Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By Dakota Zambito

  “Alright now, class. Everyone please direct your attention to the monitor.” David looked up at the monitor to see a live-cam image of a green and blue ball being warped by smoky clouds. “Can anyone tell me what planet this is?” The teacher asked. A young girl in the back enthusiastically raised her hand.
“That’s earth.” The girl said.
“Very good, Stacy.” Said the teacher. “Earth is one of three known life-containing planets in the cosmos. Could anyone name the other two?”
“Remus and our planet, Talos.” Said a student in the front.
“Correct. Now, Remus… is a highly un-evolved planet. The life forms there are extremely primitive.” The monitor changed from the vision of earth to a picture of what looked like a big monkey. “This is a Remusian. See how they walk hunched over? That is because they haven’t fully developed the ability to walk upright. Though they haven’t yet, we predict they will invent tools sometime within the next ten thousand years. That is, of course, as long as no geological scenarios postpone that… Any questions?” 
    The students sat without raising a single hand, waiting for the teacher to continue the lesson. The class really loved to learn about planets and other things of the cosmos. Earth was their favorite. Studying human behavior was fascinating to David. They just seemed so similar, yet so different.
“Alright, then.” Said the teacher “Let’s move on to Earth. Humans, as we all know, look exactly like us.” The monitor showed a picture of a human. “We like to call earth our sister planet. Does anybody know why?”
    A boy in the middle raised his hand “Yes, Toby?”
“Because earth has been around for almost the same exact amount of time as we have.”
“Absolutely correct, Toby. Both Earth and Talos are estimated to be roughly 4.5 billion years old. This is very interesting because we have much more advanced technology than they do. Scientists have not been able to figure out why the Humans were so slow to evolve. Many suggest that there was some cataclysmic event that slowed their evolution down, but there is no evidence to support that.” 
    The class stared at the monitor, mesmerized. Suddenly, the bell rang. With as much as they loved to learn, they didn’t love it nearly as much as they loved lunch. All the students raced out of the room and quickly filled the cafeteria.

    After class, David walked down to grab some lunch in the food court. He walked up to the counter, grabbed a plate of chicken, swiped his card, and sat down with a few of his friends.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” David’s friend, Derrick was telling his girlfriend.
“It’s not that crazy!” Derrick’s girlfriend, Carrie, defended.
“What’s going on?” David asked as he sat down at the table. Derrick turned sharply and raised his hand in frustration.
“Carrie here, thinks that there’s some sort of realm that we all go to when we die.” Derrick explained.
“I don’t BELIEVE that,” Carrie snapped “I’m only saying that it’s a possibility.” She corrected.
“Carrie, I’m going to be completely honest with you, that is insane.” Said David. Derrick turned to his friend.
“Thank you!” He shouted.
“Come on!” Carrie urged. “Just think about this way: Every night when we fall asleep, we go into these dreams. They’re alternate dimensions that we believe to be reality when we’re in them. And then we wake up. And we realize it was all just a dream… Well, what if life is like one big dream? And death is just us waking up from it?”
“… Carrie, who the hell have you been talking to?” David asked with a smile.
“It’s my philosophy teacher, Mr. Bates.”
“Oh, not this guy again!” Derrick bellowed, slapping a fist on the table. “She’s got a fucking thing for this guy!” He angrily told David.
“I don’t have a ‘thing’ for him, I just so happen to think that he’s a highly intelligent and open minded person… Unlike some people…” 
“You hear this shit?” Derrick asked, turning to David. “She believes there’s some sort of crazy dream world after we die and yet, I’m the irrational one.”
“You know, Carrie,” David started “You’re lucky we’re letting you sit here.”
“Why’s that?” Carrie angrily asked.
“Because on Earth, they make the special needs kids sit at their own lunch table.”
“Fuck off, David.”

That thesis paper was going to be the death of him. If David had to sit in that god damn library for one more moment, it was possible that he was going to quit college and start selling loose cigarettes on the corner.
David leaned back and looked out of the window at the other end of the library. Already, the streetlights had come on. Looking down at his watch, David saw that it read 11:34. Fuck David thought I’ve been here for over four hours. With a concurrent yawn and stretch, David saved his work, stood up and pushed in his stool.

