A/N: Alright, my first post on Fiction Press, obviously not the first story I've ever written. Be as critical as you want, I want to improve. Enjoy!
I woke up in my room. I stretched my arm when my wrist cracked. I rotated it a few times before rising up out of my bed. I went to my dresser to grab clothes for the day before noticing my appearance in the mirror. My hair was perfectly clean. No shower. Bonus. But I was also wearing plain, vibrant white pyjamas. I didn't own pyjamas. I shrugged it off. I didn't remember showering the night before either, so I figured that I had just gotten wasted and couldn't remember a thing. I dismissed the clean hair and pyjamas with relative ease. I opened up my dresser, slammed it shut, and then opened it once more. Still empty. I scratched my head in wonder. I had no idea where my clothes were, but I decided not to care.
However, I was itching for a drink. I went to my closet to have some of a cooler before I went down for breakfast. Yeah, maybe being a 17 year old alcoholic isn't the best thing, but that's life. But my stash wasn't there. Nothing was.
Except some weird long haired hippie with a beard. I backed up quickly.
I looked over at the guy. He had a darker skin tone than mine, which wasn't surprising seeing as I was pale as snow. His dark hair fell to his shoulders and had a slight amount of wave to it. He had a beard covering his chin, but nothing up the sides of his jaw. Not a trace of stubble. His dark eyes seemed penetrating, like he could see everything inside of me.
The creepiest thing was he had a look of love on his face. I stared at the man.
"Who the he—" My voice cut out just as I was about to say 'hell.' So I cleared my throat and tried again. "Who are you?" The man smiled at me, and took two steps forward. I took two steps backward.
"My son, it is good to see you again." I winced at the words 'my son' and choked at the words 'see you again.'
"Alright, who are you? Because if you've been hanging around and watching me and…well, who knows what else, my dad is going to call the cops here so fast." The man smiled at me again.
"There are no cops here. We have no need for them."
"What are you talking about?" A look of puzzlement passed over the man's face.
"My son, have you not realized?" I yearned to punch the man.
"Realized what?" The man sighed.
"I guess now I should formally introduce myself. My name is Jesus, and I am the Messiah. Welcome to Heaven." 'Jesus' extended his hand to me. I laughed.
"Right. Well, I'll be expecting my clothes and booze back anytime, 'Jesus.'" I said the name he had given with a sneer and went straight to my door and pulled it open. My mouth dropped open.
Before me lay not my house, but an entire city. Buildings were constructed of silver, sapphire, ruby, emerald, and every other gem ever imagined. The streets were of paved gold. To my right was a gigantic amethyst football stadium, and I could see people walking into it at that moment. 'Jesus' walked up beside me and looked towards the stadium.
"Everyone is preparing for your arrival." I blanched.
"What did you do? Did someone slip ecstasy into my drink last night or something?" 'Jesus' looked down at me in pity.
"No, you were always clean of most serious drugs. Alcohol was your refuge though." I stepped back again. Back into my room. Except my room wasn't there anymore. I backed into a building made of topaz. I whirled around, panicking. I realized then my clothes had changed into a white collared shirt and pair of blue jeans, with runners identical to mine at home, except these were white.
"Don't worry, nothing is going to happen to you. However, you must come along for orientation. We have certain rules and laws in Heaven that you must obey." I glared at the man.
"I'm not going to any stupid orientation because I'm not dead. Obviously one of the guys—Derek, probably—slipped some kind of pill or something into my drink. I'm just hallucinating." I was satisfied with my explanation of my situation. The man shook his head sadly.
"I guess you're not ready. Well, let's walk and talk." I pointed to the stadium.
"Don't you have to go to that?" He laughed.
"I'm Jesus. I am excused from such things if situations such as yours arise before me."
"So…I'm not high? This is the real deal, this is Heaven?" I wasn't entirely sure I could handle it. Jesus nodded gravely.
"It is." I was preparing myself to feel desperation, fear, anxiety, any number of things. But I wasn't expecting happiness.
"Let's go to the orientation thing." I said. Jesus smiled at me, and we walked towards the stadium. "So what goes on at this orientation thing?" I asked.
"Simply, you will be instructed as to what things you must do while in Heaven. You will have chores as well. Also, we will find any relatives you may or may not have in Heaven." I nodded and looked at the giant stadium.
"So how many other dead people will be at this thing? Like, new dead people." Jesus laughed.
"Just you." My mouth dropped.
"How can I be the only person that died?" Jesus frowned, and a single tear rolled down his face.
"You're not. But you're the only one who was saved. You're the only one that was admitted to Heaven." I gasped.
