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He’d gone to bed just like any other night. There was no struggle, no fight that he’d had to deal with, no screaming from the kids that would make him wonder if he’d done the right thing in becoming a father, and he and his wife hadn’t been arguing about anything. Where was the justice in any of it?

“Mom!” screamed the young child, bolting out of bed as Fred watched the kid run off. He was no longer confused by this turn of events, from what he’d deduced his own family had moved out of this place a while ago, years ago likely considering the renovations done to his home. He barely recognized the split-level house that he and his wife Marlene had purchased when they were still in their late 20s, but it was the same place be sure. It just wasn’t the same family that he remembered.

Footsteps coming down the hall alerted him to the presence of the child’s mother, prompting Fred to fade from sight again. He’d learned to do this at some point after waking up in a bed that wasn’t his own, next to a man only slightly older than he’d been when he’d…

Nope, nope, he didn’t want to think about that right now.

Fred really thought that moving on would have been a little different, that there would be a pearly gate or clouds of some sort to welcome him into the embrace of his loved ones or old family members that he’d lost along the way. At one point he’d even wondered if he was being evaluated before being tossed unceremoniously down a long, broken pit to be tormented for the rest of his afterlife. But so far nothing had come, no judgment and no end to this imposed existence had managed to show up yet, leaving him to wonder if there were others like himself out there, wandering about.

“He was just there!” the child exclaimed, “I know he was!”

“I believe you,” said the child’s mother, a pretty but heavyset woman that he’d appeared to more than once, “It’s about time we did something about this.”

That almost made Fred laugh, since he couldn’t imagine what the woman could think would help any of them.

(to be continued)

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