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The Afterlife

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You’ve died and gone to heaven, only it’s nothing like you’ve imagined. You’re greeted by a guide—someone from your past—who gives you a tour and explains what you can expect out of the afterlife. There’s one question you’ve been dying to know and, at the end of the tour, you decide to ask.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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148 Responses to The Afterlife

  1. cmoye says:

    Rolling down the freeway at 90 miles an hour, top down, happy. What a great day for a ride!
    I’m enjoying a box of Jelly Bellies when I drop them. I bend down to save what’s left and find myself about to run smack into an 18 wheeler. How dumb was that??!! I say the quickest prayer possible as I unsuccessfully try to stop my car,
    “Jesus!”
    Next thing I know, I see my dad walking toward me without a limp. He looks great!
    “Hey Knucklehead”, he greets me with my pet name. “Looks like you weren’t using your noggin’.”
    I smile the biggest smile ever. Obviously I am dead, but that’s just fine with me.
    It doesn’t initially look anything like I imagined. Actually I realize that I am in my old neighborhood, approaching the house I grew up in. Some of my former neighbors are there also.
    The Tomblins was as Dad escorts me back to our old home. I see Mr. Marshall too. We wave.
    Dad says that everyone starts out at a familiar place, one where you felt loved. This is just an image really, sort of like a hologram, made to help with your adjustment.
    Dad tells me what to expect in the afterlife. The biggest thing is that time really is relative. That takes some getting used to he says. The next thing is that no one owns anything, or anyone. We share everything, cling to nothing. Everything and everyone is ours forever. God just wants us to be happy. That’s all he ever wanted. We were just slow to get it when we were mortals.
    In moments we are transported to a glorious garden with trees of all kinds, filled with juicy fruits and nuts.
    “Mine for the taking?” I foolishly ask.
    “ Yes, but the word, “mine” isn’t used here. Get it out of your vocabulary.”
    I bit into the most amazing mango ever, juice dripping all over my clothes. Paradise indeed! “This is the Eden God originally planned. This is how he intended for us to live before Adam and Eve made bad decisions.”
    “Does anyone ever get kicked out” I ask. “If so, where do they go?”
    “Unfortunately, it happens from time to time. God usually sends them back as an infant to start all over again.”
    “Sounds fair enough to me”
    “God is always fair. Always has been. Always will be. Glad you’re here. Looking forward to welcoming your mama when it’s her time.”
    “What about her new husband? Whose wife will she be?”
    “First of all, remember I told you that no one belongs to anyone. We all just appreciate each other’s company. Secondly, not everyone gets to enter paradise. Some folk, like him, aren’t ready, and we be sent back to try again, and again until they get it right. “
    “Wow! I feel even more special now!”
    “You are my child. Welcome home. “
    I turned and looked and saw the nail scars in his hands.

  2. theSkilled says:

    After the gun shot and the sting of silver, I was nowhere; no feeling of time, no tangible objects. There was only the sensation of another one of what I had become near me. I know it is hard to explain nonentity, but that was what was there… or not.
    A voice used mindfulness to communicate with me. It wasn’t speaking; only palpable oratory. I could sense the thought of language, although not English. Yet somehow I knew what they were apothegm.
    “This is it,” said the spirit. “This is what man waits for in the afterlife. There is no continuity of time. There is no discourse or corporeality. You will not see through physical eyes but instead feel through the soul of which you now are.”
    I was expecting something of Greek mythology where I would not remember my foregoing life. Instead, I evoked it even more vividly. I could recollect the sharp cool breeze of sailing on my father’s boat in the lake. I could see my sister and I opening up presents on every Christmas day we ever celebrated. Then came the pain. I could remember my father leaving, my mother turning to liquor and my brother killing that man in the street. LOCAL COLLEGE STUDENT SLAUGHTERS FATHER OF FIVE IN BRUTAL BEATING OUTSIDE OF HIS FAMILY’S RESIDENCE. I replayed my sister coming down for breakfast that chilled winter morning and her blue fuzzy sweater slipping up, showing the freshly made scars on her wrists. Most of all, I remembered that I had forgotten all of those things, pushing them back to the deep, dark recesses of my mind that no one would ever go to, and then trying to replace them with insignificant memories of happier times such as a child makes up an imaginary friend.
    “I just have one question,” I said meekly.
    “And what is that?” the voice asked.
    “How do I forget?”
    There was no hesitation from the spirit. “You already have.”
    “Then why do I still remember?” I asked.
    “Do you remember who I am?” the spirit asked, not answering my question.
    “No,” I said.
    “I am your sister. There is no need to go back to the tangible world so you have chosen to forget right here, in the afterlife. This is your selfish choice and now you must live with it.”
    And with that I was left alone to my senses.

  3. ats11 says:

    Leaves rustle as I step through the dense forest, dew or rain still clinging to the carpet of leaves below my feet. I haven’t been here long, though I can’t be sure of that as all sense of time seems to be absent. Everything is lush and green, not what I expected at the end…

    Something glows through the masses of entangles leaves and vegetation, and soft halo of light envelopes someone making their way towards me. I know this person, and she has been waiting for me for years, decades. I have known her spirit to be with me in life as well as newly found death. She smiles, her long hair dancing around her face, a face that looks so much like mine.

    “There are rules here,” she starts, her smile remaining present, “but they are rules of the heart, rules you already know because they got you here. This is your reward, your freedom. Enjoy it.”

    Simple enough, I thought. I hadn’t expected anything less. But I wondered one thing…

    ” Will they hurt? Will they miss me?”

    She threw me a sad smile and started back into the tangle of forest, “Who’s to say?”

  4. Sammy says:

    I thought there was supposed to be clouds. Clouds, golden gates, angels singing; those were the things I was expecting to see when I got to heaven. Instead I’m standing shoeless on the beach, sand between my toes, watching the waves crash on the shore. I look to my right and see a figure walking towards me. It’s a tan man dressed in a military uniform. I know this man, it’s my grandpa. I break out in a sprint and jump into his arms. This is my grandpa as I always picture him, around 45, fit and healthy like he was before his stroke. We cry and talk for awhile and then he tells me it’s time to take the grand tour.

    “Why isn’t heaven up in the clouds with gold gates and stuff? I don’t understand where we are, are we still on Earth?” I ask him.

    “No, Sammy. Heaven is many different things. This place we are at now is what you make it to be. It is the place where you are at peace and happy. You start here so that you are calm and relaxed as you cross into the afterlife.”

    “I still have so many questions..”

    “I will answer all your questions in time but right now let me show you around and explain a few things and if you still have anything to ask by the end then we can talk about it” said grandpa as he held out his hand. “C’mon Sammy-girl, let’s take a walk.”

    We walked down the beach and he told me all about heaven. He said it is amazing. He said it’s peaceful and calming. People don’t fight or hurt each other and no one is starving or sick or in pain. He tells me that the people here are rewarded for being good people while on Earth. He says Angels are here to help us with the transition; he referred to them as heaven’s therapists. He said we can do nearly anything we want. We can do amazing things like climb mountains or simple things like watch all our favorite TV shows. He said we can be with family and old friends if they want to be with us also.

    This all sounded amazing to me. I was excited to begin my new journey here but there was still something that was bothering me. “Grandpa, will I get to meet God?”

  5. x-3 says:

    I guess death comes to everyone eventually, it was inevitable. I wasn’t upset with what happened just merely afraid of what was going to happen in my afterlife. I was killed in a hunting accident. I was beneath a bear tree with my dogs, and the shooter had shot the bear. However there bear wasn’t killed with the first shot and it came up swinging. I got in it’s way as I rushed to save my dogs. It didn’t take much, I was nearly in pieces as they rushed my to the hospital. Only to die hours later, not even a stitch was made. I was only twenty-one, hadn’t even experienced life, I was still just a kid. So I Gathered my confidence and stepped forward towards that renown light that everyone speaks of, but it darkened as a figured appeared. I honestly thought I was in some serious trouble, however I held of my urge to run. Taking another brave step towards that figure I smiled softly as I saw those features I missed so much.
    I heard his bark of excitement and out of greeting, my once great dog jumped up in greeting, placing his paws on my hips, straining to lick my face. I felt the tears fill my eyes, it was of happiness. It is said that each person has two soul mates, one being human and the other being an animal. The hound of mine was my animal soul mate. He didn’t have a long life, just merely over eight months when he fell ill and the vet had to put him down.
    I touched the top of his head softly, as if afraid I would harm him, or this whole scene wasn’t real. Gently removing his paws from my hips he sat back as a good dog would. This bluetick coonhound was a great dog and just knew how to cheer me up on the worse of my days. A smile spread across my face, and I as I stepped into heaven with my dog now at my side I smiled softly.
    Trigger, my dog, barked at me again, but this time the bark was simply translated to hello. I was startled by his voice, it was deep and raw with loyalty. I nodded hello, only because I was to shocked to speak.
    Again he spoke up barking, only for him to really say, “It’s been a long time master. I am your guide for this afterlife, as you were my guide during the living time we shared.” It looked as if he were smiling like he would back in the good ole days, back when I was a freshman in high school.
    Finally finding my voice I spoke to my companion and guide, my voice was shaky as I asked, “Why is their life and death? Why does it exist even?”

    ((Just merely short of 500 words. This is my first real writing time at 15, I thought I give it a shot since I kind of want to be a writer. I understand there will be a lot of mistakes.))

  6. Misssharee says:

    Ive Missed You

    Tammy! Tammy! Oh my God No! Thos were the last words I heard as I felt my spirit leaving my body. You see, I was just murdered by my husband of 12 years. You would think I would be more upset but Im not because im now finally at what everyone says “Peace.” “Wow. Its really beautiful here.” I said to the young man standing in front of me. “It is isnt it Tammy?” he said in a low tone. “Humm. You sound familiar. Do I know you?” “Yes Tammy. Its me Brandon.” “Oh my God! Brandon!!!! Ive missed you! ” I screamed. Brandon was my nineteen year old cousin who was gunned down 3 years earlier. When he died I lost my will to fight back and live. He gave me strength and told me to leave my husband but I never did because I thought I could change him. “Ive been waiting on you Tammy. From here on out I will be your guide through Heaven.” As we began to walk, he explained to me that he was afraid when he first got here because there were no familar faces. He then took me to a beautiful garden that had a lake where everyone was standing and looking down into the water. “Why are they just staring at the water Brandon? Thats a little crazy.” I said with a slight grin. “Its not crazy at all. We can see all of our loves ones we left behind. I watched you and everyone else in the family. I overheard some of the angels saying your name and I immediately requested to be your guide.” “Wow. can I see my kids?”I asked. “Only when they are missing you.”"Wow.” As we walked further into Heaven I began to become sad, but yet still peaceful at the same time. “Do you have any questions Tammy.” “Yes.” “Are we able to torment those that have killed us?”

  7. Dud says:

    “You seem completely content to be here, lad,” slurred the shaggy-haired man. “I am. Life was getting ponderous and mundane anyway. What the heck, I’ll have some fun here.” Truth be told, I knew this unkempt man-guide. He sat next to me at my favorite Irish bar every weekend; this drunkard was obnoxious. Told “jokes” like, “How did O’Malley, the optometrist, introduce himself? ‘I’m Eye-rish, get it.’” The patrons at the bar got it, alright. We tried but couldn’t get away from him fast enough. He died the way a lot of alcohol-loving people do; fell asleep at the wheel and hit a brick wall. Believe me, I’m not proud to admit this but I never gave him another thought. I tried to be a good person but some people just didn’t bring out the best in me. “So, you listen up, please. I know you recognize me. Listened to you for years; I can’t and refuse to do it here. Get me someone else!” Taken aback, he grumbled, “I won’t argue. We had some good conversations, though, didn’t we?” “No, no, I chortled, we actually never did.” Then I followed up with the sixty-four thousand dollar question, “Why did you have to take the stool to my left every Friday night?” He waved his hand and started to jog/limp away but not before snidely questioning, “Why was it empty every Friday night?” Good point. Good riddance.

  8. kketner says:

    “Welcome to Heaven, Gina,” said a man with a grizzly beard, a flannel shirt, and faded blue jeans.

    “Uh, yeah, thanks,” I said, looking at the room we were in. It was a school gym filled with people looking as perplexed as me while others wandered around the room, finding those perplexed people and talking to them.

    “I’m going to give you the tour,” the man said. “Just follow me.” He gestured to me and began to walk.

    We left the gym and walked out onto what looked to be a suburban street. “Everyone who comes to heaven gets their own house based on their previous life experience and preferences. While you’ve lived in cities and suburbs, it looks like the angels in soul resources determined you would like the suburbs best. “

    I nodded and walked along behind the man quietly. He handed me a pamphlet. “Now, this is a booklet about the suburb you’ll be living in. There is a list of community activities and a map of where everything is. If I know you, you’ll be wanting to head to the library or the language learning center. Did you ever learn Russian like you said you wanted to?”

    I came out of my stupor when I realized this man knew stuff about me, and wasn’t just a tour drone. “How do you know any of that?” I asked and stopped in place.

    “Well,” he said, “I’ve been watching you from up here in Heaven.”

    “And just who are you to be watching me? Are you a perv or a guardian angel?” I asked, annoyed at the prospect of someone watching me when I thought no one was looking.

    “Gina, don’t you remember me?” he asked.

    “Clearly not,” I said.

    “Gina, it’s me, Orell, your father,” he said.

    I was stunned and staggered in place. “But, I…”

    “I’m sorry, Gina. I thought you might remember me,” he said.

    “I met you once,” I said. “Once! It’s rather unfair of you to expect me to remember you. I’m 81 for christ’s sake!”

    “Hey, don’t shout out the big guy’s son’s name – he doesn’t like it.”

    “Well, I’m sorry, but this is a heck of a thing to spring on an old lady,” I said. I then looked down at myself, concentrating on the skin of my forearms and hands. “Well, I guess I look younger here, but the fact remains, it’s been many decades since I even thought about you.”

    “I’m sorry, Gina, I really wanted to be there for you,” he said.

    “Not enough,” I said. “If you wanted it enough, it would have happened. You met me once when I was eleven and then bailed after that. You didn’t even help my mother when you abandoned her with a baby.”

    “Well, I…things were a bit more complicated than all that,” he stammered.

    “Answer me one question, there is one thing I want to know: why didn’t you love me enough to stay? What wrong with me?”

  9. jenk00004 says:

    My chest hurts and my throat burns. I cry with all my might, flailing and reaching toward a light that’s impossibly bright. My own voice echoes back to my ears and my cold, naked body shivers until warm hands engulf me. I lean into a woman’s chest, crying and pushing my face into her robe. “Shhh. Shhh…” a gentle voice hushes me. I can’t, at first. I gasp for air and force it from my lungs with all the volume I can muster. My nameless rage, some unmet need, pours from me in howls until I’m exhausted.
    Finally quieted, I let her rock me. Her sweet breath grazes my face and the subtle vibrations of her voice form a soft melody. Back and forth, back and forth we rock and her warmth makes peace tingle and spread from my belly to my fingers and toes.

    “All better?” She smiles down at me with light framing her face. “What big, gorgeous blue eyes you have. And a perfect little nose.” The beautiful stranger strokes my cheek, her eyes bright and kind.

    She hums as she sets me against her shoulder and I peer around the room, realizing for the first time that I’m surrounded by others like me; rows and rows and rows of them. They’re sleeping. They’re happy. “Good girl,” she rubs my back. Her cheek is smooth against mine. “Good girl, perfect girl.”

    I want to ask, feel everything in me needing to ask, but I don’t know how to speak. “Oh sweet thing, don’t you worry. I’ll take care of you,” she murmurs and my eyes grow heavy, “You’re safe now.” I can’t fight the intoxicating invitation of slumber. That was all I needed to know.

  10. Chancy says:

    “Dude, I almost didn’t think you’d make it!”

    “You’ve got wings!”

    “I mean, with the way you flipped off that old lady last week and all…”

    “The wings!”

    Kyle stopped rocking and pulled back. “Yeah, what about them?”

    “I always assumed it was a metaphorical thing about the wings.”

    “No, we get wings.” He touched a few golden feathers from his expanded pair. “Here, let me give you a hand.”

    Kyle turned me around and started kneading at my back. I squirmed a bit, feeling a ticklish sensation right between the shoulder blades. “Anyway, I’m going to be your guide for a bit, all right? I’ve gotta show you some things.”

    “Oh…Okay. Well, do I get a halo? Ha! Watch it!” I pulled my shoulder forward but he roughly moved me back in place.

    “Calm it. I’m almost done. And yeah, we just have to fill you out a form for that, and they’ll send it to you by phoenix.”

    “Really?”

    “No, buddy, does it look like I have one? And here, you’re all set.”

    I craned my neck around to find a small pair of feathered, black wings barely peeking from behind my back. “…That’s it?”

    “Yeah, sorry about that. Your wing span sort of goes by how well you did your last week, and all it was for you was porn and pissing people off.”

    “Right…So, what do I do now?”

    “I have to show you your human. Each angel is assigned someone they have to look after until they die. Not everyone gets one, so consider this person lucky. You’re stuck with them for life.”

    “Sounds good to me. Who’s yours?”

