The nagging sound of sirens still rings in your ears as you float down a long tunnel. The walls of the tunnel swirl around you like the clouds of a hurricane, yet there is no wind, only an unrelenting force that pulls you forward. A sense of unease builds in you, until a familiar figure steps out of the glow at the tunnel’s end. It’s your dear old granny! You’re so pleased to see her that you only vaguely remember that she’s been dead for ten years.
“Yumyums!” she shouts, greeting you with a childhood nickname you haven’t heard in ages. You feel absurdly safe as she beckons you out of the tunnel and into a wide, white room. Soft clouds form over-stuffed chairs and low coffee tables. On the tables are old issues of National Geographic and Boy’s Life.
Granny wears white robes and under one arm she carries a slate inscribed with numbers. “Now let’s see if you’ve been behaving yourself.” She peruses the column of figures. “Tsk, tsk, Yumyums. You’ve been rather slack in collecting Karma. In fact, at your current level, you’ll be reincarnated as something between a worm and pond scum. I told your mother to keep an eye on you, but would she listen? Oh, no. She knew how to raise her child . . .”
Suddenly, it hits you—this is no dream! The last thing you remember is crossing the street against the light and a horrible screeching of brakes. Then the tunnel—the light—and your dear, departed grandmother. It all adds up to one terrible conclusion. You never made it across the road!
Granny fondly pats your shoulder. “Don’t worry, dear. You’ll make wonderful pond scum, and the experience will do you good. I spent many incarnations as an intestinal parasite, and now look at me!”
You fall to your knees, blubbering that you didn’t mean to cross the street against the light, but you were in a hurry, and everyone else was doing it. It isn’t fair that you got nailed instead of someone who really deserved to die.
“You mean you perished in an accident?”
You nod weakly.
“I thought I sensed the Will to Live in you!” Quickly she consults the last row of figures. “I’ve made an awful mistake, Yumyums. I was so excited to see you that I forgot to check the schedule. You see dear, it wasn’t your time. You aren’t slated to visit us until they pay off the national debt.”
Your heart fills with sudden hope. Why, if current politics are any indication, you might live forever! Now they’ll have to send you back. You’ll get a second chance to do good deeds, collect more Karma, and avoid being reborn as pond scum.
What a golden opportunity!
Granny shakes her head. “Now Yumyums, this isn’t a Frank Capra movie. Dead is dead, and there’s no going back to that used-up bag of bones you used to be. But you can still earn Karma. “You see, you can’t be reincarnated until your Will To Live is totally gone, and because you died so suddenly yours is still strong. You’d be surprised how often this happens. The afterlife is full of people like you, lost souls unable to let go of their lives. Perhaps you can help one another."
“You must return now to the world of the living, and set right the unfinished business that still holds you to the earth. Only then can you grow and find peace.”
Taking you by the hand, Granny leads you down a cloudy corridor. “Now, I can’t go with you, but I can give you some advice. Stay clear of evil spirits who have given up the search for Karma. They’ve grown powerful feeding off the Will To Live of others, and they no longer seek to be reincarnated. Some have been around for centuries; others have gone completely mad, and they’ll hurt you just for fun."
“Watch out for demons, too. They’ll try to trick you into rebirth before you’re ready, or else drive you insane. They might even trap you in another plane of eternal torment.” Granny pauses beside a vast door. “I’m sending you back now, Yumyums. You’ll grow used to being a lost soul.” And with that the door opens and she gives you a mighty, ungranny-like shove.
As you plummet wildly into the grainy darkness you hear her voice far above you: “Welcome to the afterlife!”
Lost Souls lets you mock death in the comfort of your own home. Return from the dead as a lost soul striving to collect Karma. With daring wit, you'll be reborna higher being. But don't lose your Will to Live too soon, or you may come back as pond scum! Only an ingenious use of your supernatural powers will see you through the post-mortem mayhem of Life After Life.
System: An out of print game called Lost Souls.