As a little girl, my mom would tell me stories about good people getting to go to heaven after they die. They go strait to heaven, no catch just die then instant wings, right. Wrong, oh so wrong it’s not even funny.
I’m sorry, I should probably explain myself. My name is…well that’s the problem, I can’t remember it. I can’t remember anything about my life before I died. Hell, I can’t even remember how I died. I all I can remember is waking up in a cold dark room with a rat crawling up my leg.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!” I shrieked kicking and screaming trying to shoo the rat off of me. God only knows where the rat has been, god only knows where I am. I tried to look around but for some reason I couldn’t move. It was as if I was being held here by some invisible force. I started to find against my non-existent bindings. I started to yell, praying someone would hear me. Once I figured out that no one was coming to my rescue, I started to cry. I felt my eyes start to dry out, apparently I had been crying for a long time, long enough for me to run out of tears.
Out of the dark, a strip of light appeared, as if a door was opening, and through the light stepped a man. I couldn’t see his face properly but from what I could see, he had a mangled sort of face, with a strong jaw line and he was going bald. Out of his mangled mouth, came a raspy voice.
“Stop screaming, you will wake the others.” Others, he had other people here? Is he a kidnapper or maybe he just liked to have people in his house against their will? Oh, who am I kidding, he is a kidnapper. I started struggling again and it felt as if someone’s hands were around my throat.
“Continue to squirm and your bindings will kill you.” He said in his rough voice that sent shivers down my back. He was right, the more I moved, the tighter I felt. I was starting to get winded. “If I unbind you will you promise not to run?” asked the man. I had no air in my lungs so all I could do was nod.
He snapped his fingers and there was an instant where I saw a flash then I could suddenly breathe again. I scrambled to my feet and tried to run but I couldn’t move, and all the air was gone from my lungs with a whoosh. I crumpled to the ground, sputtering and gasping for air, trying to force it into my lungs, but I couldn’t.
“I told you not to run, now are you willing to cooperate?” I nodded weekly, yes, yes just please let me breathe I thought. Instant relief as the air flooded back into my lungs as if a dam had been blocking it. I took many deep breaths, not knowing when I would and wouldn’t be able to breathe.
“Where am I? What am I doing here?” The steadiness of my voice surprised me, it didn’t shake at all. I, on the other hand, was shaking like I was in Antarctica without a jacket. He just shook his head at me and I repeated it with more ferocity in my voice. “Where am I and what am I doing here?”
“It will all be explained in good time, come with me, darling.” He outstretched his marred hand towards me, silently asking me to take his hand. I hesitated, only for a moment because the cold floor was numbing my butt.
We walked out of the room into and equally dark corridor, and across to a room. It was nicer in there than my cell. It was warm at least, and it was well decorated. There was a blood red leather sofa along one wall with a matching lazy boy recliner across from it.
“Sit.” He ordered, as he went over to the recliner and, well, reclined it. I reluctantly went to sit on the couch, out of politeness really, because I was taught to respect adults, even if they stole you from your home. I slowly sat on the part of the couch that was furthest from where he was. I still felt really uncomfortable in his presence.
“You are probably wondering where you are, and I will tell you that in a moment, but first, who are you?” He questioned with curiosity, but you know what they say, curiosity killed the cat.
“Actually,” I cleared my throat, unsure of how to say this, “I was sort of hoping you could tell me that, I don’t remember anything about myself.” I kicked my feet nervously and I wound up accidentally kicking the man in the shin. “Sorry, sorry, I am just really nervous and scared right now. I tend to fidget when I get nervous.” I suddenly gasped and my memory, something as trivial as kicking my feet helped me remember something about myself!
“Very good, very good indeed, you are getting your memory back already.” He nodded his approval at my sudden memory gain.
“Why can’t I remember anything? I don’t even know my name; all I know about myself is that I kick my feet when I get nervous. Can’t you tell me any of this?”
“Sadly, no, I cannot. You have to figure it out for yourself. That is one of the tests you need to pass in order to leave.”
“What do you mean? I can’t leave until I figure out what the hell happened to me?”
“WE DO NOT SAY HELL IN THIS PLACE!!!” He boomed in such a loud voice I cringed into the sofa. He scared me so much in that moment I didn’t think I could feel any more scared, but boy was I wrong. This was just a taste of what was to come.
“Why?” I questioned, although it was a really stupid idea.
“Because, h- that place’s name does not taint the sanctity of this home. This is a place of good, not evil. We do not say that word here because it will destroy us.”
“Okay, well where are we?”
“A place where we go before we die. Do you know how people get into heaven?”
“Um, they are good during their lives?” I guessed, because I really didn’t know, I was surprised I said anything at all really. I couldn’t believe I remembered that, this was all coming back to me like that.
“Precisely, and if they have things that they could have done a little more, well, heavenly, pardon the pun, they go here and if they make it through what they have to do to redeem themselves, they go to heaven.”
I sat there dumbfounded as to what he just said to me. “I- I- I’m dead?”