    “Well…that was you.” He returned my smile. “Couldn’t stop the car though. God told me he wanted you now before you got yourself into a bit of trouble down the road that would have been too much for you.”

    “Ah…Oh! Can I ask something?”

    “Mhmm?”

    “Is…Is my father here?”

    The boy’s smiling, amber eyes dimmed, Kyle squeezing my shoulder and sighing, “He should have treated people better…Especially you.”

    I felt the fluidity in my figure freeze to a startled halt. “W-what?”

    “Calm it,” he shushed, pain to his tone. “He’s not where you think he is; he’s just resting.”

    I stood for a second before nodding, feeling my wings twitch before flapping two gentle flaps. And when I looked into Kyle’s eyes, the old eyes I had known so well before he had taken his life in an act of desperation, I couldn’t help but recognize the feeling of being consoled those hard nights knowing he was gone.

    “None of us are perfect,” he said. “Believe me, I know. Some of us just aren’t born with a certain love we need to give to the world before our time comes. Anyway, come on.” He turned and gestured for me to follow him, letting a genuine grin slip onto his face. “I need to show you who you’ll be looking after.”

  11. RichGraham617 says:

    I stand up, wipe myself clean of the grass that I laid in and look around at the camp ground I spent summers at as a child. I remove my headphones and begin to explore the grounds I knew so well as a youngster. The smell of what once would have been blazing fire engulfed my nose and a wave of nostalgia hit me in an awesome way and I turned to where the fire pit is and see white smoke rise from grey embers that once burnt violently as logs where my family sat around last night tending to it as they drank beers and told true stories of their youthful antics while growing up in the projects of Cambridge. I walk over to the fire pit and hear a voice from my past that sends chills up my spine. I turn around and to find my Aunt Moe lighting a cigarette. She blows the smoke hard from her mouth and points to the fire pit, “Rich the embers are still hot! Don’t fuck with them.”
    “I wasn’t going to, um, Aunt Moe?” My heart beating hard and my breath becoming short and fast.
    “Calm down kiddo.” She walks over to me extending her arms to hug me. We wrap our arms around each other and she rocks side to side like I remember she used to. I step back, “I need to show you around,” she says smiling. She walks past me grabbing my hand pulling me in her direction.
    She flicks her cigarette into the pit, “Rich your dead. How it happened doesn’t matter, just need to know that it happened and you’re here. You were allowed to bring the one aspect of your life that kept you calm in the most stressful times of your life. For me it was my cigarettes, for you it looks like it is your music. Hence,” she points to my neck, “your headphones. You’re here at our land in New Hampshire because this was the place that made you the happiest. Again, I’m here because you needed a familiar person that is linked to your happy place.”
    I stare at the sky as the sun shines through the grey clouds that blanket the world. The wind blows warm on my cool face and Aunt Moe walks over to one of the myriad lawn chairs that surround the fire pit. She picks up a stick and starts poking at the ambers. “You probably are worrying about your mom. Don’t! In time you’ll create a new world for yourself with all the people that made your life so heavenly and hellish. You’ll struggle at first but within time like writing a story it will all come together.”
    After lighting another cigarette, she hands me the pack and opens up the red igloo cooler that stores Guinness, my favorite beer. She hands me a can and a pint glass. I place the cigarette in my mouth, looking around the land. “Got a light?”

  12. Victor Resendiz says:

    David tried to breath regularly. He inhaled, like normal, but instead of releasing what he thought was air, he exhaled light from his mouth.
    He inhaled harder, but it felt as though his lungs had no limit; an infinite threshold. When he exhaled afterwards, he kept his lips in a circle, and with the help of his tongue, he made a small halo.
    David was sitting on a cubic rock. He felt nothing beneath his feet; he kicked them back and forth playfully. He didn’t know where he was, how he’d arrived, but he felt secure. He hadn’t the slightest worry of his whereabouts. He continued making halos from his mouth. Where ever he was, the rock seemed to be the only surface.
    “Try to whistle”, a voice echoed. David looked around. He inhaled just a bit and attempted to whistle. The light, from being so focused out of one point, beamed forward. The sound resonated heavenly. He clasped his hands together and brought them to his face. This was something he loved doing, making bird sounds. He inhaled enough to complete a full measure of sounds. He exhaled into his hands and the light beamed from his pseudo instrument. It was not bird chirps, instead he played a melody of vibrating noise. He saw something between his fingers. He opened his hands and stared. A small flame had manifested in his palms. The fire, illuminating a fluorescent white, dimmed until it vanished in a small sizzle of glow.
    “Now imagine having to do that over 7 billion times”, the voiced joked. David looked around from his small floating island. A static of light appeared in front of him. It morphed and spiraled until it became a solid form. Its finished figure had no face, but David felt eyes on him. The thing in front of David wasn’t much bigger than he, and its anatomy almost matched David’s. “This is not heaven, David. It is not hell either”, said the figure.
    “Don’t speak. You will exhaust yourself in questions”, the being said. It floated there in front of him; in the empty space. “No, no, no. It only looks empty”, the figure laughed. It stretched an arm out above its head and projected light from a small orb. The illumination unveiled millions of millions of floating rocks. Each floating island had its own little population of one. Some waved, and some looked startled. Others cheered, and others paced on top of the rock.
    David felt warmth like he’d never experienced before. The light expired from the figure’s hand, and slowly, so did David’s vision of the others. The figure reached behind David and pulled from the rock handfuls of mesh. It molded a smaller version of itself in its hands.
    “Inhale as much as you can, and when you’re ready, exhale all of it onto this”, the figure said as it handed David its smaller copy. “Think of a modest life, there is only so much room for Kings and Queens.”

    - If I could title this it would be ‘A theist’s reincarnation’. An interesting prompt, hope you like the story!

  13. risshaw says:

    I wake up with a pounding headache in a dark and deserted city alleyway and begin to walk, there is not a soul in sight, no cars on the street not even a bird in the sky. After a mile of empty streets I see a small figure gliding towards me as it got closer the sound of small wheels rolling over the asphalt echoed off the buildings. It was a young girl in raggedy clothes and a baggy hooded sweatshirt she was riding on a skate board when she finally reached me she said, “Well, hello there we have been waiting for you.” I couldn’t see her face no matter how she turned it was in the shadow of her hood. Confused I replied, “We who? Where am I?”
    “Heaven… Lee, this is your Heaven.” I looked around the abandon city and rolled my eyes,” Little girl you have lost your mind this is no Heaven.” The girl laughed and began to explain,“ Heaven is different for each person, this is yours. What you desire most in life is what you get in the afterlife. Your life was consumed by drugs until you ended up homeless on the street. The only things you desire come in the form of a pill or needle, you have ostracized yourself from friends and family and now it’s just you and the streets.”
    I had not noticed but we had been walking while she talked and now we were standing at the highest point of an arched bridge. I didn’t want to believe anything this girl was saying but her voice was familiar and somehow I trust her. “If this is Heaven where is God and his forgiveness for sins?” The girl giggled, “Lee you are not being punished, this is the life you desired. As for God…” She swept her hand gesturing to all of the surroundings, “he is everywhere, everything.”
    I felt the tears of regret begin to fall, “Is there no way to change it? This is not what I wanted for my life?” She gestured towards the water below as she recited a portion of a bible verse, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins…” I didn’t have to ask somehow I understood what she meant . I climbed over the railing of the bridge ready to leap to the water below. Before I let go of the railing I had to ask. “I have to know who you are?” A gust of wind blew the young girls hood off, I gasped, I was staring into my own eyes ten years ago. She was the girl I use to be shortly before I made the poor decisions that sealed my fate. As a tear fell from her eye I let go of the ledge falling into faith.

  14. Gianni Beau says:

    I’m floating. I haven’t a care in the world. I was concerned about something, but it is gone. I move into a light. It’s so peaceful and I feel so happy and loved that I want to stay, but I’m being moved on. Then, I’m walking in a grassy field.
    “Welcome back, Johnny,” a voice says and I realize there is someone with me.
    “Back? What do you mean back? And who are you?” I respond.
    “This is where you started out from before you were born. It takes time to remember.”
    “Born? Yes I was born. It seems so long ago.” Finally, I realize what has happened. “I’m dead. Am I not?”
    “Yes. You aren’t able to remember me yet.” It was a statement, not a question.
    “I know you?”
    “Oh yes! We’ve been inseparable for a long time. You’ve been so wrapped up in your world that this world was pushed out of your mind.”
    I feel tired. I want to rest. My guide sees this and suggests that I enter a beautiful cathedral to sit for a while. I haven’t been in any kind of church for years, but I find that I want to now. When I enter, I feel a peace I had forgotten. “Sit and rest,” my guide tells me. We sit and I find myself lost in a peaceful sleep. When I awake, my guide asks, “Do you wish to stay longer?”
    “No, Michael, I’m ready to go.”
    “You are beginning to remember.”
    “Yes, I remember your name, but that is all.”
    “The rest will come as you let go of your past life.”
    “I feel like I’ve let everything go, that I don’t have a care in the world.”
    “Not everything. You still are attached to Kathy.”
    “Yes, I still love Kathy.”
    “You love her, but don’t truly love her.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “You love her to the exclusion of all others. You have to love everyone. She has taught you what it is to love, now you have to love all equally.”
    I know that Michael s right. I begin to remember what it was like to love everyone equally. How could I have forgotten that?
    Michael, reading my thoughts, replied, “When you left here to be born as Johnny, you had all your memories dimmed. Now, as you recover from your life as Johnny, you will remember more until all will be clear to you again.
    For a moment, I feel uneasy. “Will I have to go back again? Will I have to be reborn?”
    Michael looks at me and replies smilling, “Not right away. You need to recover from what you have been through.”
    “Do I always have to go back? Will I ever be able to stay here?”
    Michael pauses and then smiles. “Eventually, we don’t have to go back. When there are no more lessons to learn, we move on to something greater.”
    “Greater? What does that mean?”
    Michael only smiles.

  15. Ash_Orion says:

    I open my eyes and immediately feel the warmth that emanates from all around me. Shocked by the incredibly bright light, I blink rapidly until everything comes into focus. When it does, I’m absolutely bewildered.

    Where am I? I can feel the soft dirt under my fingertips and the radiating sun that reaches down through the trees. I shakily stand, brushing myself off to find that I’m wearing my favorite outfit—a plaid shirt and deep blue jeans that are tucked into my black boots. All around me are trees, and its one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. But, I cannot remember. I focus, trying desperately to think back. And then, I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. There is movement in the trees. I walk forward and look behind them, where to my surprise is my old cat, my soul mate, Orion. He smiles and looks up at me with adoring eyes, and it is then that I hear it, a voice in my head.

    I’ve been waiting for you Ash, he says. It’s the first time that I hear his high voice turned into English, but it is just how I imagined. I look around.

    “I’m dead?” I gulp. I don’t even remember how I got here, but I’m even more surprised to discover that there is an afterlife. Being an atheist, it is quite a shock. Orion nods with his sweet, grey head and rubs against me. I can feel tears burn my eyes as I think of all of the people who I miss, and will hopefully see again.

    “So, so there is a god?” I ask, wondering how such insanity can be true. To my surprise, he shakes his head.

    No. No God, just life. But, everyone seems to come here, for a time, and then some are reincarnated, some aren’t. It’s energy, as they put it… I’ve missed you Ashley, he repeats.

    I pick my sweet baby up and nuzzle him. I can feel the salty tears stain my eyes, but I’m so glad that I have him back… And then I remember something that greatly disturbs me.

    “But O, wasn’t I young? I don’t remember much, but I’m sure that I was in my twenties. What happened?” I ask, worried as I remember that Mom, Dad, Scott, and Nicholas are all still down there, or maybe it isn’t down there… But the point is that they’re alive.

    My feline soul mate looks sadly into my eyes.

    Over time you will remember… You just finished college a month ago… You were on your way home from a movie and you were mugged. I watched the whole thing Ash… You fought like a real hero, your martial arts helped a lot. You’re so brave… But, he put a gun to your head and there wasn’t anything I could do…

    I am silent for a long time, and I absently touch my forehead, which isn’t wounded at all.

    “Oh… Why me?” I whisper. He looks at me sadly.

    There is no reason. After all, there’s no God…
    I nod, and Orion begins to walk to the right. I follow, scared for what is to come, sad for my family, but also relieved that there is an afterlife. Something in me is overjoyed, because my death wasn’t the end. I will see everyone again…

    I’m gonna have to go down there and haunt my brother’s ass, I laugh to myself as we walk on. It might be death, but this place is filled with so much life… Of course, I always hoped that it would be…

  16. Sillenve says:

    Buying tickets were easy. Getting popcorn was the uphill battle. Impatiently, I waited for my refreshments, watching the clock with a jaundiced eye. Great. Five minutes until the first premiere. The usher tore my tickets, and finally, I escaped the throng of people that were eager to get through the usher. Barely a minute passed before I heard a small voice to my left. “MInd if I sit here?” a kid said, with hair that reminded me of a Californian surfer. He beaming brightly at me. I sighed, and motioned to the seat next to me. “Thanks, mister.” He settled comfortably into the velvet seat and lazily reclined. “May I, mister?” the 7 year old asked, his small hand poised over my popcorn bucket. I merely nodded. So much for my own popcorn. The lights dimmed, with only a few people’s faces illuminated by the incandescent glow of iPhones and countless Galaxy S3s. Another man bumped into me, his young, jovial face shining brighter than the Sun itself on an infamous July day, his hair bright and unkempt.

    “Sorry, mister. May I sit here?” He looked barely in his twenties.

    I grunted, eyeing the movie screen with an air of impatience.

    The movie screen turned on, and a few stragglers made their way to various empty seats strewn throughout the capacious room, adorned in red and purple.

    A man lay in a hospital bed, gasping feebly in the precious oxygen. Great. Wrong movie. I tried to push past the young man, hastily offering an apology.

    “Stay. This is what you paid for.” His easygoing smile became more buoyant.

    “No, I paid for a cheap and cheesy action movie. Now, please, move.”

    The man’s demeanor turned solemn. “No.”

    “What if I have to really go to the bathroom?”

    “Use your soda cup.” The man chuckled at his little joke.

    My eyes wandered back towards the screen. A little toddler, no more than three, struggled to walk. Everyone in the audience oohed and applauded.

    I settled back in my seat, grinning.

    “Wipe that stupid smile off your face,” the cantankerous old man wheezed in front of me. “Or I’ll wipe it off myself.”

    I stopped. I then watched the child go through a metamorphosis, becoming a gangly adolescent, to a rogue teenager, dragged to the principal’s office, to a handsome, well-respected adult residing in a luxurious three bedroom New York apartment.

    “T-that’s…” I stammered.

    “You.” Everyone stated in the movie theater.

    “You’re watching your whole life.” the kid said.

    “And we’re all versions of you.” the jovial man stated.

    “Since when did I become so stupid back then?” the old coot snorted.

    I grinned, watching the foolhardy adventures of me, minus Huckleberry Finn.

    “Great movie.” I stated. “I have one question, though.”

    “What?”

    “When does the next movie start?”

    The twenty year old off-handedly checked his watch. “In about twenty minutes, in room 27. Unless you want an encore showing.”

    “That’s perfect.” I remarked.

  17. 3boyswritermom says:

    Tami was lead to a hammock that hung between two large palm trees on the edge of the grassy land. She stretched out on the satin material and watched small waves slide onto the shore and then glide back to sea.

    “Your Heavenly guide will be with you shortly.” A soft-spoken woman informed her. “In the meantime, I brought you a book. I know how much you enjoy reading.”

    The sky was perfect blue and the water took on different shades of teal. I never would have suffered that heart attack if my life had been this beautiful and relaxing. She thought. I feel so peaceful. She opened her new book and spent the afternoon reading. The story the woman chose for her did not disappoint.

    “Good evening Tami.” A familiar voice interrupted her thoughts as she reflected on her life.

    Tami’s mouth dropped at the sight of the stunning woman from her past. She always believed lost family members would greet her in Heaven. Why was Becky Patterson here?

    “I am not exactly the person you expected to see, am I?”

    “No.” Tami self-consciously shielded her face with the open book. “Where are my grandparents?”

    “They are anxiously awaiting your arrival.” Becky smiled. “I will bring you to them shortly.”

    Tami did not understand why God had picked Becky to welcome her to Heaven. Hadn’t she caused Tami enough pain when they were alive?

    Becky guided Tami along the white sandy beach, up a marble staircase and into a spa. A welcoming smell of lavender filled Tami’s nostrils. Heaven was everything she imagined.

    “Would you like a facial?”

    Tami covered her face with her hands. A facial was a luxury she had always longed for. “You don’t have to touch . . .”

    “It would be my pleasure.” Becky’s eyes twinkled when she smiled at Tami. There was warmness in her face that had never been there before.

    Becky reclined the armchair Tami had settled in and tenderly massaged her face with sweet-smelling cream. She massaged Tami’s head and her shoulders and then gently brushed her long brown hair.

    Becky directed Tami toward a flowing pink gown with long, lacy sleeves. “I picked it out myself. I think it will look stunning on you.”

