As everyone got off the ship to begin their new life, or after-life, rather, I decided to stay behind. I wondered what would happen if I remained on the vessel.
By now I had grown accustomed to the rocking of the boat beneath my feet, and I didn't get nauseous anymore. I'm sure I could stay here on the S.S. Nile for a while longer, or at least until the boat made another trip to Elsewhere. Maybe, if I was lucky, I might be able to return to Earth, to my old life with my family and friends. I've learned my lesson, and I will never ride a bicycle without a helmet again, and I will always look both ways before darting into a street. I still have so much more to experience. I wouldn't take anything for granted if I made it back home.
The sound of footsteps pulled me out of my thoughts and back to the present. They were headed right towards my door! Quickly trying to find a place to hide, I dove under the bunk beds that Thandi and I shared. Could I have picked a worse spot? That's always the first place you look in when playing hide-and-seek.
The footsteps, and the tiny feet that made them, were coming closer and closer to the bed. A small child peeped under the bed and said, "Hello, Miss Lizzie Marie Hall," with a slight slur on the R. He couldn't have been any older than seven or eight.
"Shouldn't you be off of the boat by now, meeting whatever family you have in Elsewhere?" I asked him.
"No, I'm the Captain," he replied. He was wearing a captain's uniform, after all.
"Aren't you a little young for that?" I questioned him.
"I've been doing this for about a hundred years now. I think I may retire soon. I have to take naps in the afternoon now. Anyway, what are you still doing here?"
"I want to make the return trip," I told him.
"I am afraid you can't do that. You see, even if you find a way back to Earth, you'll be a ghost. You'll drive yourself and your loved ones into insanity. I'm sure that's not really what you want. I'm sorry that you died; you seem awfully young. But you have to understand that it happens to all of us, and you can't spend your whole after-life mourning your own death. Now be a good girl and join everyone else on the dock, alright?" The Captain made for the door.
"Okay." I lied through my teeth.
I waited a few minutes until I was sure that the Captain wasn't waiting for me or hiding around a corner, ready to escort me off of the boat as I unknowingly passed by him.
I wandered around the S.S. Nile for a little while until I felt it start to move. I rushed into the nearest room and watched through a porthole as Elsewhere became smaller and smaller. I settled down into a bed and tried to go to sleep. I hadn't realized how tired I was until now.
When I awoke, the boat still wasn't back to Earth. It felt like I had slept for an entire day at least. It was hard to tell the time when there were no clocks anyway and all you could see through the porthole was swirling blue mist.
Feeling a rumbling in my stomach, I went down to the galley to grab something to eat. I was slightly disappointed to find that there was hardly anything left. At least there was plenty of water so I wouldn't dehydrate.
I decided to take a walk up to the Observation Decks. I didn't have any interims left, but luckily for me someone had dropped a few of them on the deck. I placed an interim in the slot and watched my family click into view. They were silently eating dinner at the dining room table. Every so often Alvy would crack a corny joke, and Mom would start sobbing, and Dad would glare at him. I couldn't wait to go back home. I'm sure it would cheer everyone up.
For the remainder of my time on the S.S. Nile, I observed the rest of my loved ones and slept. After a few more days, I finally felt the ship come to a full stop.
As I got off of the boat, hundreds of others clad in white pajamas got on board. I noticed that some looked sick, while the others looked fine. I wondered how they died. There was no time for that now, though.
Suddenly, I blacked out.
When I woke up, I was lying back in my own bed. Lucy was lying at my feet, yapping. I tried to quiet her down, but she only barked louder.
I left my room to search for Alvy. When he spotted me, he opened his eyes wide, and his mouth gaped open. "Lizzie?" Alvy asked.
I reached out to give him a hug, but to my dismay, his arms went right through me. I had become a ghost, just like that Captain said. I was doomed to drive everyone I knew insane, wailing and rattling chains and creaking floorboards for the rest of my life.
A/N: Originally, this was for a project in English. My teacher thought it was great, so I figured it might be decent enough to post on here. I was sort of disappointed when I noticed the lack of Elsewhere fanfic on here. Oh well. If you're wondering about the title, it's from a Neil Young song. Yes, I listen to Neil Young on occasion. Anyway, if the last sentence didn't make sense to you, you need to watch more Scooby Doo.