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I am Kailee.  I come from a small town in northern Vermont where I lived with my family.  There were six of us.  Aside from my parents there was my older sister, Cassidy, my older brother, Blake, me, and my youngest brother Silas.

Yes that’s right, I said lived.

I’m dead, hovering now outside the small town’s entrance because I’m afraid to leave and even more afraid to come back.  My family didn’t see me die.  They all think it was an accident, those happen a lot out in the middle of nowhere but it wasn’t an accident. I was killed. And I could have understood it if I had ever done anything.

Cassidy would be an awful person to kill, worse even than me.  She had only had four boyfriends since the ninth grade and had only broken up with one of them.  She was graceful in a way I could never have been, tall and slender with pale skin and paler hair.

Blake would have been better.  I’m not saying to kill my brother but he had been a major heartbreaker. He had calmed down a little in the past couple years or maybe not, maybe he had just become better at hiding himself from us but I doubted it.  He had the same hair as Cassidy but where hers was long his was short and spiked.  I could never figure out how he managed to get all those girls to fall for him.

I wonder how this dead thing works.

Sorry, I get off track easy.

Silas is the youngest.  He’s currently on his first girlfriend and he treats her very nicely.  She’s even been over to dinner and was not offended; this is surprising because our table manners, well quite frankly, are a little…neglected.  I don’t know where he got his face from; he had dark hair, nearly crow black, that he brushes back from his bright eyes.  Maybe he was playing with us.  Every now and again he would show some stupendous display of anger that would stun the whole family, himself included.  He would apologize profusely afterwards for a day or two after any outburst and be as nice as possible to the person he had exploded towards.

Me?  I don’t matter, you can’t see me anyway.  Besides, I’m horribly critical of myself, you should look me up.

Actually, no.  Do not look me up.  I don’t want you to be busy trying to find me, because that’s not my point.  My point is to figure out why I’m sitting under a sign, nearly a mile from what used to be my house, and not being seen and not breathing.

So far the biggest difference is that I’m not cold.  I should be.  It’s snowing, the snow is piled up on top of the sign—it’s not like anyone ever read it anyway—and around the trees that surround my little town.

I wonder if I’ll make tracks in the snow.  Wait, Can people see me?  Hear me?  Feel me?  Now I’m not nearly as quick to ignore all those ghost stories I heard growing up.  Is it true that animals can feel the presence of the dead?  I doubt I’ll be able to find that one out because we haven’t had any pets in years.  Silas is allergic.

Now what?  I can’t decide what to do.  Hiding under this sign is already boring but I couldn’t bear to see my family again.  I don’t want to see their pain, their suffering, their loss.  I am that loss.

Neither can I leave.  I have never gone anywhere on my own, with the exception of the night I was killed and two weeks before.  Trips to the store usually included my brother; days at the movies usually included my sister.  Why am I even here? Is it possible to kill yourself after you die?  I have half a mind to try.

I looked at my hands.  Shouldn’t they be bloody, missing one finger?  I puzzled over the possibility that I had lost my finger, the ring finger of my left hand, but could still see it.  Did that mean that I saw myself as last I was?  My finger flickered to a bloody stump.  I closed my eyes and told myself—several times, over and over—that I was being strange and of course all my fingers were there with no blood whatsoever.  I took a deep breath and opened my eyes

I had ten fingers and my pale skin shone at me.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I wondered if they had found my finger and buried it.  My hand flickered again.  No.  I would not go down that road.  It was off limits with a wrought iron gate, chains and road closed sign posted.  Drive through and receive the gift of eternal doom.

I stood up.  Or maybe I was already standing.  It didn’t matter.  I wound toward the center of town.  I couldn’t stand to sit outside anymore; even though the cold couldn’t touch me it felt wrong.  It didn’t take as long as I had expected.  Maybe instead of wandering towards town I was running full speed.  I decided to waste no time and get there as soon as I could.  Instantly I was there.

Someone really needs to explain how being dead works.  How come I am already here?