One Step Closer to Heaven

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"Whoa now, kid! Watch yourself! Are you okay?"
All Charley could assume then was that the black old man with the white beard and thinning hair had invariably saved his life.
"Whoa, thanks mister. I'm sorry!" Charley laid strewn upon the curb, the man grabbing hold of Charley's arms, out of the way of the oncoming bus. The man's hands shook and struggled with Charley's slightly plump body, his strength not as it used to be.
Charley's skateboard had been mangled by the tires of the huge automobile, but at least he wasn't. The old man had pulled him out of the way just in time, thankfully-but Charley was young and knew no better and his heart hadn't even skipped a beat. It was not like he wasn't taught the 'this and that rules of life' and such, he just wasn't old enough to actually heed what was being said.
"Don't play in the street. Don't talk to strangers. Don't run."
Right now he figured he broke all three of those overused rules at once, but thought no more of them than he did the theme song of his favorite cartoons.
Teaching little kids is like teaching dogs-no one could ever quite get it down perfectly.
Charley's helmet slanted just slightly to the side of his face, and his knee had been scraped up just barely by the safety of the curb. The old man still held him up, knowing that the boy didn't exactly know what could have just happened.
He repeated his question gingerly, "Are you okay son?"
"Yeah, I-I think I'm alright…," Charley nodded, scrambling to his feet, eyeing the crushed skateboard. The man pulled Charley erect, and then, looking both ways before entering the street, ran-as much as an old man could run-and retrieved the two pieces of wood from the pavement.
"Oh, I'm sorry your skateboard is no more, maybe you can have your pap glue it up nice and fine for you, or you could always get a new one. Gently now."
Charley cautiously took the wood from the man's hands, mulling over the thought of getting a brand new skateboard.
"Thanks mister," he replied distractedly.
The unknown man had a plaid vest that overlapped an eggshell covered shirt that was completed with a dark blue pair of pants-a fabric that's named was unknown to Charley. His face was covered with wrinkles and a pair of cracked spectacles, but was teeming with contentment and experience more than could be fathomed.
"Oh, yes, I apologize, my name is Elliot. ..:namespace prefix = st2 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Elliot Lindbey. And who might you be young man?" Elliot inquired with an outstretched, shriveled hand.
"Hi Mr. Elliot, I'm Charley! Charley Biggens. C-H-A-R-L-E-Y! Charley!" Charley introduced himself, beaming and shaking Elliot's hand wildly.
"Hah, oh. Well, hey there, Charley! Delighted to make your acquaintance. I hope to catch you again sometime, on different circumstances of course."
Charley hadn't a clue what the man had said, he was only eight and the man talked his own age.
Despite Charley's inability to comprehend the man, he nodded, "Okay Mr. Elliot. Thanks again! Hopefully, I'll get a new board."
"Yes, hopefully! And, wow, today I think you got one step closer to Heaven. Watch your step next time, you hear now?" Elliot rustled the boy's hair and then returned to the business he had been tending to before the boy had appeared.
If there was ever a phrase Charley remembered, it was that one.
I think you got one step closer to Heaven…
Elliot had no idea the impact he made on that boy's life, but who could have known?
After meeting Charley, he waddled back to his familiar green and white lawn chair that stood in front of Mary May's Bakery. Elliot had always sat there, watching the people go about their daily lives. And every now and then saving a young boy's life, or just the opposite.
At dinner that night Charley told his dad-his mother was at a meeting and would be home extremely late that night, as usual-that he had broken his skateboard attempting a new stunt-which was what happened, but not fully. Charley had yet to develop right and wrong, so lying to him wasn't exactly lying, but merely leaving out a few important facts.
His parents didn't exactly help in the matter.
Mary and Oliver Biggens paid attention to their son, Charley, on the occasion, but even then it wasn't much-wasn't enough.
They laid down a few life concepts to their child such as, "Don't play in the street. Don't talk to strangers" and "Don't run", but nothing much more. It wasn't exactly that there was too much going on; it was just that they were bored of their mundane lives and their child had gotten monotonous after the first few years.
Mary and Oliver Biggens lived life with no passion, no heart. They were the type of people everyone is terrified of turning out like-going to work, coming home, eating, sleeping, and then repeating the pattern every day for the rest of their lives. Their child wasn't the joy of their life, wasn't something that made it worthwhile, he was just another thing that had once been exhilarating, but now was not. They didn't neglect their child, nor did they loath him in any way-they hadn't had a dream to fulfill but out pops little Charley-they just didn't pay as much attention as a parent should. They weren't too busy, they weren't stressed, they were just…bored.
"I met a man today."
"That's nice dear," Oliver Biggens nodded absently behind the daily newspaper, reading about the day's stock prices.
Charley didn't exactly know what he was missing-he had just never thought about it. He didn't care much that he didn't have any parent to play with, or any dad to throw a ball with him or mom to teach him how to treat a lady. Charley had toys and friends and he figured that was all he needed at that point. The Biggens weren't rich, but neither were they the opposite. Charley never asked for many toys, so when he finally did ask, he was given money to do as he pleased.
"His name was Elliot. Mr. Elliot. He was nice."
"What?! Nextel went down two points! Are you kidding me?! Oh, erm, that's great sweetheart, great. It sounds like you had a productive day."
"Yes sir. But, about my skateboard, do you want to fix it, or do should I buy a new one?"
Oliver Biggen's reply was blunt but blatant. Without speaking, he tossed a fifty dollar bill onto the table and continued reading the paper. The fifty dollars would buy Charley an amazing skateboard!
Oh boy! thought Charley elatedly, not minding the neglecting parents he had, not even noticing it..
"Thanks! I'm done with dinner, I'm going to my room now," Charley stated, scraping his chair on to the tile as he got up and dropped his dish into the dishwasher like a good boy.
"And guess what?! I got one step closer to Heaven today!"
And with that matter-of-fact statement, Charley scampered off to his room, not hearing his father's murmured, again, inattentive reply of, "That's great Charley, that's great…"