"Are you serious?"
"Completely." I frowned, and then we reached the stadium. Jesus extended one hand and motioned me in. So I went in. There was a large gold podium with a chair made of sapphire placed in the centre. Jesus motioned for me to sit in the chair when we reached the podium, so I moved and sat down. Jesus then looked around at the thousands of people in the stands. I looked around for the microphone.
"Welcome! Welcome everyone! Bless each and every one of you. May light shine upon you today, and for all of your days here. We have a new addition to our ranks today, Mr. Hunter Devon Demor. He has come to us from New York City, and he died just two days ago. Let's begin with the rules, shall we?" Jesus flashed a brilliant smile and waved his hand. On a giant screen, two phrases appeared. Jesus looked towards me. "Hunter, will you please say the phrases that are on the screen, please?" I nodded and looked at the screen.
"Do not act in any manner in which you acted upon the face of the Earth. Always treat everyone with the love in which you'd treat the Father, the Son, or the Spirit."
"Do you, Hunter Devon Demor promise to live by these rules laid down here on this day of orientation?"
"Yes, I do."
"Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven, my son." Jesus pulled me from the chair into a tight hug at that point, and though I was shocked, I hugged him back. He released me, and brushed his hand through the air again. A small gold platform rose out of the large platform and it had a small area on it made of emerald. Jesus looked out to the crowd, his voice booming out once more. "Now, does anyone here know of a relation to Hunter?" I saw a woman with frizzy black hair stand up. She was wearing a bright purple shirt with orange pants. She raised her hand and her voice.
"I am related to Hunter." Jesus spun on his heel to face the woman.
"Lorrine Barbara Felicey."
"Aunt." Jesus nodded.
"Very good. Well come up here. Hunter, you will be staying with your Aunt Lorrine for a while, until you are old enough to have a place of your own." I nodded and smiled. When my Aunt arrived at the platform, I knew exactly who she was.
Aunt Lori had died of cancer three years before I died, and she had always been my favourite Aunt. Crazy and with no sense of style or colour coordination in the slightest, Aunt Lori was always a party to be around. I hugged her when she came up to me.
"Hey there, kiddo. Long time no see," she said to me.
"Hey, Aunt Lori." She smiled her goofy grin at me.
"I guess this will be just like when you came to stay in Houston with me for that summer, eh?" I laughed aloud at Aunt Lori's dialect. It was good to hear it again—I was surprised to find that I had missed her crazy ways. Jesus smiled at both of us.
"Well, it's excellent that you're already acquainted. Hunter, here are your chores." He handed me a tight scroll of parchment, which I unrolled there. In gold lettering were my chores. "Please read your chores aloud." I nodded and read over the chores in my head a few times before speaking.
"Help to polish the sidewalks and street signs. As well, help gather fruit at noon time." I looked up at Jesus. "Is that it?"
"That's it. You'll find that when everyone does a little bit, everything gets done. Now, I do believe that is everything you need to know. If you need to talk to me, just turn on your iAngel and send me a message—I'm on your IM contacts—and I'll set up a meeting with you." Jesus smiled. "Now, I think you and your Aunt Lori have some catching up to do. You are exempt from your chores for today." Aunt Lori grabbed my arm and dragged me off the podium, and we were quickly walking through the streets of jewelled buildings. We finally turned to a house made of ruby and Aunt Lori walked up and opened the door. The house was exponentially bigger inside than it appeared outside.
The first room of the house was a grand entranceway, with a ceiling rivalling that of medieval castles. There was gold leafing all around the walls and ceiling, and the doorways were large and elegant. I passed through one doorway into the biggest kitchen I had ever seen. It had a table big enough to sit one hundred people and a fridge big enough to hold food for all one hundred people. I went back into the entranceway and moved into another room, where there was a thin, flat screen, the edge of which was made of ruby, with the word 'iAngel' inscribed in the edge just below the screen. I assumed that was the computer. I went from room to room, with each room just as elegant and fancy as the room before it. At last, I stumbled upon a room that I knew would mean everything to Aunt Lori.
"I see you've found my library." Aunt Lori said, coming up behind me. The library was by far the biggest room in the house. It extended until I could just barely see the edge, and book shelves towered over the entire room. There were several ladders with wheels on them to reach the books at the very top. I moved into one row of books and clambered onto a ladder and climbed to the very top. There, there were hundreds of plays by Shakespeare. I looked down at Aunt Lori.
"How do you have so many Shakespeare plays? I thought he only wrote thirty-two…" My Aunt smiled at me.
