My death, like so many things in my life, was down to bad luck. Getting arrested at age 15 by a disguised cop at comic-con (don’t judge, it’s great for pickpocketing), having the worst cell in the junior offender’s ward, being mugged the day after I was released. The would-be thieves soon realised I was poorer than them and scuttled away, but not before giving me a beating.
My death came a short two weeks after my release from prison. I had a served an 18 month sentence, and came out to find my mum had left, the house was in disrepair and my reliable uncle Fred was dead. I was living rough, with a couple of friends from school (when I had bothered going). We were stealing to survive, mostly from rich entitled pricks, and so we didn’t feel too bad. It was during one of these escapades I was killed.
My death was short, and for that I’m thankful. As we ran from a house with an activated alarm, our arms full of semi-valuable items, I was hit by a bus. Not metaphorically, in the sense ‘I suddenly knew I was doing wrong’ but as in, I was hit by a bus. I threw my arms out, my prizes scattering, and the back wheels went over my chest before screeching to a halt. My friends ran off, although they stopped to pick up my loot. The driver of the bus got out and someone on the bus must have dialled an ambulance, however it was much too late. I was dead.
To my surprise, there is actually a Heaven. I’m standing in line, rehearsing my story to get in. I’m eighteen (the wheels of justice turn slowly), both parents deceased, recently left school, never been in prison, volunteer for a charity. Basically, one of those rich entitled pricks. But if it gets me into Heaven, it’s worth it. I figure, surely God doesn’t have the time to watch everyone at every time.
The line moves quicker than I thought – less people than I would think are in it. The keeper of the gate must be God himself, with his halo and his snowy white robes. I came from a non-religious household so I really have no clue what he looks like – and he speaks my name.
“Nicholas Oliver Jones.” He says, in a tone I would expect from a grandfather, not God. It is velvety, however it sounds used, old. Comforting. I stutter my response.
“That’s me,” I say, then add a “Sir” for good measure.
“I know. Do you think yourself worthy of entering Heaven and an eternity of pleasure?” He asks bluntly.
“Ah, yes sir. I am eighteen and both my parents are deceased. I recently left school and now am an apprentice. I’ve never fought or smoked or drunk, and I planned to study theology when I went to university,” I say rapidly “after I finish my apprenticeship.”
He studies me, his eyes boring into mine.
“You may pass.” This happens in the blink of an eye and the gates open. I walk through and a smile spreads across my face. The old fool, trusting and stupid. I looked forward to an eternity of pleasure.
The sound of harps, gentle music, and flowing water constantly follow me. Angels are here and there, along with other occupants of Heaven. Less than I’d thought. Maybe that’s because it’s vast, I have no idea. There are quaint houses to live in, however there is no entertainment, no food, no water, and no variety. After a while I get bored and begin to walk around. I walk for years, and find nothing to do. Heaven has not lived up to my expectations.
One day, my boredom peaked and I swung a punch at an angel. He merely blinked, and continued on. I got the same reaction from everyone I hit, punched or swore at. I couldn’t provoke anyone to anything. A fuzziness, from the mind-numbing nothingness, settled over my mind. Another hundred years passed.
I stood at the gates of Heaven, shouting for God to attend me. Perhaps, out of curiosity, he came.
“Yes?” He questioned.
“Look, I lied when I came here. I’m not a good person. I lied, stole, beat people up, I was a crap person! Send me to Hell, or anywhere but here – please, anything but here.” I begged. It was then I first noticed that his wig had slipped a little, and I could see something poking out. It was red, and shaped like a… horn?
“Now,” he said, a mocking grin on his face, “Whatever gave you the idea this was Heaven?”
Credit: Raiden F