In Good Faith

This is a short story thing I've written, it won't take much of your time, and I'd be very pleased if someone was to provide some feedback!

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2. Red hell

She hadn’t expected this. She hadn’t expected any of this, but she REALLY hasn’t expected this.

 

There was only enough hallway to give the illusion of being in a hospital from inside of the room. In reality, there was only a small stip of corridor about 4 meters long, that was attached to the room and the room only. At the ends of the hallway there was an inky blackness, an empty void. They were alone in a dark space, the hospital room and the connecting corridor the only things in existence.

 

She walked to the one abrupt end of the corridor and looked into the blackness. Her heart was racing, her eyes watering.

 

I’m already dead, she thought, I’m dead and this is hell.

 

I could jump off, what would happen then? Would I fall forever? Or would I wake up back where I started, like falling in a video game?

 

She could sense him behind her and span round. She wanted to run from him, but there was nowhere to run to.

 

“I’m sorry...” He whispered, and she could tell from his eyes he meant it.


“Who are you?” She asked, her voice was weak, “Are you... Am I dead?”

 

“You’re dying. Right now, in the back of a deserted building, after having just overdosed on drugs. These are your dying minutes.”

 

“And you’re an angel?”

 

He smiled softly, “Of sorts, yes.”

 

There was a pause before Vicky said the next thing:

 

“Am I going to heaven or hell?”

 

The question caught him off guard, he held the clipboard closer to his chest, “I...”

 

She focused on it, “It’s on there? Isn’t it?”

 

“Uh...”

 

“Show me the clipboard.” She said, her eyes begging.

 

He began to retreat slowly, clutching onto it with a shaking arm, “I... I can’t...”

 

“TELL ME!” She screamed and ran at him. He rushed back into the room, she followed, grabbed the chair and hurled it at him, a high pitched cry of rage pouring from her mouth. He dived out the way and the chair smashed through the frosted window behind him, the glass exploding into a snowstorm of fragments that fell as soft as feathers. Twinkling. It was not how you would expect glass to break; there were no shards, just small specks like polystyrene beads.

 

The pale blue blanket of light the window once produced was torn away. Through the shattered frame there was now a deep red haze that flickered like fire.

 

“YOU’RE GOING TO HELL! YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!” He shouted at her, and then they both fell silent.

 

Heavy breathing.

 

The pain came - this time it wasn’t faked - and she crumpled to the floor, laying down in the foetal position on the hard stone tiles.


“I’m so sorry.” He said softly, “I...” He trailed off.

 

“What’s it like?” She asked after the pain had gone away.

 

“What?”

 

“What is hell like? Do you know? Do angels know what it’s like in hell?” There was no emotion in her voice, no force. She was barely audible.

 

“I do...” He said, and then winced at what he was about to say, “I... I can’t tell you, not yet.”

 

She rolled onto her back and looked up at the ceiling, he felt uncomfortable stood over her like this, and sat down on the bed instead. He put the clipboard beside him and looked at his watch.

 

“You have to tell me the rest of your story.” He said, he hated himself for saying it but he knew it must be done.

 

“Why?”

 

“You just... You just have to.”

 

“Ok, I guess I can do that. How much time?”

 

“2 minutes.”

 

“Where were we before?”


“You were setting off to find your father.”

 

“Ah, yes.” She inhaled deeply, “I... I had set off. To find my father. And I found him, he was in this great big, happy looking house up in the north. It took me five days to get there, I was living on the streets, but I’d found him. You have no idea how happy I was.”

 

“And I... I rung on the doorbell. And there was this woman there, real pretty woman with beautiful eyes and hair. And she looks at me, and I say, “I’m looking for my father.”, and then she turns to me. And... And she says to me:

 

“”Go fuck yourself you little brat, and never come back to this house again.””

 

A tear was running down his cheek, but she was as cold as stone, telling the story like it wasn’t her own, “I guess it was my fault, because I shouldn’t have said I was looking for my father. I mean, can you imagine her surprise to see me? To see her husband’s other child?

 

“I... I was angry, I was so angry. So... Well... I sneak into the back garden. And there I see this little kid, 5-ish, and I know it must be his. And now I’m jealous. So I think, I’ll kidnap him, I don’t know why, but it seemed like a good idea.


