This story was written for the February edition of the monthly Furious Fiction contest.
This was the assignment:
- Your story must include a character who’s a GUARD.
- Your story must include the words NARROW, GOLDEN, LEATHERY and GLOSSY.
- Your story’s first and last sentences must each contain just TWO WORDS.
“But I’ve found the way that leads to life!” the woman argued. “I’ve been searching for it all my death. You must let me through. I want to be reborn!”
The angel at the gate crossed his arms and stood in the way of the poor woman who was desperate to escape out of heaven and get another chance to screw up a life on earth. I could tell she had been dead for a while. Her skin was wrinkled and leathery from wandering in the sun for too long. Now that she had finally found the exit, a guard was adamantly blocking her way out.
It’s unfortunate but true: the great beyond isn’t the happy place everyone expects it to be. It’s like being on a cruise that is put on quarantine for eternity. You don’t have to work, they serve good food, but after a while you get tired of the orchestra playing the same tunes over and again. A major difference with a cruise, is that you cannot sin in heaven. All wine turns into water. Any prank you try to pull ends up being a good deed. You won’t find any juicy gossip in glossy magazines; they bring nothing but pictures of Saints and matching Bible verses.
That’s how I discovered the existence of this exit. No one ever reads the articles in such magazines, but browsing through a photo special of the fab four —depicting the four evangelists with their gospel— my eye caught the verse Matthew 7:14: “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
I was lucky. I didn’t need to search as hard as the woman in front of me had, nor was I already as bored with heaven as she was. I had only been dead for half a year. Still, that was long enough to know that I enjoyed life more than I enjoyed death.
“Why did you send her away?” I asked the angel after he had banned the woman from the premise using an angelic spell.
“She wanted it too much; it was all she could think about.” the angel answered. “She should learn to accept our hospitality and allow her mind and body to heal while she is our guest.”
“I understand,” I said. “I, for one, am fully at peace with myself.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” the angel acknowledged. “Is that the reason why you are here?”
“Sort of,” I replied. “I like being in heaven, but I think I can be more useful on earth.”
“How so?” the angel asked with a golden smile. I knew I had struck the right chord.
“I think I can make a mother happy by becoming her newborn child.”
“I’m sure you will,” the angel affirmed, and he helped me through the narrow gate.
On the other side, I heard the anxious voice of my future father.