I'm writing a story, Oppo. Critique a rough short draft please?

Here, have a deadly Panamera to start. The story’s called Vivere aut mori. It’s about a young man who dies unexpectedly, but has a chance to come back to life, if he passes the Grim Reaper’s tests. Draft after the jump.

Vivere aut mori

CHAPTER I - Welcome

As it stood, he had no chance of escaping this ordeal alive. Lying motionless, the blood covered his face. It was a deep crimson, flowing from the wound like a busted garden hose.


“So, this is how it ends. This is what I get in return. This sucks! Shit!” he thought. He’d never considered death before, but in an instant, he was staring his own mortality directly in the eyes. A million thoughts flooded through his brain, but seemed to come back out as the blood being drained onto the pavement. He felt lucid enough, but then again, he couldn’t get up, so lucid thoughts weren’t doing much good. All of a sudden, he heard a voice. A soft, female voice. Somewhat soothing, but there was a slight tinge of fierceness as well. She seemed to have an aloof tone to her.

“Aye, ya seem to have had a bit of a crisis here, I see. That’s not good for ya, ok? Now, let me tell ya, you’re gonna die pretty quickly. An ambulance is gonna get here right quick to the hospital, but it’s going to be too late for ya buddy… maybe. What we’re going to do is let you die, but we have a reason for that, ok? That’s gonna become pretty clear pretty soon, but I can’t tell ya why, not right now.”

The voice disappears as quickly as it came. He was now barely holding on to life. He caught the reflection of flashing lights. Everything began to spin as he was loaded on to a stretcher. He heard the voices of the emergency team, but he couldn’t comprehend the individual words. He couldn’t respond to their questions, nothing. All he had were his thoughts and his physical form, and those were quickly fading away.

He felt movement again, as the environment began to spin. Then everything went white. Very bright white. There was a lot of movement, a lot of spinning, and a lot of noise.


“Am I in the hospital, or is this what death is?” he wondered. It seemed like more than a coincidence that hospitals were very bright white, and that death is often described as bright white light. Perhaps that so many people died in a hospital, it makes sense that their first after-death environment is a familiar one. But indeed he was in the hospital. There was that unmistakable smell. So many chemicals, rotting people, dying people, but he was so close to the edge himself, he didn’t have enough power in him to actually feel any significant effect of the scent.

He was no longer bleeding. In fact, he couldn’t feel anything. He couldn’t even remember his own name. He had no identification on him. The hospital didn’t even know his name. Speaking of the hospital, the noise died down, it was much quieter, and quite a bit darker as well.


He had died.

“Aye, so you finally came around? I’m gonna be clear with ya, ok? This right here, what’s about to happen, it’s really gonna blow big time, buddy. Big time. Or maybe not. It depends on you, ok?”


It was the female voice again.

“Sorry, didn’t introduce myself before, ok? I’m basically what humans would know as the Grim Reaper, but I have a given name. Human tongues can’t say it right, so we just go with Gina. Ya wanna know why you’re dead, buddy? Why ya had that terrible accident?”


He didn’t respond.

“Of course ya don’t,” she said. “I’m gonna tell ya anyways. You’re a dick. Plain and simple, it’s what ya are. Ya got shot over a turf war with, what are they, drug dealers? Two slugs to the side of the head. You’re pretty lucky ya lasted as long as ya did. But anyways, what are you? 19 years old? Maybe 20? At least in human years, I guess. You’re pretty young for a human, or for most species anyways. I’ve been doin’ my job for probably equal to 35,000 of your human years. Well, it’s not just me at least, there’s lots of us, but I’m assigned to you. Hey, sorry! I’m rambling again! Anyways!” she continued, “you got shot down. Now, you gotta go on an afterlife tour.”


“…an afterlife tour?” he thought. “What is that?”

“Ya see, basically, an afterlife tour is a trip through Heaven, Hell, and Limbo. You’re gonna spend a dead-week in each, which is about the same as your hours. So, it’s three hours of your time. If ya survive what ya go through in the afterlife, you’ll survive in your world. If ya can’t handle it, well you’re gonna have to learn to, because whatever part ya fail, the time starts over and you spend another dead-week there. Remember, you’re fightin’ to survive, ok? So, the more times ya fail, the less your chances of survival. And if ya do survive, but it takes a long time, ya might not come back in good shape, ok?”


“Wait, don’t I get any word in this?” he finally was able to mutter.

“Oh! You do have those vocal cord things! Nah, you don’t really get any choice. But think of it this way, ya see? If ya died of natural causes, or you got real old or somethin’, you would be sent to the place that would be the best fit for ya. Here, ya got some chance to atone. So, you’re lucky, ok?” Gina explained.


He barely had time to come to terms or react at all for that matter. Before he could react, everything around him changed. He was suddenly standing on his own two feet. He felt his head. Dry, whole. No blood, no wounds.

Birds were singing, grass was green, and there were lots of smiling, happy people around. There were also some people that looked a bit unhappy. The sky was a bright, electrifying blue, with the golden sun lighting the world up around him. This seemed pretty nice.


“Now, I’m not telling ya where ya went first. It’s random. It’s up to you to figure it out, buddy. Over in that building,” explained Gina, as she pointed to a location about 400 yards on her left, “is the welcome center. They’re going to provide ya with everything that you need for your stay. I’ll be back in three days to check on your progress. Now, back in your world, the doctors are still workin’ on ya, so give them a reason to try to keep ya from dying! I’m gonna give you enough heartbeat and oxygen flow so they can keep ya alive at the bare minimum.”

“Umm… is there anyone visiting me at least? Supporting me?” he asked.

“Well… yeah, there’s people there. Your mom is there, but she’s talkin’ to the police right now. She sounds pretty upset, but she said this was only a matter of time,” said Gina.


“So, they expected this. Shit… of course. I messed up big. Do I deserve a second chance?” he asked, with a look of fear and regret on his face.

“That’s up to you. If ya give up, I can make that known. If ya feel, yourself, that ya deserve to live, then you try to get through this, ok?”


“Yeah, I hear you. I want to redeem myself, you know.”

“Then get goin’!” Gina urged. There was a hint of a growl in her voice, the fierceness that he had detected before was now much more obvious.


Gina disappeared. Nobody else seemed to have noticed her, though. How could they not? He thought Gina was quite pretty, for a Grim Reaper at least. She wasn’t stick thin, but she had no need to be. She was about 5’4”, maybe around 160 pounds. Black hair, with silver highlights framed her face. The length was slightly longer than a pixie cut, but it suited her style. Her bangs were prominent, covering her forehead. She wore glasses, thin-rimmed spectacles to be specific. They were quite clear, and he could clearly see her eyes, a muted shade of blue, almost contrasting the blue sky above them. She wore a sundress, blue as well, with silver patterns, seemingly random and quite abstract, with a leather jacket over it. The sleeves were only elbow length, and he could see that she had tattoos on her arm, though he could not discern the details. There was also a tattoo on the back of her neck that read Vivere aut mori. He wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but believed it was important. The leather jacket was complemented by leather knee-high boots. Her skin itself was rather pale, with a mole on her chin, right below her lip, offset slightly to the left.

He had lost himself in thought remembering Gina’s appearance, and lost track of time. He started to head towards the building that she pointed out.


“Here we go.”

Ok, so I started it earlier this afternoon. Word count is close to 1500 so far, give or take. Not bad for writing by the seat of my pants with no clear plotline, I suppose.


Let me know what you think!

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