A Death in Heaven, Part 2

Idea of Heaven:

***

I never thought about seeing my parents.

Not once I was dead.

Nevertheless, they were the first people, if you can call them that, that I met in heaven.

***

"Mother!" I hugged my mother, and buried my face in her shoulder like I hadn't since I was little. Strange, but I no longer felt any age. I didn't feel young, or old. I was simply, finally, me. In appearance I resembled my parents, who wore faces that couldn't be a day over twenty. My mother smiled at me, but she appeared distracted and even a little uncomfortable at my touch.

"Are you alright?" I asked her, feeling like I was asking for a cookie after dinner. She smiled in the same distracted way. I shrugged to myself, no longer expecting answers from that quarter. Whatever was wrong with my mother, she certainly wasn't going to tell me about it. I huffed to myself. That was fine by me.

"Have you seen Charlie?" I asked Dad. My father looked slightly distracted also, but that was just how I remembered him on Earth, so I wasn't worried. He started at my question, then winced.

"You always had to be different, didn't you?" My mother finally said. It was actually the first time I had heard anyone aside from myself speak.

"I guess. . . hey, where's Darren?" I asked mother this time. Maybe that would cheer her up. Back on Earth my little brother's death followed my mom her entire life. It was a shadow that fell over her every April. And every year the whole family would travel to his grave, and mother would cry for him. I'm afraid I never sympathized with her, even after I came to except her sadness.

I suppose she was crying for all the things he hadn't gotten to do. For the life he never got to live, as he was still-born. Or maybe she was crying for all the things she never got to share with him.

Still, being able to see her long-lost son should please her, even if she had enjoyed the past twenty-something years with him. It would be even longer, I hoped, before my brothers joined them in death. I was the oldest of their children, Darren included. My mother flinched.

". . . Do you know how you get to heaven?" I raised an eyebrow at her.

"I'm here, aren't I?" I responded. Mother shook her head.

"Part of reaching heaven is finding your soul mate. For a time you have no memories of the Earth at all, and their return is hazy. Everything is dark until you find them, but from what I hear the time is shortened if you managed to find your mate on Earth. Like me and your father." Mom hugged my dad, and a glow appeared around them.

"That's heaven." My dad finished for her. He smiled a little at me.

"Your mother and I didn't have to wait too long."

***

I heard more from my parents, who hesitantly told me about those who did not find their soul mates.

They were sent back to Earth, to find each other.

My parents refused to tell me how.

***

"That sounds. . . unpleasant." I said neutrally.

I was trying to avoid contact with two of the most important people during my life. They had confessed that most of their memories where very sketchy. I hoped all of heaven wasn't this crappy. My mother, now a stranger, made a non-committal sound.

"The darkness? Not so much. It's a bit like life without your soul mate. Everything feels dull, empty and boring. You don't really notice it though, because you have nothing to compare it to." She said openly. I stretched my face into a smile. My mother did the same.

"So you want to find your. . . Charlie." My father interrupted. Well, he interrupted the awkward silence for which I was grateful.

***

Funny what your mind can ignore.

***

"You can be anywhere you want in heaven." My mother finished for him. They both smiled at each other, and the radiance that surrounded them grew brighter. I made my eyes feel scratchy, so I rubbed them. I came away with a dry finger. I had expected my hand to be wet, but I guess you really don't cry in heaven.

Suddenly I was at the beach. For the first time since I was fifteen the sand felt soft, the sun felt just right and the water. . .

The water was perfection.

I'm a little embarrassed to say I completely forgot what I was doing and just enjoyed the waves.

I don't think I ever remember the sun being quite this soft. I kept rubbing my hand along it, trying to see if it was real. It didn't feel like it was really there.

I sun was just right, and I remembered when I had burnt my back on a cloudy day. Anxiously I checked over my shoulders, but they were still parchment white. Somehow I felt a little cheated.

The ocean had to have one of the most memorable tastes, but every time water filled my mouth I couldn't find fault with it. I spit it out anyway.

To my right, back on the beach I saw something glowing.

"Shiny things!" I smiled and raced towards the glow. Mind blissfully empty. This really was heaven! I laughed at my own horrible pun. You wouldn't think they'd be allowed up here. . .

When I reached the origin of the light, I recognized one of the two bodies entwined. They were in a pose typical of lovers, cuddled close like they couldn't sleep if they were apart. My heart wrenched and I remembered all the times I had memorized my ceiling. My years fell on me. I wasn't twenty anymore, I was back in the nursing home hooked up on life support.

"Charlie?" My soul mate. Curled up on this perfect sand with someone else. My eyes itched again.

"Who. . . who are you?" A dark haired man asked me. He was slightly taller than Charlie, and was hunched over him protectively.

***

"What did my little brother look like?

"Your brother Darren had dark hair. Odd, because no one else in our family does."

***

"Darren?" Both Charlie and Darren stared at me, and I look Charlie in the eyes.

"Hey you! I said, hey! Who are you? And how do you know my name?" Darren, my own baby brother asked me who I was after just having slept with my husband. The irony was not lost on me.

"When you find your soul mate. . ." I whispered.

". . . you find heaven." Charlie finished. He touched Darren's shoulder, and the glow around them nearly blinded me. I sniffed.

"Heaven. . .sure looks nice." I whispered.

I can't think. . . I . . . I don't know.

I glanced at the water and suddenly remembered how good it tasted. I glanced around at all the majestic scenery, horny lovebirds included and couldn't hold back a sneer.

This place held nothing for me. I walked out into the water, purposefully ignoring I could probably summon much better things or places than this in a metaphorical heartbeat. I was going to make do with what I had.

I'm not sure if Charlie or Darren ever realized what I was doing, or if they followed me. Once I was far out enough that I couldn't see the bottom I stopped caring.

I started to tread water. I let that disgustingly perfect water soak me. No one here would miss me.

I. . .I do know, what I want, anyway.

***

I guess I thought heaven could solve all my problems, but I just brought them with me.

***

I want to go to the beach and know there isn't another one like it.

I want to be somewhere people need me and I need them.

I want to feel the sand scratch me, get sun burnt and swallow gallons of seawater. Well, maybe not that much.

I want to cry.

I want to be alive, to know that every heartbeat is counting down, and I do have a deadline.

***

Somewhere, a baby started screaming.

And although it didn't sound in the least bit like a bell, the baby's mother couldn't have been more happy.

~Owari~

The sun setting on the machinegun terrace like spun gold, and the galo├čing station at twilight. This is a veritable paradise.

-Col. Hogan in reference to his POW camp, "Hogan's Heroes"

A/n- I'd like to say this story has no basis in my actual beliefs, but that would be an outright lie. This random pile of shit springs out some of my veritable fears, a fact which annoys me to no end. Well, here it is in black and white (and the occasionally red underline to signify misspelled words). I can't ignore it now. And no, I am not usually this . . . well . . . sappy. It's embarrassing. Ah well, you can't win them all. I blame my muse.

C/n- (gags) That was the most drawn out pile of crap I have ever seen. And is that really your idea of heaven? (sigh) You need to go get laid, or something. Seriously.

Koori- (bows) Why thank you!