“Goodnight, Sherry.” David told the girl behind the desk.
“Bye, David.” She sweetly replied
Outside, it was cold and dark. The wind blew dead leaves across the narrow concrete walkway leading to the road. As he walked down the path, David tugged the sleeves of his sweatshirt back down to his wrists.
Just a few feet before he hit the sidewalk, his phone began to vibrate in his pocket. He pulled it out and saw a text from his girlfriend, Jane. She was pissed. Of course. He was an hour late.
As David apologetically texted his girlfriend back, he walked over the sidewalk and into the road. David’s car was parked in the parking lot just on the other side. David stopped when he heard a noise to his left. When he looked up, David saw the bright pair of headlights that were barreling towards him.
They say when one is about to die, that time actually slows down. For David, that wasn’t necessarily true. Time didn’t seem to slow down, but instead, his mind seemed to quicken up.
It even felt as if his mind was able to think multiple thoughts at once. As he watched the car flying toward him, he was able to tell his body to react, his feet began to move back toward the sidewalk. No matter how many signals he gave to his feet, they still didn’t seem to move fast enough. Simultaneously, he was able to think of the repercussions of himself being hit. Would he need an ambulance? What kind of medical attention would he need? Would he even survive? No. He needed to keep moving. But his body just didn’t seem fast enough.
As he car got ever closer, David began to get desperate. He couldn’t help but to think back to all of the people in his life. He saw Jane, bawling and falling to the ground, his friends all having to attend his funeral, but the worst of all: he saw his family having to bury their son. To make funeral arrangements. He saw his Dad having to tell his grandfather that he had outlived his grandson. He saw his brother having to pass by an empty bedroom every night. And he saw his mother having to wake up every morning and go to work, knowing that the life of her son had been taken, and there was nothing she could have done to stop it.
Surely, if David had been given enough time to form tears, he would have cried. This was it. He was going to die. He couldn’t move quick enough. The cold, hard pavement in front of the library was going to be his last memory.
No. No. How could this happen? David asked himself. As David stared at the bright set of lights that were now almost to him, he knew there had to be something. Some kind of Deus Ex Machina, ready to swoop in and save him.
It was then that David felt the presence of a force he’d never been privy to. He began to feel as if fate were dictated by some sort of omniscient entity. He suddenly felt like a character in a novel and found himself pleading to the author. David would have wished anything to save himself. But it felt as if this author knew exactly what it was that David was ashamed of most. David knew what it wanted. And he knew if he wanted to live, he would have to comply.
I’ll start treating her right. He desperately pleaded. I’ll be exclusive to her. I’ll spend more time with her. I’ll take her out more. I swear it!
But his words were lost on the car. David tried with all the force he had to move quicker, but all attempts were futile. He felt a blow to his knees, then to his head.
The next thing David saw were the stars. Not the kind you see after a cartoon character was hit in the head with an anvil, but, the real, stark, soul piercing stars that sat deep in the cold, black sky.

    David could now see a blinding white light. He was compelled to it, like a fly to a lamp. But there was no promise that this light came from a lamp at all. For all he knew, he could be heading straight for an over sized bug zapper. David desperately tried to move away from it, but his attempts were futile. He was paralyzed: only flotsam in this strange force that slowly dragged him closer and closer into its heart.
    David began to feel an odd, warm, calming sense. He submitted to it. He felt like an antelope fully giving into the lion whose jaw was gripping around its neck. Letting the light fully engulf him, David could now see that he was not the one moving toward it. The light was coming to him.
    Slowly, David’s hearing came back to him. His ears were hijacked by a static ringing noise. He just wanted it to stop. Sure enough, in time, the ringing simmered down into a mild hum. Next, David’s sight began to come back. Through the light, he could see shapes, then colors. 
    Before him stood what appeared to be a giant gateway. The metallic gate shone in the brightness. A frightened David quickly looked down. He was standing. David could see his full body now, except for his feet. They were clouded by a nebulous white fog. 
    David timidly scraped his right foot around. He could feel that he was standing on some sort of hard, level floor that was hidden by the thick fog.
    Though David hadn’t realized when exactly it happened, the light hum had now seamlessly transitioned into a kind of music. It sounded as if it were a harp or maybe even the last few keys on a piano. David had never heard anything more beautiful. 
