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something a lot like life in a very dead place

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You’ve found that most of the afterlife is about wasting time. Usually your own, sometimes other people’s. You’re really not sure what category this falls under, besides ‘ingenious scam’.

“Now remember,” the blueblood at the front of the class says cheerfully. The ‘paint’ on her pallette slops onto her painter’s smock as she gestures. Do people still bleed here? Where is she getting that much blood? You have Kraft acrylics, which are all so terrible smelling you couldn’t tell what color each was unless you took off your blindfold. “Boonbucks cannot buy talent. But they can buy very expensive lessons! And since you have no talent or boonbucks, you’re here, and you’ll take what you can get and be glad for it.”

It takes physical effort not to slam your face into the dirt and let it stay there. The afterlife once the dreambubbles were destroyed is such shit. As sick as you were of seeing the dancestors and your old friends everywhere, it beat having to interact with trolls you didn’t even know . At least on Alternia you could kill them. Although, when you think about it, that’s kind of how they ended up here in the first place.

Wow. What a thought. You might have even put some of these morons here. Isn’t karma only supposed to work when you’re alive?

“I’ve randomly selected cross-hemospectrum partners for you to paint,” how is it random if she selected via hemospectrum?? “and the models will be out shortly. Don’t worry about approaching them, they’ll find you. They get to keep the painting for their time, so if you’re interested in a copy I’d suggest checking the CAPTCHA code before the end of the lesson.”

You will not be checking the CAPTCHA. At this point, you would like to forget you’d ever come here.

“Purrezi?!” you hear, but only barely because it comes a millisecond before the air is knocked out of your lungs and you crash face first into the dirt. “I can’t believe it’s you! I nepurr thought I would see you again!”

All you can smell or see is dirt, and it’s not the puns that convince you it’s Nepeta as much as the fact that even with all your strength you can’t manage to push her off you long enough to take a verifying look-sniff.

Thankfully, Nepeta flips you over for herself. Her smile is somewhat dazzling, and it takes you a second to realize she has actual sparkles on her fangs. And her face. And the rest of her.

“Why are you covered in glitter?” you ask.

“It was my first paw step to stardom,” Nepeta says, and settles comfortably on your stomach. You still don’t understand how she can be so strong but weigh so little. You suspect blood magic. Does that go into the afterlife too, like karma? “Modeling was my second.”

“Like.. an actor or-”

“No!” Nepeta says, and then jumps to her feet, pulling you with her. You’re incredibly confused. It’s the first time you’ve felt anything like alive since you lost Vriska when the dreambubbles became… this place. “So the painting better be gurreat! If anyone can depict me to my full pawtential, it’s you!”

You don’t care about painting anymore. Not that you cared about it in the first place, but those fliers on post-life depression show up more frequently if you don’t at least try and make an effort, and you’re tired of waking up coated in them.

“I’ll get you tea after,” she weedles, dropping into an easy sprawl on the ground. It makes you want to rub her tummy. She’s far too good at this meowbeast thing, and even worse with the barkbeast eyes thrown in.

“Okay, fine,” you sigh, and settle down at the easel. You can’t resent her too much though. Your head is spinning, and you’re almost grateful for the stool to settle yourself on. Every sideways glance at her makes something in your bloodpusher twinge, something a lot like life in a very dead place.