    Tami slipped into the gown and smiled at her reflection in the mirror. The facial scars that had covered her face since early childhood were gone. For the first time in her life, her reflection was not that of the monster people called her. It was the reflection of a beautiful woman.

    “What happened to my scars?” She asked without looking away from the mirror.

    “In Heaven, only inner beauty is evident. Despite the way society treated you when you were alive you remained a kind person. That beauty is rewarded in Heaven.”

    Tami turned to the woman who had tormented her in life, and gasped. The beautiful features Becky was born with were now covered with the thick scars Tami carried throughout her lifetime.

  18. Sillenve says:

    Buying tickets were easy. Getting popcorn was the uphill battle. Impatiently, I waited for my refreshments, watching the clock with a jaundiced eye. Great. Five minutes until the first premiere. The usher tore my tickets, and finally, I escaped the throng of people that were eager to get through the usher. Barely a minute passed before I heard a small voice to my left. “MInd if I sit here?” a kid said, with hair that reminded me of a Californian surfer. He beaming brightly at me. I sighed, and motioned to the seat next to me. “Thanks, mister.” He settled comfortably into the velvet seat and lazily reclined. “May I, mister?” the 7 year old asked, his small hand poised over my popcorn bucket. I merely nodded. So much for my own popcorn. The lights dimmed, with only a few people’s faces illuminated by the incandescent glow of iPhones and countless Galaxy S3s. Another man bumped into me, his young, jovial face shining brighter than the Sun itself on an infamous July day, his hair bright and unkempt.

    “Sorry, mister. May I sit here?” He looked barely in his twenties.

    I grunted, eyeing the movie screen with an air of impatience.

    The movie screen turned on, and a few stragglers made their way to various empty seats strewn throughout the capacious room, adorned in red and purple.

    A man lay in a hospital bed, gasping feebly in the precious oxygen. Great. Wrong movie. I tried to push past the young man, hastily offering an apology.

    “Stay. This is what you paid for.” His easygoing smile became more buoyant.

    “No, I paid for a cheap and cheesy action movie. Now, please, move.”

    The man’s demeanor turned solemn. “No.”

    “What if I have to really go to the bathroom?”

    “Use your soda cup.” The man chuckled at his little joke.

    My eyes wandered back towards the screen. A little toddler, no more than three, struggled to walk. Everyone in the audience oohed and applauded.

    I settled back in my seat, grinning.

    “Wipe that stupid smile off your face,” the cantankerous old man wheezed in front of me. “Or I’ll wipe it off myself.”

    I stopped. I then watched the child go through a metamorphosis, becoming a gangly adolescent, to a rogue teenager, dragged to the principal’s office, to a handsome, well-respected adult residing in a luxurious three bedroom New York apartment.

    “T-that’s…” I stammered.

    “You.” Everyone stated in the movie theater.

    “You’re watching your whole life.” the kid said.

    “And we’re all versions of you.” the jovial man stated.

    “Since when did I become so stupid back then?” the old coot snorted.

    I grinned, watching the foolhardy adventures of me, minus Huckleberry Finn.

    “Great movie.” I stated. “I have one question, though.”

    “What?”

    “When does the next movie start?”

    The twenty year old off-handedly checked his watch. “In about twenty minutes, in room 27. Unless you want an encore showing.”

    “That’s perfect.” I remarked.

  19. ggbrown says:

    Wow ! What the hell is that? That looks like a fiery ball of death and despair. Huh! Interesting.
    Why am I floating upward? I cant seem to control my ascent. I’m turning, I’m turning! Whoa! What is that?

    After floating for what seemed like forever, I began to see ground and stone and marbel and gold growing around me and beneath my feet. It all just started appearing from nowhere as if my mind was creating it as I observed it.

    “Hello Gg? Nice to see you again.” My first cousin Bo said. He killed himself one day after me and him smoked some crack one night.” Bo is that you? You’ve grown. Am I dead?” I said with a great hope of being right.” Yes Gg you are dead.” Nice! Finnaly. ” I said as I exhaled in my last earthly breath.

    “So Bo, what’s going on? Please tell me there’s a god.” “There is a god and he is freaking sweet.” Bo said with a smile that shined like the sun on a glass of iced tea in the middle of a humid Alabama summer.

    “Gg follow me I have fine things to show you.If you’ll notice, you;re wearing a nice suit and tie that fits like a jump suit. Next, you probably saw things appear at your gaze. That was you finnaly coming to life for the first time ever. People are born in hell, raised through hell, and made ready for heaven. Heaven is what is actual, not earth. Your perception is what you get on earth. Here you get what is real. What is real is that everyone has to suffer first to appreciate life. This is life. Here you do not die. You have no desire. You simply enjoy being alive at every moment with no fear. You’ve made it my dear friend.”

    “I have one question Bo?” I said smiling in joy and peace. “What is it?” Bo asked with a great and loving look of familiarity about him. “What do I do now?” I said beaning from every pore. “You smile !” Bo said.

  20. TD_Memm says:

    I went to the park bench without thought. It was sitting there to be sat upon. My legs thanked me for
    the relief and the slatted wood pressed into my back. My body was young again. Twenty-two, twenty-
    three years old by the look of it. But that was more than sixty years ago. The thrill of returning youth
    should have pushed me to use that body, but the bench was just too inviting. I didn’t sit there alone.
    Another man was already there. He much older looking than I, had something familiar in his face.

    “Do you mind my joining you?” I asked the man. He didn’t show objections initially, but I wasn’t without
    manners.

    “Fine, Benjamin,” he replied with a cool comfort. “Right on time.”

    “I’m sorry?”

    “I said you’re right on time,” the old man smiled.

    “How’d you know my name?”

    “Oh please, we’ve been waiting for you for some time; and yet, no time at all.” His head turned fully to
    me and his eyes searched mine.

    “We’ve been waiting?” I asked just to declare the source of my confusion. “Have we met? I’m sorry if I
    should know you.”

    “Oh, no,” he laughed. “Nothing like that. I was gone well before your time. You would only know this
    face in pictures.” I squinted as if it improved my sight. “I’m your great-great grandfather Mortimer.”

    “Nope,” I immediately dismissed. The man was crazy. But I hesitated. I my grandfather’s grandfather
    was named Mortimer. A German immigrant responsible for settling my family in America. “You’ve
    confused me for someone else.”

    “Come now, Benjamin,” he shook. “Let’s not pretend.” His pot called the kettle black. “You’re no young
    man. Why, I’m not so certain you weren’t twenty years older than I last you remember. Eighty-five? I
    only made it to sixty-four. Of course, there was the dysentery. But they’ve cleared that sort of sickness
    up in your time, haven’t they?”

    “Wha-?”

    “You’ve passed, son,” he smiled. Smiled. Such news should devastate. He looked as if I should be
    overjoyed. “Be glad. You’ve arrived to be with us and not a moment too soon.”

    “Dead?” I asked. My eyes scanned his face for truth then returned to my own body to examine the
    mystery of my newfound youth.

    “Yes,” he nodded. “But don’t worry. You won’t know worry ever again. Heaven has no need for such a
    feeling.” His words stacked up faster than I could clear them. I tried to refute him, but the option was
    denied. I couldn’t disagree. It didn’t bother me. I couldn’t worry.

    “But if I’m dead,” I began. “Why am I like this and you’re like that?”

    “We see all as we want it to look,” he explained. “You’ll learn things as quickly as you need to know
    them. I’m here to be your guide. To bring you home. Answer questions.”

    “Questions?” I asked, deciding to play along. “Alright. I’ve got one.”

    “Shoot.”

    “If I’m home, where is everyone?”

    Mortimer smiled.

    “Follow me.”

  21. Cat Lady says:

    I’m here. I can’t believe it. It’s so beautiful. The light all over, is so bright my eyes need a minute to adjust. Where is everyone? I look around and find no one is waiting here to greet me. I’m a little scared. I know we all sin in life, but I didn’t believe those sins dammed us.

    Then I hear her voice calling me, “Chrissy.” I look to my left and see my Mom running to me waiving and smiling. She looks healthy, not gasping for air any more. I pictured her young again and she’s so beautiful. I looked at pictures of Mom after she died and wondered why she thought so little of herself?

    “Mom”, I call and start to meet her half way. We are face to face and I can hardly believe I’m looking at my Mom again. With tears falling down, I hug her. I say to her,” I love you Mom and I’ve missed you so much”. Mom said, “I love you to honey. I’ve been waiting to show you Heaven. You’ll love it here.” “Mom, where is the rest of the family?” Mom states,” They’re here to don’t worry. We’ve all got a place to live and work to do. Just wait and see.”

    We continue to walk down into a beautiful valley. The trees are green, the grass is green, every color of flower you can imagine and the sky is bluer than I’d seen in a long time. There was a light breeze and it was just right. Not too hot or cold. I notice the pain leaving and joy replacing it. I’ve hurt for many years. There are neighborhoods of houses here. I asked Mom, “Who lives here?” Mom answered,”Well, we do of course. Every family has their own neighborhood. We get to be together and at peace.” I was hoping Heaven would be like this. We can get together like we did when I was little. Then there came a roar of laughter and I looked at Mom she said, “Aunt Willie”. That’s all anyone had to say when Aunt Willie was around. She could have made a fortune as a comic. We go into a medium size house and it was huge inside. There around a table sat everyone who entered Heaven before me. They were all young again and full of such happiness and joy. They see me and around I go hugging everyone. Grandpa had his strength back. No one was addicted to cigarettes or alcohol. The memories were coming back so fast I couldn’t keep up. The other people there were our Ancestors. I wanted to know all about their lives. Even our animal relatives, aka pets, were here. No one angry, hurt, sick, old, weak any more. God kept his promise to make a paradise. Dad was missing though, so I asked, “Mom where’s Dad?” Mom said,”Oh, he’s got a little therapy to do.” I’m shocked, “Therapy? In Heaven? ” Mom answered, “Oh, yeah. He’s being a bit stubborn. He still thinks he’s right.”

  22. slayerdan says:

    (I had the time, inclination, and idea for a second entry this week)
    “So let me get this straight, you are telling me that as we sit here and speak I’m dead?” I asked with a bucket load cynicism and sarcasm, in equal amounts.

    “I see your haughtiness and skepticism have transcended the physical body,” came the reply from Mr. Jordan, my fifth grade science teacher.

    “And,” I continued,” why are YOU here as my supposed guide, shouldn’t it be someone that had a factor in my life?” I asked, leering at him as more skepticism shrouded me in denial.

    Raising an eyebrow, Mr. Jordan smiled and replied,” my dear boy, I set you on the path that dictated your entire life. Do you not recall fifth grade science, Mr. Wallace?”.

    “Wow….my imagination must be in major overdrive today. What am I? Drunk and passed out? Did I take too many sleeping pills and now I’m paying for it in dream time?” I asked out loud as Mr. Jordan simply continued to stare at me, a smug smile on his face.

    “I assure you lad, you are quite dead, and I am here to assist you with the transition to this next step,” he replied, his voice soothing in sound but pissing me off in content.

    “Fine Mr. Jordan. It appears I am not going to wake up soon, so let’s roll with it,” I replied making gestures like I was rolling dice for a quick game of craps. We were in a large room, bare except for a bed, a couch, a table, and a window. “ So is ALL this for me?” I asked with mock grandiosity.

    “It is,” he replied,” and even so more than you expected.

    “ Come again, Rod Serling,” I replied.

    “You didn’t believe in God or Heaven as our records indicate,” came his retort, simple and succinctly.

    “So true which then makes me ask—why am I here? I don’t believe, didn’t for a long time, so how can I be here in this great Heaven with this amazing array of used furniture?” I answered, laughing to myself and out loud at the absurdity of this dream my brain was forcing on me.

    “Even though you didn’t believe, you still led a good life, and did some good for others, thus earning you a spot here,” he answered.

    “And so this is my Heaven? A room of furniture and a window with a view of,” I walked over to the window and looked out,” my damn grave!” I shouted, surprised at my response.

    “As I said Mr. Wallace, more than you expected”.

    “Well la dee da isn’t that just dandy,” I replied, smacking myself in the head as if I just figured out why water was wet.

    “So back to you—why are you my guide?” I asked again.

    “ Fifth grade science son,” he stated matter of factly,” I exposed you to evolution, the Big Bang Theory, and all of those ideas. I started you on the road to not believing”.

    “Well if you started me on this path, how did YOU get in? Shouldn’t you be somewhere toasty working on your tan right now?” I asked, impressed with my question.

    “ Mr. Wallace, I never said that I did get in,” he answered somberly,” as you have your own Heaven, I in turn have my own Hell”.

  23. Mo says:

    Lilyanna! P-Please! …Breath!”

    I can hear my mother’s voice screaming out for me to hang onto the pitifully thin string of life I have been grasping onto for so long now. A part of me doesn’t want to let go, I wish to stay so my mother will still have hope in her heart, so that doctors can continuously feed me lies of a better tomorrow that’s a few years to late and is probably much to shamed to ever grace me with it’s curing presence.

    But a selfish and realistic part of me screams out to either Heaven or Hell (which ever one my soul is guided to first) to come and take me away. I know it will cause my mother pain but she is a strong women and will find her solace in the fact that I lived longer than I should have and she was there for me every step of the way. And I know that the doctors will be so utterly disheartened to have lost yet another patient of whom they could still be telling stories of what I could have done, would have succeeded in, might have become…

    For a long time now I had been staring into a bright light that was shining brighter with every passing second that another thought took it’s precious time to linger in my mind. I hadn’t taken notice of it til now though…I was to caught up in relishing in the fact that I would finally be taken away from this place, that finally I would be free of a world that had burdened me so greatly, that I had fought against so strongly (or so I had been told by doctors), and in the end still won the fight of life and snatched it away from me.

    “You always were so sentimental about everything.”

    A warm, cool voice calls out in the white abyss that blinds me still. “Huh, you say your done with the world but yet you still cling to it.” the voice speaks to me yet again twirling around me in echoes and slurs in the blank light.

    I knew what I was doing. I didn’t know why I was doing it, but I was.

    I guess, no matter how tired of life you are, how much you have been brought down or lifted up, if you have no care for the people who have left you behind or kept you as close as you will possibly allow, or if you know how useless it is to keep on fighting a battle that will turnout to be yet another failed war of hopeful prevalence that so many other like yourself have tried and failed at winning. No one truly wishes for death.

    And I was no exception. I did not particularly want death to take me away to a pair of pearly gates or a fiery pit. I just wanted to finally be stable. To not have to cough up blood every morning, or have to go asleep to the hum of a machine that kept me breathing right at night when my dreams provoked all my fears from their shadowed places in the back of my mind and heart and taunted with the truth of death awaiting me, or having to taught around an oxygen tank with cords leading up into my nostrils to help my sucky lungs.

    Lung Cancer had taken away my life of normalcy, given me grief and disgust over whom I was on the outside and the inside.

    “You can go back, Lil’ Anna. Or you can let go. You only have a few moments to decide before the outcome of this will be made for you.” the familiar voice informs me quickly, patience and understanding making me feel that I had every right to put my own two-cents into what road I was going to go down because I was Lilyanna Marige and I had every right to do what I wanted with my life. That was a feeling a hadn‘t felt in a while for everyone figured they already knew what was best for me.

    Taking in a heavy but abnormally easy breath, the kind I’d always thought normal, healthy people used to sink in and puff out air, I let the blurred words of so many crowded voices, scenes, and memories slip away from me like water trickling out of my hand.

    The light dimmed around me. Baby blue skies sprinkled with white puffy clouds that floated about steadily changing into different things as they drifted across the airy sea of bright sapphire was all I could see now. I could feel soft, uncut grass grazing roughly against my skin. For once something other that man-made air filled my nostrils and I smelt a bitter-sweet sea breeze along with an almost sugary scented natural aroma of flowers.

    “So, you let it all go…” glancing away from the perfect sky overhead I looked to the owner of that voice that I’d been trying to place when I was still stuck in the light.

    Of course…Cody. He had been my best friend. In and out of the hospital I always had Cody by my side. Until the fateful day of August, 21 2010 when Leukemia took him away from me-and everyone else that he had touched. Unlike me Cody had been a poster child for cancer. Always in high spirits, smiling though all the odds were stacked against him.

    Cody turned his green eyed gaze on me, softly running a hand through my short brown hair. “Only you could crash your own sixteenth birthday with your own death.” he teased me with that crooked smile I had dreadfully missed since he’d crushed everyone’s hopes and dreams after dying just a day after a surgery that doctors said would buy him some time-yeah, plenty of time to watch everyone who loved him grieve horribly over his unexpected passing up in Heaven.

    “What is this place?” I asked ignoring his comment completely. Sitting up I wondered what kind of Heaven this was. There was no pearly gates, or golden road, or clouds with angels holding harps singing their praise for God.

    Cody shrugged his shoulders, “This is what is considered the In-between. Even though you let go, your not ready for Heaven. You still have things you need to settle with people who are still on Earth. Until you are ready, this will be your home to explore and change as you wish while you come to peace with your physical departure and accept your new spiritual becoming.” Cody explained a small smile on his lips.