    Looking up to see the source of the music, David’s eyes adjusted more to the bright atmosphere. It looked as if he were in some sort of white purgatory. The only things he could see that weren’t pure white were the golden gate and accompanying fence, and the light blue sky above it. David gazed at the tall, golden fence and followed it with his eyes. It, along with the flat, white, nothingness, expanded as far as the eye could see.
    David’s eyes returned to the gate. For the first time, David noticed the old man sitting beside it. He was sat behind a tall marble podium. The man wore a long Silk robe and a bushy white beard. The man was hunched over the podium with his head leaning on his arm. He looked to be completely asleep.
    David cautiously approached the sleeping man. As he came closer, David could actually hear the old man’s snores. David issued a light clear of his throat. The old man jolted up straight into the air, awake. He looked around in a panicked matter, finally resting his poor, confused eyes onto David.
“…What are you doing here?” He asked with widened eyes. David raised his eyebrows and gave the man a shrug.
“I haven’t a clue.” Said David. “I was crossing the street and then… A car… I didn’t see until it was too late…” David tried to explain. The old man just stared at him with a gaping mouth.
“Incredible…” The old man muttered. “You… Actually believe?” He asked with disbelief in his voice.
“Believe what?”
“In him. Believe in him!”
“Who is him?”
“The Almighty!” The man cried “Surely, you must believe in the Almighty… That is why you are here… It must be…”
“The Almighty?” David asked. David now remembered the feeling of that presence. “Just before I was hit… I thought that maybe there was some sort of power that could save me… Is this it? Did you save me from that car?” 
    The man gave David a deeply empathetic stare. After a long moment, he finally opened his mouth “No, brother. I’m afraid you are dead.”
    David staggered backward. He began to blink away tears and bite his lip. “No. No… That cannot be possible.” He spat.
“It is, I’m afraid.”
“But… But… If I’m dead… Then, what is this?”
“Why, this is the kingdom of Heaven.”
“Yes. Heaven: the eternal after life.” The man clarified. David let out a nervous chuckle.
“After life? You mean… It’s real?”
“As real as you and I.”
    David thought for a moment. “So what do we do now?” He asked.
“Why… I’m not sure…” The old man admitted.
“What do you mean you’re not sure?” David snapped. He seemed to get a little testy when the people in charge of his life beyond death were incompetent.
“Well…” The old man began to explain. “I’ve never done this before. Let me check the manual.” The man reached into his robe and retrieved a tiny pair of reading glasses, then plunged his hands beneath the podium. After feeling around for a while, the man came back up with a book about half a foot thick. “Let me see here…” He said flipping through the old pages with squinted eyes. “Ah… Apparently I need to ask for your name and write it on the ledger.”
“David Chapel.”
“One moment please.” The man said with a finger held up. He once again dipped beneath the podium and came up with a book that was a whole foot thick. He opened the cover and placed the tip of his quill pen on the very top of the first page. “Name, please?” He said looking down at the book through his thin glasses.
“David Chapel.” He repeated angrily.
“Could you spell that?”
    David gave the man a livid stare. “D-A-V-I-D  C-H-A-P-EL”
“Thank you.” Mumbled the man as he intricately scribbled down the name. “You may now enter. Welcome to the kingdom of Heaven.” The old man declared.
    With a lame waving gesture from the man, the shiny, golden gates began to slowly part. They squeaked and creaked from never being used. David stared into the vast, white, unknown then glanced back at the old man. “Where do I go?” He humbly asked. The Old man gave him one last look of candidness.
“You speak to the Almighty.” He said.

    Saying that David was not afraid of what lied beyond that arching gate would have been more than a lie. David’s feet tried to override the brain’s decision to keep moving forward with every step. The gate that he had passed through was now just barely rising out of the horizon. He had no clue how far he had walked, but he knew he couldn’t turn back.
    Just when David had wanted to give up hope, he saw a shape rising in the distance. It was a sharp, white, triangle-like structure that was hard to distinguish from the blinding white horizon. But David saw it, clear as day, cutting its way into the blue sky.
    He started to run. After five whole minutes of a heart pounding sprint, David could now see the structure for what it really was. 