</P>
"One step closer to Heaven, hmmm?"
Charley took this saying all too literal-but who could truly blame him, after all, he was only eight.
Boys will be boys, and kids will be kids.
Charley just could not shake off that saying, he was absolutely fascinated by it and the meaning he perceived from it.
He lay on his bed, tossed a baseball up and down in his all too cluttered room-that Charley, of course, was never told to clean or tidy up-wondering if it was possible to get any closer to Heaven.
Charley wasn't one for conjuring up concepts about death, but he didn't have a clue that Heaven truly involved dying. He knew about God, and that Christians-which he was one-died and went to Heaven-but death and dying were two different things.
Charley knew death, he knew what had happened to his aunt and his dog and his grandma, knew where they had gone, but Charley didn't know dying, what it was and how it worked.
So when Charley thought about getting to Heaven, finding a way there, he didn't know it required dying, he just knew it sounded fun. He figured he could just go check it out, talk to some people-like Grandma-and then God would let him come back home.
"You think there are more ways I could get one step closer to Heaven…?" He asked the lifeless-except the few sayings and movements he was equipped with-action figure, Voltron, which lay on his bed.
Charley had tossed the ball up more times than could be counted as he sat, not exactly lonely, in his bedroom.
He would usually be contemplating things like what he would do tomorrow, who would he play with-but today was quite different, his thoughts were deeper than usual, much deeper.
He glanced around his room, wondering if his toys could assist him in this, like the numerous times previously-like when he used his grappling shark-who was, by the way, unappreciated in all circumstances-to get his rubber red ball out of the gutter across the street from his apartment, or when he used his Ash Ketchum action figure to throw into the tree that stood in front of the apartment to get his rubber snake out, or even just yesterday when he used his toy sword to push the remnants of the toothpaste out of its tube.

All around Charley's room was miscellaneous objects: toys, clothes, and the different boxes and bags that they all came in. Everyone knew Mary and Oliver Biggens didn't pay enough attention to their child, so family friends always sent gifts to Charley, knowing that's basically what he did all day-play with toys for the lack of parental figures. They all pitied Charley, but couldn't do much to change his situation-they were all too afraid to offend his parents-they didn't have short tempers or anything of the sort, but any certain subject can rub someone the wrong way.

Charley just kept tossing the ball, his eyes flickering from one thing on the floor to another, somehow knowing there was at least one thing he could use to further assist him with getting up the steps to Heaven.

I think you got one step closer to Heaven…


"I got it! I know what I can us-OWWW!"

In the middle of Charley's grand idea, he had forgotten the ball was in mid-air, and it landed-square on his nose.

"Mom! Dad! Mooom!"

He had never before screamed for his parents, they just weren't there for him like that-but today, now, he did. It was a child's instinct to call for his parents.

Charley continued to cry and squeal as blood oozed out of his nose and trickled into his mouth. Charley didn't move from his spot on the bed, he just grabbed Voltron's arm and began choking on his own blood.

