Death Ever After

"I am not a good person. I'm a liar, and a thief, and a murderer. So what am I doing here?"
Tilly Donner is bad. Very bad. In fact, she's about as bad as they come. So when a premature death allows her to enter heaven, surely there is some mistake? Little does she know, what is commonly accepted as 'heaven' is not all its cracked up to be.
*Runner up in the Afterlife competition*

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2. The Other Door

 

I look down at the parchment in my hand. Swirly gold calligraphy on finely woven paper. There is a blank space next to the 'desired destination' box. I leave it blank. For how can I know where I want to end up, when I have no idea where I am now?

"Where am I?" I say the words out loud, though I know no one will answer, for I am quite alone.

"This, you might say, is the Entrance Hall, although I think the term is rather overused, wouldn't you say?

I start, and turn on my heel to see an old, grey man with a face like a shrivelled prune, sitting nonchalantly in a wicker rocking chair, as though he had been there all the time.

"Yes," he mused", for how can you enter unless you know what you are entering into? And how can you even be sure that there is anywhere to enter, when you do not know where you have come from or where you are going? And yet, you must have come from somewhere, for you certainly weren't here the last time I looked, and those doorways rather indicate you will be going somewhere, wouldn't you say?"

I have been listening to this in stunned silence, but, as he gestures with his hand, I gasp. To my right are two golden archways which seem to have appeared from nowhere. Under my gaze, they begin to change. From within the first, a warm, brilliant, blinding light begins to shine, whereas the other is filled with a cold, sinister darkness which seems somehow denser than ordinary darkness. The light filled doorway exudes the most seductive sounds and smells one can imagine, while the doorway to darkness emits an aura of emptiness and, ironically, death.

I turn back to the man.

"Where am I?" I repeat.

"Why my dear" replies the man. " I have already told you. You are here."

"And where is here?"

"I have absolutely no idea," says the man comfortably.

"But you just said... oh never mind", I say in consternation. "Are you saying that here is nowhere?"

"Oh most definitely not," the man corrects me. " Everywhere is somewhere, wouldn't you say?" The man, who seemed to be developing rather a fondness for the phrase 'wouldn't you say', smiles amiably up at me, and begins to twirl his goatee.

"So this isn't real?" I ask. "It's just happening inside my head?"

The man gives me the sort of look a doting grandfather gives a favourite grandchild when they have just said something unbelievably stupid. "Why of course it's all happening inside your head. But why on earth should that mean it isn't real?"

I am struggling to wrap my head around this, when he stands up abruptly and whips the all but forgotten from out of my hand.

"But enough dilly-dallying, down to business. Choose a door."

"I'm sorry?"

"Oh you heard me, choose a door?"

"But - I - er -" his abruptness startles me, and I do not know what to say. "Where will they take me?"

"The dark door will take you back to where you came from. You will spend the rest of forever rotting six feet under, in total oblivion and nothingness." His words make the darkness seem even more impenetrable. "The other door, however, will take you to what is commonly known as heaven, another rather overused phrase, wouldn't you say?"

"I-er-right".

"So go on then. Choose. Although, if you don't mind awfully, I will offer just one teensy bit of advice. Choose the other door."

I wait for him to finish this enigmatic sentence, but it seems none such ending is coming.

"The other door to what?" I prompt.

"Choose the other door," he repeats.

"Erm riiiiight" I say, while mentally noting him as slightly insane. "I choose the doorway to heaven. Is that okay?"

"Choose the other door" is his only reply.

Ignoring this, I take a tentative step towards the light filled archway, and feel golden warmth flood around me. As I am sucked into its welcoming depths, I catch a final glimpse on the man's withered face. He is mouthing words at me.

Choose the other door.

 

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