01 Feb I Was Dead for Six Minutes and Saw Heaven, I would rather go to Hell
While I wasn’t the best of Christians, I’ve always believed in god. You wouldn’t see me in church every Sunday, but I would make a good attempt to go during Easter and Christmas mass. On some wednesdays every couple of years you would even see me with a piece of ash on my face.
That was, of course, before that drunk driver decided that my Honda looked like it needed to be compressed to half its size. I don’t remember much about the accident itself or my subsequent stay in the hospital.
But this story isn’t about that.
This story is about what I saw when I was dead for six minutes.
One moment I was driving down Roosevelt avenue, minding my own business, and waiting for a light to turn green. The next moment I felt a huge shift in weight and everything went black.
When I saw the light at the end of a dark tunnel I guessed what had happened to me.
I had died.
I knew I was a good person. I treated my family kindly. My many years on this Earth had taught me that people were essentially good. I wasn’t afraid to go into that white light, despite the fact that I was leaving my life behind me, because I knew that I would see them soon enough.
So I went into the light.
The next thing I knew I had a physical body. I could feel a light coolness on my skin and the soft fabric of a comfortable loose shirt and pants. The small white dots and brown moles that had littered my forearms from long days of physical labor were gone and my skin felt as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If I could look in a mirror I would probably see a version of myself much younger than the forty four years I currently was.
“You done admiring the new duds?”
The voice surprised me. It sounded too…
“Sorry. It’s just a lot to get used too,” I said to the voice that I couldn’t place, “wait a minute, where the hell are you?”
“Here…” The voice was coming from my right and my eyes adjusted to the point that I could make out a silhouette against the light that surrounded me. The light seemed to die down a bit and I could finally make out the silhouette. Like me he was in a loose fitting white shirt and white pants. And there was something weird about his hair.
“Can you hear me now?” He said.
“…What?” I could hear him the whole time. Why was he asking me if I could hear him?
“Sorry, bad joke. My social skills are a bit rusty.”
I thought for a second before finally placing why he asked that, “Are you quoting that Verizon commercial from a decade ago?” My vision cleared enough to find out the weird thing I had noticed about his hair. He had a dark purple faux-hawk.
He sighed, “And again I fail at being funny. Has it really been a decade?”
On top of the faux-hawk he also had a face piercing. If he hadn’t been wearing the same loose white clothing I was he would be at home in a Fall Out Boy concert circa 2005.
“It was 2018 last time I checked.”
“Goddamn. You’ll realize after being here awhile that time doesn’t mean much of anything here.”
The emo kid barked a quick laugh, “Yeah. Heaven…”
I looked around in every direction. As far as I could see it was only endless whiteness with nothing in visual distance besides myself and…
“What’s your name?” I asked the emo kid.
“All right Daniel,” yep, my eyes were fully adjusted and there definitely was nothing, “If this is heaven then where the hell is everything?”
He looked at me in silence for a second, “I’m not the only way making bad jokes right now apparently.”
I took in a quick breath to calm myself before I yelled at what I presumed was some sort of Angel, or Psychopomp…or whatever the hell this kid was supposed to be, “Is Heaven really standing around with you in a white nothingness for all eternity.?”
Daniel looked at me sadly, “No it’s not. I just wanted to spend as much time away as possible.”
Daniel wanted to spend as much time away as possible.
“Why?” I asked the one question I had stirring in my brain.
He looked off into the blank distance in silence before answering, “I guess you have to find out sooner or later.”
I was about to ask what the hell he was talking about when I felt a sudden shifting, that stomach dropping feeling of sitting in a roller coaster as it drops from a hundred feet, and there was suddenly a gate in front of us. White pillars reached into the air far enough that I couldn’t see the top. Between the pillars were bright walls of what looked like solid sheets of marble that extended far into the heavens.
“What the fuck just happened?” I almost fell over from the sudden shift of location and the appearance of vertigo inducing walls where nothing had existed before.
“That,” He motioned towards the wall in a defeated gesture, “is where we’re going. Unfortunately.”
“Daniel,” I noticed a light brighter coming from the top of the wall and pointed towards it, “what’s that light.”
He looked up at where I was pointing, “Don’t look directly at it unless you want a blinding heachache.”
I stared as the light grew brighter and brighter. It was getting just close enough that I could see a pair of wings somewhere in the bright shining light of its core. There was another pair behind the first. And another somewhere closer to its leg. It’s head looked like the head of a lion.
No wait. It was an ox head.
But it had a beak. And a human mouth…
“Don’t be afraid.” A voice boomed out from the shining light that grew ever closer. It’s face had been confusing enough, trying to place its exact feature was beginning to make my brain hurt. The booming voice only added to the madness that was already going in inside my head as my mind tried to reconcile something with four faces and seventeen pairs of wings.
“Look away.” I heard a small voice say to my right.
“Its…” It was hard to think. Where was I again? What was I looking at? Did this thing really have the head of–
I felt my head jerk suddenly and I was suddenly facing the ground, my mental faculties coming back in a sudden tidal wave.
“I’m sorry, Servant, he doesn’t yet know how things work here. I am his escort through the three gates and we only wish to pass.” Daniel said from directly beside me.
I could feel the heat of the light shining off of the angel, for that’s what it must be, directly in front of me. I didn’t know before this moment that light could have an intent, but this one somehow did. I could feel it…measuring would be the best word…me as I stood in front of it. The light shone through me, illuminating all of the errors of my life.
A twenty year marriage down the drain because of a drunken one night stand.
A failure to keep in touch with old friends. Learning one of those friends had died third hand three years afterwards.
“Of course, Guide.” The voice boomed, shaking the essence of what I was made of, “You may pass.”
I felt the light move and deigned to look up. It was already drifting upwards and out of sight above the sheer walls that dominated the field of vision.
“Come on.” I felt a pull and started stepping towards the wall, “We need to get inside.”
“Just stop!” I yelled and pulled my hand away from Daniel’s grasp, “Tell me what the fuck is going on. What the fuck was that? How did it have that many heads? And it’s ‘letting us pass’ through. Aren’t we already here? Haven’t we already been judged by god?”
Daniel looked at me. There was something in his eyes that I hadn’t seen before.
This time, though, there was one clear emotion on his face.
Fear as he looked up at the walls and the things that stood guard on it.
“Those are angels. If you’re lucky you won’t see many of them. When I was alive I thought the bible was bullshit. And most of it is. One of the things it got right was how they looked. Of all the goddamn things for it to get right it had to describe them correctly as those mind bleeding things. Now we really do need to get inside before one of them comes back.”
I stared at Daniel, “And why do we need to do that Daniel?”
“You don’t get it yet? These aren’t the walls of paradise you were taught in Sunday school. These are the walls of a prison. And the Angels aren’t servants of god.