Mary and Oliver Biggens had never heard their son cry for them before, so when Charley sounded, they were first unaware of the noise, and all they could do was listen intently, aiming to figure out what the noise was. In three seconds they realized what the sound was, and their eyes went wide as they looked at each other, and then rushed to Charley's aid. They found him screaming, blood trickling out of his nose still. Scrambling over all Charley's toys, their parental instincts kicked in at full, and they picked up the bloodied boy and rushed him into the bathroom. Quickly seeing the baseball, they deduced the nosebleed and its cause, and they knew what to do.
Charley had never known his parents like he did then.
The only other time he had been taken care of by his parents was before remembrance, when they had taken him to the emergency room when he had an allergic reaction to some generic children's Tylenol.
Mary Biggens had drawn a yellow hand towel from the sink, ran warm water onto it, and stuck it under Charley's nose, dabbing up the already spilled blood, and the like that was oncoming. Oliver Biggens was wadding up tissues to clot the bleeding in Charley's nose.
With the attention of his parents-for the first time in memory-Charley had stopped shrieking and was placidly holding onto Voltron, sitting atop the sink, practically giggling. The worried expressions on his parent's faces almost befuddled Charley-he had never seen that before. But the logic in Charley's brain told him his parents were loving him, this almost confused the boy even more.
As anxiety left Mary and Oliver Biggen's faces, love entered. They hadn't felt this worry for their son in a while and it was almost...refreshing. Not in such a way that it was sick, but a way that made the love for their son practically flourish. Mary Biggens kissed her child's forehead, cleaning up the rest of the blood and squeezing out the rag. Oliver Biggens placed the tissues in Charley's nose and a grin crossed his face as he looked down at his beaming child who found his parent's love.
Charley had never felt this way about his parents, but he liked it. It was an emotion of happiness and warmth, a feeling that he was safe and unstoppable. He suddenly felt sleepy as his mother picked him up off the marble counter and carried him back into his room. As they put him in his bed and pulled up the Buzz Lightyear comforter, Charley felt a true satisfaction. Granted, he was unsure of what exactly to call the emotion, he didn't fumble with the thought any longer, and just let it be. Charley's eyes began to close as his mother stroked his head, humming a gentle tune of a song of which he wasn't sure of the name. Charley's father took the baseball off the floor, rubbed it on the extra tissue he was clenching and wiped it clean. He held up the baseball for Charley to see, giving Charley an all-knowing glance and a soft grin.
Charley smirked and giggled quietly.
Then, not holding onto Voltron now, but the hand of his mother, he turned to his side, and drifted off to sleep by the hum of his mother's sweet whispered tune.
Charley woke up-half thinking of the soothing feeling he had felt last night for the first time, but more so of the idea that had been interrupted.
This time Charley was sure of it! He was sure that that last stunt he pulled with the baseball had gotten him closer to Heaven.
That baseball could have killed me! Charley concluded, remembering the words of Elliot Lindbey.
"I-I almost died yesterday from that stupid bus! He-he said I could get to Heaven, which means getting hurt could get me to Heaven, right!?" Charley inquired to Voltron, who was sitting on the bed, not understanding Charley's child-like logic.
With quick, excited breaths, Charley hopped off the bed and began to crawl around his room, searching for the items needed to complete his plan.
As if knowing his mess by heart, Charley ducked under his bed and pulled out a box from his Captain Underpants toy.
Charley knew exactly what he was doing, or so he thought.
Then, hesitating for only a moment, he stampeded across the room, almost tripping over the rubber ball he had rescued from the gutter, and dove into his closet. He threw out a pink bow-when his mother's friend, whose name escaped him, had given it to him at a wedding shower when his parents were sure he was a girl-then he tossed out a red, fake ray gun that made unexplainable noises and lit up blue, green and yellow, thereafter heaving out a fuzzy, aquamarine sweater that he had only worn once to an Easter Sunday service that he didn't even understand, and finally found what he wanted.
Charley yanked out several boxes and tossed them across the room with the other one he had dug out.
Then he, on all fours, leapt across the room to the white wicker dresser that stood beside his bed, pulled open the drawer, and grabbed a piece of green chalk that had a width bigger than his finger but a height the size of his pinky.
And by doing all of this he had all of the things he needed to track how close he'd get to Heaven.
Charley picked two boxes randomly out of the pile, and then kicked the rest of the boxes beside his nightstand.
He had pulled out a sturdy box that had held his Tonka towing truck, and the box Voltron had come in.
He placed them on top of each other neatly and then scribbled something on one side of both the boxes. On the bottom box, the Tonka one, he had drawn a square-which to him obviously represented a 1. And then he drew a triangle on the second box, a triangle that, in Charley language, was a 2.
Charley then leaned back against his bed, and sighed, impressed by his work and language skills.
Without even looking back, Charley plucked Voltron off his bed with one smooth move, he wanted Voltron to be amazed too.

