Heaven is For Real Part 3
"My tummy hurts really badly," Regan whined, still clenching her little belly.
"I know," Rosemary agreed. "I feel like I rode the twilt-a-hurl a thousand times over,"
The Gravely sisters got up and cleaned themselves off. Once they wiped off the leftover bits of their upchucked meals from their mouths they started to explore around the great halls together. "Where are we?" Regan asked.
"I don't know," her sister replied. "But I don't think we're in Brimstone anymore."
"Are we dead?" Regan asked again.
"I don't think so." Rosemary answered once more. Regan wanted to be sure. She reached out and pitched her older sister on the hand. Rosemary yelped then threatened Regan with a knuckle sandwich, to which Regan immediately apologized for her actions.
Both Rosemary and Regan sensed there was something off about this place. It felt strange like walking inside a person's house without them knowing. It certainly wasn't anything like Hell. More like the exact opposite. It was warm but not quite warm as the Inferno's temperatures could get. Here it felt like the sun's ray gentling touching their skin and clothes. Their throats weren't scratchy from any sulfur particles that would normally be found in the depths of the Inferno. In fact the air was just as clean as this hallway. It was much cleaner and polished than anything place inside the Inferno Tower, their stepfather's workplace.
The hall was lengthy and huge. It seemed to extend for miles like an interstate highway. Wide towering pillars made of pure granite held up the seemingly infinite ceiling above. The pillars bared some resemblance to the stone pillars that held the Roman and Greek structures together. The whole hall could house their stepfather's monstrous form and yet still make room for more. The floors were made of milky marble and spotless, with the exception for the mess the sisters made earlier. The walls were a mixture of both but had limitless figures etched into them, depicting faceless figures with wings flying among the infinite stars. The Gravely sisters wondered what it all meant. Regardless they ventured on.
Rosemary and Regan walked side by side. Regan held on to her sister's hand, too afraid to separate from each other in this bizarre new world. Rosemary ensured her little sister that they were going to be safe. Her confidence was something that Regan always admired about her big sister. Though it's Rosemary's confidence that hides her own fears of this world they've been taken to. They both remember what happened when they first entered into Hell. When their mother first started dating Lu, the girls certainly didn't trust him. They remembered how they snuck inside the trunk of Lu's car to spy on him, only to discover they were taken to that nightmarish realm. They remembered how the demons first chased them throughout the tower. It was a surprise to the sisters that the demons were real just as it was a surprise for the demons to discover two young human children wandering their world. But luckily things calmed down after that first encounter and the Gravely sisters got to know some of them, including Lilith who was the first friendly face they came across on their first perilous adventure. It all seemed like a lifetime ago to the sisters that their world was turned upside down in an instant when they learned about Lu's true nature, as well as discovering that some of what their principal had been preaching for years seemed true — from a certain point of view. Normally anyone could end up in an insane asylum after this kind of discovery; but somehow this never bothered Rosemary, Regan, their mother, their friends, or anyone else in Brimstone. Perhaps everyone was already crazy before, or maybe it was just typical Brimstone. Either way this was their world now, and they've made the most of it.
They also remembered the day they first met Mike at their front door. For an angel, an archangel no less, he looked surprisely human. Their first conversation together was a little awkward. While Mike liked kids he didn't seem to know much about them, which was the first thing the Gravely sisters picked up on. They also remembered when he first flashed his magnificent wings. The girls had never seen something quite as majestic as that before. They both got the feeling that they were going to like him from then on.
It seemed true. Mike would often visit afterward, mostly on weekends, and the girls enjoyed spending quality time with him. They saw movies, played sports, helped out with community service, and had family game nights. Regan prided over the fact that she helped him score a date with Ms. Kat, to which the pair continued dating from then on. Sometimes Rosie and Regan would ask the angel about him, his life, and his world; it always insinuated that he was trying to hide something, always trying to convert their conversations to other topics. Was Mike afraid to tell them about his life because he thought they wouldn't handle more shocking revelations to their fragile worldview? Or was he more afraid that if he did something like this, like what happened earlier, would be his fate?
The girls continued walking until they came upon a light shining at the end. Its brightness blinded them, forcing their hands to shield their eyes. Briefly the blinding light cleared and what they saw left the Gravely sisters astonished.
"Holy crap!" Rosie gasped.
"Swear." her sister called her out while she too was mesmorized.
They stood at the edge of the world, looking out to the vastness of this new world before them. Inside this great space — enormous opening area that looked it could fit all of Lake Superior inside — were rectangular platforms that levitated above one another. Some were small with the width of a football field while others were large and extensive as the Titanic. Some of the platforms hovered completely still while others slowly rotated around each other like hands on a clock. The girls gazed at the numerous wonders that layed before them. They both came to the conclusion they definitely weren't in Brimstone anymore, and they certainly weren't anywhere in the Inferno. No, there was only one logical conclusion where they stood. This was Heaven, the realm of light, the home of the angels and where the good souls went after death. Not just Heaven, this was Paradise, the capital, one of the nine cityscape districts.
