wasn’t his first. Was it also possibly not his last?
With the aid of several paranormal beings, Otto learns the ins and outs of his new existence, one he plans on making temporary. Will he make it back to the land of the living and the man of his dreams? Is that man Shawn? Or will Otto decide his newest acquaintances make the place he’s in not so bad after all?
“Your arrival here was anticipated.”
“Here being where?” The feeling I’d been unable to shake for several minutes gripped me even stronger, as I now stood right before her. I fell from a plane without a parachute. I was underwater way longer than anyone could survive, and the sun, sand, warmth, and splendor of the Hawaiian paradise before me was the same, yet so very, very different. “Are we related?”
“Except ... we never met.”
“Because maybe we weren’t alive in the same ... century.”
“C’est vrais. It is true.”
“Is this Heaven?”
Delphine reached for my hand. “Not exactly.”
I gave it to her to hold. “I’m not in hell, am I?”
The same words came with a slightly new inflection, almost teasing. “Not exactly.” Her touch felt warm and friendly.
“But I am dead.”
“Non. No.” It sounded almost identical and very reassuring in either language. “Just the opposite.”
“Phew. That’s a relief.” I relaxed just a bit. “I’m alive then?”
“Shit. How’d we circle back to that?” I swallowed my anxiety. “If I’m not dead, and I’m not alive, what exactly am I?”
Delphine looked me straight on. “You’re amongst the immortal, Otto. The undead. You’re one of us.”
“Oh. Nice.” I flip-flopped again, like Hollywood when it came to embracing diversity. “I was almost buying it.” Dead one minute, then back to life, what was I, Pixar Animation Studios? One thing I knew for sure, Seth Rogan’s Candid Camera 2020 was going to be a monster hit. “Very convincing. Immortal ... undead ... like witches, zombies, ghosts, and vampires.”
“Trolls, too,” Pansy said.
“And werewolves.” That came from Harriet.
“Werewolves.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re a werewolf?”
“There are female werewolves?”
She muttered something. A student of Mandarin, I was relatively certain the words were Chinese and insulting. As for the growl that came after, that had werewolf written all over it. “It’s shameful how under represented we are.”
I couldn’t argue with that. “It is. When I get back to the honeymoon villa, I’ll call my dad and pitch a new series all about female werewolves, how’s that? The CW will jump on it.”
“I get it, Otto.” Casper came close again and put an arm across the back of my shoulders. “It’s some right weird shit, mate. I’ve only been here a couple weeks. The first day, I freaked the fuck out, just like you. Lights out at nineteen and then to find out I’m part ghost there and all ghost here ... Is that how it works?” he asked Delphine.
“Not quite,” she said.
I removed Casper’s arm from my person, but then felt like a jerk for doing so. “You’re only nineteen?”
“And now, I’ll never be any older. They gave me this book that explains it all.” Casper held up two hands, palms facing the sky. Without even saying abracadabra, like Justin Willman would have doing card tricks, he made the book appear. “I didn’t do that.”
Admittedly, Casper’s grin was friendly, not menacing, friendly, like the ghost he was probably going to tell me he was named after.
“I’m not magical, now, am I?” He shook his pink haired head. “No. Gamila is.” He passed me the tome.
“Non Huis Hundi by Vitus Alopeus. Did I say it right?” The title sounded familiar. “Not of This World, right?”