Keith's Guide to the Afterlife

Keith is an angel. He should be famous, but he isn't. And even if he shouldn't be famous, he at least deserves a better job than carting bossy, unreasonable souls from earth up to Heaven.

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1. A Brief Introduction to Souls, the Ostentatious White Canopy Over Heaven, and the Narrator (who should totally be esteemed, but isn't.)

 

Train carriage A74 was stuffed full to the point of shattering with teenage souls. God knows where their bodies were- and, as his most esteemed and longest serving left tenant, I can confirm that even God didn’t give a damn, really.

My point here is this: the teenagers were dead.

Hence, the fact that they were souls, rather than living-breathing-warmflesh-warmerblood people.

Fun fact: I hate souls a lot more than I hate people.  People, I can handle. They’ve got fears that prick against the tip of their tongue like poison on the end of a needle. That fear keeps them in check, scares them away from voicing all the messed up human stuff going on inside their heads.

Souls, on the other hand. Once they realise that they are indeed properly dead, that’s it for rational thinking. Suddenly, they think that just because they’ve turned all misty and shiny and intangible- suddenly, they’re entitled to everything that encompasses everything. The thing is, even if I bothered making up half-frightening threats to get these souls to shut up, they wouldn’t. They’re souls, right? Dead souls. And all their old, living fears can’t touch them now they’ve passed under the veil.

(When people talk about the dead existing under the veil, it’s actually not that far from the truth. Over the Gates of Heaven, there’s this big, white, fancy net canopy that the angel Gabriel picked up on his travels somewhere. Personally, I think it shows far too ostentatious taste, but nobody ever asks my opinion. Which, to be super-duper clear is this: canopies are stupid and overrated. Same with Gabriel, that smarmy-mouthed douchepants.)

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah. Souls.

So, yes, this particular train carriage, A74, was not just full of souls. That would have been enough to sour my ever-radiant smile, but I’d have got through it. After a six month holiday, anyway. Unluckily for my smile, train carriage A74 was even worse than that.

This was because A74 was full of smelly, gangly teenage souls.

‘My favourite! Yay! I love teenage souls all the way down to their back-answering, acne-infested guts!’ said no angel ever. Unfortunately for me, that’s what Gabriel and my other superiors believe forms the basis of my day to day conversation.

Which is why I got stuck with train carriage A74.

That’s my job, see. I lied, before, when I said I was God’s esteemed left tenant and all that. Not very angel-like conduct, lying, but what can you do? I have to make my life more interesting somehow; therefore, I lie. Quite a lot, actually.

Yep. My real job is driving carriages of souls up the cloud spattered rail tracks to Heaven.

You might have heard of me, actually. Despite not having the most glamorous job in the spiritual hierarchy, I like to think my name still gets around among the living. I’m the angel Keith.  

This is the story of the one time driving a train full of souls up to eternal life actually turned out to be kind of, you know, interesting.

In case you’re wondering why I’m bothering to tell you this whole thing, let me give you two valid and admirable reasons. One: because I’m currently driving train carriage B61, and it’s even more mundane than I first pegged A74 to be. And (this one’s the more important reason) two: I’m hoping word might get around, you know?

It goes like this: I tell this story of my wonderful and heroic bravery. People tell more people of my wonderful and heroic bravery. The story gets around. My superiors get to hear it. I get a promotion, and no longer have to spend my time carting cattle-trucks of teenage souls.

Pretty solid logic, if you ask me.

Not that anyone currently does, but, you know.

I’m hoping this story can change that.

 

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