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Friends After The End

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by Jessica Kylie Nichols-Vernon

It had been a few days since her untimely demise and Victoria was loving it. The pain was finally gone. She didn’t have a penis anymore, hell she didn’t have any masculine attributes of any kind. The green fox spirit was free from her body and in an environment where the misery of living in a body that didn’t match who you really were wasn’t possible. Because no one in Transtanople was anything more than a dearly departed deceased soul. What you saw is what you got. Everyone was true to themselves without anything getting in the way, no ill fitting flesh, no Transphobic Heteronormative society. Just bliss and gender accurate simplicity, everyone was resting in the very peace they had dreamt of since their first day of running the cruel maze known as life.

Transtanople it was called, a haven for transgendered persons to be free from themselves or what they had been forced to call themselves when they were alive. Everyone was happy here. The men were men and the women were women like it was meant to be in theory but never managed to be in practice. Right now, at this very moment Victoria was hanging out a table in a Nightclub called Shades Of Purple with a few friends of hers she had met in the hereafter. All women who suffered the nightmare it was to exist in a male body in a world that tries to force you to be an overly masculine male, while at the same time pushing sexual reassignment surgery upon people without doing a damn thing to help pay for the overly expensive and highly enviable procedure. Or rather, women who used to. Now they were free to be what they should have been born as. Females. Gorgeous girls too, they called their breathtaking beauty, compensation for the decades of pain they knew.

“So my insurance told me. ‘We’re sorry sir, but that’s cosmetic.’ so that’s when I told the man on the phone. ‘Look buddy, if you were born with micropenis and I was an insurance agent. Don’t you think we’d be having this same conversation?' and that’s when I learned we don’t talk on our cellphones while driving.” Giggled a weightly but still easy on the eyes blue jay, one in a cute cyan top embroided with pearls showing off far amounts of her cleavage and rather rotund belly, who nearly dropped her wine glass from laughter at her own story. The other girls laughing with. "Unorthodox way of getting a vag.. okay cloaca. But hey works for me. It feels far more natural than my pecker ever did and it is beautiful. I am beautiful." She chirped in a rather jovial mannerism, yet oddly, she didn’t blink she just stared forward for nearly 10 seconds before finally someone else spoke.

A possum girl in punk attire, a black mohawk, and fingerless gloves with the Union Jack spoke up after the laughter died down. "Across the pond. Single payer covered it, but still it was difficult it was. They told me that getting my dong mashed up didn’t mean I weren't a bloke no more. Good thing I caught that stray bullet I did. Or I wouldn't enjoy the company of you fine former gents. Here in Transtanople, where we're all free to be who we really are."

"I'll drink to that! Better late than never!" Victoria cheered before slapping down another 20 Venars, the currency of Transtanople, onto the table. "Next rounds on me, ladies!"

A lone male bull wearing a vest, a silver star necklace, and tan assless chaps chewing on tobacco snorted overhearing the discussion. "A shame the good ol' US of A aint got single payer. I wouldn't have had my ovarian cancer left to kill me like it did..."

Victoria’s eyes narrowed in anger at this ingrate, even if he did have his bare muscled chest exposed and the cutest little nipple rings. "Is it not because of your death you are a man to begin with?"

"You're another one of Gemini 17’s loonies.. I thought this place was a safe haven, but look at you all. You are drinking to your own deaths with no sense of remorse or even irony!" The bull yelled as he stood up visibly disgusted. "None of you are okay! You all need therapy."

"And why shouldn't we be celebrating? Our so called lives were as useless to us and our continued happiness as..." The punk possum stood up and rubbed her paws through the bull's chest fur while she licked her lips. "Boobs on a bull."

The bull slapped the possum to the ground with a mighty hoof and walked away. "Don't touch me."

Victoria growled at the bull though oddly everyone else was focused on his partially exposed firm looking behind. "What the hell is wrong with you!?! You can't hit a lady!"

"You silly newly deads. We can't be roughed up Vicky. But damn do I love a man who's not afraid to get a little aggressive with his woman." The possum cooed.

"Well I'm glad you're well Anna." Victoria nodded slowly as she finished her beer and headed out. "I'm gonna have a talk with him about his attitude. "

Anna laughed. "Oh please we all know what you're really up to Vic. Get you some girl."

"Riiight..." The green fox said not sure how her friend came to that conclusion. "And don’t call me Vic. I died to escape that." With that she left.

Anna looked to Beth the Bluejay and burst into jovial laughter. "She's got it bad."

"Yeah. Yeah she does." Beth said cracking her long black beak into a smile. "So... now that she’s gone. Who do you gals think has bigger boobies. Her or Juicey?"

