“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
-child’s bedtime prayer – 18th century
The words, if I should die before I wake, ran through my head. Today was Friday the 13th, the first since the end of the war. Well, it was not a war that most people knew about, but it touched the ends of the universe and it crossed into three planes of existence. I drove my car, thinking back at the war, knowing the memories would never leave. It was a war between the angels and the devils, fighting over the young human race.
The date it started was December 23rd, 2012, the date of our destinies, my friends and I. We were the Fallen, the fallen angels who came from the human wombs. We were created from the depths of the Darkness but also from the light of the Grace. With our power, we did what we could to defeat both sides to protect the humans from the warring factions. We all knew we were going to die; we were certain of it, knowing our time would come in the midst of the war. We were right, well, except me.
I still do not understand why, though. I should be dead, I should have followed the rest of my comrades into the cold sleep. But somehow, I lived to see the end of the war. I watched them fall beside me, as the war ended in a flash of light. The devils receded back into the darkness and the angels went back into the light. With our leader’s last words, they all drifted into death, their mission accomplished.
The pain of the memories causes my eyes to tear up. I pull to the side of the lone highway, so I do not crash into oncoming traffic. “They shouldn’t have died…” I cry to myself, as I slump against the steering wheel. “I should have died beside them…” I felt the tears stream down my face.
I hear a soft pitter-patter on my car’s rooftop. As I slowly cry to myself, I notice the rain coming down harder. My car’s lights die out, leaving me stranded without a working battery in my car. I turn the car off, hoping it would help for the car to collect the last of its battery to get me home. I cry as I wait for the battery to slowly charge.
I see headlights coming towards me. The semi slows down and comes to a stop, just in front of my car. A male hops out and I watch him as he comes to the driver’s side. He taps on the window, asking for me to open my door. I disengage my seatbelt and open the door. He puts a gun to my head, and I let him.
“Get out of the car.” He commands me, and I do as he says. I take a good look at him and he slaps me across my face. “Don’t look at me!” He shouts.
I look at the ground, but I have his face memorized. He has a deep cut across his cheek, going from his eye to his upper lip. Knife fight, my mind tells me. He has dark eyes, probably a dark brown. Blonde hair, most likely graying at the sides, telling me he is about in his 40s or so.
“Get over to the truck.” He growled as he put the gun to my head. I started to walk to the truck’s passenger side.
“No, I meant get in the back of the truck.” He grabbed my arm hard, holding me so I could not run. I do not fight him, I gave up all hope of living when they all died. He opened up the back of the semi trailer and I gasped at what I saw.
He threw me into the pile of bodies and slammed the door shut. I scream and I cry as I see the faces. They are women who have gone missing over the last year. One of them hit me. “Shut up, bitch. We are trying to sleep.” I stop screaming; at least they are alive.
“Wha-what’s going on?” I stuttered.
“New ones always have to keep us awake, now don’t they?” I hear laughter behind her. “You’re going to die.”
“What?!” I cry out.
“What part of shut up don’t you understand?”
“Please, what can I do to not die?” I begged for the answer.
The leader woman thought to herself. “Find a way to free us, and you will live.”
“That’s your way to find out. Just get us out of here and you can live to see the light of day.”
“I… understand.” I tried to think of a way to get them free. “Who’s all alive in here?”
“There’s forty alive, one hundred dead.”
I thought of something, but that would require me to kill the man. I could not kill him, not unless he tried to kill me first. Knock him out. The idea was quick and easy. “I have an idea. We need to stack the dead bodies against the door. When he opens it, it’ll fall on top of him, burying him.”
The woman looked at me. “Well, it’s the best idea we have.” She whistled for the other live ones to come out. “You heard her. Let’s get moving.”
I helped the other women to stack the one hundred bodies against the door. We felt the truck come to a stop, before hearing the door slam. “He’s coming. Everyone get away from the door.” I told them, as they had become my new comrades against a mortal enemy.
I watched the door open, as the bodies started to tumble down. I kept an eye on the male as he fought to keep the bodies from falling. I saw the doors start to close. No! I ran from the other women and I kicked the door back open, leaping off the truck.
I did not see him draw the gun, but I heard him shoot. I fell to the ground, clutching my hand to my stomach. Shit… I tried to stand back up, using all my strength to do it. I noticed that his truck was unhitched form the trailer. He’s gonna leave them here… I watched him throw something into the trailer, before he slammed the door shut and locked it.
He walked over to me and propped me up. He held me on his lap, his hand snaking down into my pants. “So, you thought you all could escape, could you?”
