Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ghostopia, Chapter 12: The Haunt

"Cool!" Darren quipped. "So this is how you guys travel in Ghostopia?"
They were standing inside an invisible force field generated by Nelson's "Personal Shifter". It felt like being in a bus that wasn't really there.
"Yeah, they're sort of like cars from our previous world, just much cheaper."
The nighttime life in Ghostopia was no different from the marketplace he'd first found himself in - multi-coloured and buzzing with life. Or afterlife, whichever way you chose to look at it. City folk trickled in and out the dazzling array of shops with bright neon signs screaming everything from "SPIRITUALITY" to "DEATH CAFE", animatedly chattering inside their Shifters.
"So, where do you wanna go for dinner?"
"Hey, I'm the new one here - you tell me!"
"Hmm...okay," Nelson peered around. "There's this pretty cool place further downtown which holds live performances at dinnertime."

Darren stepped apprehensively behind Nelson into a dimly-lit cafe simply called "The Haunt". Clusters of solemn-looking Ghosts gathered at long tables arranged in a criss-cross pattern, tucking into their food without much exchange of words.
They seated themselves on a table at the far end and began contemplating the menu. Good thing there wasn't an impatient waiter clicking his tongue away while they were deciding what to order, Darren always hated that.
So far so good, the food seemed perfectly normal. Fish and chips, soup of the day, regular stuff you'd expect at any other diner. However, there weren't any prices noted. Funny.
"Psst...hey, where're the prices?"
Nelson looked up from his menu. "Oh, heh, guess you'd ask. In Ghostopia, everything's paid for. They only send you the bill right before your second death."
"Wow! That's neat! But what happens if you don't pay up?"
"Then you don't get to die."
"Hmm." It all sounded very weird to Darren, like most of the inner workings of this new-found world. But hey, he wasn't complaining. He had a life-long credit card!
"So," Nelson spoke after they sent the waiter away with their orders. "Guess we haven't had a proper introduction to each other yet."

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