The ladies at this table continued to discuss it all night. As Victoria did not return to entice or encourage the change of the subject off of her bosom.

Instead she ran after the handsome bull assured that the answer to his deal and what it would be revealed to her along with that which it had enticed. Out into the purple skied land of Transtanople with the beautiful pink grass with matching leaves and vines, with the blue flowers and fruits. The trees had strange multicolored bark that appeared metallic and seemed to change hue depending on how one looked at it.

The bull was sitting behind one of these chewing tobacco and strumming a guitar peacefully. He seemed to be in an almost meditative state and it was clear the music he played was therapeutic. Victoria had expected the metrosexual cowboy to be playing country, but it seemed to be in the style of a slower more idyllic version of fantasy metal. His eyes were closed as he played, the bovine was entranced by his own melody. He played his piece to completion before immediately turning to a smiling Victoria and spoke to her. "You seemed to enjoy it. So I finished before we spoke."

"How did you know I was here?" Victoria asked puzzled. "Oh and yeah. I loved it. It was rather.." The fox snapped her fingers in a repetitious manner as she searched for the proper wording to describe the spectacle of sound she just enjoyed and settled upon the word. ".... Enchanting."

"Yeah... I was all set to record a whole album with my band. Greener Pastures." The bull looked at himself. It was true he appreciated his studley new body, but he hadn't been ready to die. "...and to answer your question. I was a spiritualist in life. So in death I have very strong magick. I sensed you."

"We all have to die sometime. . Uhh.. what's your name?" Victoria was in the middle of saying before she realized she had no way to address this stranger.

"Chance Chaser." The bull said standing and cracking his neck. "Born Chloe 1950, Died 1979 of ovarian cancer. Bastards dropped me. Said they only covered that condition in women because real men don’t have those parts. They wanted me dead because I was different. The way I see it… I was murdered… How about you?."

"Victoria Habbins." Victoria answered. It was customary in the Gaia Planes to introduce yourself with your death date and cause. "Born Victor 1991, was eaten by a cannibalistic hobo in 2014 during an out of body experience."

"Gods..." Chance grimaced before taking a very bothered tint to his voice. "I'd say I was sorry, but I have a feeling you'd just tell me it was better that way."

"But it was, I mean... look at me, I'm..." The vixen moaned before looking at her reflection in a nearby river by the metallic tree. "Perfect... as I should be. As all of trans kind deserves but could never have in life."

Chance groaned and pushed her in the water. "You aren’t perfect, you’re dead." He said when she surfaced.

"Hey! Watch it! I get it, we’ve got a badass over here, whoop de doo, but there's no need for violence here!" Victoria cried out as she swam to shore.

"There’s no need for restraint either. What were you going to do if you couldn't swim? Drown? We are already dead." Chance said in his defense holding out a hoof for Victoria to grab onto to pull herself onto dry land where she attempted to shake herself dry but found she already was as the water wasn’t actually water as the living knew it. Merely a magical emulation. "Nothing can really hurt us anymore."

"It still shows signs of immaturity." Victoria folded her arms under her breasts and shot Chance an overly disapproving look.

"So does running around wearing nothing but your panties." Chance countered looking over Victoria’s attire or lack thereof.

"Oh please. You're dressed all Brokeback Mountain so it's not like you really have a leg to stand on there, Tex. Except maybe your third one." Victoria laughed noticing the comically large buldge. "That's either a pair of socks or you use it when you go out for batting practice."

"What's Brokeback Mountain?" Chance ignored the comment about his genitals and asked this question as he was not completely sure what Vicky was getting. Considering that it was likely some slang from after he died.

"It was a romance film about two gay ranchers. No one in it dresses like you, but the movie is joked about a lot. So much so that gay cowboys are a punchline in themselves." Victoria attempted to explain.

"Mmm" Chance said gathering his thoughts upon the subject. "Even with mockery I am amazed a movie like that made it to the mainstream. Most of the time gay love stories stay in indie films or worse. The porn industry." He stood up and snorted with a smile. "When I was little, my mom was just thrilled to have an adorable little girl like I used to be. She entered me into every pageant she could. Taught me to get all dolled up and pretty, then show off what I've got. Just never grew out of it. Just cause I am a man does not mean I can't still look good." Chance said leaning against the tree giving Victoria a come hither stare.

"So you're not gay?" Victoria asked rather taken aback by the bull's visage. He seemed the sophisticated intelligent type yet his looks, confidence, and musical talent combined would mean she would have to be crazy or a lesbian to be unattracted. "Cause if you aren't...."

Chance chuckled to himself. "First you come to berate me, and now you're trying to date me. I never could get women. Ironic I know."