    It was a raised building with a huge flight of stairs leading up to it. The entire structure was made from white marble and had a very Greco decor. The roof was triangle shaped with long pillars running down to the top of the stairs. It reminded David of that Ancient Human building he had once studied in school. The Parthenon he believed they called it. It was astounding.  
    When David reached the steps, he began to lift his feet out of the foggy white bog that had previously engulfed them. Slowly making his way up the stairs, David began to hear a noise. It sounded like a fox’s howl, but much more high pitched. As David reached the top of the stairs, he realized that the noise sounded to be that of a young woman crying.
    Making haste, David began to walk faster into the temple. The ceiling was huge. With its ionic pillars lining all four walls, one was able to see the light blue sky from any angle. Now that he was inside, David could now see that the temple was completely open. It was all one undivided room with no furniture except for one marble thrown that sat in the very middle. Though the back of the chair was facing him, David deducted that the woman must have been sitting in it. 
    He quickly ran up to the chair and rounded its tall, marble base to get a look at its occupant. To David’s utter surprise, however, he saw not a young woman, but another very old man.
    The man sat hunched over in his chair with his head in his hands, crying. His head was almost completely bald except for the sides which contained a long, white mane. The sides of his hair indistinguishably transitioned into a beard that almost touched the floor. The man wore an old, tattered robe that looked to be from an era long lost.
“Excuse me…” David said, gently.
    The old man’s head quickly shot up, tears still dripping down his face. He stared blankly at David with a hopeful look of disbelief. “… Who are you?” The man clambered, wiping away a waterfall of tears.
“My name’s David, sir.” He nervously responded.
“David… How did you get here?” The man asked, still holding his bewildered gaze. David looked down at the ground.
“I was hit by a car… I believe I am dead…” He sorrowfully admitted.
“You mean… You mean you believed in me?” The man’s mood quickly changed from a despondent wreck into a hopeful bliss. It was the kind of mood change David had only seen in small children.
“I’m not sure, are you the almighty?”
    The man slowly hopped off his throne and gingerly stuck his hand out for David to shake. “I am The Almighty.” He said. “The all seeing. And the creator of Talos and all who inhabit it. I am God.”
    David awkwardly grabbed the old man’s wrinkled hand and shook. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. Now, could you please explain to me why I am here?”
“That is what I am trying to figure out, David. You see, Heaven is only accessible to those who believe in me and the miracles I perform. That is why it is empty. And it has been for four billion years…” God explained to him. The two started to walk toward the edge of the building.
“Four billion years? Wow…” David exclaimed. They now reached the top of the stare case that David had just rushed up a moment ago. “You mean in all that time, not a single person has believed in you?” He asked.
    God looked down with a sour face. David watched another tear roll down his cheek, and then another, in an instant, God was uncontrollably sobbing once more. “I just don’t know what’s wrong with me!” He wailed. “The God of Earth has billions of followers! His followers KILL over him!” God cried as he clumsily sat down on to the step. “And I can’t even get one person to believe that I exist! Is it my hair? Because I’ve been trying this new shampoo and it’s starting to come back. Oh, it’s just not fair!”
    David reluctantly sat down beside him. Looking at him now, crying on a set of stairs like a child, you would never know that this man was the all powerful God of Talos. David slowly reached out his hand and put it on God’s back. He awkwardly looked up at the sky as he gave it a robotic pat, to avoid any weird eye contact. 
    God eventually stopped crying and looked up at David with the eyes of a newborn puppy. “But… You believe in me… Right David?” He asked in a desperate, childlike tone. David gave God a long, analytical look. He sighed.
“I mean… Right before I was hit… I had this moment… Where I thought that maybe… Maybe there was some kind of higher power that could have saved me.” David explained.
    God wiped a tear away from his cheek. “That was me, David! I was that higher power! That means that you believe in me!” God bawled in amazement. David looked at God and gave him a small smile.
“Yeah, I guess it does.” David said with a nervous laugh.
“David, do you want to see my harp?” God asked with bulged eyes.
“… Your harp?” David asked.
“Yes, my harp. I’m quite good. I’ve been trying to learn how to play Faith of Our Fathers for a couple dozen centuries now and I think I’ve finally got it down.” God enthused. In an odd way, David felt bad for God.
“Sure…” David moaned.
