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After what felt like a very long time, I opened my eyes and saw the inside of a box. It took mere moments to realize this was a coffin. I was not panicked, however. I raised my arms and pushed, and the lid moved away with more ease than I had expected. After adjusting to the light, the first thing I saw was my late grandmother’s smiling face.
I was dead, wasn’t I?
I repeated this question out loud and received a chuckle from grandma. “Yes, you are dead.” Her statement caused me no panic. It was as if I had already come to accept it. “Come with me, sweetheart, let me show you to our new home.” She said and extended her hand. I took it, and she helped me out of the coffin.
I took a look at my surroundings. We were inside a massive temple of sorts filled with coffins and people. “This is where all the newly dead appear upon arrival to the spirit world,” grandma said. “Each one met by the last ancestor they thought of in life. Your grandfather was very jealous, you know? He has gotten very competitive with me as you grandchildren have reached old age.”
“That does sound like grandpa,” I said, stifling a laugh.
“We should head out. It’s a long journey, and I don’t want us to be late. They have a feast prepared for you.” Grandma said and led me to the large doors of the temple.
We exited, and I was met with the sight of the largest city I had ever seen. Skyscrapers and roads stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. “Woah, what is this place?” I asked, bewildered.
“This is the capital of the spirit world. Billions of souls reside here, all of them enjoying the existence that is the afterlife.”
Grandma led me through the city, and we took the metro system for what felt like hours. Slowly the surroundings looked more and more like a suburb. We stopped near a large and elegant house, and I was greeted by familiar and strange faces alike. These were my ancestors, and this was my new home. I was led inside, and we feasted on the offerings left to us by our descendants that still yet lived.
With this story I tried to make a modern telling of “The Land of the Dead” tale in the Alaskan Legends Myths. I really loved the way they portrayed the afterlife and I wanted to see what it would look like for those of us who would experience it in our time.