Victoria came close to Chance with a lame kindling in her throat and butterflies in her stomach. The green fox leaned close to the bull with a paw reaching onto his back through the vest. Her mind said not to. They barely knew each other, but maybe it was the alcohol or possibly her own libido on autopilot but she needed to be close to him. "It's not that ironic, I don't understand men very well myself... we were born in each other's worlds... If we were capable of understanding them then it wouldn't have hurt us so badly."

Chance held her close, his breath warming the back of her neck for a few microseconds before it returned to the natural chill of death. "Yeah... I've always been into women. My mom and I actually parted ways when I came out as a lesbian. She died before I could tell her I was a man.." When he said that aloud he felt like a jackass, a charlatan, and an idiot. Worst of all he felt like a terrible son. Even if she was disappointed by him. She had the right to know her only childwas dead. The bull looked down at his hooves before realizing his stupidity. He had so been used to the idea of never seeing someone again when they died that it just never considered to him that he could go out and speak to anyone in the history of the world who had ever died; Family and friends included.

"Hey Vic I have to go. But I'll be back, I never got to say goodbye to my mom. Now that I'm dead too. I can do just that!" The bull said in a hurry strapping his guitar around himself and looking up at the purple sky.

"I want to come with you." Victoria said, her ears lowering as she put on a guilty face. The face worn by a woman trying to explain to a four year old that she had just run over her pet kitten.

"Why?" Chance asked turning his head to face her as he spat out his chewing tobacco. "I know I have a sweet ass, but it's a long walk through the Gaia Planes till I can find an Akashic Record I can trust. Mayor 17’s likely tampered with hers to make us want to thank her for killing people like you, the sadistic fuck."

"I know what it's like not to say goodbye.." The green fox sniffled for a few seconds recalling her own final regrets. Specifically that Gemini 17 didn't give her a chance to say goodbye to her friends. She just showed up and offered to whisk her away to this perfect fantasy realm where her fondest desires would be even shorter than a stone's throw away without giving her anytime to consider the real consequences of all that this generous favor would provide. Her wonderment came at a price, she had not been able to say goodbye to the ones she loved. The spirit had initially been glad as she blamed them for the fact she had been forced to live as a male for twenty years and when her wish for that to end came true, she had to settle for being woman with a penis as opposed to the highly enviable status of the real deal. Any blame towards her friends as she made this deal was given solely within the heat of the moment. "..I've heard there is a way to return to Earth. I'd like to come with you to find out how."

Chance nodded and silently gestured for Victoria to follow with his head and neck. Chance put his hooves forward envisioning a doorway opening and shortly after one did, out into the Gaia Planes. The world of the dead, and a hallway through what many of the living knew only as the Astral Plane.

Victoria had never actually seen the Gaia Planes. For once she died Gemini 17 had just taken her straight to transtanople as opposed to one of the Deaths taking her to the Gaia Planes proper for her to learn the ropes about death. The reason why was very obvious once Victoria had gotten to taking a proper look around. The Gaia Planes were a massive poorly lit damp cave like structure. It was very unnerving as the cave didn't seem to have any end in sight. Going on forever and forever. Even upwards as there didn’t appear to be a sky of any kind just endlessness upward with the feel that there could be a ceiling, but one can't see clearly see one.

"Freaky... is this Hell?" Victoria turned to Chance who took in the scenery as he got his bearings and tried to remember where the nearest Afterburg was. "Did we go to hell for being..." The fox peeked into her panties and smiled at her precious slit, such a perfect organ truly worth dying for. Or rather this is what had been going on in her mind in an endless addictive loop ever since Gemini 17 showed up at her house. She couldn't remember how long ago that was as she had been lost in the ecstasy of her Gaian Form.

"For being what?" Chance asked looking back at her.

"Transgender?" Victoria said whimpering her mind going to the last moments of her life before Gemini 17 showed up with the offer to end her pain, and every other sensation in her body with it.

Chance closed his eyes and exhaled. "This isn't Hell. It just isn't Heaven.... Come if you're coming. The Gaia Planes are rather big and if you get lost I won’t stop to find you.”

“Some gentleman, how could you sleep at night knowing something happened in this spooky place?” Victoria said, entranced by her own fear. The Gaia Planes were dark, damp, and covered in nothing but rocks, stalagmites, stalactites, and moss. This did not make it the most comforting place to be.

“Such as?” Chance asked looking back at the fox with the kind of glance one gives someone when they say something idiotic, like implying that Canadian is an actual language that people speak, or fail to recognize ham as a type of meat.

“I could get killed in a place like...” Victoria then fell silent not realizing the problem with her logic until she spoke aloud. “...Right… Ahem… Let’s continue.”

