Friday, May 8, 2009

Daily Story 23: The Heavens Above Us

Duncan arrived in Heaven to find the Pearly Gates askew, with no trumpeting cherubim to greet him. He entered nonetheless, momentarily awestruck by the endless expanse of alabaster walls and overgrown gardens. As he looked closer across the vista, he was able to make out fire damage on some walls, trash in the streets. Some buildings appeared to have been partially deconstructed.

"Duncan? Izzat you?" The voice belonged to a man in flowing robes that had almost certainly been white at some point.
"Um. Yes. Are... are you an angel?"
The being shrugged, and pulled a silver flask from some inner pocket of its robes. "Yeah, I guess."
"Oh. Okay. So... look, I'm sorry, but... this IS Heaven, right?"
"Yeah, it was. You're a bit late to the party, though. Living in your stupid stasis whatsis, mister smarty-guy. Defying the laws of whatever."
"I'm sorry? Look, how long was I asleep?"
"Too long, bucko. Slept right through Armageddon. World War Three. Rocks fall, etcetera, etcetera. We'd got the funding, had some meetings, had some... something. It was always part of the plan; had to start a war, had to kill off everyone. 'Cept you. Late, late, late."

"I'm sorry, I really don't understand."
"Yeah. Neither did they. You try to tell them, try to explain, but they get all pissy and say they weren't ready for the apocalypse. Hello! Not like we never sent prophets of doom or anything, right? Then they say 'now what?' and we tell them, now this. You're here. This is what now, just... you know, being here. Then they were all asking when people would work their way out of Hell - is that really such a hard concept? Duncan? You get it, right? Hell is forever, I don't care if you're there for something stupid or you're sorry or whatever. They broke through eventually, you can see it over there if you look."
The angel gestured, and despite his unsteady hand Duncan was able to find what he was indicating... a red hole in the ground far in the distance, with wisps of smoke rolling out.
"They tied us angels up, dug down and busted everyone out. The really bad ones they left in Hell, and we've got a few people up here that didn't want to go. Somewhere. There's not many, I lose track of them sometimes. A few hundred. Most of the priests left, didn't see that one coming. I guess we were a disappointment."
The angel spun suddenly and screamed at the city in general, spittle dripping onto his chin. “I’m SO sorry we weren’t good enough, assholes! If you could have just had the decency to stay put like, like DUNCAN here!” He turned, swaying, his voice immediately dropping from a scream to a whisper, “Not that you have much choice, you understand. Can't very well follow them on your own.”

"Wait, you can leave the afterlife? Where did they go?"
"They went..." the Angel took another swig from his flask. "They went where they always wanted to. They built, and built. Wrecked everything, strip-mined Hell. Took my flaming sword for spare parts. Some engineers held a knife to my throat and made me duplicate some stupid science junk from Earth. What do you need science for? You're in God-damned Heaven!"
"Where did they go? Answer me!"
Crying, the angel dropped onto the perfect marble street. A sheet of discarded paper blew past, catching briefly on his leg. Duncan was about to give up when the angel slowly lifted his arm and pointed upwards.
"They built a fucking spaceship."


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