I open my eyes, to find myself surrounded by nothing, well, total darkness is a better way to explain it. As far as the eye couldn’t see, it was darkness, except below me, when I look down, I could see a perfect, pale, sick looking reflection of myself in the watery, squishy ground beneath me. I swallowed, I think, it was dry, stale, not like when I was alive, wait, am I dead? I’m not sure, I look back out into the darkness that surrounds me, I don’t know why I stare, it’s not like I can see anything, even if there was something out there, watching me, I wouldn’t know until it was too late. I turn in a complete circle, I think anyway, maybe I did it twice, or three times, maybe I didn’t even do it once, but, when you have nothing to centre yourself on, it’s hard to work out exactly what you’re doing or done. I hear the rumble first, and then, a coldness, colder than it already was, did I mention that, about how cold it was? Probably not, well, it was cold, you know that walk in freezer cold. I’m sure most of you’d know what I’m talking about. Somehow I find it reminds me of my first job, working on the grill at a McDonald’s, before they stopped using the styrofoam packaging, and the coffee was shit. Anyway, I’m getting off subject, it got colder, then the rumble, like a low level growl, and slowly, it appeared, like something out of a horror movie. Picture it if you haven’t already, here I was, naked, alone, in some alien world, with this thing, looking at me, as if I was supposed to know what it wanted. It let out another low growl, if you want me to describe it, I’d say its growl was more like bubbles exploding in its belly, which then worked their way quickly up its throat and blasted out its mouth, because there was also a stench, a dead, putrid stench. I was surprised by the smell, not by how bad it was, but that I could smell it. I guess, I thought once you were dead, those things were lost to you, obviously not, but I didn’t get much time to contemplate any of those questions as it began to speak. Do you want to go back to the world of the living? It asked, I stood there, frozen. Its voice was like nails running along a blackboard interlaced with a deep low level bass vibrating through my body as each painful word left its lips. It took a step closer, until it was within touching distance, and then it spoke again. Do you want to live? it asked, I stuttered nervously, my reply was not really words, like I’d forgotten how to talk, but, somehow it understood, and it reached out to me with its boney, clawed hand, I wanted to scream, to run, hell, even move away from it, but, I couldn’t. Its touch was surprisingly gentle, then it sort of smiled, and it’s cold, dead, black, soulless eyes widened and it said, we have a deal. I fell to the slimy ground, pain ripping through my body, it was agony, I screamed, and then next thing I knew, I was pulling myself from the dirt, gasping for air, somehow, I had returned. I collapsed on the side of the shallow grave, my legs still half buried, sucking in breath after breath, maybe it was all a dream, a hallucination, but, if it wasn’t, what deal had I made, to live again?