Hereafter

Ariel, 16 years old and suddenly discovering a family legacy that's always been kept from her. A bloodline that gives her a duty, a never-ending duty of sacrifice, and in return she gets to see everything the world has to offer, to truly understand the human capacity for love and God's capacity for forgiveness.

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1. Birthday

Ariel woke up to a glowing morning, it seems so bright and fresh already. Great streaks of light falling through the curtains, refracting on the crystal wind chime hanging above the window sill. It was decorated with cherubim and seraphim, a present from Mum's honeymoon to Venice, it cast long shadows across the room. But nothing could contain that light.

 

Ariel crawled out of bed squinting, her skin tingling with life, and drawing open the curtains, the light was blinding, but as her eyes adjusted she looked out across the park, so green and alive, really blossoming. The National Mall would be beautiful today, so pure in green and white, and the water dazzling as it reflected back the immaculate pearly light.

 

She heard the familiar sounds of breakfast and practically flew down the stairs. Her Mum was already in the kitchen clattering around and her step-bad sat at the dining room table reading the post, as always. "Are you okay Ariel? What've you done? You look very different.."

 

"I feel like I'm floating on air. Different how?"

 

A full length mirror stands just out in the hall, Ariel glided over to it but the light was still so bright. She glanced around, the curtains are fully drawn and thick in this room, impenetrable even by that white glare. How could the mirror still be gleaming? She moved forwards, hoping her shadow will block where the mysterious light is coming from. She drew closer and  the light began to fan out around her face, it's not the sun or any artificial light but her. She's not just glowing, but radiant.

 

"Mum... Come here"

 

Her mother, Laylah, sighs slightly and moves to her side, "Oh Ariel you look so grown up, like a young lady....". She was right, as Ariel's eyes adjusted it was clear that a lot had changed. Was changing. Where once she had wavy auburn hair, were now curled blonde tresses, matching her glowing skin and intense jade eyes perfectly. Pure, Perfection.

 

Have I done this? Can this be happening?

 

"Ariel I'm so proud. You look just divine, ethereal, angelic!" Her mother gushed. "Happy Birthday Sweetie!"

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