“I’ll forgive you since it’s hard to get used to the finality of it. Judging from the majority of transtanople, even if you volunteered for it.” Chance admitted heading in no direction in particular. The two couldn’t get fatigued or even feel pain. They were never going to get hungry or thirsty. Instead the worst that could possibly happen was the two could get bored. As a result there was no reason why they couldn’t just travel in any direction they wanted as time wasn’t a factor either. Time didn’t pass in the Gaia Planes in the conventional sense and the person Chance needed to see was dead and thus wasn’t getting any older nor could she get cancer a second time.

The tricky thing about Afterburgs, especially if you didn’t have a map as Chance and Victoria didn’t. Was that the Gaia Planes is an afterlife made to fit every person on Earth who is ever going to die. As such it’s massive, bigger than any country on Earth. To make matters worse, with every person who is born, reincarnation of a previously existing soul or not, it gets a little bigger just to make sure there’s enough room. As such finding one specific Afterburg is akin to finding one needle in a haystack where there are millions of haystacks in a giant haystack factory constantly producing new haystacks without having any idea which specific haystack has the needle with the added bonus of there being dozens of decoy needles and the only difference between them is a small marking on the real one that differs only by the narrowest of margins from the markings on the other needles.

Truly they had no idea if it would take them five seconds to see another Afterburg or five eons and both were just as likely as the other. Victoria attempted to make some small talk a few times, but Chance wasn’t listening. He had no reason to stop and there was little to no possibility that she would notice a threat to them as it had already been established that nothing had the ability to hurt them. Still she followed not wanting to be left alone especially since they had walked a far enough distance that it would take her awhile to even remember how to get back to Transtanople especially without any major landmarks to assist her. Eventually Victoria just learned to do what Chance had done and become emotionally numb to anything except for heading to their destination. This was a sensation the fox didn’t like at first as it made her feel like she wasn’t there to begin with and was barely managing to exist at all. Though accurate being a ghost and thus was nothing except her remaining consciousness it still wasn’t pleasant for her; being nothing but a persisting gnostic state with no thought or emotion, just various scenes of rocks, dripping drops of water, moss, and more rocks in infinite until finally a miracle happened they found another Afterburg.

A large glass dome with the image of a simple village inside, it appeared to resemble one from Feudal Japan. That didn’t have Victoria’s attention just yet, instead she was pre-occupied by the fact that she had just became aware of things around here instead of being nothing but her eyesight, that she was an actual person with limbs, thoughts, drives, and ambitions. She had actually forgotten this for quite some time. Once she came too she honestly had no idea if she had been like that for years or seconds. It had the strange sensation of feeling like a large amount of time had passed, and yet like no time at all had passed simultaneously, which made this a very confusing affair for the fox. “Jesus Christ, how long were we walking?”

“3 minutes, we can’t get tired, so we run pretty damn fast. We could have flew, but if we were going to enter gnosis anyway..” Chance stretched listening for a bone in his arm to pop, but one never did as he didn’t actually have bones. Some habits just refuse to die, even after you already have. “Apparently this place it called ‘Old Japan’."

Victoria looked over the glass dome with the village inside. “Well doesn’t that just hit the nail on the head. So, do you think it’s real asians, or weeaboos?”

“What’s a weeaboo? I died in the late 70’s, so if that’s some future slang from your 2014 Moon Colonies I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Chance reminded Victoria as he refrained from touching the dome until he was certain that weeaboo didn’t mean batshit crazy.

“Oh they’re just rabid fans of Japanese Culture who obsess over Japan despite them not being able to last a day there. They just ignore the truth about Japan and pretend it’s the one they see in Anime with underage school girls getting raped by tentacle beasts and people screaming complicated attack names when all they’re doing is firing a laser. I’d rather gag my eyes out with a spoon if it’s weeaboos.” Victoria folded her arm and turned her head in the other direction. “It’s too dangerous to risk it.”

“...Underage schoolgirls? God is the future that horrible?” The bull said scratching his head in utter confusion. The Anime thing sounded pretty terrible and possibly highly illegal. “And what’s Anime?”

“Japanese Cartoon… It started as a Disney ripoff, but then evolved into…” Victoria began explaining, but was cut off by the bovine.

“Okay I know that much… I have a cousin who works for some company called Harmony Gold that was getting into that just before I… well anyway I just didn’t realize they called cartoons something else.” Chance said holding out a hoof to gesture for Victoria to stop talking, that hoof then touched the large glass dome and focused on it. His hand dissolving and reassembling inside the structure the rest of his body following in turn.