Feeling as though Voltron couldn't construe the work of art himself, Charley explained it all to him, "This, my friend, is my way to track how close I am to Heaven."

Satisfied but wanting gratitude, Charley shoved Voltron's face into the boxes, showing off his work.

"These are how close I am to Heaven!" Charley repeated, assuming Voltron still didn't understand (though who would understand a child's logic), "The first one is when almost got knocked down by the bus, and the second one is from last night! That baseball could've killed me!"

Afterward, Charley's eyes drifted towards the ceiling, raising Voltron upward in his hands to conclude his explanation, "When the boxes reach the ceiling, I think I can reach Heaven."

He drew Voltron close, speaking his thoughts aloud, "I just want to get to Heaven for a little while, to see Grandma and Aunty, and then I'll come back and tell you all about what it was like, and what God was like!"

Charley leapt up, hopping up and down with Voltron in hand, exhilarated by how cunning he found himself.

Hauling himself onto the bed, Charley began bounding on that, kicking his feet high in the air and snickering like crazy.

Charley just could not get over how intelligent he was for thinking of this, and wondered if any other little boy was that clever, or if, in fact, he was the first person on earth to be so amazing.

Taking one tiny leap, Charley got ready to make one huge leap and try to poke the ceiling with Voltron's arm. But then he had a better idea, he wouldn't have to spring a high if he just used his grappling shark to poke the ceiling. Charley's feet and brain collided as Charley's feet had already begun making his big leap, but his brain wanted the shark.
Charley's legs pulled him up and to the side, having him sprawl off the bed.

He collided to the floor with a grunt and a light bang-light enough for his parents not to hear.

Charley's lip began to quiver, reminiscing how cozy he had felt yesterday in his parent's arms, but then amusement filled his eyes and he forgot his tears and the throbbing pain in his ankle.

Charley dashed over to a box and grabbed it out of the pile, cautiously placing it on top of the other two boxes.

On the new Pokemon box that joined the stack, Charley scrawled a squiggly line that almost, and to Charley, was, resembled a 3.

It wasn't even afternoon and Charley had already begun his pilings for the day.

Big Wheels were indefinitely not the coolest thing on the block, but Charley didn't care-he rode his with pride. He pushed those pedals and turned that big black wheel and rode that plastic dull red machine with pride. They weren't obsolete; they just weren't "in". Charley rode past Mary May's Bakery hoping to see Elliot Lindbey again, but had no such luck. Charley chuckled figuring he was just out saving another boy from a nasty ol' bus. Charley rode past the bakery and continued to ride until Jonezetta's Pizza Parlor owned by big Jonzetta himself. Charley loved him because sometimes he'd be outside advertising his pizza, and when he saw Charley come by he would dash inside and come out with a huge, cheesy pizza topped with mozzarella cheese just for Charley.

As Charley pedaled past all the department stores and run down buildings, he began to think about his parents and the night before. The comforting feeling sunk into him again and he giggled feverishly. Oh what a feeling Charley had felt, one he never knew he was missing. Now he knew it was there though, and he wanted it again. He could've settled for Voltron and Pikachu, but getting a nice dose of that love every now and then wouldn't kill him.

Charley neared the pizza parlor and skidded to a stop.

He saw no Jonezetta today. No sign showing the specials or upcoming events.

Charley wasn't old enough to figure something might have been amiss or even that something was different; he merely figured that Jonezetta just was not out today. Curling up a lip and shrugging, Charley pedaled on so he could turn around on the move.


As Charley began turning his Big Wheel around, his ankle rendered weak and caved in right when he was turning. Charley's foot got caught between the petal and the pavement, stopping Charley and overturning the oversized red vehicle. Charley tumbled off, foot still stuck in the pedal. Charley's head just nicked the pavement. All in all, Charley wasn't hurt to the point where he'd be injured, but he wasn't exactly alright.

Charley sat there for a moment, unsure of what emotion to have. No one came for him, no one picked him up-and he knew if he screamed for his parents, they wouldn't come either. He couldn't feel the scratch on his head but his foot began to burn and pulsate with pain. His breath quickened as his face grew hot with embarrassment, though no one was around. Charley wanted to rush home to add boxes, but he was afraid to move his foot.