I heard screams from inside the truck, before hearing a loud boom. The trailer exploded into a ball of flame. My eyes widened as I felt his finger flicker in and out of my body. He laid me down on the ground and pulled my pants down, taking my underwear with it. I screamed and tried to fight him, but he slapped me across the face. I felt my body get weaker as I bled from my stomach. He unzipped his pants and pushed himself into me. I was dying, I knew it, but I would not go without a fight. I kept fighting against the truck driver. I was not going to give up, I kicked him hard. I did what I could to stop him. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. He kept pushing himself in and out of me.
I saw the gun out of the corner of my eye get closer to my head. I lost all feeling in my legs, as the blood rushed to my dying heart. He whispered in my ear, “I kept a grenade from the Iraq war, just in case.”
He pulled his hand out of my pants, as he grinned. “Well, that was a pleasurable experience.” He pulled the trigger, shooting me in the head, before dropping my corpse on the ground. He got back into his truck and drove off.
Where am I?
I opened my eyes, but was quickly forced to close them again. I sat up, before carefully and slowly opening them to stop myself from being blinded by the bright light. After my eyes adjusted to the bright light, I took in my surroundings.
I sat in an endless field of clouds. I stood up and brushed myself off, but my clothes were not the ones I died in. I wore a dress made of ivory silk and satin, with a silver feather on my breast. I lifted up the pendant and examined it closely. My fingers danced on the silver, keeping to a light touch. I let the pendant fall back to my breast as I tried to find my way.
I saw the clouds start to move together and create a staircase in front of my eyes. I looked around and behind me, as a shadow grew from my left. I took this as a hint to run. I bolted up the stairs, with dark hands clawing at my feet and the train of the elaborate dress.
One hand caught a hold of the end of the dress and started to pull me back. I pulled forward, as I started to hear a rip from behind me. I looked back and saw dark wings rise out of the clouds. “Shit.” I mumbled before my instincts kicked in.
I had lost my Fallen powers at the end of the war. Michael had taken them away, as penance for the lives that were taken during the war. I had let him, because I knew it would help restore the natural order of everything. It was the right thing to do.
At the time.
But as I watched the dark figure rise out of the clouds, towering over me, I wish I had not let him. I was not going to survive this. Not without help. So I did what I could do, with my limited power and energy.
Up the staircase. Higher into the clouds, I ran. But I knew that the dark being could still catch me. I whispered to myself, “May the holy one protect me…” I felt a flash of heat come from behind me.
I turned and gasped. Another dark angel stepped between the Darkness and me. He turned, “Get going, Love. We’ll stop him from following.”
I did not have to think of who the ‘we’ pertained to. I knew exactly who they were. “Thank you… Fallen…” I watched their shapes materialize in front of me. I then realized who the looming dark figure was. It was the true Darkness…
With that one word whispering through my mind, I kicked into fighting mode, a place in my mind where I watched the world slow down. I ran up the spiral cloud staircase as fast as I could. There was no telling what was going on down below, where my friends were fighting for me. I saw the end of the stairs, and an island on the other side. I did not stop…
I ran and jumped over to the island, knowing that if I missed… I did not think about it, as I lept over to the island. Sanctuary…
I hit the other side, but I was not fully on the island. I tried to hold onto the clouds, but I was slipping. I knew I was.
I’m going to die. Not just die. I’m going to Hell.
“Need some help?” I heard a male voice from above me. He extended his hand to me. I saw the brightest and purest wings ever though to have existed, giving me the feeling his aura was created to make people feel safe. I wanted to keep that feeling forever.
“Please.” I cried out to him as I grabbed his hand, as my other hand slipped off.
He easily pulled me up and set me on the cloud island. I curled up into a ball, knowing what might have happened if the guy did not show up. I kept saying thank you, through my sobbing tears.
He sat next to me and pulled me close to him. I continued to cry, as he stroked my hair, calming me down slowly. He whispered softly into my ear, “We have been waiting for you.”
“Who…?” I did not care, to tell you the truth, but he saved me, so I had to go along with it.
“St. Peter, Michael, God and myself.” His voice was soft and soothing.
“May I ask…” I did not know how to ask.
“You will know soon, Child.” He gently pushed me off his lap; after all, I had stopped crying. He stood up next to me and helped me up off the cloud-ground. “Follow me.” I nodded, not trusting my voice.
