Mark Twain once said, "let us so live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry." Somehow, I don't think I quite lived up to that expectation. In fact, I'm willing to bet said undertaker is happily enjoying his hard earned money from dumping my carcass into a glorified ditch. That is, if they ever found said carcass.

In my previous life, I had such big dreams, but none of the ambition to achieve them. I was content to passively drift through life, trying different skills and hobbies but never sticking with one. My home life wasn't remarkable either. I had a decent family, a normal one even- a loving mother, a protective older brother and an assorted bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Really, the only thing worth any commentary about my previous life was my incredible love of reading. I learned to read from a young age and from there it became a never-ending cycle of reading and contemplating. This eventually pushed me into pursuing what my lifelong career was supposed to be- English teaching. Now though, my future is as unsteady as the ever changing tides of the sea.

Before I go any further, I should probably explain why I'm waxing poetic about my previous life when, obviously, I'm supposed to be dead. Well, to put it simply, I somehow managed to evade death via body snatching. That or I was designated to be that unlucky schmuck who was graced with the "gift" of reincarnation. Normally, that'd be just fine and dandy, seeing as I wouldn't remember anything about my past life and I'd become a whole new person with new memories. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case.

You see, it all started on a broiling hot spring day, right before spring finals at my college. One of my friends had burst into my dorm room with what seemed like a brilliant idea to go to the beach to fight off the heat. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to shrug off the plans I had made to study for the approaching finals and packed my bags for what was supposed to be a fun trip to the sea. At the time, I figured that the mounting stress from the finals and the tension that weighed on everyone's shoulders due to the continuous terrorist attacks near my hometown warranted a small respite.

When we had arrived at the beach, the whole span of white, powder-soft sand and turquoise blue sea was completely abandoned despite the perfect weather. Thinking nothing of it, we unpacked quickly and then rushed into the refreshing water. The first half hour we spent out there playing and relaxing seemed like something from a wonderful dream. It was blissful- empty of all the responsibility of adult life.

Blissful, that is, until I was thrust under the crest of an unusually strong wave and my feet were ripped out from under me. The next minute or so was a blur, but I must've hit my head on a rock or coral because I was so, so weak. When the rip tide that knocked me under the water finally weakened, I opened my eyes. They burned with the amount of salt in the water, but I had to know where I ended up.

What I saw, even now, still takes my breath away (hah!). The water, the same cruel force that slowly strangled the air, and consequently the life, out of me shimmered in a way that cast an otherworldly glow about the coral reefs surrounding my body. The bright colors of the reef fish and the anemones dazzled my vision in a way that nothing ever had, and even though I knew in the back of my mind that I was dying, I couldn't look away. I couldn't move. I couldn't think.

Eventually, that sight faded too and as my vision blacked out, the burning, agonizing, pain in my lungs became too much to bear and I slipped into darkness.

By all rights and means, I should have died in that moment and gone to Heaven or Hell, which ever I deserved, but I didn't. Something happened and I regained awareness. Wherever I was, it was warm and comfortable. Sure, it was a tiny bit cramped, but it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with. A long period of time passed where I reveled in the comfort of what I supposed was the afterlife, as strange as it was. I was never hungry or cold. Occasionally, I would hear a noise that sounded like humming and an overwhelming wave of love and affection would wash over me.

I could have spent an eternity there, content to sleep in peace, but that wasn't meant to be. The dark place that once was a source of comfort quickly became suffocating. It wasn't long after the tightness became almost unbearable that I was abruptly thrust out of my haven and into a bitterly cold, horribly loud place. There was something holding me and I felt completely helpless- similar to how I felt as I floated in the water while my life drained from me. I hated it.

I opened my eyes to what was to be my new life, and promptly greeted the world with a piercing scream. It was the wail of an infant.

As you probably have figured out already, this is one of those OC insert stories. I'm well aware that fact has probably scared off a bunch of people already, but I figured I would attempt my own version.

Anyway, this story is largely influenced by the story Iryo-nin Kasa by Vaengir, so I would like to dedicate this first chapter to her. :)