Victoria looked at this sight terrified with her ears perking straight up in shock. Still she assumed that Chance knew what he was doing as he had specifically seeked out this structure and knew what to do immediately. The green fox copied the vested bull’s action and the next thing she knew she appeared to be in a grassy area filled with various small sized asian buildings. All appeared to be made of wood and having kanji painted on them that she couldn’t understand or even read. “...Freaky deaky…” Victoria said to herself, looking around. The world appeared to be quite expansive.

It wasn't long before they encountered another fox a kitsune dressed in monk's robes wearing prayer beads. "Our resting grounds have not been disturbed in quite some time. Old Japan is meant only for those who lived and died in the Feudal era of Yamato. I see our barrier is down, please leave while I fix it."

Victoria was about to say something in an angered tone but was not able to get out more than a syllable before Chance put his hoof over her mouth to silence her. "Please. We mean no harm. We just wish to have a quick look at your Akashic Record. My mother has died and I wish to find her to pay my respects."

The nine tailed fox thought about this to himself for a few moments before closing his eyes and nodding. "I will let you browse our records. After that we wish to have our spirits put back to rest. Find what you seek and leave." He spoke before beckoning the two to follow him. "Move quickly bull and vixen."

"Vixen... No cis guy has ever called me that before." Victoria giggled to herself.

Chance groaned but ultimately did his best to ignore that comment as did the kitsune monk. He didn't know the meaning of the term or the significance of him calling Victoria vixen. He was merely a very tired old man long past his expiration date who didn't want involved in anyone's affairs, only to get back to rest eternal. The two followed in through various halls in a large castle with an obvious oriental flavor. Various statues of lucky cats, paintings of girls undressing in kimonos, swords, gongs, dragon statues made of jade, all the kinds of decorations one would expect from something out of the Castle of Fu Manchu there weren’t really any surprises, but it was still cool for the duo as it was rare that anyone saw this kind of thing up close and in person.

Victoria’s focus mostly stayed centered on a geisha in the middle of undressing with every inch of her femininity on full display smiling as she looked at another woman’s vagina and didn’t feel inferior, instead content in the knowledge that this was what a woman looked like and her own body offered no contradiction. “We, are finally equals…”

Chance however grimaced at this, not the painting but to Victoria’s reaction to it. He would have to find a way to ditch this fox if she was going to keep up this pattern of self-obsession, it just wasn’t healthy, nor for her and not for him to drown in this wantonness. Even if it was something in her position now, it was still lust as she mentally masturbated over what the end of her life meant for her appearance or worse, she was trying to lie to herself about herself being alive in a fantasy world instead of using death for its intended purpose, to reflect on her life and see what she could have done better and decide how best to pay off the last of her karmic debt to reach the higher realms. Instead she was treating it like a never ending lucid dream, and that wasn’t good for her soul. Immediately he shook her hoping to snap her back to reality.

“Victoria, you can’t come with me if you keep doing this.” Chance warned.

“Doing what?” Victoria turned to Chance with an air of confusion and bewilderment upon her face.

“Getting obsessive over your womanhood, look I’m just as grateful that what was wrong with our bodies didn’t follow us into death, but you are allowed to focus on other things and the world around you in general. You’re dead now, aren’t you at least curious about how the afterlife works?” Chance asked scratching his head. “Or barring that, talking about your interests, hobbies, things in life you enjoyed?”

“I ENJOYED NOTHING IN LIFE!” Victoria growled with tears in her eyes as she slapped Chance across the face. “You don’t get it Chance, and how the hell can a man who spent his whole life with a vagina fail at this? I didn’t HAVE a life… I had nine months waiting to be born and two and a half decades being sad that I never was! No instead someone named Victor was, and I was forced to be him. And that’s God’s mistake, it’s not MY fault that he was too arrogant to correct it!” She panted breathing heavily as she got all flustered explaining her logic angrily. “But along comes Gemini 17 and she does the only sensible thing… She makes me, me, for the first time ever.” The green fox looked up at Chance smiling wide as she quivered with joy. “Don’t you get it Chance? Do you not understand? I wasn’t killed or slain or murdered, no…” Victoria began crying as she walked up to a nearby mirror taking a few minutes to admire herself again before finishing her sentence. “I was finally born, I’m not dead Chance. I’m more alive than I’ve ever been and I am eternally grateful for that. Emphasis on eternal..”

Chance put a hoof over Victoria’s shoulder as she stared into the mirror lost in the creature she had become. “...Victoria, you’re confused, you’re a lost soul in a sea of strange emotions.. Our lives weren’t perfect, but they were still great gifts. They taught us about the world and helped us establish the kind of people we are. Yes I think it’s terrible that we had to be the wrong sexes, but. The whole picture isn’t ruined because of one piece you don’t like...and it’s a little selfish to say otherwise.”

