If this was a cartoon, the entire scene would zoom in on Darren, then fade to black. He plopped himself down on the cold marble floor, reading the words on the book over and over.
"You...are...now...no...longer...one...of...the...living?" He took off his glasses and furiously wiped them. Still it read the same.
He closed his eyes and tried recalling the moments leading up to this strange scenario. He was at the graduation, yes he was, then...he'd asked something from someone.
Yes, yes! He'd asked for a picture with her! And then...
She started screaming and running, as did everyone else. In an instant everything turned dark and he had felt this sensation. What was it again? It wasn't a pleasant one, that was for sure. It came over him without warning, pressing on every inch of his body so hard till it gave in. That was as far as he could remember.
So where was this room? Was he really dead? He picked up the book and read it once more.
"Welcome to Ghostopia. You are now no longer one of the living and have become a Ghost. Please step through the bookcase to complete verification of your citizenship."
This had better be a sick joke, he thought. There was no reason for him to be dead. Here he was, all fresh-faced and out to live life to the fullest, and now supposingly dead. Simply ridiculous.
"Step through the bookcase? You've gotta be kidding." Darren placed the book back on the shelf. To his amazement it sank itself into the wood, then vanished!
Whoa! Did he really see that happening? He felt the same spot with his hand and gasped out loud when his hand disappeared as well! It was still there - he could feel his fingers wiggling - but his entire hand just seemed to be buried inside the inner walls of the bookcase.
Suddenly something grabbed the invisible hand and pulled him towards the bookcase. He fell forward through the bookcase and stumbled awkwardly into a black room lined with streaks of orange.
"Get up quick, boy." a sharp voice rapped. "Your name is Darren, am I right?"
It was a stocky man about twice his age, seated directly opposite him.
"Answer me, quick! Is your name Darren?"
"Good," he straightened his collar. "First of all, welcome to Ghostopia, may your stay here be out of this world. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!"
Darren faked a half-laugh, not having the remotest idea what they were laughing at.
"Funny, funny. Anyhow, you can call me Mortie, and I'll be assigning you your Ghost Identification Code, or GIC."
"So tell me, do you want to keep the name Darren or change to a new one?"
Darren stared at Mortie blankly, not knowing what to say.
"I'll take that as a retention of the name Darren. Oh-kayyy..." He scribbled something on his notepad and turned a page. "Darren 33866. Yup, yup, that's your GIC."