“Awesome! Let’s go!” God yelled as he jumped up from the steps and hastily walked back into the temple. Once they reached the mid left side, God led David down a stair case that he somehow neglected to see when he had entered. When they got down the stairs, David could see a long hall lit by torch light. God grabbed a torch from the wall and began to lead David down the narrow hallway.
    At last, they reached a doorway covered with a thin curtain. God turned around to face David. “I have to warn you…” God began “I haven’t been expecting company for quite some time, so it’s a LITTLE messy…”
“That’s ok, you should see my room.” David said with a dapper smile. God laughed and turned around, grabbing the curtain and pulling it open.
    With a light tug, the curtain flew to one side, revealing a terrifying sight. David had never seen anything more disgusting before in his life. The room was a revolting disaster. There were old, wooden bowls with crusty mold on the side stacked on the table. Silver chalices, half filled with wine sat out on every level surface he could see. The floor was lined with a thin coating of dirty robes and old parchment papers. The entire room was covered with junk except for the bed in the corner which looked used and unkempt.
“Well, this is it: Casa De God. What’s mine is yours, amigo.” God said with a spread of his hands. “Now let’s see… Where did I put that harp?” God starting digging through a stinking pile of dirty robes and used sandals. “Alright… I know it’s in here somewhere…” He sighed, throwing random items across the room. David just stood in the doorway looking at the sea of shit and watching God squat down and dig through a pile of clothes like some sort of filth terrier. Finally, God pulled out a golden harp from the pile.
“Here it is!” He yelled proudly. He took a seat on his bed and set the harp on his lap. “Ok… Let’s see here… I think I remember…” God mumbled as he fiddled with the chords (Pun not intended, but greatly welcomed). God hit three notes in a row then stopped. “No, that’s not it…” He said, playing three more notes. “Ah. That’s the one.” He continued to play those three notes four times in a row. “Nope… Still not it…”
    Standing annoyed in the doorway, David cleared his throat. God, understanding the message, looked up at him. “Oh… Um. Here. I can play smoke on the water. You want to hear that?” 
    David looked up at the ceiling. “Sure…” He frustratingly replied. God then proceeded to play the intro to smoke on the water. He only managed to mess up a few of the chords. If David hadn’t been so annoyed, he might have been a little impressed. “That was… Good. Really good.” David told him. God’s eyes lit with gratitude.
“Really? You think so?” He asked.
“Yeah, man, that was great.” Just one hour ago, if you told David he’d be standing in a moldy basement stroking the ego of God, he’d tell you we were insane. Though, now that he thought of it, for those who believed in him, wasn’t that all that life was? 
“Wow. Thanks a lot.” God said standing up from his bed. “Hey, do you like wine?” God asked. David’s eyebrows shot up.
“I’d love some!” He exclaimed.
“Follow me.” God commanded.
    David followed God once again into the dark and stuffy hallways that cut through the base of the temple. They rounded a few corners and passed a few doorways sealed off with curtains. Eventually, the duo stopped at one of the doorways on the right side of the hall. God pushed the curtain aside to reveal a room filled with barrels of wine. 
    God leisurely walked in, grabbed two silver chalices from the table and filled them up from one of the barrels. God turned to David “Come on, I know a spot.” He said.
    God walked David back up the stairs and back into the airy main room of the temple. They sat down on the ledge of the temple, opposite the side with the steps. God and David dangled their legs over the steep side and watched the sun that was now beginning to set.
“David? Can I ask you a question?” God asked in a melancholy voice as he sipped his wine. David gave God a sympathetic eye.
“Anything.” He said.
“Why don’t people believe in me?” Asked God, gazing at the sunset. David looked down at the swirling fog that seemed to crash upon the wall of the temple like waves on a rock.
“I don’t really know.” He painfully admitted. “I guess maybe… They just don’t have a reason to.” God shook his head.
“Yeah…” God moaned, rubbing his eyes. “I think you’re right. And so is everyone else. They don’t need me. I’m just a useless old man.” God spat, bitterly. David took another sip of his wine.
“Hey, come on. Of course they need you, they just don’t know it yet.” David said, studying God’s face. Looking at him from a profile for the first time, David noticed the purple bruise that ran across God’s neck. His beard must have hidden it before.
