Writers (in order): Dio Guise, S.T.W., melle, Irene Hong, Irene Tsen, Korina Smith, Sanjana Bandi, Langston Wu, Emily Hwang, Ananya Sandeep, Xinyi Chi, E.G.S., Kati Ann, Ayden Bridgeman

Editor: Irene Tsen

“Well, that would do it,” I groan, unamused as the last bit of unshattered glass falls from the windshield and joins its brethren on the dark concrete.

My baby—a sweet 2016 Toyota Camry—is officially a scrap of metal. Not even the steering wheel cover was safe. The fuzzy fabric, matted and stained with fast-food residue, has been folded under the caved-in roof.

I’ve never liked driving at night to begin with, and the “WARNING: FALLING ROCKS” signs posted every other mile only frayed my nerves more. But car trouble had me parked on the side of the road, neck deep in my engine, when an approaching rumble and thump *thump THUMP *****caused me to flinch so hard I hit my head on the raised hood.

Above me, boulders are still barreling down the hill and sending loose rocks in their wake. My car’s headlights shine on them only moments before they make impact.

My last thought is a fleeting “oh crap” before everything goes black.

I wake up kicking and screaming, the sensation of heavy boulders crushing my chest.

“Chill out, you’re fine,” a drawling voice cuts through my panic. Caught off guard, I abruptly realize I’m no longer pinned down. Slowly, I crack open my eyes, shutting them rapidly once the brightness of my surroundings pierces through my retinas.

“Where…” my voice cracks and I lick my lips, embarrassed. “Where am I? Did I really survive?”

The unknown voice snorts, clearly amused. “No, you’re definitely dead. We grabbed you.”

Startled, I jerk my head toward the voice and open my eyes. The sight that greets me only has me ready to scream again or bolt.

I choose both and scream as I scramble backwards, pointing an offending finger at the being in front of me. The being who obviously can’t be real.

“Who—who are you?!” I screech.

A pair of yellow eyes looking straight at me belongs to a plump centaur. Next to him is a plump pegasus with wavy blue mane and long blue eyelashes.

“We’re… body hunters, if you will,” the pegasus says. “I’m Berith, and this is Gabriel.” He indicates the centaur next to him. “We’ve come to collect your body for the Next World. It’s a bit embarrassing for the higher-ups who manage all that, but their system of detecting deaths doesn’t always work.”

My mouth is hanging open. “But—but—you can’t be real!” I suddenly splutter. The shock of dying, then subsequently meeting mythical creatures who claim there really is a world beyond this one, has fried my mental faculties.

“There are a lot of things you humans don’t know about,” Gabriel stands up in a swift movement, “Time to get a move on. We don’t have all day, and neither do you. You still have your reckoning to face.”

With those ominous words, I feel an unnatural chill filling my body. When I turn my head to the wreck of my car, I realize suddenly that I haven’t been inhabiting my body at all, because it still lies helplessly next to the car fender. But it is hardly recognizable anymore, with how it was smashed by boulders and all. Intriguingly morbid. As I black out again, I suspect that my soul and body have somehow become severed…

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