It was either an instant or one hundred years, but I knew I had not survived the fall.
Actually, it must have been one hundred years because all of that seemed so far away and insignificant now. The most important thing right now was the pressure on the soles of my feet. That, and the cinder block tunnel we were moving down. I say we – I’m not sure when I was aware of it, but the children stood beside me. The woman did not.
As the eye sees more with each step of the sun over the mountains, so I began to understand, contemplate, remember with each passing moment. The light in our descending platform grew brighter and curiosity began its slow transformation.
Cinder blocks? My old thoughts of heaven came rushing back, the carefully crafted thoughts of diamond-glistening roadways winding through emerald dales hedged in by dizzying golden spires that pierced up through the clouds; and here I was in my blood soaked shirt and jeans watching cinder blocks slide past.
We moved for such a long time that my hope began to fade; it leapt again when the platform clanged, halted and jerked to a stop. My back was to a great light, but the children had my hands and they were gasping and pointing. I turned slowly, eyes closed, afraid of having my hopes dashed, even more afraid perhaps of having them fulfilled.
I opened my eyes to a bright white gate, only able to make out dark figures moving around as though they were swallowed up in the midst of an ivory sea. As the children pulled me through the gate, though, I was immediately struck deeply with confusion and despair. We emerged in what appeared to be an enormous warehouse, filled with thousands of other people, confusion on their faces.
Old vending machines, rusted car parts, lawn ornaments, antique weapons and other unidentifiable metal pieces lay strewn about the concrete floor and some of the children were digging through the piles. As my two ran over without hesitation and began constructing imaginary houses, the dawn of my mind shed its brightest light and I realized numbly that I was those children, rummaging through reality, constructing my own heaven, my own God, in the hope that I could after all control my own end. It had all been a game, a wager, a grasping and clawing as we fell, all of us, toward the swirling black and orange. Then rage.
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Read Part 3