Martha tripped down her favorite spiral staircase. Her head struck the first landing with a resounding thud, the sound almost drowning out her piercing scream. The world flickered and died in her blood-shrouded vision.
Through a thick haze, Martha detected three orbs of colored light. As she blinked they gained some solidarity, but a halo of dazzling light remained.
"Lady Martha of the Cornerland?" a voice boomed. The leftmost orb, ringed in blue, seemed to vibrate with the words.
Martha tried to speak, but fluid filled her throat. She coughed and sputtered. "Yes. Where? How?"
The rightmost, orange orb began to buzz. "You have been granted by the Council of the Second-Life a third chance at life. Your second-life was not pleasing to the Council of the Afterlife, yet the Council of the First-Life is adamant that you be granted Paradise."
"First-life?" Martha gurgled.
"Never mind," communicated the green, middle orb. "In any case, we, the Councilmen of the Second-Life, have sentenced you to one day of omniscience, followed by the resumption of your second-life on a trial basis. If after this period this council deems you worthy, you shall be allowed to finish your second-life as you wish."
Martha threw herself down to the cold marble floor. The last of the muck in her head drained away as she tottered in a cross-legged position, glaring at the three talking orbs. She retched. A thick clump of coagulating blood pooled before her slippered feet. The feeling of helplessness in her lungs subsided.
The orange orb shone in a way that may have synonymized smiling. “Now that you have refreshed your Life Court form, we shall send you on your way,” it said.
“Where am I going?” Violent force tugged at Martha’s stomach as a phantom gale ripped her from the realm.