This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.
[The desert is an unforgiving place. This one is called Death Valley for a reason. Every living thing there has to fight for survival. And we would have to fight, too, or else] we would no longer be dead.
Many souls come to Death Valley, me and Ricky just two of them. We come here to escape the cycle of life. In forests, a soul can be trapped in the body of a wolf or deer or mouse. In cities, they can be trapped in the worst of all: a human. Anything newly born is looking for a soul to pluck out of the air to fill it.
Balls to that. I remember my lives. Me and Ricky and everyone else here in Death Valley. We all remember the pain and suffering and the not knowing what’s next. Now we know what’s next – the freedom and peace and calm. At least until we get reborn into some new body.
Not me. I’ll drift here in Death Valley, avoiding the little lizards that manage to survive and breed, and the tiny flies that live just to reproduce. Ricky’s tried the latter, just a couple day’s life. A quick in and out. He told me not to bother, as if I would. I’m done with life.
Except this one here. Some guy. I can see him stumbling through the dust of the valley, thin and covered in sweat. I don’t know how he’s walked this far, or why. I go closer to inspect him, but Ricky’s spooked. He tells me he doesn’t like it.
“Stay here then,” I say, and drift to the man. He goes to his knees, exhausted. He starts drawing in the dirt and sand with a finger. A circle. Some weird symbols. I move closer to see them, but even with all my knowledge of all my lives I don’t recognize them.
“I don’t like this,” Ricky yells at me.
“Fuck off,” I shout back. I’m trying to listen to what the man is saying, or chanting. He looks up, eyes dry and shrunken, and seems to see me. His cracked lips part in a grotesque and crazed smile.
Gone mad, I think.
“Finally,” he says, and speaks one more strange word.
I feel it then, the pull of a living body. I know it so well. I scream, but it’s too late. Soon I’m screaming with the man’s mouth. I’m him.
I look up. His soul is hurrying away. I can see it even with these eyes, as I can see Ricky. I feel weak, thirsty, starving, dreadful, tortured. This body is past its limits. It should be dead. But I have its mind now and its memories, and though they’re half-crazed in this desert stupor, I know now what this body is.
This body is immortal.