Cold. Everything felt so unbearably cold. There was ringing, whooshing, and a deep pressure all around her, but Georgia couldn’t quite place it. She was too tired to open her eyes, but it felt like water. Had she fallen asleep in the tub? She didn’t remember taking a bath. Maybe this was all a dream.
Either way, Georgia was getting annoyed with the cold and the ringing pressure in her ears. She needed to get up and get to bed. But she just couldn’t seem to move. What was happening? Why did her body feel like lead?
The sound of footsteps approaching jarred Georgia out of her thoughts. If she was in her apartment this was bad news. She forced her eyes open just in time to see someone in dress slacks and shiny black shoes approach. He sighed before leaning down and wiping the hair from her face.
“Can you move?”
Georgia shook her head.
“Can you speak?”
Georgia’s throat felt like it was on fire, but she managed to croak out a yes.
“Well, at least that’s a start. You’re doing a lot better than most folks. I think you’ll be alright on your own in a few, but I’ll help ya sit up okay. Here we go.”
The man pulled her up into a sitting position and Georgia felt like her insides were prickled by fire. She immediately turned from the stranger to puke all over the sand. Sand? She looked around and everything finally clicked. She was on a beach. But how? How much did she drink that night? Did she even drink?
Georgia turned her attention back to the stranger. In additional to the slacks and polished shoes, he was dressed in a white button down with a red tie. His thick, black hair was neatly cut but graying and his dark skin seemed almost blue in the moonlight. His lips quirked upward in a crooked but kind grin.
“Where am I? Who are you?”
“I’m Virgil. Virgil Washington. As to where you are, well, most people call this the beach.”
Virgil nodded. “Yep. Many a lost soul wind up here for me to guide ‘em.”
“Guide them? Guide them where?”
It felt like ice was running through Georgia’s veins as a panic enveloped her. Hell? What the hell was she doing in Hell? Was she dead? How could she be dead? When had she died? Why couldn’t she remember anything? What!?
“I know it must be a shock. It always it as first. But once ya get used things and come to terms-”
“No.” Georgia interrupted.
Virgil’s eyebrow quirked upward. “No?”
“No! I refuse to accept this! I can’t be dead, let alone going to Hell. I won’t go with you.”
Virgil sighed before standing up. “Suit yourself. I’ll come get ya when you’ve changed your mind. The beach isn’t somewhere most people want to stay for long.” With a nod of his head, he headed closer inland until he disappeared from Georgia’s view.