“What if I say, ‘no’?” Kyle asked. Elsa shrugged under her black cloak.
“You stay here until you change your mind,” Elsa replied. She gestured at the elegant bathroom around them. Kyle had a bad night. An overflowing toilet and a slippery floor guaranteed he’d never have a chance to propose to his girlfriend. It was the only reason they were in the upscale restaurant. He went to the restroom to find his nerve and never returned.
He managed to see his girlfriend for a moment during the initial commotion of someone finding his body. But, Death showed up shortly after and kept him from going after her. Now, paramedics were carrying his body out and he was left alone in the restroom with Elsa.
“As a ghost?” Kyle asked. Elsa half-shrugged and half-nodded.
“I guess, technically. Sure,” she said.
“I’m going to stay,” Kyle said decisively. Elsa nodded at him.
“‘Kay,” she said. “How long?”
“Uh..,” Kyle hadn’t expected Death to be so accommodating. But, he also didn’t expect her to be a young woman in her early 20s with a chestnut brown ponytail. She looked like a fresh-faced intern on her way to becoming a permanent employee. “…Forever?” he said. Elsa grinned at him and shook her head.
“Let’s start with a shorter timeframe first,” she said. “I’ll come to check on you in a year, sounds good?” she asked.
“And I can still say no then too, right?” Kyle asked. Elsa nodded.
“Sure, if you want.”
“Great! I’ll take the year!” Kyle blurted out. He immediately began wondering how to best haunt his girlfriend to let her know he was there.
“You got it,” Elsa replied. Then, Kyle blinked. The second he opened his eyes Death spoke up.
“Ready?” Elsa asked.
“But, you just gave me a year,” Kyle whined. Elsa nodded.
“Yeah, I did. Do you want another one?”
“It hasn’t even been 30 seconds!”
“No, it’s been a year,” Elsa nodded. “But, you blinked and missed it,” she grinned. “I can prove it,” she walked out of the restroom and encouraged Kyle to follow her. He hesitated for a moment, but his curiosity got the better of him.
He exited the bathroom expecting to find the staff cleaning up and the patrons gone after his accident. Instead, he found an empty, dusty dining room full of cobwebs.
“Congratulations,” Elsa said with a giggle. “Your accident ruined their reputation. They closed three months after you died and haven’t been able to sell the location.”
“But you said I could stay,” Kyle complained again.
“And you can; I have to make sure you don’t affect anything. The easiest way to do that is to time-lock you.”
“But, I don’t get to experience anything like that,” Kyle said. Elsa nodded.
“Well, that would be cheating. You’ve had your turn at experiencing life and now you have to get in line again if you want another turn. Just like everyone else. Other people want to enjoy life too, you know.”
“Wait… again? I get another life?” Elsa shook her head but smiled.
“Where do you think I’m supposed to take you?”