I’ll always say, inspiration can come to you from anywhere. Music is the inspiration for this, my first short story. Or what I consider a short story. It’s definitely a work in progress because it’s coming to me in bits and pieces and not in order – which is playing on my OCD, but hey, that happens right?
I will warn you now though that it does have religious connotations – so if you’re very religious, you may not want to read it. It doesn’t follow any doctrine at the moment, but I am reading up on some very interesting tidbits that I think will help it along.
The language is also not for the young – too many colorful metaphors.
I hope you like it.
He stood there for a moment, hands tightly grasping the straps of his backpack, looking at her walk away from him. After a moment, he muttered “Fuck it” and ran after her.
Although she could hear him behind her, she didn’t stop, pause or turn around. In fact, she gave no outward indication that she was aware of his actions. There was no look of surprise on her face when he grabbed her right arm and turned her to face him. “Wait.” He breathed as he released her.
A soft smile and warm hazel eyes looked blankly into his face as he struggled to figure out what was going on.
“What happens now? Where do I go? Do I follow you?”
Brown strands fell over her face when she shook her head. She then pointed a thin pale arm to the path going up and to the right. “Just follow the path.” She responded quietly.
He blinked and looked, knowing that the path wasn’t there just a second ago – or was it?
The plain dirt and rock path they stood on split about two feet before them to the right and left. The right path she indicated sloped up. “Keep to the path, don’t stray, and you’ll get to the place you’re supposed to be at.” With that she grinned, waved and turned towards the left path.
He was totally lost and confused now. “The … no, no, no. What place? Where am I supposed to be?”
The woman stopped just shy of the fork, turned and looked at him again. “Paradise.”
“Well, yeah. Compared to back there, just about any place would be paradise.”
She laughed. It sounded nice.
“Where are you going?”
She pointed to the left. “That way.”
“Which … is not Paradise?”
Her head tilted slightly as she tried to find the best way to explain things to him. Not an easy task since she wasn’t entirely sure what was going on anyways. Not for the last time, she wondered where Gabriel was.
“Check your pocket.” She said out of nowhere. Towards the end she trusted the voices she heard more and more because they were nearly always right.
He gave her a confused look. “Huh? What for?”
Having nothing better to do, he reached into the pocket of his jeans, sure that there wouldn’t be anything there. “Fine, but I don’t have anything…” When he pulled his hand out, he saw he held a ticket by his fingers. “What …?”
“It’s your invitation. You’ll need that where you’re going.”
“Uh huh. And … you don’t have one?” he asked, never taking his eyes off the object.
“No, not really.”
“So, this is my ticket to Paradise?”
She nodded. “Yup!”
He continued staring at the ticket for a while as she stared at him. She wasn’t in a hurry, she didn’t know where she’d be going next.
She laughed again. “Now you got it! Except it’s just one.”
“Why … do I need an invitation … for Heaven? I thought anyone can go there ….” He started frantically looking around.
“Most everyone does go to Heaven when they die. Some go to Hell.”
“This … is Hell?”
She nodded again.
“I … died and went to Hell.”
“I fucking died and went to Hell?” He shouted this and continued looking around. She saw the fear coming to his eyes with the realization and wondered if they would all behave this way. He looked back at her and calmed down slightly. “So, you’re … my angel?”
“Please don’t insult them. And no, I’m not an angel, yours or anyone else’s. I’m just a person … who died, just like you.”
“But you came to Hell? How did you … how did you escape?”
“I didn’t escape.” Something over his shoulder caught her attention. “Look, I know we’re not in a hurry but we do have to get moving.”
He turned and looked behind him. “Why?”
“Because your Hell is going away and I’d rather not be on this path when it does. We can be on that one though.” She pointed at the fork that she had previously mentioned.
“What’s the difference?”
“The difference between you going back there and you moving up.”
“Gah!” She exclaimed as she grabbed his arm and pulled him as though their size difference didn’t matter. He resisted for only a second but relaxed and followed her up the right path.
“There’s no real hurry for you to go anywhere, but once you leave your personal Hell, it goes away. If you’re still near it, enough for it to suck you back, you’re stuck. Not sure if I’d be able to get you out again.”
“Get me out? How did you know where to find me? Who are you?”
