There was a rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning. Muttering inaudibly to myself, I went to shut the windows and turn on some lights to survive the night. God, I hated thunderstorms. They always reminded me of that night long back. Shaking my head I got up and turned on a few lights and close the windows.

There was a sudden boom! Thunder. It made me jump. "Well, might as well head to bed," I muttered to myself, trying to calm myself down. I was alone in the house.

After a couple of minutes, I was in bed with a book and my mp3 player. My music and book would probably calm me down. Soon, I was engrossed in the book to care that my mp3 player had conked off.

"Don't you think you'd better sleep?" I jumped. "Who said that?" I asked, albeit nervously. "Me. Who else is there?" A shimmering image said beside me. A small girl. I jumped. "What are you doing here?" I asked, carefully. Suddenly, I wasn't frightened. I knew the time had come, and I'd accepted it peacefully. "I'm Lucy. You should know." She answered with an air about her.

"Is this about...?" I asked her. She nodded, seeming to understand my unasked question. "Yes, it is. I've come to take you with me. Your time is up." She replied with assurance. I nodded. "Close your eyes and think of your special place. Just jeep concentrating on that whatever happens. Don't open your eyes till I tell you so." I nodded with a quiet understanding. I closed my eyes and thought of the hill-station I'd gone to when I was young, with my family. It was the most beautiful place that had tranquility like never before. I don't how long I'd closed my eyes, but it had seemed like a minute when Lucy said, "You can open now."

I opened my eyes and found myself in what mortals call "Paradise". I was in my part of paradise- that tranquil, peaceful, beautiful hill-station the exact way I remembered it.

In my paradise I can tell you what happened that day, many years ago. There was a thunderstorm when Lucy and I were young. Mother and father were at her mother's house looking after her. Uncle Jimmy was taking care of us. We were children, five at that time. We were playing hide-and-seek, and I was looking for Lucy, whilst she was hiding. I found her, finally, in the bathroom, in the tub. But I screamed when I saw her. She was dead. My little sister, dead! I ran to Uncle Jimmy's room, only to find his room empty. I screamed till I was sore. He'd killed Lucy. I knew because there was blood near the bed.

I cried and I didn't know what to do. All I remember is that 'they' came and took me away, not letting me say goodbye to my little sister. This was all I could do. And till the day of my death, it was a regret I would never forget. Perhaps this was why I never forgave myself, and I didn't deserve to be in 'paradise'. But I knew that my conscience was clear. That was all that mattered.