I died. I am not sure how or why, but I am aware that my life has ended, and a new existence has begun. I am surrounded by people I know, knew, whilst I was alive. They seem to have died with me. It must have been some form of catastrophic event.
I suddenly feel the need to ascend. Unwillingly my essence start lifting skywards. I look around. An old school classmate comes near me and tries to cling on to my shoe. A voice inside me speaks out. You belong in hell. I kick him. He falls to the ground and through a grate. Flames rise up and harrowing cries pierce the stillness of the air.
I keep rising and notice some people are being dragged through the grates, whilst others remain rooted to the ground, jumping up and down, hoping that they too, will start to rise. I cross through the sky and then across a floor. I am at a new level. The ascension continues, but then I spot the woman I fancied. She isn’t moving.
So I stop. I stay on this level, looking much like Earth and ordinary lives. You are in purgatory, you get to relive your life as a human, before deciding your final fate. You do not have to stay here, you are meant for heaven.
But I want to, for her. Can I help her ascend?
Em comes towards me. “Why did you stop? This is purgatory, live life again.”
“I couldn’t leave you here.” She looks at me quizzically. Somewhat surprised but happy. A sudden tension fills the air around me. Out of the corner of my eye I see two people fighting. I very quickly become aware that there scuffles all around. Purgatory is not like Earth, it just seems to be like it.
As time passes I am become more accustomed to this new way of being. There are no bodily needs, there is no hunger, there is no thirst. No hot, no cold. As such, tending to one’s needs loses meaning. So what do you do in purgatory? It is a wide open space, asphalted over with some forlorn sports courts to one end, and a metal shack in the middle. There is a big house in the corner. Most people are gathered there. There is only one topic of conversation: ascension. How do you prove you are ready to ascend? Is it true that if you cling on to someone who is ascending you will be allowed to piggy back them into heaven? Has anyone actually seen someone ascend?
There is a palpable panic and trepidation in everyone’s mind and heart. The scuffles are constant. There is nothing to do, so people fight. And then the grates appear, and they swallow the fighters, the flames shoot up to the sky, and the cries are heard.
Without a life pattern, the suffering is unbearable, it is a pointless existence, a real test. I go deep within myself and think. I meditate and calm myself down. All I have suffered in life, it was for a reason. I survived that, I got through it, I can still make it to heaven. I have no fear, and no anxiety. I spend my time with Em, and she smiles and hugs me. All is well, yet somehow staying in purgatory is not a pleasant experience. I know deep within myself that I just have to will myself to ascend and I will get to heaven. I am not sure why I am so confident, but it just seems logical.
So at night, I take Em towards the back of the house, hug her and then lift my arms to heaven. I look up and I start to ascend. As I slowly rise towards heaven, Em holds on to my foot and she starts to rise too. It is working, but then, three people come out of the house and they see us. They notice Em rising with me, so they desperately cling on to her shoes. The weight of so many people is dragging me down. I begin to falter. I then make an irrational decision, out of love. I stop mid air, and propel Em and the clingers skywards. They continue to ascend, whilst I fall.
I crash on the ground with a loud thump. I look up and see them disappear. They made it. Suddenly I am surrounded by all the inhabitants of the house. There is a deep rooted anger in their eyes. Why them? Why not me?
Thunder. Echoing, booming thunder, all around. I close my eyes waiting for the mob, and the inevitable trip to hell as the punches start rolling and the grates start opening. The fire rises. I hear the deafening screams in my ears, the agonising wailing of people burning; yet I don’t feel a thing. I am once again suspended mid air, and as the flames swallow the people from the house down to hell, I rise. Once again, I ascend. All the way to heaven.
Heaven is a sight to behold. It is a city of skyscrapers built at sea. There are different levels, and as soon as you enter you realise you are not authorised to all levels, you must once again ascend between them.
Time is immaterial, yet it somehow passes here too. I don’t know how long it has been, it could have been minutes, it could have been years, but I realise that there are gangs in heaven, of people plotting their way to the top. There are also controllers, those who guard the different levels and ensure no-one rises by devious means.
I find a small group, no sign of Em, yet somehow, in heaven, no need of her, to spend the time with. Like everyone else we discuss ascension. Through the passage of time, and we guess good behaviour, we ascend a level every so often. We are mid way up the glass skyscrapers, looking down at the waves and the people in the lower levels. It is a pleasant existence. The need to ascend keeps you focused, but not having any fears keeps you at peace. Having a purpose, I realise after comparing heaven to purgatory, is essential to us.
One day, a rift forms amongst us. One of the group accuses another of being at fault for delaying our ascensions. I look on, bewildered. It seems a pointless argument, but it only gets worse as the days go by and nobody ascends. It poisons the atmosphere and brings the mood down. Rotten people still cause pain, even in heaven.
I step into the argument, trying to hold the peace, to bring everyone’s hopes up. This action earns me ascension. I ascend, I rise and rise all the way to the top, where I find Em. And joy. Blissful joy, the like of which I had never felt.
Then I hear God’s voice, in my ear. I slip out of the cloud and circle the skyscrapers all the way form the bottom to the top. Now touching the waves, now touching the rooftops.
He is coming to try and destroy this. All of this. He is evil incarnate and he must be stopped. You have suffered all your life in preparation for this, the ultimate sacrifice. You must stop him, yet the choice is yours, I will not force you. You can stop him, but you must be careful not to befriend him.
As I spin through the skies, with the words reverberating inside my head, I contemplate the situation. I take the plunge. I’ll do it. It’s all I say. I then close my eyes and wake up under water, in hell, hugging him. The test has started.
I wake up. Once again, I really felt it was God’s voice. Does he speak to me? Is doom coming towards us? What does it mean?