I took in his appearance, as I was helped up. The first things I noticed were his eyes. Colors swirled about them in a storm of confetti. I watched them change from the lightest blue to the darkest brown then back again. His hair was the next thing I noticed, with his long luxurious locks. His hair was tinted a light brown, but I saw specks of blonde, black and a dark brown going throughout his hair. He was taller than me, which was normal in just about everything else in the world. His shoulders were broad and were strong, as I knew from him picking me up onto the island. He wore a tunic and leggings to match the bright landscape, being made of the finest ivory silk.
He noticed me taking note of his appearance and he gave me a patient look. “Done?” I nodded before he turned on the ball of his foot. He led me through the island of clouds, as I saw palm trees made of clouds, thunderheads were waves on the cloud beach. I saw other souls surfing on the thunderclouds.
“Heaven…” I muttered to myself.
“Yes, child. But you need to see St. Peter before anything else. Your salvation is at stake.”
“I understand. Where is he?”
“He’s in the office. He is the head of admissions and he is the one who told me to find you.”
“Ah.” I followed the angel through the streets of sunlight towards a bright, granite-looking office building.
We went up to the door and just walked right in. It was like he owned the place, he did not stop at the information desk, he walked right passed the security gate. I tried to follow him through but angels stepped in front of me, blocking my passage.
“I need to see St. Peter!” I told them as they pushed me away from the gate.
“Sure you do. And what makes you so special that you think you can just walk right into…”
“My good sirs, I think you should let the child in.” The angel came back and opened the gate for me.
“Yes, sir.” The guards snapped to attention.
“Thank you.” I bowed to them before going to the angel.
“Thank you, security.” He waved at them and they went to at ease.
I looked back to the guards as the gate closed. “You must be pretty high up to be able to come back here. And the way they snapped to attention…”
“Don’t let it bother you. And we’re here.” He opened a golden door and I saw a man sitting on a judge’s bench. He was an old man with long silver hair, his shoulders stooped from being over the book for eternity.
“St. Peter.” I whispered his name to myself.
“Yes.” The angel pushed me forward to St. Peter. “Peter, I found her before she fell into the abyss.”
The old man looked up at me, his spectacles low on his nose. “I see.” He looked down at the book and then motioned me forward. I took the step towards him and I felt the angel step back.
“Peter, I’ll be back to pick her up later. ”
The angel walked away and I heard the door close behind me.
“So, you are Sarah Thomie, who also goes by the name of Solari, or Sori for short. You were born on May 11, 1989 and you died on September 13, 2013. Is that correct?”
He hopped off the stand and stretched. “Well, welcome to Heaven.” He reached his hand out to me.
I shook his hand. “Sir? May I ask a question?”
“How many of my friends made it here?”
He looked at the ground. “None. None of the Fallen were admitted into Heaven.”
I felt the world whirl around me. “I was the only one…”
He rubbed my shoulder, knowing I was in pain.
“What determines if you go to Heaven or Hell?”
“The Scales of Virtue.”
“May I please see my friends’ and my scales?”
“Sure.” He led me down a long passage to a dark red door. He raised his hand to the red door and it slowly opened. He stepped inside the darkened room and instantly, the room filled with candlelight. “Please, come inside.”
I took one step into the room and a cold chill ran up my back. I saw silver thirteen scales set out before me. I went to the first one and saw my name engraved on the base. I walked by each and every one and read the names aloud, “Cecil Estein, Thomas Blake, Ashley Smith, Ashley Perez, Christopher Moran, Janette Goering, Samantha Woodmansee, Jessica Pierce, April Sorenson, Riann Wilson, Matthew Newmaker, and Xyleena Martin. The Fallen…”
“Yes.” He looked down at me.
“I have a question and a request.”
“You may have both depending on what you want.”
“What weighs more, sin or virtue?”
“And my request… May I be alone with them?” I asked quietly.
“I… guess I can do that.”
“Thank you, sir.” I bowed deeply to him.
St. Peter nodded his head to me, before he walked out the door.
I stood alone in the room. I pulled the scales off the shelf and into the floor, creating a circle around me. I looked at every one, paying attention to the ratio of sin to virtue. “They are all too much…” I muttered to myself. I looked at the sin side of the scales and noticed that three of them had the sin sides touching the floor. “Thomas, Cecil and Matthew… I’ll start with them.”
I lifted up a piece of coal from Cecil’s scale. It burned my hand as I lifted it out of his scale and onto mine. The stupid piece of coal weighs like a hundred fifty damned pounds… I looked at my hands after I dropped the coal. “Burns… Third degree if not worse. But they all have to be gone.” I swore to myself. I lifted up the next sin, then the next, until Cecil was left with no sins, only virtues left in his scale.