The pair then looked down to the bottomless abyss below. The depth of this pit was infinite. If one were to fall they would be falling continuously. Just peering down gave the girls a sense of vertigo. "How far do you think it goes?" Regan asked.
Rosie didn't answer this time, only shrugged instead. She, however, came up with a way to test it. Rolling the phlegm in the back of her mouth, Rosemary spat the biggest loogie she could mold. The snotty ball of saliva dropped continously into the infinite abyss below. Regan stuck her tongue out in disgust having to witness her sister's test.
There didn't seem to be any way to cross from the ledge they stood to the hovering platform on the other side, not unless they both sprouted wings themselves. Rosemary then spotted a console attached to the wall with a flat surface on top. It appeared small enough for a whole hand to fit inside, so she slapped her hand on the surface to test it. The console emitted a soft hum and the girls watched as a holographic bridge pixelated by vibrant rainbow colors stretched to the other end. The girls raced each other to the platform across the way. Once they were both safely across the rainbow bridge dissipated.
Rosemary and Regan wandered around one of the larger platforms of Paradise, whose name appeared frequently. Every ad and billboard, every shop and restaurant had this district's name somewhere. Where the girls stood was one of the main common areas where angels everywhere would gather for every day routines. The girls felt like they were walking inside a giant shopping mall, but that mall was the size of a large city. They saw different shops of different sizes and several food stands for meals. They saw large trees growing through the marble floors with three-legged, golden-feathered crows nested and cawed in the branches. They even saw a water fountain that levitated on air, and no drops ever touched the floor.
And there were angels. So many angels just going about their day. There were angels moving from one spot to another with assistance from their wings or boarding and exiting off smaller but equally incredible anti-gravity platforms. Some angels were talking with others, having group conversations. No usage of a phone or face time on a computer, just simple face to face small chat. There were also adorable couples, both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, holding hands and kissing in public. Marionette dolls made of glass and thin, clear twine danced and juggled in front of an audience of youths. The Gravely sisters were starting to feel like Harry Potter visiting Diagon Alley for the first time in The Philosopher's Stone, surrounded by such wonder and whimsy.
But really amazed the Gravely girls was how they looked so human, at least by appearance. One could even mistake them for humans without ever realizing the difference. They all didn't have wings petruding out of their backs. But then again, there was no need to at the moment. To the some that did have wings out and about, they were used to gravitate them from one platform to the other, floating around like a dandelion seed caught in a breeze. Their wings were different than the guards or archangels. They were all the same length but they all emitted a pure white energy glow. This must be the look of the wings of the commonfolk. Rosie and Regan spotted that a few of the angels had bronze colored wings, yet those angels were dressed in doctor or scientist uniforms. The clothes these civilians wore were unlike their own. Everyone was dressed in more traditional garmets and robes that extended through all passages of time. Their clothes had elaborate colors like the bridge the girls crossed, as did some of the buildings they saw. Some of these hues blended perfectly while others conflicted one another. Despite the obvioius wings they were just like Rosemary and Regan and all other mortals from Earth. They seemed very human doing human things.
On this grand platform the girls march through the crowds, blending perfectly among them. These folks didn't seem to mind or notice them. To them they were no different than angel children — or cherubs as they would call them. Vendors were around every corner selling assorted items.
"Ice cream!" one shouted. "Get your ice cream. Fresh, frozen, and delicious." the Gravely sisters walked by his cart and he spotted them. With his telekinetic ability the vendor scooped two large spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream and placed them inside paper cups. Plastic spoons punched into the frozen treats then they hovered in front of the girls faces. "Here you go kids. Free samples on the house."
The mortal sisters thanked the vendor for the treats and gladly plucked their cups from the air. They then scooped the spoons into their mouths. The delicious, cold taste of the treats were, for the lack of a better word, heavenly. The ice cream melted in their mouths but the savory flavor went on forever. After eating the rest of their free ice cream and disposing the cups in trash bins, they continued wandering around. They suddenly walked by tray of CD cases and record alblums. One ablum in particular stood out to Rosemary, which caused her to stop dead in her tracks.
"Oh my god," she muttered, pointing at one of the alblums on the shelves. "That's the alternative cover of Led Zeppelin's first alblum with their names in turquoise. These are extremely rare."
"Got several dozen more where those came from," said a friendly, female vendor. "You like games too?" Rosie quietly nodded her head. The vendor took a case off one of her shelves and tossed it to the girl.
