Chapter 3: Afterlife.
The panting of my breath, the beat of my heart, it all seems so distant now, so long ago. Now, that I am dead. I try to feel for one more familiar touch, I try to hear for one more familiar voice, I try to look for one more familiar face. But find none. All there are are voices, as strange people crowd around me, closing in. I at last, finally truly feel the wind upon my skin, the sweat upon my brow, and the concrete beneath my body. All is clear now, and in some sudden clarity I see my life passing through my eyes.
I see myself when I was a child, the smiles I would show as I grinned like a Chesire Cat. Then, a flash, now I'm a teenager awkwardly asking out the woman of my dreams. Then, a flash, I am standing in front of the altar, with my wife at my side; then, another flash, and nothing. And I feel the wind blow quicker. And then, I feel nothing. And my spirit falls out of my body, and down below.
Then, a flash, and I am standing above my body. And there are six bright beings around me, each six or seven feet tall. With ranging hair colors, impeccable skin and undaunting eyes; they were, in every sense of the word, beautiful. And as I look up at them, one steps forward.
“Hello, I am Gabriel.”
I nod as I walk toward him, he folds light around me, and the light almost looks like wings. And then, a flash, a shudder, and I stand in front of a grand castle.
He grabs my arm and leads me inside. As he moves the door to the side I walk in. A chorus of angels sounds my entrance. I feel, at awe with the various beings all looking a lot like Gabriel. We continue to walk along a red carpet, embroidered with gold seems creating wonderful patterns along the side.
As I walk along, the carpet splits into to paths. One leading onward, another leading to the left, Gabriel lead me down the left path. We continued on forward and I took my head from the carpet and began looking at the walls. There were beautiful pieces of artwork, all laden in golden frames with the names of their painters beneath.
“Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Giotto-“
“And Raphael, Nicolas Poussin, Titian and many other painters, yes,” Gabriel finished.
“So, they live here in heaven and paint?”
“Not exactly, when one dies, and they go to heaven, they live in the presence of God. However, when someone’s judgement is undetermined, they go here; to purgatory. In purgatory sometimes the great artists of the past leave their mark to soothe your soul.”
My eyes widened in surprise and delight.
“If this is purgatory, I’d love to see what heaven looks like.”
He simply nodded, and we continued to walk down the path laid by the carpet. Then, the path left the small hallway and entered a grand chamber, with a tall ceiling, and as the carpet lead the way through it, I couldn’t help but notice thousands of statues occupying the space.
I gaped as I noticed how beautiful everything was put together, and it seemed that all the statues were alluding to one central theme; redemption.
I look in front of us and notice a large door, and behind it, I do not know.
“What’s on the other side?”
“Daniel. Dan means Judgement or He judges, I means of and el means God. Literally spoken it means God judges, or Judgment of God.”
I simply nod at the explanation.
“So, he’s a judge.”
“More or less.”
I nod again. Then, Gabriel opens the door and he walks me inside. And there, on a chair in the middle of an elliptical, tall room sat a man. He had brown hair, parted down the middle. His defined cheek bones and his cold, blue eyes looked beautiful. He was wearing a brown, patterned turtleneck sweater. Wings were stretching out of his back about four feet on both sides. He had his face in his hand, and he was looking at me, curious. Then, Gabriel turned and left, closing the door behind him.
“So, you’re Terrance.”
“Yes, and you’re Daniel.”
He sat up in his chair, his hand going back to his knee. His wings seemed to stretch too.
“Yes, I am. Tell me, do you think you deserve to go to Heaven?”
I quickly began to think about that, many things that I did wrong came to mind. And I fast began to realize, I had a horrible life.
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Good, because anyone who does, surely shouldn’t.”
I perked up in surprise.
Daniel looked confused.
“Well, if you think you should go to Heaven, you are clearly mislead by your own self-righteousness and shouldn’t go at all.” I nodded. “So, tell me something, what do you care about the most?”
I was taken aback by this question.
“I hadn’t really thought of that.”
“Say the first thing that comes to your mind.”
“My family, I guess.”
A notebook appears in his hand, and a pen in the other. He begins to scribble something onto it.
“Mhm, if you could go back to help the lives that you left behind, who would you help?”
This question also shocked me.
“Well, my wife, my kids, my mom.”
I shook my head.
“What about your brother, Bernard; or your sister, Victoria.”
“Well, yeah I guess them too.”
“Perfect, then it’s settled. The angels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Sachiel, Raziel and Zadkiel will help you affect the lives of your family. By the grace of God, I decree this to be so. You can leave now.”
“Wait, what, why can’t I go to Heaven right now?”
“Because, if I recall correctly you said you don’t deserve to go to Heaven, and I feel like helping some lives. So, I am telling those six angels to help you help your family get over this crisis.”
I nod, unsure of what to say.
“You can leave now.”
I not again and turn around. I walk towards the door and open it. I exit the room and close the door behind me, and there stands Gabriel.
“I am here to help your daughter.”
I nodded, and Gabriel folded his wings around me. And, as the light faded, and the darkness began caving in I felt sad. Then, I realized I had closed my eyes and opened them, and around me was something I hadn’t expected. We were in my daughter’s room.