01 Feb I Was Dead for Six Minutes and Saw Heaven Final Part
The glowing man smiled at me then looked over at Daniel, “I give you leave to enter the Third Heaven, Guide. Your charge is deserving of the Tribulations.”
I looked away from the glowing man to Daniel, “Tribulations?”
Daniel motioned me to his side and we stepped aside to allow the first person behind me, with their glowing ring, to step next to the glowing man. He took the ring from the person’s hand.
“Gabriel inspects every ring for flaws.”
I watched as the glowing man, Gabriel, looked at the ring in his hand. After another moment the soft glow around him dimmed and the ring in his hand grew brighter. Another moment and the ring returned to his normal glow.
“Gabriel?” I asked the glowing man.
He smiled and held the glowing ring out to me.
“The Archangel Gabriel?”
I took the ring from him, stunned at the revelation of what I was standing in front of.
“When Gabriel finds a ring satisfactory someone is usually here to bring it through the door. We got lucky this time though,” Daniel looked at the Archangel who was already busy inspecting another ring, “and get to bring it in ourselves.”
I watched as Gabriel held the ring with both hands and did the trick where he made the ring glow brighter. Unlike the one that I currently held, however, the ring in Gabriel’s hands first cracked then shattered into a million shiny pieces. They seemed to disappear as the glow dissipated and faded out of existence.
“Sometimes the Material isn’t strong enough for our purposes. Now come on.” Daniel turned and opened the wooden door behind Gabriel. Behind it was a large spiral staircase scored through the rock leading upwards, “And in we go.”
Daniel held the door open for me and I went through it holding the glowing ring in my hands. He closed the door and we both began moving up the spiral staircase. I looked up as we took the first steps and could only see the bottom of the stairs as they spiraled upwards.
“We got a bit of a walk so if you got any questions now would be a good time.” Daniel walked in step beside me up the stairs.
“Now we can talk? Isn’t the little blue guy,” I pointed at the Cherub floating next to my head, “Turn us in if we say anything wrong?”
“Now that we left the Second Heaven there isn’t much we can say that’ll get them heated. The information in Second Heaven is…restricted. For their own good.” Daniel answered.
I saw a blue light float above for a second before another person, a tall woman with a short afro, appeared from around the corner. Daniel nodded at her as she passed by and down the stairs. She smiled back at him as she did.
“Someone you know?” I attempted a light hearted tone of conversation since Daniel had seemed to grow more relaxed as we walked up the stairs.
“I know everyone who travels here. It’s my burden to know. Everyone in the cavern you walked through there. Every person traveling down these stairs. I’ve guided every single person in this section of Second Heaven here.”
“How is that possible? There must’ve been tens of thousands of people down there hammering away on those things.”
“One hundred and forty-four thousand.” He corrected.
“How is that possible. Even if you never slept and never did anything else, you died in, what, 2005? 2006? That makes no sense.”
“Time is…” Daniel trailed off for a second, “different here. Well, not different exactly. It’s hard to explain. A moment can last forever. An eternity could be an eyeblink. Or something to that effect.”
I turned my head and looked at him.
“I know it doesn’t make much sense. I don’t really get it either. It’s impossible to keep track of it anyway. With no reference points to compare it to.” He added.
“No shitting, no sleeping, no eating, no drinking.” I filled in.
We walked another moment in silence. Another person passed us during this period and waved at Daniel. Daniel nodded back as he passed.
“What information is so dangerous that the people stuck in Second Heaven can’t know it?”
“It’s the Material and what the Material is used for. They’ve been judged worthy to know that they are making the Chains to contain something dangerous. Dangerous enough that it threatens all of existence if it escapes. If they knew the Truth then they wouldn’t make the Chains. At least that’s what I was told. I’m personally not so sure but…” He sighed, “I’m not exactly in charge here.”
“Who is then?” I asked. This question had been burning in my mind since seeing the empty Silver City. I had seen Angels of all types and people who never tired on a quest of eternal servitude. But who did they serve?”