Next up, Matthew’s scale. His sins weighed more than Cecil’s did. A hundred seventy five… I lifted his sins up one by one, until he was cleared to go into heaven. I looked at my burned and blistered hands before I got an idea. I knew I would not be able to help Thomas if the sins were heavier and they burned at my touch.
I ripped off the end of my dress and created a set of gloves with it, wrapping my hands up tight. Once I had my hands wrapped tight and safe, I started with Thomas’s sins.
It felt like hours as I moved the sins from Thomas’s scale to my own. It once again weighed more then the other two sets of sins, making it about two hundred pounds by my count and estimate.
I took a rest as soon as I was done moving Thomas’s sins onto my scale. I looked at my scale, as the scale was brushing against the floor of the room. “I think… they are saved…” I sighed to myself.
I then looked to the other nine scales that were tipping into Hell. I sighed as I tried to think of what too do. There was no more room for their sins on my scale, so I would have to take the virtue and place it in their scales.
I carefully dipped my hands into the bowl of the scale. I pulled my hands out as I carried the virtues, little grains of sand, to my friends’ scales. I distributed the sands to the various scales, giving them just enough to get to Heaven, knowing if I gave too much, there would not be enough for the rest of them.
There was a big problem, as I soon discovered. There were not enough grains to get all of the scales. I was able to fill all but one. And the worst part of it all, his only sin was the fact that he was born a Fallen. But that sin weighed down heavily on his scale. Moran… His name gently brushed against my mind. He was the most innocent of the rest of us, and here he was, stuck in Hell, because I had not done enough in life to help him now.
I sat on the ground and started to cry heavily. All of the pain of getting raped then killed, the almost fall into Hell and the pain of the sins weighed heavily on my heart and soul. It would not be long, before the people of Heaven found me and they would throw me into the darkest pits.
Someone must have heard me sobbing, because I heard the door open and close behind me. The angel who saved me tapped me on the shoulder, just as I looked up to meet his eyes. He saw the scales and how they had been changed. He grasped me on the shoulder before pulling me to my feet.
“What do you think you are doing?” He growled to me, the carnal feelings of anger rose to the surface.
My instinct reacted instantly, causing me to get bolder. “I am saving them. I couldn’t protect them in life, so I’m finishing my job in death.”
“Who are you to go against the cosmos?”
“I am a guardian who is willing to change places with them in Hell. They don’t deserve to be there, just because some God created them to be damned. Isn’t that why humans were given logic? So they could choose the path as they will? Why couldn’t they be given the same chance?”
“They are Fallen, they deserve to be in Hell.”
“By who’s regard? Why should they be there, when they did what they could to protect the humans, the children of God?”
He was about to refute, but apparently, I hit a sore spot. He looked at the ground before looking back up at me, “How far are you willing to go to get them here?”
“I just need a few more grains of virtue to save the last of them.” I hid my hands behind my back and guarded my scale with my dress.
“Let me see.” He took a step forward, and I knew I had to show him. I lifted my hands so he could inspect them. “You did this with Sin.”
“Yes, every burning gagillion pound of it. But I could only do it with three of them, before there was no more room…” I stepped to the side, revealing my scale.
“You…” He was speechless, I saw that.
“I couldn’t think of any other way to save them. So I did what I thought would work. I moved their sins onto my scale, so they could be admitted to Heaven. Then I took my virtue and put them in the other eight scales, balancing them enough to get them up here… But…”
“You ran out.” He read my mind.
“I ask you again, how far will you go to save them?” He was testing me. I saw it in his eyes. But I was not going to lie to this angel.
“I would give up everything to save them all. My Salvation, my Reincarnation, my Soul… I would damn myself further into the depths of Hell to save them.”
He produced a scale in his hands, “This scale belongs to a person who has a single grain that could save them or damn them. What would you do with it?”
“Let them keep it. It’s not mine to give or take. But if it’s a single grain… I think…” I looked at my left hand, where I had once cut myself and saw two grains stuck in the groove. I put one into Moran’s scale and the other into the one that the angel held. “That should be enough to save him.” I mumbled.
“You now have nothing to give to save your friend. What will you do?”
“Trade Satan. I would beg a trade of souls between my soul and Moran’s.”
“He won’t do it.” The angel was curt as he vanished the scale. “How about I have a better idea?”
“May I please hear it?”
The angel bent over and picked up my scale. “You are trying to play God. What would you do if you met him?”
“I would plead my case, and beg for him to destroy me, if it would give one more grain to save him.” I told the angel.