    I wondered if I would ever be able to leave this place then. Even with all it’s perfection and unknown places I had not yet seen, I just wanted to be with Cody, my other friends who I had lost in the constant battle against Cancer which they had lost, and others I had lost in the cycle of living and dying that took away so many from me. I could finally see them again, if they weren’t caught up in their own In-between’s, because I was stuck in the place where all the good losers of life went.

    “Being your guardian angel I will stay with you until that time comes in which you officially cross over. Now,” standing up Cody outstretched his hand to me that smile I adored so much refusing to stop tugging at his lips. I figured he must be the only person who would be happy for my death. Taking his hand I let him pull me up with him. “Any questions?” he asked

    Cody knew that I wasn’t one for questioning. To me, everything was a guessing game so what was the point trying to figure out something that would lead to something else you would not comprehend. But there was one question I just couldn’t refuse asking, “In the bible it says ‘Thou shall not kill’. Do you think whenever cancer dies and everyone is cured, as many people as it has killed in such cold blooded carelessness; Cancer will go to Hell?”

    ~In memory of my two best friends Taylor Lucas Brendon and Tyler Jade Brendon. Your missed and loved </3 <3

  24. Birdee0809 says:

    Having trouble posting I’ve lost count of how many tries. But I see that my other comment went through so let’s try again. Not exactly true to the prompt and a tad over word count, please forgive me and thanks for commenting!

    “Mr. Jetson?” I called out to the people sitting in a row along one side of the long corridor. Several of them look up and their eyes meet mine. I smile weakly at them, mostly because they look as confused as I feel.

    I know I’m dead but what am I doing here? Who is Mr. Jetson?

    My eyes move from person to person knowing that I will recognize him when I see him. Three quarters down the row I notice someone trying to hide between the two people sitting on either side. I walked down the length of the corridor then turned and squatted.

    In the chair is an old man. In his effort to hide he’s drawn his legs up to his chest and buried his face behind the shoulder of the person next to him.

    “Please don’t take me!” he says before I have the chance to speak. His voice is muffled but his desperation is clear.

    “But it’s time,” I tell him, reaching up to gently place my hand over his. His hand feels icy cold in contrast to the warmth of mine. There’s a tingling in my palm and the sensation that something is flowing from me to him. Whatever it is, I don’t feel diminished by it.

    “Which place, can you tell me?” he says turning his head. The look of terror on his exhausted face is so heart wrenching that for a second I’m paralyzed under the weight of it.

    “I don’t know,” I say quietly, “but I can tell you that I will be with you the entire way.”

    How do I know that? Where do I think I’m taking him?

    Mr. Jetson took a deep breath and nodded his head in silent resignation. We stood up and began walking down the corridor.

    A blink later Mr. Jetson is gone and I’m standing in a small room. The walls are lined with filing cabinets with one desk in the center. Sitting there is a woman who could have just walked out of the old west. Her hair is in a neat bun and she’s wearing a white smock over her long dress.

    “Find Mr. Jetson?” she asks, raising her eyebrows.

    “Yes, I did,” I said.

    Was that a hint of pride in my voice?

    “Excellent!” she says, making a mark on her clipboard.

    “Excuse me ma’am? Maybe I should know this but, where am I?”

    “This is a crossroad,” she said.

    “Am I being punished?” I ask.

    “Oh heavens no, you were chosen to be here. The people in the corridor are waiting because they need a small bit of what you have in abundance. Be it love, forgiveness or something else I don’t really know for sure but it’s enough to put them on the road to Heaven, as opposed to the other road. The hard part is they don’t know which it will be, it’s part of their penance.”

    “I liked helping Mr. Jetson, I liked it very much.” I said.

    “Heaven is at the end of the corridor and you can come and go as you please but it’s your decision to help,” she said.

    I was smiling when I asked her for the next name on her list.

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Good story Birdee! Definitely a unique take on the prompt. Not sure about the name chosen, Jetson, I’m guessing this could be a scene in the “future”, although your message also addressed the “timeless” aspect too, with the woman in old-fashioned clothing. The main character’s “humble” thoughts painted a solid picture of a person with character playing what looked like a “heavenly” role that the archetypal Peter might play (but less intimidating). Good job.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      I really enjoyed this Birdee! I love the idea that it is her choice, and she chooses to help. I could picture Mr. Jetson crunched up exactly as you described. Wonderful read!

    • Heart2Heart says:

      Birdee,
      I enjoyed your story. Loved the part of helping others attain heaven and the smile asking for the next name on the list.

  25. Birdee0809 says:

    Is anybody else having trouble posting? I keep getting a message that I’m commenting too fast.

  26. Sillenve says:

    Dead, bought the farm, kicked the bucket, pushing up daises, no matter how you would describe me, I was D-E-A-D. No more of the easy life, no more partying, no more sleeping ’til the sun scolded me with its cheery face to wake up, no more snoozing in class and annoying the professor with questions like, “Can I go to the bathroom?”, and definitely no more trying to get phone numbers from the hotties in my dorm.

    Man, the afterlife is going to suck.

    The rich plum void finally dispered, and I opened my eyes, expecting the worst to come at me, Satan himself to drag me down to hard work and no hot chicks. I shut them again, wanting for it to be all over, wanting this to be a bad dream.

    A foot nudged me. “Get up,” a stern voice commanded, “or I’ll drag you through the gates myself.”

    I hesitated, then slowly got up, hoping to make a run for it. All hope of that was lost after a firm hand was placed on my shoulder. I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to see the fiery spawns of the devil himself awaiting me.

    “For the love of mankind, aren’t you going to open your eyes?” the person squeezing my shoulder asked, exasperated, and dragged me along.

    I sighed, tuning out the words of my captor. No demon was going to sweet talk me on my way to losing my soul.

    “We’ll meet again, when the night kisses the dawn, as angel and demon…”

    I stopped, fear edging its way into my heart. No, no! I tore away from the grasp and sprinted, jostling myself into a throng of people, wanting to escape the inevitable fate that engulfed me. I collapsed under the heavy weight of someone tackling me to the ground.

    “Get the erf off of me!” I begged, flailing for a rock or a really heavy stick.

    The stern voice became soft, almost melodious. “You don’t remember, do you?”

    I became calm when the figure kissed my neck, and hugged me tightly.

    Sputtering, I managed to get out a word or two. “A-Ashley, is that you?” My voice became childlike. “You’re down here too?”

    “No, you’re up here. Jesus, you’re still as dumb as ever. College hasn’t changed you at all.” Her tone became soft again. “Look, I’m sorry.”

    “I’m sorry, too.”

    I turned over, and opened my eyes to see the scorched environment, and the ominous figure eerily leering down on me. Fear took me again, and I screamed, lashing out with my bare fist, connecting with the figure’s head with a sickening crunch.

    The mask flew off, and I saw my previous soul mate, lying there, clutching her now silvery bloodied nose. “Serves me right,” she muttered. “I forgot you were such a martial arts jock.” She smirked at me. “So, you ready to tour the battleground where Michael cast Satan down to Hell?”

    “Yeah, just one question. What happened to her?”

    There was a long pause. “She….she’s going to make it. She’ll cope.”

    I nodded. “Sorry I just left you.”

    Natilie nodded. “Yeah, like you can escape me up here.”

    I grinned. Maybe the afterlife wasn’t going to suck after all.

  27. Nomad_Kevin says:

    I was awakened again by the familiar whoosh as the blood rushed back through my body and into my deprived brain. First my hearing returned with a deafening sound much like when, after a series of bashes to your ear, water empties from the ear canal. Then slowly details of who I am, where I am, what has happened.
    “Leaving the barbecue joint. Sinchon district.” I informed myself. “Another damned seizure. Kate?”
    “Great. She leaves me outside of a restaurant on our second date. Unbelievable.” I think to myself as my vision goes from pitch black to blurred to clear once again.
    “This… is not Sinchon. This isn’t even Seoul. Where the hell….” I’m stopped mid curse as a young man approaches me. The grin is familiar. The clothes are a bit out of style, and I begin to give the kid a thumbs up for his attempt at bringing back torn jeans and flannel when I recognize the face.
    “Jake?” I manage to breath just above a whisper.
    “In the celestial flesh.”
    There was really no need for me to ask where I stood in the wheel of life and death, but, never one to pass up a perfect setup, I asked the obvious. “Am I dead?”

    Jake was kind enough to only rip on my ignorance once, and then he took me on a grand tour of his “little cloud.” Along the way we had a chance to catch up on the past ten years. It didn’t take long for me to realize small talk in the afterlife is kind of one sided. He didn’t have any girlfriends, past jobs, or travel tales to contribute to the conversation, and he eerily knew all the details of my past ten years, making the conversation redundant and quite embarrassing.
    “Here we are!” he declared as he gestured with an open hand to the tropical cove we’d come to. The water was a clear crystal blue with waves just big enough to be noticed but not strong enough to ruin anyones swim. The beach stretched about fifty yards along the coast, and came inland about half as far. At the edge of the sand, which lacked shells, rocks, cigarette butts, dead starfish, seaweed, and any other possible discomfort, were scattered palm trees with perfect hammocks swaying in the silent breeze.
    “Spiced rum on the rocks with a dash of coconut juice, weirdo.” Jake offered as he grabbed a drink from a passing waiter.”
    I was surprised to see the “rock” wasn’t ice at all, but a perfectly water weathered emerald colored stone, no doubt as perfectly chilled as the beach was beautiful. Of course, I was even more surprised to see the waiter’s gang tattoos and scars along his chest.
    “Have you developed some kind of sick fetish up here?” I asked as I raised an eyebrow at the departing waiter.
    “Of course not!” he chuckled. “We’ve got white collars as well.” He motioned to the plump red faced man busily cleaning dishes in a remarkable bamboo sink at the edge of the jungle.
    “It isn’t all magic and angel dust up here.” He explained with a wink. “Think of it as a prisoner work program… Except instead of ‘prisoners,’ think of those damned to hell. And, instead of ‘work,’ think of an eternity of enslavement and random torture. But you can keep ‘program.’ It’s still a program.”
    As this set in I set my gaze across the sea at the setting sun, assuming it was the sun.
    “So Jake, how do I get out of here?”
    He only grinned and handed me a bucket and brush. “We’ll talk more after we scrub the pier.”

  28. Sorell says:

    THE AFTERLIFE

    Bright light was all around me and a sense of peace had entered my being. There were people everywhere calmly going about there business. The ones moving were tall and seemed to glide rather than walk. Some were busily absorbed in tasks they were doing. In the distance, I could see what looked like gentle undulating hills and nearer were fields of brightly coloured flowers. In among the flowers I could see a white horse grazing. It lifted its head to look at me. My heart leapt when I recognized it was my horse that had died years before. I called out to her and she galloped towards me. In disbelief, I through my arms around her neck when she stopped in front of me. She nuzzled into me like she had always done.

    “I thought you would know her. You loved that horse didn’t you.”

    Surprised, I looked around to find a tall, dark haired young man smiling at me.

    “Oh! Yes, I did.” I looked into his friendly eyes. I felt a deep affinity to him.

    “Do you know where you are?” he questioned.

    I took a few moments to reply. I looked at the glorious colours around me and sensed the beauty of the land and the buildings I could see that gleamed golden in the light. a I could hear the light trill of angelic voices not so far away.

    I looked back at the young man. “Am I in heaven?” I asked. “I never imagined it would look like this.”

    He didn’t answer straight away. “Do you know me?” he said.

    “I don’t think so. But I feel I do.”

    “Well, I am your son, David. You lost me before I was born into the earthly plane. I have waited for you and loved you always from my place here in heaven. God loves you and now he wants us to enjoy the love we never shared on earth.”

    Tears streamed down my face. “I always wondered what you would have looked like. I knew you would have been a boy if you had been born.”

    A lifetime of sorrow and regret was wiped away. Here was the son I had always yearned for. Joy and exultation possessed me. I noticed a new lightness to my body as I rushed into his arms.

    “Come, I will show you around Heaven and you will meet everyone you have sorrowed for after they died.”

    “But will I meet all the people I fell out with on earth?”

    “Yes, but now you will find they have changed. You are in Paradise. No one who has made it to here remains in their original state; they become cleansed of their sins and remain at peace with everyone about them.”

    I looked into the eyes of the son I had never know but always felt was alive to me. I had found my paradise, my heaven.

    © Gabrielle Morgan

  29. npryncess says:

    The night sky was the deepest, richest indigo I had ever seen. Absolutely clear. The stars shined and twinkled like never before. Seems like they multiplied threefold as I watched in amazement at the celestial light show. I stood in my driveway, chin skyward, marveling at the sight. I don’t remember ever seeing this many stars in the sky.

    I felt like I was ten feet off the ground. I looked down and noticed the driveway moving away from me! I started to panic but it passed quickly, replaced with a feeling of wonderment! As I rose higher and higher I noted the contrast of the dark tree branches and limbs against the night sky as I passed through them. Wait! I’m actually passing through the trees, not around them! How is that possible?! Somehow I wasn’t that concerned about it. I was just so happy! I longed to feel this sort of intense happiness all my life. “All those years of chasing happiness–changing hobbies, careers, men, friends–who knew all I needed to do was stand in the driveway and commune with nature.” I thought with a chuckle. All I knew for sure is I never wanted this feeling to end. Soon I was looking down at the tree tops, and my house and driveway beyond them, and I got the sensation that I wasn’t alone.

    I smelled a familiar scent, Old Spice. ” Uncle Jr.?” I called out. Out of the darkness, the man I’ve longed to see every day for the past 20 years appeared. He took my hand and the darkness begins to fade into a warm, bright light. “I remember dreaming of you shortly after you died. You looked so healthy and confident. It helped me deal with your death.” I said, taking in the sight of him. “Hey Puddin. You look great and I’m so proud of you. I know you don’t deal with the whole death thing very well, so I visited you while you slept to put your mind at ease.” He hugged me and, although I didn’t think it possible, I was even happier! “But Pud, this isn’t a dream baby.”

    We entered a beautiful garden and my breath was taken away with the smell of lavender, freesia, and roses. The colors–pastels interspersed with jewel tones–was strangely comforting and exciting at once. Sort of as a side thought, “Not a dream? What do…” “You fell asleep on the patio, without your CPAP machine. I usually watch over you to be sure you’re breathing okay. But all things happen in God’s time. There was nothing I could do this time.” “So I’m…dead?” “Yeah, Pud.” “But my kids…” “Don’t worry. You’ll watch over them like I watched over you.”

    I thought I’d be more afraid but I only feel contentment. “So, what now?” “Well, You love to garden so this is yours to tend. Your loved ones who are here will stop by soon.”

    “Unc. One more question…Is Michael Jackson here?!”

  30. tvmcgowan says:

    It seemed like a split second before the doctor was giving me the anesthesia before surgery. Now, I was standing all alone just inside some tall golden gates with white haze all around me.

    “My god, looks like a cemetary on Halloween,” I said to myself.

    “No, no, this is Heaven,” a voice behind me remarked.

    I turned and gaped as a figure walked out of the haze.

    “Dad?” Speechless, it took me a moment to regain my compusure as my dad looked at me.”Does this mean…?”

    Yes son, you are dead and this is Heaven. A little early too. Your mother and I were hoping you would live another few minutes of so.”

    “Another few minutes?”

    Oh yes, I keep forgetting. A minute or so here is about 20 or 30 years down there.”

    “But, why am I here? I was just getting a new knee replacement.”

    ‘Yeah, well, that didn’t work out. You had a heart attack on the table. Your heart, diabetes, being overweight, high blood pressure….I was hoping you would have learned from me. At least I outlived you by five years.”

    I could only grimace. As I looked around I could see other shapes moving within the haze.

    “Come on, let me give you the tour son.”

    We turned and moved into the haze and suddenly out of it. Other people, visions of perfection and health walked by smiling, welcoming me to Heaven and hoping I would enjoy the stay.

    We walked, almost gliding along while dad pointed out the amenities. People I recognized were everywhere. There were outdoor caffes, bookstores and theaters. A narrow creek with a salking path running alonside it meandered just off in the distance. Perfect people strolled along the path or sat on benches reading books that seemed illuminated.

    “What’s with the glowing books/” I asked.

    “The newest releases. Actually the author hasn’t written them yet, we get the version that’s forming in their mind. Bookstores on Earth get them years from now. One of the benefits of Heaven is we know what’s going to happen before even you do.”

    “Wish I had that ability years ago,” I muttered as I looked around. “Hey,” I yelled as I waved, “that’s mom and Aunt Carol over there by the…what is that building?”

    “Our residence building,” dad said. “This is Heaven, no one is sick here. Just look at yourself. You aren’t limping or wheezing and that gut of yours is gone too.”

    Sure enough I looked down at myself and it seemed I was about thirty years younger.

    “Wow,” I said, ” I think I am going to like it here. But one question dad. Why were the gates made of gold? They are supposed to be pearly. And where was St. Peter?”

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Very imaginative story with excellent description. Not sure the ending lived up to the strong start, but it’s always tough staying within that measly 500 words.

      One small thing, I counted five spelling errors. Maybe not that important, but on my computer misspellings are automatically underlined in red when typing in this comment box. That helps a lot, not sure if yours does the same, but maybe next time test it with an intentionally misspelled word, and watch what it does.