“I have a knife, of course, you don’t go five days hitchhiking without one, so I was gonna use it as a threat. But he attacked me... He, he physically tried to attack me, in self-defence you see? So I... I’m so angry, you see? So I stab him, right in the neck. Then I drop the knife and run.”

 

Her voice was rising, her efforts to emotionally distance herself failing, “I didn’t kill him though!” she begged, “I didn’t kill him! Because it wasn’t a bad cut, it was bleeding a lot but they could have saved him, you see? But he couldn’t call for help, that was the thing! And his bitch ass mother, his stupid fucking mother was just watching telly! Not even giving a damn that her 4-year-old was bleeding out in the garden! She could’ve saved his life! She could’ve saved him if she’d bothered to check outside, do you see? Do you see?”

 

The doctor was in tears now, curled up in a little ball on the bed, weeping and weeping.

 

“They caught me ’cause I’d left the knife and they had my DNA on sample. They caught me. I got a pretty short sentence because they thought I was insane. When I got out I ended up on the streets, a few weeks later I ended up here..”

 

There was silence.

 

The red glow was getting more intense, Vicky felt another spasm of pain in her stomach and winced, groaning and scrunching up on the floor until it abated.

 

“Tell me.” She said, finally, “Tell me what it’s like.”


 

He didn’t respond immediately, instead he gradually uncurled from his small ball and positioned himself so he was seated, with tears on his face but a quivering smile on his lips.

 

“Tell me.” She repeated, now kneeling and looking at him with forceful eyes.

 

“It’s not what you think.” He said softly, “It’s... It’s different.”

 

“What do you do?”

 

“Well, you meet people, just before they die, and you talk to them.” He saw the realisation form in her eyes, “One by one, you talk and listen in their final moments. You suffer with them, every time, you die a little with them. And you watch and feel them die and hear their lives and their loves and their loss and you do it again and again and again. You’re the grim reaper, pretty much. And the very last person you meet is the one you hated the most, the one you despised with every ounce of your being, the one who wronged you and hurt you and made you suffer. And you forgive them. And then you go to heaven.”

 

Her mouth was slightly open, “Dad?” She asked.

 

He laughed, “No... I’m not your Dad. I’m the woman. The boy’s mother.”

 

This surprised vicky, “Oh...”

 

“I can choose how to look, and I didn’t want you to work it out so...”

 

“But you’re not dead yet.”

 

“Time doesn’t work like that in the afterlife.”

 

“Oh...”

 

The light outside was becoming more and more intense, flickering more violently.

 

“Can I ask one more thing?” Said Vicky.

 

“Yes.”

 

“How did you sin?”

 

There was a pause, “I... I saw a child that was not my own. A child my husband had had with another woman. A child now without a mother to protect it. And I forced him to give it away.”


 

“I forgive you.” Said Vicky.

 

The doctor smiled warmly, “No... No you don’t, not yet.” It didn’t sound cruel, she was merely stating a fact.

 

“Yes I do. You are forgiven, we are done here.” She smiled as if to confirm her forgiveness.

 

“You’re lying.”

 

“No.”

 

“Yes.”

 

There was a pause, “Please don’t make me go,” Whispered Vicky.


“I don’t get to decide that.” His face was cold, he knew what she was going through, but he knew he had to be strong now too.


“Please. Please I’m begging you.”

 

“I’m sorry.” The doctor stood up.

 

“PLEASE!” Vicky screamed, crawling across the floor and gripping onto the doctor’s shins, “Please, I’m sorry! I’m sorry I really am!”

 

“That’s not what it’s about, Vicky.”

 

The fire outside the window was becoming more intense, Vicky could feel a force, like and invisible rope had been tied around her foot and was dragging her towards the window, “Tell them I’m cured! Tell god I’m fine and that I don’t have to go! Don’t make me go, please! PLEASE!”

The rope pulled harder and she gripped his legs with more force, “Don’t make me go!” She begged, “Don’t make me go!”

 

“I’m sorry,” He said, smiling, and kicked her away. She lost grip and slid across the floor, screaming and begging until she was dragged through the window and into the flickering redness on the other side.


 

He stared at the shattered window for a few seconds, It’s over, he thought, All these years of being Death, and it’s finally over.

 

He chuckled, and then looked up at the ceiling, “Don’t worry, she’ll get there.” He said, and he knew this statement to be true; she was there when he died, of course.


He left through the door. The red light faded and the room was black.

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