He grabbed one of the sins off of the scale and crushed it between his fingers, creating a grain of sand.
“But… How?” I was confused.
“Are you sure you want to do this? To give it all up to save those who don’t deserve it?”
“All of them deserve it… in each of their own ways…”
He put the grain into Moran’s scale, admitting Moran into Heaven. “Then so be it…”
I felt myself fall to the ground, the weight of everything taking a toll on my soul. “What’s… going on?”
The angel caught me, dropping my scale to the floor. “You’ve been damned. You’re going to Hell…”
“Are they safe? Did they make it?” I begged for an answer.
“Yes, and you have my word that they are in Heaven.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry for being a pain… But may I ask one more question…?”
“Yes, you may.”
“Who are you?”
“I am Lucifer…The voice of God… And He has spoken…”
“Then I guess I truly am damned.”
He lifted me up into his arms. “No, He wants you to meet him before you fall.”
“Then… I guess we can’t keep God waiting.”
A whirl of blue light lit up around us, as the room spun away from sight. We arrived into a grand chamber of pearly white and precious metals. Silver, gold and bronze adorned a grand throne that sat behind a globe.
“Sir, here she is.” He set me on the ground and stepped away.
I tried to see Him, but the globe hid His face from me. I did see long flowing silver hair, reaching down to a well-shaped male’s calves.
“I understand, Sir.” Lucifer bowed, before grabbing me again.
“What did He say?”
“Shh… Don’t speak with your tongue, show Him your words with your heart. Open yourself up to him.”
I felt the words dance along my skin. With my heart? But… I never believed in Him before dying… He’s going to see that and He won’t listen… My heart despaired at the thought.
Do not think that so lightly, Child.
I gasped as the other mind penetrated into my own. I felt a soft light glint through my head, clearing away all the thoughts of pain, sadness and other unhealthy emotions.
Sir…I came to ask for your forgiveness. I tampered with the scales of my friends, because I thought they were unjustly damned.
I saw the man’s face, as Lucifer set me down in front of him. I felt wholly unjust in everything I had done. Here I was, sitting in front of the Almighty, and I felt my Darknesses creeping up on me.
I felt the answer reverberate across my heart and soul. I know they were. But you were teetering on the edge of everything. That is why I sent Lucifer to retrieve you. And I am glad that everything had gone as planned.
Sir? I’m confused… You set all this up?
Mostly. I knew what kind of a person you were in life. You engaged in forbidden activities, ranging from lust to blasphemy, but I saw that you cared about other people more than you did yourself. I knew that your friends would be damned and taken to the Devil… but I also know that you would have done anything to save them. Am I correct?
Please, call me Father. Sir is reserved to the Angels who wish to call me that.
Yes…Father… You’re correct.
So, I set this up. And… With your ultimate sacrifice, I grant you a place in Heaven, along with your friends.
Thank you, Father! I felt myself gain strength back. My Darknesses were retreating from the depths of my conscious. I used my own energy to stand up.
Go to your friends, and please, do not mess with any more scales… I can only do this once in millennia.
Yes, Father… Tears of happiness streamed down my face, as I ran up and gave God a hug.
I heard Lucifer laugh behind me, as the room swirled in a blue light and we were back into the room where the scales once sat. “And you thought you were going to Hell. You think He would let someone like you get into Satan’s hands?”
“I guess you’re right. Hey, Lucifer?”
I hugged him tightly. “Thank you… For everything…”
He was taken aback by the hug. “Is there anything else I can do to help you?”
I thought quickly. “What is your greatest desire?”
“What?” He pushed me away, slightly.
“If you could have anything… what would it be?”
He thought about it, before his lips brushed against mine. “Someone to love and protect…” He leaned in to kiss me, but I stopped him.
“I can’t… I have twelve other people I love and that I need to protect…”
“Then why can’t I protect you?”
“Simple… You’ve seen how much trouble I can get into within a day… Are you sure you want to spend eternity with a responsibility like that?”
He leaned in and kissed me before I could block him. The room swirled in a rainbow, as we appeared outside of the office building. I saw two males out of the corners of my eyes. They looked heart broken, so I was forced to pull away. I saw my friends standing around us, all looking like they were in need of proof I was there. And maybe some fun in Heaven.
“I can’t, Lucifer… They need me…”
“And you need me… I can feel it in all that I am…” He was heartbroken too.
“Well, then how about you try the human way… I know nothing about you and you know nothing about me… Outside of what my file says…” I pulled away from the angel, but I made sure I was playful as I said five words that would create a chase across the Heavens… “Catch me if you can.”