  31. JasonWilder says:

    “Where the Sun Shines in the Garden”

    So when I died the relentless agony of life faded away…

    For a moment.

    I tripped through an open door and landed, knees first, onto the concrete slabs of my childhood garden. Frantic and toppling, I yelled out, “what am I still doing in this ridiculous thing?” The gravel dug into my hands as I crashed to a halt. I knew I was dead, but why was I still in my body?

    Strange.

    I didn’t question being in the garden. It was natural; right where I was supposed to be. I was sprawled with my back to the square hedge that hugged the rose garden. Lying there a moment, my head lopped on my arm, I followed the green veins that led to the hydrangeas, and smiled. I was home and in the colors of a painted afternoon. I breathed deep the rich smell of earth and leaves, flowers and rotting wood. All around the vital hum of living and growing things churned.

    “Look at this!” I said, leaping to my knees and peering like a child into the long continuous flower box. “A beetle!” A buzzing hysteria sent me laughing like a hatter into the marvel of my surroundings.

    Ignoring the pain, I brushed myself off and snapped my fingers at the old crooked fence with glee. “Still lined with the rose-petal trees,” I said, “…that mother and I had planted.”

    I took a breath of young fresh air, and turned towards the garden gate to explore, but stopped.

    There, at the end of the narrow walkway, stood a small boy, dressed in a maroon tuxedo, with the curliest hair, and a giggling smile. He stared at me, with knowing eyes, as a gust of wind shook the bougainvillea that draped along the high fence behind him.

    “Little Leprechaun!” I cried out, and fell to my knees, “Please forgive me!”

    The boy approached cautiously, and tenderly put his little hand on my face. “Its okay to be afraid,” he said.

    “No!” I said, “you shouldn’t have to be afraid.”

    He smiled sadly and embraced me. My body shuddered as if it were trying to fall apart into pieces. The boy looked at me, deep into my eyes, and whispered, “It’s okay to forgive yourself.”

    Through my tears, the beams of light from the rising sun shone crystal halos through his curls. I sank at his gentle expression.

    “You are me,” I said.

    He shook his head. “Yes.”

    I was there, as a young boy before me.

    He backed up, straightened out his little suit, and gave me his hand. I took it and rose.

    We walked toward the garden gate together, beyond which, the old cracked steps led to the playful yearnings of long days and childhood gardens.

    The little boy unhooked the latch and stepped forward.

    “Wait!” I said, not yet ready to go. “i must know.”

    “What?” he said.

    “Are you still afraid?”

    He looked at me with such spirit in his eyes that I felt my heart might burst from my chest.

    “Not anymore,” he said.

    So we stepped into that shining sun, as one, together.

  32. pkmccord says:

    Does anyone know why I cannot post my submission? All I keep getting is, “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” My connection is iffy so I typed it in Word and pasted it in, but even if I paste it and WAIT ten minutes, I get the same response.

  33. darcylee2 says:

    It was like waking up from anesthesia.

    One second I was driving to work and the next here I was, in some strange place. It was warm… like feeling the sun on your skin.

    I tried to look around but it was so bright I had trouble keeping my eyes open. Finally, as they seemed to adjust to the light, I noticed a figure standing before me.

    “Grandpa?”

    “Hello Michael.”

    “What’s going on? Did I pass out? Am I dreaming?”

    “I’m afraid not Michael. You’ve been in a car accident.”

    I wanted to feel sad or shocked. It seemed like this would be the natural reaction to learning you had just died. Instead, I felt next to nothing.

    I was a bit surprised that my Grandpa was the one who greeted me, although I could not put my finger on why. I had barely known him, as he died when I was just a child of three.

    We walked along as I pondered what heaven would be like. I had never been a particularly religious fellow but I had imagined there to be beautiful meadows with flowing streams, angels with harps flying around, and all sorts of animals and people coexisting together in one diverse and loving community.

    This was nothing like that.

    The farther we walked, the darker it seemed to get. The bright white light was getting more and more dim.
    I could also feel it getting gradually warmer as the sweat began to bead on my upper lip. “Maybe it’s just my imagination”, I thought. I am a bit nervous.

    All of a sudden a memory from my life came flooding back like the gates of a dam had just been opened. I remembered my parents talking quietly in the kitchen one evening when they didn’t think I had been listening from my post where I sat at the top of the stairs.
    They were talking about Grandpa. I heard my mother tell my father that although she was sad that her father had passed, she knew the world would undoubtedly be a better place without him in it.
    They spoke about the horrible things he had done in his life, swindling money from poor, trusting people who believed his stories of being a wounded veteran.
    Also, how he was implicated in the strange disappearance of Grandma. Although suspicions from the family ran high, there had been no evidence, he had never been brought to justice and no one had ever learned the truth.

    Suddenly I realized it was not my imagination, it was indeed getting hotter and darker the further we went.
    In spite of the heat, I felt a chill go up my spine.

    “Grandpa?” I asked with a tremble in my voice. “This isn’t heaven is it?”

    He stopped suddenly and slowly turned around to face me with an evil look in his eyes and a slow smile creeping across his face.

  34. JR MacBeth says:

    “John? Is that you?”

    “Yes Michael, it’s me. How do you feel?”

    “Feel? Feel! I feel great! And my legs?”

    “They’re as real as I am, brother.”

    The two embraced, tears flowed freely.

    “So John, I’m guessing this is…Heaven?”

    “Uh, well, it’s the afterlife, that’s for sure! Let me show you around.”

    “This is so incredible! Just walking is fuck, er, I mean just so wonderful…”

    “You can say ‘fuck’ up here dude, it’s cool.”

    “Seriously?”

    “Why the fuck not?”

    They both laugh.

    “And, we’re both young? I mean, you look like you’re 20!”

    “You too bro. Everyone up here is the ideal age. No old folks. They just wouldn’t fit in.”

    “What’s that?”

    “A mermaid.” A splash of water hit their ankles as they cross a bridge.

    “Holy shit! They’re…real?”

    “They always were. We’ve got Neanderthals up here too, and other folks you just won’t fucking believe. Took me a while!”

    “Damn John. This is an awesome place.” Michael took in a deep breath. Never had he felt so good.

    “The rest of the family?”

    “In due time, brother. First, you have to get acclimated. If you think seeing a mermaid is something, check that out.”

    “Holy crap! A fucking dinosaur?”

    “They got everything up here Michael! Speaking of, we’ve arrived. Come on in!”

    An intensely colorful and strangely beautiful tent. Inside, voices. Female voices.

    “Welcome my brother! Time to meet some ladies! This is Tara, and this is Veronica, and well, you’re going to forget anyway, but they know you, so don’t worry about it, just have some fun!”

    There were dozens of the most beautiful women Michael had ever seen. It seemed like days went by as he explored Heaven, by the inch. It had been so long since he had truly enjoyed a woman. And now he had dozens, and all the stamina to go with.

    “That grin says it all my brother!” John had come in, all the ladies were gone. “Three days! Dude, you must have been sex-starved.”

    “Yeah. I guess I was. I never got a chance to ask, but is this like, normal? Can I get a couple dozen babes whenever I want?”

    “More or less. But enough of that, it’s time to meet The Man.”

    “The man? As in, like…God?”

    “Yep. Everyone gets to meet Him. He enjoys His creatures. Heck of a nice guy.”

    “You’re serious? God is a ‘nice guy’?”

    “Well, see for yourself!”

    There He was. No big beard, but a Face, the brightness of light somehow made it impossible to really see details, but it was like nothing Michael had ever seen before. He felt instantly afraid.

    “My…God?”

    “Yes Michael. Time to speak to Me. Let…it…out.”

    “Let it out? What?”

    “All…of…it.”

    “OK. All of it…My legs? My…My fucking manhood! My fucking wife, who deserted me just like those fucks in the desert…” Michael was already sobbing too hard. The words just stopped.

    And God spoke, “I know…”

    (To be continued in…the Afterlife.)

  35. aikawah says:

    Shaka kaSenzangakhona awoke to the fires of rage coursing through his newly youthful veins. He was dead, he knew it. He had seen his own body splayed across the entrance of the kraal as his umoya left, his brother Dingane’s assegai sticking out of his heart. And then he had been consumed by the whiteness, and that strange dream; Being borne by a female warrior on a flying donkey to the gates of this place. Was this the afterlife for betrayed kings?

    A shield and assegai were lying on the ground next to him; the shield double-layered with buffalo hide, the assegai notched 25 times. They were the weapons of his warrior days. He picked them up and looked around. He was in a magnificent kraal, probably belonging to a great nkosi. The main hut was built with gold and thatched with metal shields and in front of it was a tree the likes of which he had never seen before, its leaves shimmering with dazzling light. Entranced he moved forward to look, when there was a sudden shout.

    He turned just in time, a giant of a man wearing metal armor on his chest was leaping towards him, his hair flowing in the wind, a giant sword raised above his head. His skin was white, like the umlungu that had tried to take his kingdom twice. Shaka reacted without thinking, feinting the warrior’s blow and driving the tip of his shield into the man’s face. The man was just as fast and he drew back, deflecting the thrust with the back of his free hand just before the sharpened wood punctured his eye. As Shaka jumped back to face him squarely, he noticed the second man standing behind him.

    “Fall back Demophilus” said the second man, “he has drawn first blood. And magnificently too may I add. You’ve lost the wager.” He was speaking in Greek but Shaka understood.

    The warrior who had attacked Shaka looked at his forearm as if he had not felt the pain from the wound that now trickled a faint red line of blood. “He’d have made a fine gladiator this one, huh Leonidas? What strange land have the valkyries been hunting in now?”

    “Odin will decide what to do with him” said the other one, walking towards Shaka. He was almost as big as the first one, his muscles as slick and potent as Shaka’s own. He stretched forward his arm, palm wide open in the umlungu way of greeting. Shaka shifted his assegai to his other hand and shook it, each man feeling for the strength in the other’s arm.

    “Welcome to Valhalla, strange warrior. I am Leonidas, dead king of Sparta, what is your name?”

    “Shaka kaSenzangakhona” he replied in isiZulu, “dead king of the amaZulu. Where is this place?”

    “It’s a heaven for dead warriors. We await Ragnarok to fight alongside Odin.”

    Shaka contemplated the man’s words for a moment, “Odin” he repeated quietly. “Is he your Unkulunkulu, the Nkosi of this heaven?”

    “Indeed he is, and if you follow, Shaka kaSenzangakhona, we will lead you to his table.”

    “Lead the way, if your Umlungu god will grant me revenge against Dingane, I will fight in his Ragnarok.

    • JR MacBeth says:

      I always love your stories aikawah. I may not understand the African words, but somehow, you weave your tapestry in a way that communicates beyond mere words. Without fail, I get a “feel” for the culture of your heroes, and that’s magic right there. Here, you go a step further, mixing mythologies, reaching back to ancient times, and invoking great names. I am inspired. Excellent work!

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Very good. Its stories like this that make me glad I am a member of this forum. Good job.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story Aikawah. You Ragna-rock dude! Wicked last name, man, I’d hate to have to learn that one in grade school. This is a story fit for a king. Literally. :)

    • Jeanie Y says:

      If I may, Ditto all that JR said. I can picture the action in my head. Super story Aikawah.

      • Sillenve says:

        Very funny, I am at Shaka loss of words for it! I’m glad I joined Writer’s Digest.

        • aikawah says:

          Thanks guys, glad you like it. I cannot seem to post any comments myself, I keep getting the, “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down” message and it seems I’m not the only one. If admin would look into the matter it’d be very helpful.

  36. lloydcutler says:

    Afterlife—Mattie boy
    Matthew Simpson was born on February 19, 1987, in Henderson, Nevada and so began the unique adventure of Mattie boy, an amazing Down syndrome person, yet gifted with superior cognitive intelligence. Even the surgeon who removed the tumor in his brain was dumbfounded by Matt’s exponentially expanding acumen. This is his story.
    “Welcome back, folks. The 2053 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers is shaping up as one for the ages. Unless the Bronx Bombers can get something done here in the ninth, we’re going back to LA.
    “Dombraro lines one sharply into the Dodger dugout, look out! Someone is down. Oh good heavens, no. It looks like Mattie boy Simpson, the longtime Dodger equipment manager. Let’s look at the replay. See the ball hitting Matt flush on the side of his head. Friends, this is a tragedy…”
    ***
    The brilliantly white tunnel opened into a valley of color and splendor. Matthew was home. Was the game over for him? Was this the end of his mortal life? Being met at the mouth of the valley by his first mentor, Coach Nick, invoked joyous tears. “Hi, Mattie boy, how’s Sean?” They hugged.
    “He’s fine, Coach. Have you seen Mom and Dad?”
    “I have been sent to bring you to the judgment room first. Are you ready?”
    “Ready for what, Nick? By going in with Down syndrome I was supposed to be E-ticketed to the penthouse. You know that.”
    “Sorry, pal. The surgery changed the rules. Once you went cognitive you qualified for judgment. You’re on the hot seat. Let’s go, and so they did…
    ***
    “Give me a break. I apologized for stealing the Twinkies. Yes, I liked to eat and so perhaps I overate a bit. What of it? The reason I moved away from my parents was because they would not let me grow up. Everyone’s got to move on. I showed up on holidays. I loved my family so stop implying that I abandoned them to join the Dodgers all those years ago. That’s baseball in case you haven’t seen any games lately. Ok, I confess. I laid off the blame all over the house when I was a kid. Give it up. I own up to being a sneak. I can only quote Fred Flintstone on that one. Yabba-dabba-doo. So fry me in hell. Or is it cold there? I’d have apologized for sending my sister the fickle finger of fate when my parents were in Hawaii, but she laughed and laughed. They thought it was funny and so did I. Admit it. You don’t have a thing on me. Pronounce my judgment… now.”
    “Matthew Simpson. You have judged yourself and we agree that you are worthy of the highest degree of glory. Do you have any questions?”
    “Okay, I have a single question. Can I go back? Yes? Thank you very much. Why? We’ve got six and seven in LA next week. I’m out of here.”

  37. handyman43127 says:

    NACHOS TO GO

    On occasion the stars behave themselves and line up, peace then settles over the house. It’s Monday night and my beloved Steelers are playing at home against the Cleveland Browns. Alone in the living room with only the light from the television set I sit down, just in time for the opening kickoff.

    Nachos in hand, Antonio brown set to receive, and it’s a deep kick. Fielding the ball at his one yard line he heads up field. One, two, three missed tackles and only one man to beat. Suddenly the TV flickers and goes black. “Great!” I yell. “What the hell?”

    With seconds seeming like eternity a dim light began to return to the set. Slowly the light became brighter and then ever brighter still, until I found myself standing in front of a large white gate, with the words Heavens Gate adorning it. Rubbing my eyes I looked again. Nothing had changed except I could see the figure of a person in the distance approaching me.

    Now being close enough I could see the face of this person, it was a childhood friend of mine named Johnny, whom I had not seen for many years and had lost touch with. “Johnny is this, I mean are we really, dead?” I asked.

    “Yep, welcome to heaven, glad to see you made it, come with me I have many wonderful things to show you.”

    “Thought you could not take it with you?” I snickered, standing there with a bowl full of Nachos.

    “Only what you have in your hands at the time of transition comes with you, but you may as well drop them in that collection bin over there, anything other than the soul does not fare well during the trip.Don’t ask me because I’m not going there, but you would be surprised with some of the things people show up with.” he explained.

    Walking through the gate I stepped onto a street of gold. Mansion’s lined both sides of the street. The strange thing was the mansion’s were transparent but I was unable to see what was happening inside them. the street was teeming with people. Children played kickball, adult’s walked along talking to one another, and some even had drinks and what looked like pizza.

    Many sounds surrounded me although I could not hear with my ears, I could feel them like a gentle song playing to my soul. It was very relaxing.

    Knowing what I was thinking Johnny said.

    “You have many thing’s to experience and I must go for awhile. Take your time, no need to be in a hurry here.” he chuckled.

    “Hey, just one question before you go Johnny, I always wondered if I would be able to get a cold beer in heaven?”

    “This is heaven, there’s no beer here,” he snapped. Then with a gentle smile he said, “there is a class on learning how to turn water into wine that starts in about a thousand years, if you hurry you can still make it. Mother Mary hounded Jesus for a long time before he agreed to teach it. He probably only agreed because he knew you were on your way.”

  38. Jeanie Y says:

    “Code Blue, Room 232…Code Blue, Room 232..”

    “Where the hell is the crash cart!”

    “On their way doctor, code’s been called.”

    Jesus, so much blood. “Dave – blood bank, Massive Transfusion Protocol, 4 Units O neg STAT. NOW! Jane, get an IV.” No pulse. “You – Compressions, Move!”

    “Cart’s here Doctor!”

    “Thank God – Clear out, let them in…”
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    I saw it all from above, feeling pretty bad for the doctor trying so hard to save my life, knowing it was too late. I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you did your best. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” But tapping is pretty tough when you’re dead.

    Wanting to see how some folks handled the news, I hung around for a little while. Come on, if you had this once in a lifetime chance to see how your Ex reacted to your death, wouldn’t you? It was his last chance at redemption. I’m glad that I’d remembered to change the beneficiary of my life insurance policy. Small consolation, but my money would not be used to finance his big bash.