“Selfish? Me… Selfish?” Victoria laughed as she threw Chance’s arm off of her. “I told you, THIS is my life. It’s finally started and I’m already everything I’ve always wanted to be. What I had on Earth was a cruel joke, nothing more. But now the joke’s over and I can finally laugh. I’m not selfish Chance… I said that if I couldn’t have a female body, I would gladly do without a body at all. So far it seems to be working for me.”

Chance backed away and began following the Kitsune again who seemed very thankful the two had stopped bickering, in truth he was. Had it gone on any longer he would have reminded them that there are people trying to get back to sleep. “We’re almost there…” He said to Chance taking him to a room full of scrolls. “When you have what you need, please leave. I’m going back to bed now.” He said and with that he drifted off into unconsciousness vanishing as he did..

Mere minutes later Chance came back out to find Victoria with her panties around her ankles and a finger tracing the lips of vagina as she smiled with a twinkle in her eye. “We’re together at last.. Ignore mean old Chancie.. That ingrate doesn’t realize how… wonderful you are… attached to me like this… making me whole… and to think, you’ve made me so happy and I haven’t even gotten you laid yet. Where are my manners? We’ll need to fix that my little… coochie… my… glorious.. pussy… my…. my...”

“Uhh Vicki…” Chance said taken quite aback but what she saw. “My mom’s in New Boston…. I’d like to ask if you don’t follow me. Your vibe is terrible and I just… don’t want you around me. I’ll see you back in Transtanople maybe but… Here this should help you get back to Earth… Goodbye” The bull threw the scroll towards Victoria and with that, he left.

As Victoria read the scrolls she felt a wave of embarrassment come over her, first for that display which even she admitted would creep anyone out, but how she could warp to anywhere on Earth just by thinking about the location. Not just anywhere, but anywhen, she could even do this for places in the Gaia Planes provided she knew about it well enough to picture it her mind. After putting the scroll down, the fox had a brilliant idea, look for a group setting in the timeline her death had caused and reveal herself there. Luckily, there had been a seance going on with her friends trying to talk to her. The perfect opportunity.

Back on Earth, five teenagers gathered around a table with an older woman dressed in your typical fortune teller fair, and on her table, the red cloth, the crystal ball, the candles, and to the side a tarot deck. The works, it was a little too perfect, any real psychic would call scam on this immediately. Though the five seemed desperate. Lisa, one of the two girls in the group spoke forth. “Our friend Victoria was killed a few days ago… she was going through some tough times, trying to save up for a surgery that meant the world to her… and well… we found her murdered and her corpse desecrated… we’re not normally into this spiritual stuff, but… we’re just desperate to know if she’s okay… even in another world.”

The gypsy fortune teller across the table nodded and began to speak in a thick romanian accent. “Your story is tragic, but I think I can help. Let us join hands and try to summon your friend.” She said holding out her hands to the teens to the left and right of her as the rest did the same and she began to call out to Victoria. “Oh spirits from beyond, I call out to one who has recently joined your ranks to speak with loved ones left behind in your passing to the great hereafter. Oh yes.. yes..” The gypsy said cheering. “I’m getting a reading, it’s her it’s Victoria! She says you have know her since she was a little girl, and you… a woman with an L… I’m sensing an L..”

“My name’s Lisa!” Lisa spoke. “Victoria? Are you there. I’m so sorry we were never able to help you get your surgery… we just… the economy’s tough. You had more money than the rest of us… I hope somehow in the afterlife your heart can find peace….”

A boy, a blonde named Hector stopped to think for a bit and raise an objection. “Wait… Victoria was never a little girl, she was trans… her surgery was Genital Reconstruction…”

The gypsy started to panic a little. “Actually what I meant to say was….”

Before she could talk a feral fox appeared before them on the table, materializing out of nowhere. It seemed like an ordinary vulpine except that it was green. It appeared to be female as well, meaning this was a vixen, one who yipped happily and ran in circle around the table before taking a more humanoid like appearance, one that looked like a girlier, furrier Victoria if she had a fox muzzle. “Lisa, Hector, Jaben, Elroy, and Sue….Am I ever glad to see you again.. I have so much I want to tell you… Don’t be frightened. It’s me Victoria, I’m just… different now. Different in a good way.”

The Gypsy was very startled, her jaw dropped at the sight of this. “You mean this shit actually works!?!?!”