“God? What’s that on your neck?” David asked, sheepishly. God rubbed his neck and tried pulling his robe over it.
“It’s nothing. Really. I just slept on it wrong.” He quickly shot.
“God… You don’t have to lie to me.” 
    God looked down and wiped a tear from his eye. “It’s not easy having no one believe in you.” He said, looking up at David’s eyes. “I just don’t know what to do. I’m doing all the things we’re supposed to. I send earthquakes and tornados, I create drought and famine. But every single time they just blame it all on ‘science’. Do you know I’m the laughing stock of the cosmos? All of the other Gods have their children chopping off each other’s heads and erecting huge monuments all in their names. But mine? They don’t even pray to me… That’s all I want, really. Just a prayer every now and again. Just to know that they’re doing ok…”
    David miserably rubbed the back of his neck. He felt so terrible. “But God, it’s not the way…” He pleaded.
“I know… I know…” He said, looking back at the fading sun. “At least I have you, David. I’ve never had a friend, but now I have one for an eternity.” God said it with a legitimate smile. 
    David froze. The thought of living in heaven with God for an eternity had never crossed his mind. David felt guilty about God, but he knew he couldn’t stay there with him alone forever. “It doesn’t have to be just us up here, God.” David told him.
“What do you mean?” God asked with a sniffle.
“Well… I’ll make you a deal. If you send me back to Talos to let me live out the rest of my life, I’ll convince as many people as I can. I’ll dedicate my life to spreading your word. That way, it doesn’t have to be just us alone up here.”
“You would do that for me?” God asked with twinkling eyes.
“Of course.” David reassured.
“David, I can’t begin to explain how much that would mean to me.”
“You don’t have to. That’s what friends are for.” David said. God blushed and tried to hide his obvious smile.
“Ok.” God said, standing up. David stood up with him. The two held a gaze for a moment. “Are you ready?” God asked David.
“I’m ready.” David said.
    God reached out his hand and rested it gently on David’s shoulder. David felt a warmth rush throughout his body. He closed his eyes and stood before God comfortably. A peculiar lightness came over his entire body– a feeling that could only be achieved through the flu, or the first hit of a cigarette. The ground beneath him seemed to drop, he felt as if he was free falling through some sort of dark void. 
    After a few moments of David falling free, too scared to even open his eyes, there was a forceful crash. It was completely painless. All David felt was an alien burst of energy, like when someone falls in a dream and they wake themselves with a panicked jolt upward.
    David floated there in the darkness, for a moment. He opened his eyes but the only thing that could be seen was wall of black. Through the darkness, David started to hear a noise. It was a light beeping noise, much unlike the one he heard after he was hit. This was a steady beep that that rang louder with each passing interval. He could finally make out voices, though the words were muffled and broken. The darkness began to morph into a brown colored static, until David could finally make out rudimentary shapes.
“He’s awake!” David heard a voice cry. Regaining physical consciousness, David turned to the voice. He saw a blurry face wearing a cap and a cloth over its mouth. “Mr. Chapel, blink twice if you can hear me!” She commanded. 
    With all the strength he had, he blinked twice. “He responding!” She reported. The beeping began to slow down to a much steadier pace. David began to hear relieved cries coming from all directions. Focusing his eyes toward the direction of the cries, he began to make out blurry figures standing around him.
    David, very confused, looked up at the figure with its face wrapped; whom he assumed was some sort of doctor. “… Am I alive?” He desperately asked.
      The doctor reassuringly grabbed his shoulder. “You’re going to be ok.” She vowed. David began to smile. He looked back to the silhouettes standing around his bed. He could see them much more clearly now. Standing before him in disbelief were his parents, brother, and girlfriend, Jane. Satisfied, the doctor stepped back from her patient.
“He’s made an amazing recovery.” She marveled. “David, you were dead for five minutes. You are lucky to be alive. This truly is some kind of miracle…”
      David looked at his family. Both his mother and girlfriend were crying tears of joy. Even his brother was trying to hold some back. “Obviously, we’ll need to keep an eye on him but, I think I’ll give you all a moment alone.” The doctor said as she motioned for the nurse to leave. Together, the two left the room.