“No one really. As far as I can tell.”
I looked at the blue ball floating by me. Daniel caught my look and continued,
“They definitely aren’t. They serve, just like us all. Of course they don’t have free will like we do. The person who guided me compared them to computer algorithms. Some, like Gabriel, more complicated than others, but still algorithms that follow a set of rules we will never know.”
“An eternity with no answers and eternal work. This sounds more like Hell than Heaven.”
Daniel barked a laugh, “Hell is just the absence of God. We’re about there now.”
“I’m getting really tired of–” I was interrupted by the shining brightness of the sky above us. The staircase embedded in the ground finally ended and we reached the surface of wherever we were going.
I saw it once we were finally open to the sky.
“This,” Daniel motioned forward, “Is the Third Heaven. Welcome to God’s Kingdom.”
In front of us stood a giant glowing sphere, thousands of feet wide, floating in the air. Surrounding it was a latticework of marble stairs, ladders and scaffolds that surrounded it completely and allowed almost completely unrestricted movement around the sphere.
“And that,” Daniel continued, “is God.”
I looked away from the sphere and stared at Daniel, “God? The ruler of all creation? The creator?”
“God isn’t the ruler of all creation. He is Creation.”
I looked at the glowing ring in my hands, at the little blue ball floating next to my head, then at Daniel, “The Angels aren’t just guarding us, are they?”
Daniel looked at the glowing ball in the distance. “No,” He paused for a minute, staring at the massive ball of light that was apparently the creator of everything, then continued, “Soon after God made Creation, he tried to unmake it.”
I stared at the giant glowing orb.
I stared at God. The God that wanted to unmake his creation.
“That ring you hold,” He pointed at the glowing ring, “is Belief. Belief forged from the souls of everyone who won’t make the Chains that bind. When they won’t make the Chains, they become the Chains.”
I remembered what Daniel had said to me when we began our journey here, “The spires? The ones in the Silver City?”
“But it’s God,” I said, “if He created everything then how is this even possible? How are we even still here?”
“The belief that He’s a creator that doesn’t want to destroy us keeps him bound. But we are only His creation and our beliefs can only keep Him bound for so long. The bonds break and need constant replacement. Your job, your Tribulation, is to replace those bonds as they break.”
It was at this moment that I truly understood the term Truth.
The Truth of all existence.
The Truth that God thought He made a mistake with existence.
“Fuck!” I dropped the ring I was carrying and clutched my chest with both hands when I felt a sudden sharp pain.
“What is it?” Daniel looked concerned.
“Pain…” Was the only word I could get out. The chest pain spread to my extremities and I collapsed to the ground, unable to stand. Daniel moved quickly to look directly at my eyes. Something was happening and it was obvious from the look in his eyes that he knew exactly what was happening.
“You don’t have long. My name is Daniel Marsh. I lived in Rochester, New York. Tell Mary I’m…”
Daniel’s voice trailed off as a black hole closed around my vision and I lost consciousness.
Next thing I knew I was in a hospital bed and everything hurt. The doctor told me later that I was lucky to survive the drunk driver hitting me. According to him I had been dead for five minutes and fifty seven seconds.
What surprised me more was my ex-wife sleeping in the chair next to my hospital bed. Apparently I had never taken her name off of my emergency contact list. Even with all of the pain I had caused her, she had still shown up when I had almost been gone forever.
I still haven’t fully recovered from the accident and the memories of what happened in those five minutes and fifty seven seconds are still fresh in my mind. I didn’t think I would ever show anyone these memories as I mostly wrote them down for my own benefit. Even with how vivid it had been I couldn’t believe that it had really happened.
And then I checked for a Daniel Marsh in Rochester, New York. The obituary photo from 2007 showed a bit of an older man, in his early thirties, but the faux-hawk was still there.
I thought back to what he had said right before I was no longer dead.
“Hell is just the absence of God.”
If God wants to unmake all of creation and Hell is the absence of him.
Then I would rather go to Hell.