Rosemary caught it and looked at the cover. Her drop nearly popped right off from what she discovered. "This is a limited edition Major Rager: The First Blood Edition, the first copy released back in 1993. This is the one where they added more blood and gore than before to the original game, as well as the cheat code to have Major Rager run around in his underwear." she hugged the case like a teddy bear. "I must truly be in Heaven. Please don't pinch me again, Regan. I don't want to wake up from this." there was no answer from her little sister. "Regan?"
All Rosie heard was her sisters loud shriek. She placed the game back on shelf and hurried to find her missing sister. It wasn't long before she found her little sister excitedly hopping up and down in front of a horse-drawn carriage. But this horse appeared different like the rest from their world. This one's skin was white as snow and had a spiral horn petruding along its forehead.
"IT'S A REAL, LIVE UNICORN!!!" Regan screamed happily. Rosemary saw how the crowds of angels stared awkwardly at the screaming kindergartener. They were wondering why any cherub would be excited over something so common here. Rosemary quickly snatched her sister away from the carriage, apologize to the grumpy cabby along the way.
"Ha, I told you they were real!" Regan said smugly. "We're in Heaven. This place is amazing."
"Yeah it is," Rosie agreed. "Sure beats anything at Lu's office." Then she realized that Mike was somewhere here, probably being punished for crimes the girls believed unjust. "Wait, as amazing as this place is, we can't get too distracted."
"Why not?" Regan asked.
"Because Mike's still in trouble. He needs our help."
The Regan asked another question, one that drew sadness across her face. "Do you think daddy is somewhere here too?"
Rosemary looked sad too. She wanted to believe that was true. But the more she looked around the truth was apparent: they were never going to run into their father. With so many angels in one platform it didn't look like any of them were once souls ascended to this wondrous paradise. It wasn't the same as the Condemned souls found in Hell, where they would endure many harrowing tortures and endless slave labor carried out by the demons. No, Rosie got the feeling that these Blessed souls are likely elsewhere, but definitely not here among walking among the angels.
The eldest Gravely took her sister by the hands. "I don't know, Regan. I really don't know," she told her, bothered by this agonizing realization. "I'd like to think so. I'd like to see him again too, but we promised to move forward with our lives, remember? We did it for mom for her to be happy." Hearing this, Regan quietly sighed. She knew her older sister would never lie to her, especially when it came to talking about their father. And she knew she was right too.
"And we gotta stay focused too." Rosie added. "Mike's in trouble and we gotta help him. I don't know how but we gotta try. He's our family now too, just like Lu and Gabi are. Like dad always said, we don't leave family behind, right?"
Regan looked up to her big sister. "Right! We always help them, any way we can." A smile from her helped boost their confidence.
"Maybe if that the other archangels will hear our side of the story, and they'd left Mike off the hook. It's a long shot but worth a try. So let's get helping!"
The girls hugged it out and gave each other high fives. "And let's try to keep things quiet and subtle for now." Rosemary added. "I get the feeling that these angels won't be happy when they find out two human girls are running around here."
The two girls set out to find their beloved uncle across an limitless cityscape. Their biggest problem was they had no idea where Mike could be, or where they where the Council would be located. But when in doubt, just ask about.
"Excuse me," Rosie walked up to one of the angels passing through. "Can you help-"
"Sorry, can't help you at the moment." she responded and continued walking.
Regan tried her best too. "Um mister, we need to-"
"I'm busy." another rudely said and walked on. "Don't bother now."
It was the same answer and result every time the girls approached one of these strangers. For angels, they both thought, they were very inconsiderate. Nevertheless they pressed onward and approached another stranger. "Hello." Rosemary spoke first. "We're sorry to bother you, but can you help us?"
This stranger stopped and acknowledged their presence. Rosemary and Regan both noticed that the stranger contrasted from the others. In a realm where the inhabitants wore bright, beautiful threads of colors, this stranger wore cloak, black as a raven's feather, that blanketed much of the body and head hidden under a hood.
"We're looking for where the archangels are," Rosemary continued. "Do you know where we can find them?"
"It's super important." her sister added.
The stranger casually knelt down before the sisters. The eyes were still hidden but they got a better glimpse of the lower half of the face. The skin flawless and lips painted black like the cloak she wore. "My apologies, cherubs," a woman's voice spoke from under the hood, sounding tranquil and kind. "I'm afraid I've been away from my home so long that it all seems alienating at the moment. I do wish you luck in your quest."
Disappointed yet again, the Gravely sisters thanked the stranger for her time, to which the stranger bowed her head. The pair walked away from the stranger and continued their journey to find their uncle. The stranger stood and watched the two mortals — though she did not know they were mortals, only believing they were cherubs like all the rest — walk up to more strangers and ask them questions. Such sweet, innocent, little cherubs, she thought, one day you will all be free from this world's, and the Council's, will.