    Being a practical woman, I knew it was time to move on. The blinding light had become much dimmer and I didn’t know whether it would blink out, leaving me in limbo.

    Stopping one last time to say goodbye, I kissed him on the forehead. He stirred, opened his eyes, then into the light I flowed, bitterness riding shotgun.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    “What took you so long?” she asked, the familiar smile creating an overwhelming sense of love and euphoria into a heart I thought had turned to granite.

    “Mother?” Oh Lord, it’s Heaven, we are real again, and I have my mother back to embrace. No tattered postcards, cold pieces of jewelry, or capricious memories to rely upon. Dragonflies flit and flicker around us, garnering our tears into small vials, moving so fast they are almost invisible.

    “Tears of joy are special, Lisa. You’ll see,” she says as she takes my hand and leads me off into the Great Forest, the dragonflies dance among the trees along the path. The mist allows me to see only what it wants me to see. Or maybe only enough of what I can handle.

    “Do you know what will happen to my…” I began.

    “Of course I do Lisa, he’ll be fine. I’ll watch over him as I’ve watched over you all these years. This is my job. He will know love, and caring, and I believe a long, wonderful life is in store for him.”

    “Why did this have to happen? Why now? After so many years of misery, I was finally happy.”

    “Lisa, it isn’t our place to ask. I know this is hard, but your pain has forged who you are now, and all I know is that you have a special purpose. You need to accept and move on. We don’t have much more time together. See the dragonflies, how they’re moving away? The Others come for you now. I wish we had more time, but wishing here doesn’t make it so.”

    “Can I come back and see you again?”

    “That’s up to you…and Him.” she whispers as she places the small satchel of vials into my palm. “Now, on your knees, eyes down. They’re here.”

  39. MissGlass says:

    He is in a white space. This he is sure of, even if he is not sure of much else. The space stretches infinitely around him, as if he was wrapped in the silky cocoon of a cloud. Every few seconds, warps in the white flash into his vision, but they fade as quickly as he can register them so that it feels like he has just dreamed them up in the first place. He cannot move, or rather, he simply does not know what move is.
    He wonders if it is too late to convert to a religion that promised a life after death. If being an atheist meant being condemned to an eternity of floating in an absolute void where everything is illusion, but anything is real, he would have gotten baptized in a heartbeat. But, if he is being true to himself, how could he have after Tommy died? Poor Tommy, barely born before buried in a grave, with only a sullen stone to mark that he had ever existed in the first place. Johnson had been an atheist before then, but after Tommy had been lowered into a hole, he was even surer that he could not ever step into the folds of a religion. After all, what good was a belief if it couldn’t bring his baby back?
    “Hello.” A voice startles him out of his thoughts. A disturbance in the white space floats before his eyes, no bigger than his head.
    “Hello,” he says, surprised that he can even speak at all in this strange place.
    “I’m Tommy.” The twist in the space floats nearer toward him, near enough that he can see thousands of tiny ripples pulsating in the body of the voice.
    “Tommy,” he repeats. “Like…” He trails off, unsure how to frame the question right.
    The being nods. “That Tommy.”
    He isn’t sure how he feels toward this revelation. Overjoyed, because this is his son? Bitter, because this nothingness is what his son has been living in?
    “I’m dead,” Johnson manages to say. “I’m dead, aren’t I?”
    “Yes,” Tommy says simply.
    “This is heaven?”
    “Maybe, for you.”
    “What kind of answer is that?”
    Tommy doesn’t reply.
    “What do I do?” Johnson laughs, a shaky, trembling thing.
    Tommy shrugs.
    “That’s it, then? That’s all I get?”
    “Yes.”
    “When do you have to go?” he asks, quietly, after a pause. The question has been haunting him ever since Tommy has appeared before him. This is too good to be true. For a man like him, he doesn’t deserve this much.
    Tommy remains silent. Then, “Does it matter?”
    “I don’t want you to leave,” Johnson murmurs. “Don’t leave me here alone.”
    His son places a hand on his cheek. “It’ll be all right, Daddy. It’ll be all right.”

  40. WordPlay32 says:

    I’m gazing into bright lights. Such pure light. It’s blinding me. I sit up and open my eyes all of the way.
    I’m on an operating table.
    Swinging my legs over the edge of the table, I shakily get up. There are doctors and nurses filing out of the room, but one stays behind. He pulls a sheet a sheet over the table I was just on. What is he doing?
    But wait, there IS something on the table. I turn and look at the shape that I know is a body–MY body.
    I can’t be dead. I CANNOT be dead! I manage to stagger to the doorway, and drop to my knees in the middle of the hall. Doctors and patients alike just pass right through me as I sit in misery and confusion.
    Then, in the world of cold death, a soft, warm hand touches my shoulder.
    “It’s time to go,” the familiar voice says. “Walk with me.”
    I put my hand over hers. It’s her. Becca. My wife.
    My dead wife.
    I turn to her, slowly rising. “B-Becca?” I stammered. “H-how? What’s h-happening?”
    Her face is glowing with a soft, heavenly light. She smiles her sweet smile that I’ve missed so much, and the warmth of it spreads to my corporeal being.
    “It’s time to go,” she said again, sadly. “We’re going to Heaven.”
    I am speechless. She holds out her gently glowing hand, and I take it. I blinked, and in that small span of time, we appeared in a large room.
    The floors and walls were all plain, white marble tiles. But the ceiling was anything but white and plain. Thousands of small shards of glass depicted a picture of a man with no face, in the sky, watching over who I thought was Jesus, teaching and healing in multiple pictures, forming a beautiful collage with every hue of every colour I can imagine. All I can do is stare.
    Becca tugs at my hand. “It is beautiful. But we must be quick, before the gates close.”
    As she moves forward, I seem to glide along just barely behind her. I still marvel at her beauty and my heart aches for her. It’s been so long since she died. Since her ex-boyfriend set our apartment building on fire.
    “Becca? What are we doing?” I asked.
    “I’m taking you to the Pearly Gates,” she said without slowing or looking at me. “You died, and They thought I should guide you.”
    “So who is they?”
    She stopped and smiled at me. “The angels. They thought of us as a tragic romance. They wanted us together again.”
    I felt the wave of warmth again and we moved forward. Then I had a thought.
    “If you loved me, and if the angels wanted us together and all…then why didn’t you accept my proposal?”
    She stopped. He glow flickered and died. I felt the cold of her sadness creep into me.
    “I wanted to… but I knew that we would be happy here. I knew we would meet here and be together.”
    She smiled again and reached for my hand.

  41. Mittens1326 says:

    When I Was Seventeen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Elliott… Caleb… Spalding.”

    Cheers erupted from the crowd as he crossed the stage with an amused smirk and that slow, confident stride. He somehow made the blue polyester graduation robe look hot.

    Goddamn, he was perfect.

    She had seen him practically every day of her life and now he was slipping away. In three months he’d be in California and she’d still be here. The thought hit her in the gut, setting off an ache that swallowed her whole — she was staring right at him and he was already gone.

    It was almost worse, having these final moments with him, knowing they would be the last. God, she was pathetic. She was sitting in a crowd of nearly two thousand people and she considered this her moment with Elliott.

    She squeezed her neatly rolled diploma in her palm wishing she could freeze time.

    Elliott was shaking hands with Mr. Strauss, switching the little tassel from one side to the other, waving to his family. Even with that cardboard hat on, his dark hair was perfect. But instead of climbing the bleachers and filing back into his row with the other S’s, he stood in the middle of the platform and turned to look directly at her.

    Somehow his hat was gone. The sight of his silky dark hair framing that face in the light of the setting sun was magnificent. He was brain-scramblingly, mind-numblingly beautiful. The angles of his cheekbones, the strong lines of his jaw, the flawless straight nose above those pretty pink lips, so plump and soft looking. God, she wanted to kiss him once before she died.

    And die she would, because he was staring straight at her. His eyes, some indescribable blend of hazel and blue and green depending on what he wore, currently glinted a deep blue and burned into hers, pinning her to her seat where, she realized with horror, she was gaping at him like a moron.

    This was actually happening. Elliott Spalding was walking towards her. Eying her with the faint hint of a smile on his lips. He walked with a lazy swagger, his gait just slow enough to suggest that the whole world would wait. Should wait.

    When he reached her the bleachers were deserted. Her mind worked slowly, like it was surfacing from underwater.

    She stood.

    “Where is everyone?”

    “It’s just you and me,” he answered softly. His voice was perfectly clear, as if she’d never truly heard another sound before. “We’re in Heaven.”

    She remained oddly calm. “We’re… dead?”

    He grinned, that crooked grin she’d memorized. “You are.”

    “I am? How?” She’d graduated with honors. She was going to college in September…

    “You had a heart condition from birth. Just one of those things.”

    She nodded serenely. “What’s it like… in there?”

    He winked. “Better than high school.”

    She met his eyes. “So… why are you here?”

    He took her hand. She marveled at his smooth skin. ”I’m your favorite memory. I’m here to walk you in.”

  42. Ruchira.sehgal says:

    After my thrill in the tunnel of light when I finally reached heaven, I was curious to see who all live here. I saw no one, and, I was not surprised, One must live as I did to deserve heaven, I thought.

    Then, one midget came, pulled my pants and said ” One person who has known you from many life times will come to give you a tour of heaven and details about the contract, enjoy your stay.”

    Contract? really? I thought that heaven is so commercialized. Few minutes later, as I stood there whistling and confident about my good afterlife ahead, I saw Jack.

    My face started twitching. He was coming my way, his face was blank, and I knew what that meant. Once again, he was coming to hit me, but, here in heaven?

    does life ever become fair or not?

    Immediately, I regretted not being a devil follower, but then, he came and very politely said ” nice to meet you again, how have you been? ” I am good, I said. He was a changed person. He offered me drinks, took me to ‘wish and receive’ food shop, introduced me to girls that I call as a heavenly feeling. \

    I wanted to ask him a question, but, whenever I opened my mouth, he’ll show me something new and I’ll be distracted.

    Back in life, when we were alive, he was strong and brash. Never cared for anyone else, and here, he looked after me on the road.

    It felt as if he is not the same jack, he has been hijacked by goodness. And I kept laughing in my head on the joke till we reached back to the same spot.

    There he pulled out papers. He said ” here is a contract of heaven, you must on all conditions adhere to the guidelines. In brief you would have to be a nice person around here, never ever make anybody else feel any different. We are all here because we have done something good in life ”

    I wanted to ask him this one question so badly but, he kept on going in his prophetic tone ” what has been left was never ours, what truly belongs to us is happiness, here in heaven, we believe in creating and sharing that.” I was trying to concentrate, but, I really wanted to know that one thing.

    Little did I know, when asked I’ll be thrown back on earth to lead a difficult life. Jack had put his arm across my shoulder and gave a welcoming smile, he extended papers towards me, I took them in my hand. at the end it stated :

    “If you ever made any resident of heaven feel any other way than being happy, you will be thrown to back to life” .

    As I signed, he said ” do you know this is not the first time we are meeting here, we have been here before, you and I, we were always good friends but then once on that unfortunate day we “, he didn’t complete and frankly I didn’t care as well. Ignoring all that he was saying I was looking for the right opportunity to ask him my question. It was itching in my throat, I really wanted to know.

    Finally, he said ” what do you wanna know?” I asked ” how the hell did you get to heaven man?” he became very angry and replied ” I did good by kicking you in the butt many times” .

    and the Next I know, we both were screaming down the tunnel ready to hit the earth.

  43. MCKEVIN says:

    “So Tracy, there’s no Pearly Gates, no Great Coronation and the only thing you need to do is to forgiv-.” Rose said.

    I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Rose, was the worst supervisor I had in my earthly life and now she’s in heaven, saying she’ll show me around? Give me a break God! The spirit that murdered John Lennon walked passed us and spoke like an old friend. This cannot be my heaven.

    “Rose, I need to speak with someone other than you!” I interrupted.
    “As I said, I’m your guide, there’s no one else.”

    She dismissed me in death as she had in life. Hitler’s presence marched past us. C’mon God! The day I met Rose, my left foot tapped involuntary for hours. She was rude, pretentious and a royal pain in the ass. She belittled my work and ideas, but snatched credit when they worked out. After many of her public put downs and innuendos, I inquired if there was problem we needed to address, she ignored me. Oh my God, the spirit who invented the AIDS virus just jogged by us. A group of deceased family faces sculpted in clouds hovered by. Included were my parents, who taught me my sense of values. I waved at them but was ignored as they moved and laughed among themselves.

    “They can’t hear you.” Rose said.
    “Why?”
    “Choice is the meaning of life and once a soul decides to return to earth, nothing else matters. They can’t remember the past. Its part of the process called “Evolution.” If they acknowledge you, they’re not ready for their next earthly journey. “

    Rose never said anything of substance, but that statement helped me decide I didn’t want her in my deathly existence.

    “You still have all the answers don’t you Rose?”
    “We should move along.”
    “Where? Why? There is no such thing as time here is there?”

    She stood silent but kept checking behind her. The same spirit that gave Whitney drugs, the night she died, appeared behind Rose. I began to understand.

    “Please, we should leave now. She said.
    “Rose, you’re here because I chose to conjure you up.”
    “Yes, and because you have to forgive me.”
    “No Rose, I don’t. But I do have to release you!”
    “But-“
    “But? Explain why you did such horrible things.”
    “What, are you expecting some great explanation detailing the meaning of life?”
    “Just the truth Rose!”
    The spirit behind her turned black.
    “So, you want me to say something profound then you’ll forgive me?”
    “I want for nothing Rose.”
    “Then get a grip, because there are no explanations.” She continued.

    Lighting flashed and the spirit morphed to Grim Reaper.

    I did things simply because I could. You allowed me! Are you happy now?”
    “Goodbye Rose.”

    I turned to leave.

    “If God forgave the others, you hav-“

    The skies darkened as it smothered her screams and took her existence away.

    “I chose to release you Rose. You’re forgiven. Goodbye!”

    Poof! She was gone!

  44. “I’m dead?” I asked.
    “As a door nail, now come on,” my guide and long time school friend Kathy said.
    Walking along I noticed a lot of people, mostly women scrubbing golden floors and diamond chandeliers.
    “What is going on here? I thought everything was suppose to be grand once we got to heaven.”
    “You’ll see. Stop grumbling. We all have jobs to do.” Kathy insisted.
    We went on a little further when Kathy announced, “Come in here.”
    Entering it looked like a kitchen. I saw big ovens with fire so hot it hurt your eyes to look at it.
    Outside the window I noticed men working in the yard.
    “What is this? I thought I was going to heaven.”
    “This is heaven. You’re one of the lucky ones. You get to stir the cookie batter.”
    “You call that lucky?”
    “Compared to some yes, you are lucky.”
    What do you mean?”

    Come on, I’ll show you.”
    Following behind we stopped behind double doors. When Kathy knocked, the doors swung open and inside I could see toilets. One after another. More than I cared to try and count.
    “Look,” Kathy said pointing.

    There I saw my ex-husband scrubbing the toilets. As he finished one, another appeared before him.
    “Now will you stop complaining?” Kathy asked.
    “Wow, I would have never guessed that there would be toilets in heaven.”

    Back at the kitchen Kathy instructed me in how I’d stir the cookie batter.
    “You stir it like this,” she said as she showed me, “And then add a handful of M&M’s after each stir.”
    “Can I eat the M&M’s?” I asked.
    “Yes, you may have as many as you like.”
    “I have died and gone to heaven.” I replied.

  45. AmandahB says:

    It’s a bit smoky, as if someone got carried away with a fog machine. I walk forward and the smoke begins to clear. I’m not walking fast, but I feel as if I’m being pulled along. Maybe it’s a moving sidewalk.

    A mirror appears in front of me, and I look at myself. I can’t believe I’m wearing a Valentino Techno Couture dress in coral. My feet are adorned with Stella McCartney’s Treasure Brocade Bailey Pump. My hair is long and flowing. Damn! Who says the afterlife is some big scary, hairy place? It’s heaven.

    “Good morning Ms. Blackwell, you’re right on time,” says a Persian man dressed in a crisp Armani Classic Tuxedo with sage vest and tie. His long hair is pulled back and tied neatly; it’s held in place with an emerald hair tie.

    “Who are you?” I ask.

    “Forgive me. Where are my manners? My name is Ehsan,” says the Persian man.

    “Does your name have a meaning?” I ask.

    “Yes. It has many meanings such as compassion, gratitude, and excellence. The name can be used for a boy or girl. I believe the term that’s used is ‘unisex,’ says Ehsan.

    “Cool,” I respond.

    “Shall we?” asks Ehsan as he extends his right arm to me.

    “You don’t have to ask me twice,” I say.

    We begin to walk. I feel at ease and peaceful. God how peaceful it is. It’s as if everything works like it’s supposed to – it’s effortless. Not like on planet earth where everything seems so hard, as if you’re moving in slow motion and don’t get anywhere.

    “Where are we going?” I ask.

    “You’ll see soon enough,” says Ehsan.