    David’s family rushed to his bedside. His father tussled his hair, his brother grasped his arm. His mother gave him an uncomfortably tight hug, one that would have been awkward and embarrassing in any other situation. Jane dove down and kissed him. Her lips felt like the embodiment of life itself. David began to blink back tears.
“What happened?” He asked with a sniffle.
“You were walking to your car, after class, and you were hit by some careless asshole.” David’s father explained.
“Joel!” David’s mother hissed.
“What? Jesus Christ, Trish, the guy was on his phone. He’s lucky to be alive!”
“Let’s just be thankful that he is.” She flatly replied.
    David turned to Jane and grabbed her hand. “I love all of you.” He said with a tear starting to swell in his eye. “I don’t know what I’d do without you…” Jane started balling and leaned back onto his bed. She wrapped her arms around him and he nestled his chin into her neck.
“… So what was it like?” David’s brother reluctantly asked.
“What was what like?” Asked David.
“Being dead.”
“Peter!” Shrieked his mother. David laughed.
“Come on!” Peter begged. “Did you see anything cool? Was it just like sleeping? I’m just curious.” David’s mother’s own curiousness caused her to drop her argument and look questioningly at her eldest son.
“Well…” David began. His whole family stared at him, waiting for an answer. As he gazed into Jane’s eyes, he remembered going to heaven and meeting God and the deal he made with him. “… You guys won’t believe this…” His family intensely leaned in. “But… I… Had the weirdest dream… I woke up in this empty, white world made completely of fog… And I met this old man who told me that he was the creator of the universe. And… And… He played the harp for me… And showed me his wine collection… And he just kept crying and crying…” David admitted.
    His family looked at him with compassionate eyes. “That IS a weird dream…” His brother confirmed.
“Yeah…” groaned David’s dad.”It must have been all those drugs they had you on…”
    David rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah… That must be it.” He declared. 


    God chugged his glass of wine and threw the empty chalice down onto the floor. It rattled and rolled as it hit the other empty chalices, finally settling somewhere on the bottom of the pile. With a sigh, he leaned back in his chair. For thirteen years he had been patiently waiting for someone to walk up those marble steps. Was it really that hard to convince people that he was real? Was he really that bad of a God that even a first account whiteness couldn’t convince them?
    God drunkenly slid off his tall thrown and fell to the ground. “Why?!” He bellowed, laying atop the pile of empty chalices. He dizzily sat up and grasped a random chalice. He slowly and carefully rose to his feet and made way for the stairs that led into the temple’s moldy under belly. Using the walls as a support, God made his way down the dark and narrow hallway.
    When he arrived in the wine cellar, he bent down to the tap and pulled it open. Nothing. He pulled harder. Still nothing. God angrily moved to the next barrel. Nothing. And the next. Nothing. God tried every single barrel that lined both sides of the long cellar. All were completely dried of wine.
“No!” God cried in disbelief. “No! No! No! This can’t be true!” He wailed as he fell to the floor. He began to sob uncontrollably. “I have nothing! Absolutely nothing! No friends! No followers! No children! And now… NO WINE!” He sobbed into his hands. God knew David was never going to make good on his promise. He knew that there was only one way out of this. Only one way to make this eternal suffering end once and for all.
    He calmly stood up and walked into his bedroom. From under a pile of robes, God pulled out a long, thick rope. He slowly dragged it up into the main room of the temple. Still wobbling from the wine, he climbed to the top of the chair, as he did thirteen years ago. This time, he made sure to tie the knot extra tight. With a hearty throw, the rope was wrapped around the long beam that ran across the temple ceiling. God stepped down, tied the other end to the chair, then back up once again. He wrapped the noose around his neck, tightened it, and took a deep, sorrowful breath.
“… This world just wasn’t meant for Gods like me…” He bawled. With a timid step forward, God was suspended in the air, hanging by his own neck. Warm tears ran gently down his face, yet, for the first time in years, there was a genuine smile on it.

    When God woke up he saw a sea of white fog. Once his eyes adjusted, he noticed a golden, arching gate. He saw an old man standing at a podium beside it. God hastily rushed over to it. “Excuse me, sir!” God called out. “Where am I?” He nervously asked.
    The old man startlingly looked up. “Why… You’re in the kingdom of heaven.” He said.

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