"Yes, on Earth. He wrote hundreds more here." I slid down the line and picked up the play Lucifer. I flashed the cover to Aunt Lori.
"I'm assuming this is new?" She grinned.
"Why, yes it is. How did you ever guess?"Aunt Lori motioned for me to step down off the ladder. I obeyed and went and stood beside her. Aunt Lori then took off down into a section of the library. I followed her as quickly as I could. Soon we were in her Fantasy section. "So, Hunter, are you still interested in The Wheel of Time series?"
"Yes, although I never found out how it ended." I grumbled.
"Well, here. The last book. Robert Jordan finished it here." I gaped and took the book from her hands, running my hands over its gleaming cover. The embossed title—A Memory of Light—reminded me that I did not know how I had died. I turned to my Aunt.
"Aunt Lori…this is really excellent of you…but I'd really like to know how I died." Aunt Lori looked sympathetically at me.
"Sorry Hunter. I just don't know that. Just go on your iAngel, make an appointment with The Big G." I looked at her. "Oh, gosh, I haven't shown you your room yet!" Aunt Lori bustled out of the room in a hurry, making frantic motions at me to follow her. She stopped just outside a large door made of a blue gem with gold leaf embossing the edges of the door. I pushed the door open to find a very fancy and upscale room lay out before me.
There was a four-poster bed, with blue satin sheets and a blue cotton bedspread. There was a desk carved from white marble and on it, sat a small laptop made of blue topaz, with the word 'iAngel' inscribed upon it. I moved over to the laptop and flipped it open, and it came to life instantly. A small Messenger person with wings popped up and I clicked on the sign in button. I had three contacts.
The Spirit. Aunt Lori came up behind me.
"The Father is the one you'll want to send a message to. Just be all 'I'm just wondering how I died.'" I laughed and opened a conversation with The Father and said just that. The Father messaged me back instantly.
"A taxi will pick you up in front of your house right away. I look forward to seeing you again, Hunter. Love, God (The Father)." I heard a small honk and looked out my window. There was a yellow taxi sitting at the curb. Aunt Lori came running up the stairs.
"Why aren't you going? You don't keep The Big G waiting, silly boy!" I dashed down the stairs and hurtled into the taxi. I was sitting in the back seat when I noticed that the driver had large, white wings pushing against the seat. I gaped. The driver turned around and offered his hand to me.
"Hello, Hunter. I'm Gabriel." I gasped.
"Archangel, actually. Slightly higher than angels." Gabriel turned around and started driving. "So you're my new sidewalk worker, huh? I supervise that particular chore. I look forward to getting to know you." I smiled. "And call me Gabe when we're working. Gabriel is too formal for my tastes." I smiled and then gasped when we were stopping. "Well, here we are. I hope you enjoy your Aunt's house. It's one of the biggest, nicest houses in Heaven. She throws the best dinner parties too." I smiled, thanked Gabriel and got out of the cab. I stood in front of a building that looked exactly like the Sistine Chapel. I entered slowly to find a man sitting in a chair made of white marble. His face seemed to change as I watched it, changing from Jesus' face, to two others that I did not recognize, and more often than not, a mix of all three faces. When He spoke, his voice had three voices of three different tones speaking at once.
"So, Hunter, my son, you would like to know how you came to rejoin me here?"
"Yes, Father." I answered. He smiled and looked at me.
"I am glad that you know how to be humble. You will fit in well here. As for how you died, you died in a car accident. You were struck down by a taxi cab as the driver—who was drunk—when he swerved onto the sidewalk. You were the only one killed. Your two friends were gravely injured, but I ensured their survival." I nodded.
"Thank you very much Father. I have one more question, Father, if it is not too much trouble."
"It is never any trouble to talk to one of my children. I love you very dearly, and I will always have time for you." I nodded and smiled.
"Thank you, Father. Well, Father, I guess I was just wondering…how I came to be in Heaven. I mean, I never lived a Christian life, and I don't think I ever even really believed in Jesus." He smiled at me.
"My son, your presence here is due to your Aunt Lori. When you were a small boy, five years old, she prayed with you, and you accepted Jesus into your heart. It is because of your Aunt's missionary services that you find yourself in my presence today."
"Thank you Father, thank you so much for everything."
"You are welcome, my son. Never forget—I will always love you dearly." I smiled.
"Thank you Father."
"Now, go spend time with your Aunt. She has missed you terribly." I nodded, turned on my heel, and exited the building, forever grateful to Aunt Lori for what she had given me. I resolved to thank her the next time I saw her. When I arrived back at home I threw my arms around Aunt Lori.
"God bless you, Aunt Lori. God bless you."