    “So…What can I expect out of the afterlife?” I ask.

    “My dear, the afterlife is yours to decide what to do with. I’m sure you’ll find the mountains inviting as they mirror the mountains you hiked in Phoenix, AZ. Of course, you may be interested in taking art, drama, and music lessons. But that will be explained later,” says Ehsan.

    I smile. “Better late than never, in a matter of speaking,” I say.

    Vrrrooooommmmm! Vrrrooooommmmm!

    A man with medium length wavy chestnut brown hair dressed in black leather with a guitar across his back passes us by on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle.

    “OMG! Was that Jim Morrison from The Doors?” I ask barely getting the words out.

    Ehsan just smiles and we keep walking.

    “Ehsan, what’s the point of being born and living on earth? What is the real meaning behind life? I’d appreciate a straight answer and not one that a ‘spiritual guru’ may give which is, ‘You’re to find your life’s purpose. It’s to be happy. To discover the meaning of life. Those are too vague of answers,” I say.

    Ehsan looks at me and winks. “My dear Amandah all will be revealed. Life on earth isn’t what it appears to be. Illusions are everywhere,” he says.

    We keep walking.

  46. DMelde says:

    “Am I dead, Redle?” the boy asked.
    “As dead as they come, my boy!” Redle cheerfully replied.
    “That’s funny, I don’t feel any different.”
    “And why should you feel different? Do you remember your first lesson?”
    “That life is just a dream.”
    “And if life is a dream, my boy, why should death be any different?”
    The boy grew silent and thought for a moment before continuing.
    “Is this place heaven?”
    “Heaven or hell,” Redle said, “depends on your point of view. Consider a polka dance. To dance would be heaven for some, but listening to an accordion would be hell for others. Where we stand now is the site for your final lesson. It’s up to you to decide whether this place is heaven or hell.”
    “It’s not what I imagined heaven or hell, or my final lesson, to be like.” The boy said. “A sea-bed with fields of grass as far as my eye can see. I imagined it would, somehow, be more glamorous.”
    “Look at the blades of grass closely.” Redle instructed, “Look at how they sway back and forth as the sea moves gently around them. Can you feel them moving? “
    The boy watched the grass move rhythmically to and fro, dreamlike in quality, and lost himself in their midst.
    “I feel them.” He finally said.
    “Good!” Redle said, “Now look between the blades. What do you see?”
    The boy looked at the shadows between the blades of grass. He felt the tug of the water as he gazed into the dark spaces. He saw, faintly at first and then gaining in brightness, golden threads of light rising tenuously up from the grass towards the brighter surface of the water. With a start, he recognized the scene from some artists’ drawings in old textbooks.
    “The Dreaming Fields of Araggon!” The boy exclaimed. “I thought this place was a myth!”
    “The dream fields are real.” Redle instructed his student. “They are the only thing that is real. That is your final lesson.”
    The boy turned to look at his teacher.
    “What do you mean?” he asked.
    “We share a dream, you, me, and everyone else in the world. That’s what our world is, a dream. Here in these grass beds lay our reality. Together we’re sentient and living this dream, but separately we’re just clumps of individual grasses growing in the gently swirling water of the sea-bed. This is our home and our greatest secret as Dream Masters. Take a moment and think about this, and then tell me how you feel. Is this heaven or hell? Is it the dance or the accordion?”
    The boy thought for a long time.
    “There is a question that I’ve wanted to ask of you for many months.” The boy said. “I’ve wanted to know my purpose in life, but now, knowing who and what I am, I’m not sure it matters anymore.”
    “Your purpose is to protect the dream.”
    Smiling, the boy replied, “I feel like dancing.”

  47. Susan says:

    “Hi Mom”. I looked into the beautiful brown eyes of my son whom I hadn’t seen in 75 years. “Andrew” I sighed. I would have known him anywhere, although he was an infant when I last saw him. I never was able to look into those beautiful brown eyes as Andrew was born still, however, all my children had them. “I must have passed on because I knew when I saw you again, I would be dead” I said reaching up to touch his beautiful face. “I didn’t know if you would be a baby or be grown up when I saw you again”.

    “I am as you can relate to me” he replied. “If you had died young, I may appear younger to you. But, since you lived to be 97, I am as an adult so you can relate. Imagine God handing a 97 year old woman a baby! ”

    I laughed and smiled. “I am so happy to see you” I said as I wrapped my arms around the child I lost so long ago. “I’ve waited forever to do this”.

    “So Mom, let me show you around. You’re going to love it here. The Grandparents are here, your sisters, all the friends you have watched pass on, they’re all here waiting for you.” We proceeded to walk down a country road, awash in fall colors.

    “This is my favorite time of year” I said as we walked on.

    “I know” replied Andrew with a smile. “I wanted you to be comfortable and happy. You were always at peace in the country with your animals, so that’s where we are. There are cities, and you can choose to go visit if you like, but you will always be brought back here to the country because it is where your heart is at peace. “
    “Where you are my heart is at peace” I replied to him.
    “Here is where your job will be. We all have jobs to do and this one is yours.” We were standing at the gate of a large green pasture. “Your job is to pet the horses and feed them carrots, as many as they want. You can do this for as long as you want, or until you get tired.” I looked over the pasture and saw a familiar chestnut face, and a huge black horse, and several others I recognized.
    “Oh my gosh” I replied. “All my buddies are here! Can I ride them?” I asked eagerly.
    “Mom, your 97. This is eternity. You can ride until you’re hearts content”.
    “So Andrew, I just have one question. Does anyone every call you Andy?”

  48. Amy says:

    Heaven is a state of mind. That’s what Meg always said. Maybe it wasn’t a place, but a state of being. Still, I couldn’t shake the images of pearly gates and gold-paved streets that Trent always spoke of. He and Meg could never agree.

    What I beheld was different from my imaginings.

    Instead of St. Peter, Max was there to greet me.

    “Hello squirt,” he said, winking.

    I hadn’t seen Max since the early days of my adoption. I’d missed him, but no one thought it appropriate to tell a mere kitten what had happened to him. But I’d heard whispers. CATNIP. ADDICTION.

    “Hi Max.” His hair was snow white now, his whiskers bent and gray, but other than that, he hadn’t changed. “I guess this means…”

    “Yup kiddo. You’re in the great beyond. No more wondering eh?”

    “But this place….heaven’s nothing like what I thought.”

    “It never is,” he replied mysteriously. “Come on, I’ll give you the tour.”

    We wandered down a shady lane, lined with the greenest of trees. Birdsong was a sweet accompaniment to the rhythm of our footsteps. I thought of the quote Trent liked: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Yet there were none.

    My nose twitched, assailed with scents both familiar and not. A stream babbled to our right, colorful koi leaping from the crystal waters. A butterfly passed close to my face and I reached out to capture the fragile creature. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Max shake his head no.

    A frog leapt onto the path and I found it hard to restrain myself. I so wanted to give chase, to play. When a tiny gray mouse put in an appearance, I could no longer hold back. I leapt and pounced, catching the miniscule soul.

    “Hey squirt. You can’t do that here. He’s already paid his dues. That’s why he’s here.” Max gently disengaged the critter from my jaws.

    “I don’t understand, Max. How did I get here?”

    “It wasn’t your fault, squirt.” He moved forward. I followed.

    This place was populated with every kind of creature, along with trees and flowers and other foliage I’d never seen before. I wondered if there’d be dinosaurs. I shook my head. There was something missing, but I couldn’t think of what.

    We passed an oasis where a gentle rain fell and moved on to a pure white beach kissed by turquoise waters. The sky was azure, punctuated by white cotton-puff clouds.

    Max stopped suddenly. “So you don’t remember?” he asked.

    I shook my head no.

    “You and your mates were playing when Mr. Jeter’s dog came out of nowhere. He just wanted to play, but heck, he was three times your size and the lot of you panicked. You ran and ended up in the street. A car…”

    It all came back to me then. And I realized what was missing here.

    “Hey Max…I thought all dogs go to heaven?”

    I was awaiting his reply when a growl roused me, and I found myself jerked from my dreams.

  49. Icabu says:

    Taking the bottle of Jack Daniel’s, I barely noticed the low level of the amber liquid as I tipped the bottle, swallowing a long, burning slug. I whooped into the wind as Johnny, the band’s guitarist, revved the Vette’s powerful engine and the convertible shot down the road. I couldn’t see the speedometer, but the rush told me it was triple digits. Neither of us saw the slow moving dump truck on the dark road.

    “Marty? What are you doing here?” Confusion addled my brain like the familiar, frequent hangovers. Marty had died when he was fifteen of complications from Cystic Fibrosis. He now appeared as a grown man, but readily recognizable. He’d been the band’s earliest and most enthusiastic groupie.

    It appeared that I was at the entrance of the grandest post-concert party I’d ever seen. Was that Jimi Hendrix over there?

    “I’m your guide,” Marty said. “This is the afterlife.”

    “After … ?” An image of Johnny driving the Vette flashed before my eyes. “Johnny …”

    “Johnny is with his family. Shall we?”

    Following Marty through the maze of people, my mind wandered. Johnny had been despondent, finding out his young daughter had some kind of cancer. We went for a ride in his prized convertible to bleed off some tension. Apparently, I’d bled more than just tension.

    My attention snapped back when Marty lead me up onto the largest stage I’d ever seen. The drum kit filled the entire back of the set. It would take a crew of drummers to play. I closed my mouth before drool dripped from it. John Bonham and Keith Moon sat on two of the thrones. They pointed to the seat between them. I sat. We played. It was truly nirvana.

    The smile on Marty’s face reminded me of our band’s garage days. He motioned for me to follow him again. I left, John and Keith still playing. I wasn’t the least bit tired and got the feeling we’d played for a very long time.

    “This certainly isn’t what I expected,” I told Marty. “Where’s the harps and clouds and wings?”

    “That may be what some people experience here. Whatever makes you happiest.”

    That made sense to me.

    “Enjoy. You’re among friends, like minds. Your heart was kind and you did many selfless acts.” Marty stretched his arms wide. “Your reward.”

    “One thing, Marty. I saw you … on Earth … after you died. Can I go there, too? Check on Johnny, his daughter?”

    Marty took my hand, closed his eyes. I closed mine. Feeling a breeze, I opened my eyes. Johnny sat beside his daughter’s hospital bed. They were both smiling as the doctor announced her cancer was in remission.

    With a blink we were back at the party. I sidled up to Janis Joplin.

  50. noniej says:

    Well this is busier than I thought it would be. I never thought there would be cars and buses either. Vehicles of every description with none of them travelling in a straight line but they didn’t seem to be in each other’s way either. Crowds of people surged around me, their snow white robes trailing the ground. Okay. I sort of expected that. I twisted and turned to see if there were any signposts for newbies. I couldn’t see anything but then my wife was forever telling me I didn’t know how to look for stuff so maybe it was where I couldn’t see it. As I turned to peer down a highway that seemed to disappear into nothingness I felt a tap on my shoulder. I laughed with delight. It was my old friend, Johnny the barber. He gave me every haircut I ever had until he retired and dispensed wisdom along with brylcream to the young lad who couldn’t wait to rule the world.

    “C’mon Jake.” He took hold of my arm and steered me through the crowds.

    “It’s lovely to see you Johnny. Man, it’s been some day. Wait ‘till I tell you what happened to me.”

    He gave a little laugh and told me he already knew what had happened to me.

    “I’ve got questions Johnny.” I said to him but he put a finger to his lips.

    “Later Jake. You’ll have all the time in the universe to ask questions later. Let me show you what’s what now.” And saying that, he opened the arched door of a bubble car that was like something out of the Jetsons and told me to get in.

    Well. I tell ye. We went all over the place in that little car. He showed me where I was going to live – it looked like a big fancy hotel with frosting all over it and then the place where I would meet my friends and family. I wanted to go in there and then but he wouldn’t let me; said all in good time. He brought me to a place called Happening that was a bit like a cinema but the movies were real life stories happening on earth to real life people. That’s how he knew what happened to me. He said everyone had to visit Happening at least once a week to see if there was anyone we could help; be a familiar face for them when they arrived just as he was for me. That seemed okay to me and finally he told me to ask my questions.

    “Well I only have one now.” I replied. “Where’s the Big Fella? God?”

    “Oh Jake you’ll only get to see him if you no longer belong here. You have to follow the same rules and laws that you did on earth and if you break one you go to the other place. One strike & you’re out.”

    “Good job I was a policeman then, eh Johnny?”

  51. Chilo says:

    “Aaaarghhh…”

    The world turned in a black and white spiral. Roman clasped his hair with his hands the higher he ascended. Once it all became white, he knelt on the ground. Though, he could not see the ground or corners to this place, his fingers felt the cold of the surface.

    “Welcome, Roman.”

    A man in a white gown approached him, his bare feet visible with each step taken.

    “Who… who are you?”

    “Don’t you recognize me?”

    Slowly, Roman raised himself, “You’re Uncle Maximo.” He shook his head, but the Uncle still stood there, watching every move he made, “I don’t understand… you’re dead.”

    “And I have been dead for a very long time.” His hand reached out to Roman. Roman stepped back. “Do not be afraid.”

    “What is this place?”

    “You’ve died and gone to heaven.”

    “Heaven? Heaven’s supposed to be a paradise… trees, a garden, flowers, people.”

    Roman turned every which way and found the same white space enveloping them both. This was not how he imagined heaven to be or how he would have liked to be greeted.

    “This is the entrance to heaven.” the Uncle tugged his gown and gestured for Roman to follow him, “Come, you will know what to expect of your afterlife.”

    Uncle Maximo proceeds forward, but to Roman, it seems they are in the same place, nothing has changed.

    “You see there,” the Uncle points into the white abyss, “there is the paradise you seek.”

    “I see nothing but emptiness.”

    The Uncle smiles like the Mona Lisa and turns in the direction he pointed. “You will live here and carry on as the Angels aide. They will ask for assistance in earth matters and you will provide it.”

    “How am I gonna do that? I don’t have any special skills. I was a bank teller.”

    “You will know. Open your heart and you will believe.”

    Roman squint, trying hard to focus into the white void before him, thinking this is like those secret pictures, hidden from the naked eye, he opens and squints his eyes multiple times. Then, another thought pops into his head, but decides to wait after the tour.

    Uncle Maximo stops, “Here it is.”

    “What is?”

    “Your new home in heaven…”

    Roman still couldn’t see anything but white. He pretends to open a door, “If you say so.”

    “I must leave you. I have more to greet. We will meet again.”

    “Wait,” Roman places his hand on his shoulder, “There’s one thing I need to know.”

    “Speak.”

    “What am I doing in heaven?”

    “You have died a most unfortunate death on earth. You were rejected in the counterpart world because you were an honest bank man.”

  52. J. Loritz says:

    He is far enough away that I am not certain who he may be. He calls out to me in a voice I vaguely recognize. I can feel the snow beneath my back; can see it as it falls on my neck. I stand and look at the perfectly pale feet touching the ground. Who am I? Who is he? He turns to look at me in expectation. Do I follow? Of course. The answer comes to my mind as quickly as if someone were standing there beside me whispering it into my ear.
    So, I walk toward him. But it does not feel as if I am walking. He waits for me and, as I catch up to him, I notice the serious expression plastered on his face.
    My sweet Will, I thought, recognizing his perfectly straight nose and ash brown hair.
    “I am not to talk to you of anything, but the reason that I am here.” He paused. “Your name is Jane. I am here to take you to the Table of Judgment. When you arrive, you will lie upon the table and one of two things will occur: your soul will either fly back to Earth and inhabit a new body or stay here as you and become an angel.”
    “Will, tell me what this is.” He continues to walk at an unnaturally steady pace, with only the snow impeding his steps.
    “I cannot,” he says loudly, facing forward. Then, he turns to me and urgently whispers, “Listen to me, Jane. You’re not staying. You’re going back. But I have a plan to keep you here.”
    “But how do you-”
    “Don’t ask me anything. Just trust me.”
    We walk on quickly and silently for a few moments.
    “Will you please answer one more question?” I murmur.
    “One question.”
    I hesitate, but I desperately need to know.
    “Will you promise me that I’ll always remember you?”

  53. Vanleraywi says:

    I stood in the waiting room, feeling like Gary Larson was somewhere around me, laughing. A man with golden hair stepped up, holding a beautiful clip board; I couldn’t understand why it was beautiful, but I could sense that’s what I was supposed to think.
    “Mr… Olaf?” The man, with the golden hair, said, as he looked around the room. He looked around at a few angels near by, looking incredulous.
    “That’s me,” I said, as I got up, “You really are made in Homer’s image.”
    He looked at me angry for a moment, but it quickly turned to a smile. His eyes were bluer than the Caribbean. He had curly hair, and a thick brow. I was expecting him to recite the Odyssey at any moment, but instead he beckoned for me to follow. We walked down a long, oddly white, hallway. I felt a sense of joyfulness, that unfortunately, I couldn’t shake.
    “Here in the Eternal House Of God,” the man said, as we kept walking, “It is our job to honor God every day.”
    “Even on the weekends?!” I asked.
    I could see the anger stay in his blue eyes for a bit longer this time, but just as quickly as the first time, they washed away with his light smile.
    “Yes,” he replied, “even on the weekends.”
    Two angels, that had to be supermodels at some point in their life, walked by.
    “Okay, wait one minute,” I said, as I stopped him in his place, “I just saw two insanely hot angels walk by, do we get to have sex here? cause if not, I’m ready to go back home.”
    “This is your home now.”
    I didn’t like the sound in his voice.
    “But to answer your question, yes sex is very popular here…I have never understood it. However I do understand beauty, and those two, we just passed, were very un-beautiful, to what we have here.”
    Ah… Heaven.