“A spirit can appear anywhere it makes sense for her too, whether or not she does is up to her… well tha’s what I read anyway.” Victoria smiled, looking at her friends. “It’s been a few weeks for me, but how long has it been for you? Time works different on the other side…”

“....So Vicky’s actually here, but our gyp just admitted to being a rip, so do we ask for a refuned?” Elroy asked, always the joker of the group before clearing his throat. “About three days, we haven’t buried you yet… Is this happening? I… I didn’t think I’d see you again… I only did this to make everyone else feel better…” Elroy had always been a stern atheist, the kind who needed a DNA sample, testimony from fifty witnesses, a signed notice of authenticity from the paranormal phenomenon in question, a non-blurry video recording, and a government declassification before he worked it up to a maybe on anything, but this was hard to ignore. “I didn’t expect…”

“Believe it Elroy.” All of them were amazed that even though it was slightly distorted and sounded more feminine than usual, it was clearly Victoria’s voice. “The afterlife is real,and it’s wonderful. You would not believe how good this has been for me, as you’ve probably guessed. I’m a real woman now… I don’t need the surgery anymore, I have lady parts, huge breasts, wide hips, no adam’s apple, I’m perfect now.”

“That’s amazing Vicky! I’m so happy for you, I’m glad this accident worked out in the long run. We’re charging that fucker who killed you so hard, we’ll see him get the chair for sure!” Lisa cheered as she smiled for her late friend’s happiness. “Though I have to ask… why are you in just panties…”

“The panties I gave you at that…” Hector added on. “Hey, even if you’re naked, it’s fine. I’m just glad you’re smiling for the first time since I’ve known you.”

“It’s always cold in the Gaia Planes… What we call Purgatory, no matter what I wear, so I just wear these panties to remind myself of you guys. There’s a vagina under them, a real actual vagina! Haven’t used it yet though… But I’m expecting great things.” Victoria giggled looking over the room at her friends who clapped in support of her all happy, even though they were fighting off tears, two of them unsuccessfully. Victoria was right in front of them, but, as a ghost so the mood was bittersweet. “It’s so good to see you all, I can’t wait to hear the eulogies. Oh geese, I almost wish I were alive just so we could go hang out somewhere, but, I made my choice and a deal’s a deal.”

This had the group confused and a little startled. They all grew silent at the wording of that last part. Sue was finally the one to say what they were all thinking. “Victoria… What do you mean, a deal’s a deal? You didn’t… No that’s a ridiculous idea… there’s no way you arranged for this to happen did you? I mean I knew you were depressed, but...”

“Yeah I kinda wanna know the story there myself.” Elroy said laughing nervously at how tense the air got. “Hopefully she’s kidding, you are kidding right Victoria?”

“I don’t understand, I thought you’d be happy for me since I’m no longer in pain… why would it upset you if…” Victoria said, laughing nervously herself, startled by this negative reaction.

“Oh god..” Lisa said going wide eyed before burying her face in her hands. “We couldn’t save you… You DID kill yourself.. that meth head found you afterwards didn’t he…”

Victoria just looked on frowning.

“VICTORIA YOU UNDEAD BITCH! ANSWER ME!” Lisa screamed.

“...A spirit named Gemini 17 pulled me out of my body…” Victoria said looking down disappointed. “She told me that a drug addict would try to kill me after breaking into my house. I was supposed to fight him off and survive. Apparently that’s what was written for me to happen in this akashic record thingy. Gemini told me that if I stayed out of my body long enough for him to do the deed… I’d get to be a real girl… forever… I decided to take her up on it and now… I’ve never been happier.” The fox smiled, rubbing her breasts together with a playful laugh.

“No… Please… tell me you’re kidding!” Lisa still screaming, though this didn’t call for an indoor voice giving the circumstances.

“I thought you’d be more understanding… You’re my friends after all, don’t you want what’s best for me? Being alive made me miserable, and now that I’m dead I finally know peace you’re upset? This was the only cure for me and it worked. Why would...” Victoria was in the middle of asking a question when Lisa burst into tears and held onto to Hector for comfort who wasn’t doing that much better himself.

“How could you do this to us?” Lisa said in between her tears. “You took our friend away from us you big hairy slut!”

Victoria got mad and the room began to glow red as the chairs started floating in mid air in response to her ire. “HOW COULD I DO THIS TO YOU?!?! I thought you were my friends.. Real friends would WANT me to be happy no matter what the cost. I paid the price and got my money’s worth. I love being dead! Lisa, you always said that I’d get my surgery even if it kills me. Well I killed myself and it worked… see..” Victoria slid off her panties and revealed her sex organs. “I don’t have a penis anymore… I don’t have depression anymore. I’m cured! Does that mean nothing to you?”

Hector was next. “It does mean something to us, it shows us that you care more about your damn surgery than ANYTHING else in your life if you gave up your life for it. We’re apart of your life just you used to be apart of ours, and you sat there with Jimminy whoever. Thinking about whether or not to give up your life and everything in it for one thing you clearly wanted more than anything else in the world.”

