Alexandra Gipson

Welcome to the Afterlife

Dear Mr. Sticedi:

It is with great pleasure that I write to inform you that, after careful consideration, you have been accepted to the Afterlife. On behalf of the staff here at the Afterlife, I would like to congratulate and welcome you. Our specialized team of immortal judges examined your life, weighing your actions and your morals to see if you deserved a spot. Your selflessness and generosity caused you to stand out — how you always put others before yourself, how you spent most of your life advocating for equality for all. Every act you probably considered meaningless, like those conversations you had with strangers on public transport, or that hummingbird you saved after it flew into your window, mattered. In the end, your multitude of deeds performed on Earth proved sufficient enough that you may be granted an eternal life full of rest and relaxation.

I am aware that the news of your death will come as a shock. Many people loved you, and while family, friends, and community members will mourn your death, they will also celebrate your life. As they will miss you, I know you will miss them; their time is not yet up, but they will be here before you know it.

To be blunt, the planet you used to call home struggles to support and meet the needs of 7.5 billion—and counting—human beings. With this in mind, please try to understand that your death had to happen.

Know, too, that you specifically were not targeted. Your death was the result of a completely random selection — you, along with 100,000 others, were chosen to die on September 8, 2016. Here at the Afterlife, we are apathetic towards death; it is but one, necessary stage in a living creature’s existence. Although there exists a handful of humans we dislike because of their questionable actions and beliefs, we are unable to hold grudges and simply kill people for pleasure. When they die, they are simply not contenders for a peaceful post-death experience.

The previous sentence in mind, the staff at the Afterlife is well aware of humanity’s fear of what occurs after death. Since you specifically have been accepted here, you need not worry about being slow-roasted over a fire or having your arms and legs chopped off, grown back, and chopped off again. I have included the following, incomplete list of some things to expect:

  1. Your physical form can change. There can exist various versions of you, and they can all exist at once. You can be a baby, a child, a teenager, an adult, an elder… whichever you please. You simply choose which version of yourself you want to be when you wake up each morning. If you become bored or feel as if you made the wrong decision, you can switch at any time.
  2. Point number one in mind, different versions of all the people you have known over your life exist. This is more of a notice so you are not surprised when you see your parents as lovey-dovey teenagers or your grandmother as a carefree child.
  3. Just like people, there are different versions of the places you have been. You can return to your childhood home where you left some of your favorite photographs, where the smell of a cinnamon candle always lingers in the air. Your favorite coffee shop — before renovations, that is — contains the old, maroon armchair you loved so dearly the baristas joked about you taking it home. And, of course, there is the local pub you frequented most nights after work, where you first ordered Jack Daniels on the rocks and swore it was the best drink you ever tasted. I am sure it will taste even better here.  
  4. The majority of humans who make it to the Afterlife inquire about their loved ones and whether or not they, too, have made it. In The Welcome Center, the first place you will visit upon arrival, there is a list of names of who made it and who did not. You are not required to view the list, as the desire to know can sometimes result in feelings of unhappiness and worry. The choice is yours.
  5. While you are not required to work, plenty of humans do, as you can try your hand at various jobs without consequence. Often, people become what they wanted to be when they were children, like President of the United States, an astronaut, or a famous musician. Some other top jobs are an ice cream taste tester, a panda nanny, and fortune cookie writer. Now is your chance to be the announcer for your favorite baseball team. We both know how much you wanted to do that.
  6. Most people use the Afterlife as an opportunity to travel, whether it be to different states, different countries, or even different planets. While you were alive, only once did you leave the United States, traveling to Italy for a week-long vacation at your daughter’s request. After that, you possessed no desire to visit anywhere that did not speak English, despite the yearning to explore, to see more of the world. In the Afterlife, you can understand any language you come across, as everyone receives a device that changes foreign words to their native language upon hearing them. And, as you may wonder, your replies will translate to the other person’s language. However, the device can be disabled. Some people prefer a challenge and want to learn the languages themselves.
  7. The final point I will leave you with is that, if you are curious, you can relive your life by watching it on a screen. Best moments, worst moments, most embarrassing moments… You might be wondering why anyone would want to relive their worst moments, but more people actually watch those than their best moments. Perhaps this is because humans never really see themselves objectively, therefore refusing to accept that they could have been wrong. This 55-year-long movie, with you as the star, is a way for you to reflect on your life and the experiences you had.

Like I mentioned before, that list is only a fraction of what you will experience. I am sure that you are brimming with various emotions and that you have a plethora of questions. They will all be answered if you choose to accept our offer. Please reply promptly, informing us of your decision.


Tanis Reept

Chief of Admissions


Alexandra Gipson is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English — Creative Writing from Seton Hill University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Eye Contact Magazine, Buck Off! Magazine, and Sirens Call Publications. Aside from writing, she is a fan of reading, alternative and rock music, and Penguins hockey.