“It’s a pretty long story, but I guess I can tell you some of it. Just need to get you going on the right path.” She turned to the right and started walking up the path. After a little bit he hurried after her.
“Hold on!” He kept walking but turned around and looked behind them. It didn’t look the same as it did when they had walked over it. There was no path down to the city he had once called his home for as long as he could remember. In fact, when he looked in that direction, there was nothing to be seen.
“You won’t see it, it’s gone.”
“How do you know what I’m looking for?”
“You’re looking for Denver.”
“There’s no Denver in Hell. There’s no Colorado in Hell.”
“O.K. I get it. We’re in Hell. Then why was I in Denver just yesterday? Just this morning?”
“Did you ever see the movie ‘What Dreams May Come’?”
He stopped walking backwards and shrugged. “Maybe. I may have gone on a date to it.”
She laughed again.
“O.K. You know you laughing at me is really getting me fucking pissed off!”
“I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at your actions.”
“At any rate, they almost got it down right. Everyone … nearly everyone … has their own little Hell they’re condemned to. Sometimes you share Hells, that’s even worse.”
“How is that worse?”
“I’m guessing because I’d have to not only save the person I’m supposed to but whoever else is tied to the place that the person is tied to as well.”
“You … sound like you’ve never done that before.”
“I haven’t. You’re the first person I’ve … rescued.”
They walked on in silence for a little bit as he tried to figure out what exactly was going on, how he got here and why he was chosen to go back. He looked around as they walked. “So I need an invitation to go to Heaven now?”
She stopped and looked at him. For a moment, he thought he saw sadness in her otherwise warm hazel eyes. “Because … you’re taking my place. That’s proof that you belong up there instead of down here.”
“Your place?” He had been holding on to the ticket this entire time and now shoved it back at her. “I don’t want this! Take it back!”
She shook her head and started walking again.
“No, hold on! This is yours, take it back!” He started after her again.
“It’s not mine. Look at it, look at the name.”
He stopped and looked at it. Sure enough, there was his name, bright as day, written on his ticket to Heaven.
“I don’t get it.”
“You’re getting a second chance.”
“Why?” He looked up at her, watched her turn back towards him and ponder her answer.
“Because … you don’t deserve to be here. And … I … I’m not … good enough for Heaven.” She started walking towards and past him. “Just keep following this path ok? You’ll get to your destination. Either Michael or Gabriel will show you the rest of the way.”
“Where are you going?”
She pointed straight ahead of her. “This way.”
He grabbed her arm just as she passed him. “No, seriously.”
“I am being serious. I don’t know where I’m going, only that it’s this way. I won’t know where my next destination is until I get there.”
“Because this is Hell?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
He looked around. Everything up close was pretty clear, and up close meant a matter of inches to a foot. The path below them looked slightly fuzzy, like his sight was unfocused, but because he knew it was a path, that’s what it looked like. Everything away from the path looked even more out of focus – like he had been wearing glasses and took them off. It also looked darker than the path itself.
“It’s all like that. There’s no concrete substance, only abstract that we recognize and sharpen ourselves.”
“It’s … gloomy.”
“Well, it is Hell.”
He squeezed her arm, and was about to berate her, but thought better and let go. “Sorry.”
“I only meant that this part is my Hell.”
“A spot in the middle of nowhere?”
“O.K. And I’m supposed to go up this way?”
“How do you know?”
“Because Gabriel told me that whoever I managed to save I need to tell them to go up to the right.”
“I don’t want to take your place.”
“You don’t want to go to Heaven?”
“Well, yeah, I want to go to Heaven, but not if it means you won’t go.”
“That’s got nothing to do with you. I already told them I didn’t want to go … look, the longer you stay here the more you’ll get sucked in. Just … go.”
She started walking back down the path again.
“Wait! How do you know that?” He stood and watched her figure grow smaller the further away she walked. She never looked back, and he couldn’t hear her say anything. He turned and looked up to the right, the direction she told him to go. After a moment, he turned back to her. She was almost out of sight, but he was sure she hadn’t been walking all that fast. He had to do something: he had to pick a direction or be lost here forever.
Not sure why he thought that, he started running down after her. “Wait!”
©2015 Dazrahe / Deborah McCarthy Next Chapter