“What? Do the rest of you feel this way.” Victoria asked only getting stern faces from the rest of them. “...I don’t understand. You should be overjoyed, you should be relieved, You should, you should.. you should be thankful that your friend got such a wonderful gift. I am more alive than I ever was in life and you think that’s a bad thing? No more depression, no more body dysphoria, no more crying myself to sleep, no more being anatomically incorrect, no more suffering, just me as I’m meant to be.… And you’re MAD at me!?! I don’t understand…. Why aren’t you happy for me!?! BE HAPPY FOR ME GOD DAMN IT!”

“Vicki… you’re scaring us….” Sue meekly plead, looking at the floor below her chair. “Calm down and we can explain our feelings better. I think we got off on the wrong foot here.”

“I’m a ghost, I’m supposed to be scary!” Victoria’s face became distorted and her smile became quite sadistic. “I will put you down on the ground when you apologize for thinking only of yourselves.”

“That’s not healthy for your mind and you know it!” Lisa yelled holding onto her chair for dear life. “Let’s talk about this, you may be dead, but you could still a therapist… We’re mad yes, but we’re still your friend… I mean maybe we can hang out still… I could bring a crystal ball around or something…” She was grasping at straws, she couldn’t encourage Victoria’s behavior or mindset, but Victoria’s power seemed like it could prove fatal to her if she didn’t find a way to calm her. As happy as she was to see Victoria again, joining her in the grave would ruin her plans for the weekend.

“No more therapy. I’m cured now!” Victoria screeched, the chairs whirling around faster and faster. “I AM CURED!”

Elroy sighed barely hanging on to his chair. “Whelp, we’re gonna die.”

“I’m cured! I’m cured! I’m cured! I’m cured!” Victoria screamed, the chairs spinning faster and faster. “I’m cured! I’m cured! I’m cured!”

“Seems like it…” Sue said panicking in her chair

“For the love of God Victoria, stop being creepy and put us down.” Hector cried, considering making a jump for the table to physically restrain Victoria, but he didn’t see what good that would do as she was afterall a ghost.

“I’m not creepy, I’m just… misunderstood.. Death fixed me, I’m not crazy, I’ve never been more sane Look at me. I… AM BEAUTIFUL! I AM WOMAN! I AM AS I AM MEANT TO BE!” Victoria screamed, the spinning of the chairs was now fast enough to fling all six people to different parts of the establishment. Victoria not calming down or stopping until after she realized what she did. “Oh God…. no no no, please be okay…”

“I’m fine Victoria… but you really could have hurt us.” Lisa said shivering a little as she walked forward from where she landed. “God it’s strange, I thought I heard a bone crack but… I don’t feel anything really… Well it is a little chilly…”

“NO NO NO NO NO! Oh god this is bad.” Victoria screamed, for some reason her friends not being hurt.

“Vicki, I said I’m fine.” Lisa reassured.

“No you aren’t… I… I’m sorry… I just freaked out and…” Victoria was rapidly looking for the words, but she couldn’t think of anything for this situation.

“Sorry for what, you put us down…. You just had a panic attack that’s all. We can work this out.” Lisa said calmly. “Where’s the heater in this joint… see I’m more upset by how cold it is… why didn’t I notice it earlier?.”

“...You’ll never forgive me…” Victoria held her head in her hands and started hyperventilating “This is bad, this is really bad.”

“I can’t say suicide is the best option, but…I suppose I do need to remember you made the decision under duress, if you stay in the living world or whatever for a bit we can help you…”

“No I mean you won’t forgive me for THAT!” Victoria pointed in Lisa’s general direction.

“Huh?” Lisa asked looked behind her and noticing some oddities. “Why do I have a german shepard tail? Vicky did you curse me or someth….” The second oddity made Lisa fall completely silent. “...No… Victoria… you’ve been a bad, bad girl.”

Hector turned to face Lisa. “Why what’s so bad about…..” he saw it too, then he looked behind himself to see if it had affected him too. “Lisa…. whose idea was this again?”

Elroy did more of his nervous laughter. “Hector you look like you’ve seen a ghost… What’s going on.”

“I did…” Hector said not taking his eyes off the oddity. “And so did you…. hell even Victoria did…..” Hector and Lisa both, were looking at their own corpses sitting lifelessly on the floor. “We didn’t survive being thrown about like that...”

Elroy turned white and turned around to see his own cadaver. “.......What were my exact words? Let’s go see the fraud, it’s not like it would kill us… Well, mouth, here comes the foot….. Sue, Gregory, and the Gyp seem alright though.” He said as he watched Sue try in vain to resuscitate him.

“.....I’m sorry, I really am…” Victoria fell to her knees, her mind shattered. “I was the only one who was supposed to die… this wasn’t… part of the deal…”