    • JR MacBeth says:

      Some good humor here. Needed more at the end, IMO, but that’s looking like the norm with these “heaven” stories (my counter says you’ve still got 125 words to go…). Of course, how do you go beyond insanely hot supermodel angels?

  54. Midnight_Beauty says:

    The room was dark and foggy. I could only see little flickers of fire from where I was standing. Mysterious sounds filled the air. It was hard to ignore the aromas of spice mixed with a peculiar sweetness.

    “Hello my dear,” a voice said. Soft voice that would have frightened me had it not been so familiar….

    “Grandmother?” I asked. I ran towards the dark with flickers of fire. Then, it occured to me…”Grandmother, where are you?” I asked. “Please come out!” A shadow rolled past one of the candles in the distance, coming closer towards me. But I was not afraid.

    “My dear Granddaughter. I have waited for you!” she held out her hands, so full of youth. Her body was so fit. Her hair was so thick and beautiful. It was not at all like I remembered.

    “Um, Grandmother?” I asked, just looking for verification. “Is this going to be a good dream, or is this a nightmare?”

    “Neither my dear.” she smiled and the room became a little brighter. “You’re dead. Welcome!”

    “Dead?” I asked. How could I have been dead? The last thing I remembered was…well…oh no! “Am I in Hell? Please. Not hell!”

    “Be calm, my dear.” she said. “You are not in Hell. Welcome to Heaven!”

    “This is heaven?” I thought.

    “This is Heaven.” My Grandmother said, reading my mind as she always did so many years ago. “A bit more light will do the trick.”

    As she said those words, the room lit up as if a skylight had been in place.

    “Oh my gosh!” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in the middle of the biggest spa I had ever seen! My Grandmother explained the stations, and I discovered that I was actually in a small area of an amazing spa Resort!

    “Oh Grandmother, this is incredible!” I said as a beautiful white satin robe appeared on my naked body. “I just have one question for you.”

    “What’s that my dear?” she asked.

    “Will it be long before my sister gets here? A spa is just not the same without her.”

    She smiled at me and I followed her as my Grandfather came by her side. “Not long at all my dear. For an hour year is a decade back there. ” She leaned in for a kiss. “And well worth every minute.”

  55. mokingjay says:

    “Mr. Jonas?”

    I blinked in the bright light. I was still a little groggy, and not quite sure of myself. I was standing in a open room. It was completely empty. The air was heavy and humid, but very bright.

    “Yes it’s me.”

    He walked towards me smiling. He had been my high school theater teacher. He still has the same walk, not quite a limp, but it had always sounded off beat as he walked on the stage. But he was also different. He looked younger, his skin less wrinkled his back slightly straighter.

    “Hello Martha,” he said as he reached for my hand, “Welcome to Heaven.”

    As he said this, everything changed. All of a sudden we were just two in hundreds of people, running, laughing, and talking in a world of noise and color.

    “Where are we?”

    “Like I said, this is Heaven.”

    As I adjusted to the change in surroundings, I realized that we were standing in the lobby of a theater. But it was unlike anything I had ever seen. There was not one show being advertised; there were hundreds. Stall after stall stood along the walls selling tickets for the various shows. And as I looked harder, I realized people didn’t pay with cash. They paid with a hug or a kiss. One man near us paid a girl with a compliment.

    “What shows are these?” I asked looking around.

    “Life,” he said simply, “The interesting bits of people’s lives. Here,” he motioned to the room, “This is where you come to see bits from the lives of the dead. Parts they want to share. On the next floor, it’s more like a move theater, where you can follow people, who are a live today.” He smiled a bit to himself. “They watch people, pray for them, laugh when things go well, cry when they don’t. There’s always someone there with you.”

    Just as he finished I hear a voice behind me calling my name,

    “Martha!”

    I turned and saw a young beautiful woman running towards me.

    “Oh you’re here!” she cried and through her arms around me. “You probably don’t remember me. I’m Sarah, your godmother. Of course you don’t, you were only a year old when I moved here.” She smiled as she looked me up and down. “Well, I’ve followed you ever since.”

    She smiled at Mr Jonas.

    “Hello, I’ll take her from here.”

  56. jenjane says:

    Leaving the darkened space behind, I walked toward the light, it was blinding but oddly cool and calming. It opened out to pastures of green and gold. This was real farming country. Fat Merinos grazed on the lush rolling hills. Dams were brimming with water and wheat heads were full of gold. I walked past the main gate which were made of aged grey timber giving the effect of polished pearl. 
    “This is Heaven!” a familiar voice warmly welcomed me.
    Turning and  squinting  my eyes to focus on the masculine torso floating toward me.
    “Deon mate!”  I stammered “After the tractor  pounded you into the ground last harvest, I thought I would never see you again, let alone in one piece!”
    He had been the macho man around town before his untimely calling. The bloke at the BBQ who always managed to create some party trick  after consuming the contents of his ever bulging esky. Yeah he was a mans’ man.
    “Heaven is a place of healing and forgiving”  Deon said calmly

    Deon showed me around the heavenly farm, guiding me between sheds of top quality hay, yards with Jersey cows producing endless streams of milk.   Paddocks of Murray Grey cattle, cud chewing T-Bone steaks.  I had a burning question I need to ask, but not sure how to approach it now Deon seemed to be a reformed man of serenity.
    We floated toward what looked like a coolroom. Deon pulled at the leaver, the heavy door swung open to reveal a cold room stacked with …..the answer to my question!

  57. Heart2Heart says:

    “Where am I”, a smile pasted on my face at seeing my old dog, Pudge, who has wings above his haunches – far enough back on his torso that when he greets me front paws on my shoulder, there is room to hug him and put my face on his back hugging him with all my might.
    I never expect he will answer me but he does and it startles me. “You’re in heaven with me” . His tongue slurps at my face.
    “God how I miss those wet kisses, Pudge. I miss you so much.” Pudge obliges with three more slurps.
    I notice the doggie treats hanging for the taking from low-ceilinged stars too numerous to count and gullies filled with water and some with food and there are bushes made of golden branches and fetching sticks scattered here and there. “I knew you’d be in heaven”, I say, “but it’s your heaven”.
    “It’s your heaven too. This is just the dog park. Come with me around the corner, there is so much more to show you.” Pudge proceeds to lead me on his walk, never leaving my side but a step ahead, a lot like we walked on our daily brisk outings together.
    As we round the corner, the streets turn to gold and my parents are standing there smiling at me holding their arms open to greet me. They hug me much like I hugged Pudge and I feel their love emanating from their bodies like healing heat. My body on earth had been wracked with pain and the pain is gone, taken away by their love. Behind them stand my grandmothers who I never met because they had died before I was born. I felt their presence throughout my life on earth. One of my grandmothers holds my baptism dress, the other my wedding dress, telling me without words they were there for every important moment in my life. My grandfathers stand next to them and they are smiling and winking in unison. “You made it, we knew you would from the day you were born”. It is good to see them again. They died, one when I was 5 years old and one the year I turned 20.
    They all reach out to kiss me and the warmth keeps getting stronger, the love so radiant I shed my body and my soul is all there is. I look and they have shed their bodies as well. As spirits we continue on the journey.
    “I have one question”, I beg. “Who has really loved me in my life other than you?”
    We arrive on the beach. The sand is iridescent -the colors of sea and sun and rainbows beyond description. Jesus is standing by the water waiting for me. My soul approaches awed by His presence. He points to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Our Blessed Lady smiles. My soul recognizes those who have loved me forever, my question is no longer relevant.

  58. It felt like I’d died twice; first when I choked on the Brazil nut that took my life, then again as I stood waiting in heavens seeming unending queue.

    While I skimmed over the activities listed in the gold-plated ‘Heavenly Kingdom” handbook, (which I’d been given the moment I passed through the pearly gates), my guide droned on relentlessly monotone. His lack of enthusiasm was infectious.

    “So like, you’re not allowed pets I guess.” I’d been at this boys funeral. Having my former next door neighbours teenage son as my heavenly guide, wasn’t that surprising. Jonathan was 4 years older than me when he died at the age of 18. I remember sitting beside my parents at his funeral, as the church pastor warned the congregation against the dangers of excessive sugar-cereal consumption.

    “I guess because all the animal freedom rights and stuff?” Jonathan mused as he led me to my designated home. “The lion and the lamb and whatever.” He’d seemed so old to me back then, a gangly kid with a laid back attitude and a non-stop supply of weed. It was peculiar to find myself some 10 years his senior.

    “Also everyone gets one harp.” When he’d met me at the entrance of heaven, an uncharacteristic sharp flicker of recognition in his eyes seemed to calm my anxieties, as I passed through the gates. “Its standard issue, so no upgrades. Take care of your harp, its like your…” he hesitated, coming to a stop as he paused, “what’s the last year you remember?”

    “Um, 2012?” I answered uncertain.

    He flicked through the A5 notepad he was holding, “Kay. Yeah,” he said distracted as he ran his finger down the margin of the page, “harps are like a Walk-man? No wait.” he double tapped the paper. “Ipod, its like your iPod.” He gazed up at me, a lazy grin stretched across his face. “Those sound kinda cool,” he said, his voice drifting off as we began walking again.

    “So,” I said breaking the silence after we’d travelled for a long while. I made a mental note to get a watch, but discarded that idea. Why keep time if you are going to live forever? “How have you found things here so far?”

    Jonathan’s brow wrinkled as he gave my question deep thought. After a few long moments, as I was about to repeat my question, he answered. “Its OK.” He shrugged in conclusion, before turning to present my new home. “Here you go.”

    I was met with a large wooden cottage; a red door with no numbering and no visible locks.

    “How do I get in?” At my query, the front door opened.

    “The house knows.” Jonathan replied, his tone sage, as he began to walk back down the pathway.

    “Jonathan,” I said jogging to catch up to him as he came to a stop. He turned and grinned at me. “One more question. I’ve always wanted to know,” I leaned in co-conspiratorially. “What does god look like?”

    His grin turned into a knowing smirk. “Like me.” As confusion washed across my face he clarified. “I personally greet everyone who comes through the gates. Its easier for newcomers to adapt if I take the form of someone from your past.” He gave me a warm smile as he spun and continued down the path, concluding over his shoulder, “I’m actually a lot taller in real life”.

    —————————————————————————————————

    Authors Note : A little over the word count, I know, but the story manages to stay on point with the prompt. I tried to describe heaven as a kind of eternal holiday park. No idea why that description came to me.

  59. Susan says:

    The one tempi changes were flawless, they flowed like water. Around the end of the arena, the transition to extended trot across the diagonal was like having wings. I felt at home, on a horse with whom I had a soulful connection. My Stuebben saddle just as hard as a rock, unlike the cushy saddle I later traded it for. The sun was shining, the temperature a perfect 72 degrees. As we moved along in the Grand Prix dress age test, I felt as if the horse and I were one. It couldn’t be Breeze. He had died quite some time ago from complications of colic. But there had been no other horse in my life that I felt knew me as well as I knew him. We were like lovers, knowing each other’s mood, when to push, when to step back and let the magic happen. Here I was, performing the movements on this horse I always dreamed about.
    “Is this really you, Breeze? It’s impossible.”
    “Not if you’re dead like me” he seemed to reply. “You knew I had this talent, we just never had the opportunity to make it happen” he said. “I died too young and I have missed you so much.”
    This was impossible. Horses don’t talk and Breeze had been dead for over 10 years. My last memory was being thrown from a young prospect I was schooling who had an “oh my god” moment when a stray bag flew across the arena.
    “He didn’t spook at the bag” Breeze had said. “He saw me. I just sort of stepped in front of him and he had no where to go. He wasn’t’ that good, Susan. He would never have my talent” Breeze wickedly chuckled.
    “You came for me?” I was stunned. I figured when I made that final trip someone “godly” would let me know when it was time.
    “God figured that I would be the perfect soul to transport you to heaven” Breeze replied as we did canter pirouettes down the center line. “I loved you so much”.

    “I just have one question, Breeze. Do they have horseshows in heaven?”

  60. livvyrose8 says:

    Elevators. Huh, guess Led Zepplin was wrong about that stairway thing.

    “Grandpa, wow I am surprised to see you here!!”

    “Like wise, I guess God really is the ultimate forgiver.”

    “Now Grandpa, lets not release old family skeletons. It’s good to see you. Really.”

    ” Okay, okay. I am supposed to give you a tour and show you the ropes. Let’s start with the Library.”

    “Library wow! We can read up here?”

    “Yes indeed. There is nothing more heavenly than curling up with a good book.
    Okay now through the library to the left is the Rec Center.”

    “Rec Center really… How cool is that. How about a pool do they have a pool?”

    “Yup, pool, hot tub, whirlpool, sauna, the works.”

    “I never imagined all this in Heaven.”

    “What’d you think, you floated around on a cloud all day playing a harp. Lazy just lazy. After lunch I’ll take you to get your work assignment and show you your room.”

    Funny we sat there and ate the best food ever and I could barely taste it. A burning question just kept nagging deep inside me.

    After lunch we received my assignment and headed towards my room. But the question wouldn’t let up, it kept boiling around making me edgy. Finally I couldn’t stand it any more and turned and faced my Grandfather.

    “What? What is it?” He inquired very puzzled.

    “Sorry Grandpa, but I have to know. Is there a bathroom up here?”

  61. slayerdan says:

    Salty air,a good breeze for the sail, and clear skies. It was any ocean lovers’ dream. The warm sun beamed down on David as he guided his boat, The Cutty Buddy, through the calm water. He felt himself smile as he marveled at it all. It felt like he had been on the water for days, yet was as refreshed as if he had just woke up. He wasn’t even hungry.

    “Almost a dream,” he uttered to open waters.

    “Not quite a dream son,” came a familiar voice that he felt rather than actually heard. Side to side glances yielding no clues, David looked behind where he stood. His hand tightened on the wheel as his mouth fell open. He felt weak in the knees.

    “Dad?,” he managed to say with what seemed to be the last bit of air in the world. There, sitting in the back of the boat, was his father. He looked well, dressed in blue, knee length swim shorts and a tank top. He was robust and full, even the hair on his head. He looked nothing like the man David had helped bury four years ago.

    “You expected someone else,” his father replied, a wide grin on his face. “I had hoped it would be many more years before I was able to see you again,” he continued, his smile a bit dimmer.

    Davids’ mind swirled. Calmness once again filled him, as it did moments before when it was just him and the open ocean. It was his father that took him on his first fishing trip. Took him whale watching. The expeditions that led to his undying love of the open waters.

    “Are you a ghost?” David asked.

    “To some, maybe so. To you, my son, I am an echo, a tangible memory, a link from one side of the door to the next,” his father replied, never moving from his spot on the boat. “ I am a comforting thought that has been provided for you.”

    David stared for a moment and looked over the open waters again. Not turning back to his father he asked,” so does that mean I’m dead?”

    “Yes,” the voice replied calmly.

    David felt an ephemeral hand on his shoulder and turned to see his father next to him. He felt as if he should be crying, but those tears never came. He felt the breeze against the back of his head as The Cutty Buddy continued to slice through the ever calm water.

    He felt he should have concern for someone he left behind, yet no name came to him. “So what now?” he managed with nervous smile.

    “Now? Now we sail and enjoy the water and in time I will help you and answer your questions,” his father replied.

    “Questions?” David asked.

    “Anything,” his father said.

    “ The whales,” David said with a chuckle,” do you think they laugh at us because we have to use boats?” he asked as The Cutty Buddy continued cutting through the calm.

    • Heart2Heart says:

      Love it. Well done!

    • DMelde says:

      Good story. Yes, I think we amuse them.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Really enjoyed this one Slayer!

    • JR MacBeth says:

      I especially liked this line, “He felt he should have concern for someone he left behind, yet no name came to him.”
      In one line you communicated his surreal state-of-mind, and considering the subject matter, that’s quite an accomplishment. The reader immediately is forced to consider something almost unthinkable, that in the afterlife, even those we love may fade away, for whatever reason. And yet, there was his father, and the things he said, that balanced that out, otherwise the line could have left the reader feeling opposite the intended effect.
      Not sure all that was intended, but to me this looked like a thoughtfully crafted story.
      Nicely done!

      • slayerdan says:

        I appreciate you mentioning this. I grew up in the church, and although I cannot quote scripture verse for verse, things from church always stuck w me—such as “all things will be forgotten”. I know most ppl hold Heaven as a place where everyone sits around and reminisces, but what if its not? What if all you hold dear here, is not even a memory there? Thanks for catching it.

    • Birdee0809 says:

      Very nice story Slayer! I like the feeling of serenity and their love for each other was clear.

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