The child materialised next to me, and looked around, bewildered. I can understand, this was a bit of a weird place, especially since she had just died. Sort of.
‘Hi, sweety. How are you feeling?’
She turned the saucer eyes on me, and seemed relieved to see a human face.
‘Am I dead?’
‘Yes. I’m afraid you are.’ Her face wobbled for a bit, them she seemed to pull herself together.
‘Is this heaven, then?’
‘We-ell, not really…’
‘That’s a bit more like it. But no. Not purgatory. This is the Mooch.’
‘The Mooch? What’s that?’
‘Well, I guess it’s like purgatory, except…’ I stopped. This wasn’t a good line of thinking for a child. ‘Why don’t we go find you some friends, hmm?’ I led her over to a mixed bag of creatures, the conjurations of the indecipherable subconscious of various children. She’d feel a bit more at home with them.
I pitied her. It’s not an easy thing to discover that you were someone else’s imaginary friend.