He lay on the pavement only one second more, and then wiggled his foot slightly. As he moved his foot, he felt nothing more than usual, and picked himself up, dusting off the dirt that had gotten on his clothes from the pavement.

"Hey little boy, are you okay?" a man and his girlfriend walking by asked, noticing the little boy just standing there, a dazed look upon his face.




The man light brown eyes and low tone showed genuine curiousity, and the blonde curls of his girl's hair stopped bouncing about as the girl stood, also concerned.


"Kid…are you okay?" he repeated, unsure of what the boy was feeling.


Charley gazed up at them, a peculiar look upon his face.

The man stepped back a little, afraid that the boy would begin to cry. The expression on the boy's face was as though the boy didn't know how to react, as though he were confused.

Charley nodded, the unexplainable look still upon his face. He grabbed the handles of his Big Wheel and walked home, to the side of it.


What the man didn't know was that Charley wasn't even thinking of his wounds or the accident, he was merely contemplating whether thumping his head and damaging his ankle counted as two boxes or one-and if that were explained to the man, he'd be the one with the bewildered look upon his face.

"You're right Voltron! That does count as two!"


The Biggens and just finished dinner-all three of them this time-but nothing had altered their daily lives too much.

Oliver Biggens continued reading his paper, basically shrugging off anything anyone said.

Mary Biggens had delved herself into intently calculating the calories of the breaded, slightly seasoned chicken and cold corn pieces that they had for dinner-thereafter only eating half of it, for there were just too many calories in the whole thing.

Charley hadn't broken or dismantled any toy that day; therefore, no money was needed to buy more things, so Charley just didn't speak at all.

Now here he was, asking Voltron for advice on whether he should add two boxes. Together, they finally concluded that adding two boxes only made sense.




When it came to actually adding the boxes, Charley was more clever this time.

Looking away from the pile as though he was choosing randomly, Charley felt his way to the two biggest boxes, and pulled them out of the pile, insisting to Voltron that the pick truly had been random.

"It…it was random, alright?!" Charley persisted, trying to pry a suspicious look that Charley thought Voltron had on his plastic, colorful face.

But Voltron just sat there inanimately; with the same flat yet heroic look on his face that had been there since he was assembled-apparently creating Voltron with a smile was out of the question.

Charley nodded to Voltron, making sure they still in agreement that it had been random.

Charley didn't want God to think that he had cheated him.

Charley had pulled out a immense box-practically more immense than Charley himself. The box once belonged to a beautifully fashioned Tyrannosaurus Rex Charley had modestly named Charley Jr., though the T-Rex-regardless of its size-hadn't been seen just two weeks after it was given-by the family friend who had given him the pink bow nevertheless. She had felt so badly about giving him a pink bow that she just went out and bought him a big ol' manly toy dinosaur.

The box covered what three or four boxes normally would have since Charley didn't put it so that it's length stuck out of the pile, he formed it so that it was straight up and skinnier than the boxes under it.

The other box he had gotten was huge and ultimately heavy. It was partially made of wood-for better advertisement of the toy-and was previously occupied by a group of Lego pirates and their Lego pirated ship. Charley had, in fact, enjoyed this toy and would have continued to; except for the fact that he had lost about three fourths of the Lego pirates and the ones he did have had missing clothes and weapons. The ship wasn't entirely lost, it was somewhere in his closet, though it could be said that "entirely lost" and "somewhere in his closet" was basically the same thing.


Charley needed a stool, for now the boxes were taller than he was and he even had the use the shark grappling to steady the dinosaur box.

Charley stealthily slipped around the boxes and shot out the door.

"I'll be right back; I just need to get a stool. You stay put Mr. Voltron!"

Because Voltron had so many places to go, Charley wanted to make sure he was there to see the grand revealing of his masterpiece.

Charley came back appearing dazed a bit. He had taken longer than expected to come back, and he figured Voltron would wonder about that.

Cautiously, Charley walked around the boxes and eased the stool into the tan carpeting. A grin was being blatantly hidden upon his face, and Charley couldn't help but bend forward and explain to Voltron in an odd whisper, "When I went to get the stool, I fell. The broom fell on top of me, and I hit the tile."

Charley was now breathing heavily; recalling the incident like it had been years ago.

Charley figured Voltron knew what that story meant, but Voltron hadn't a clue.
The grin finally broke free as Charley jeered, explaining the relevance of the story to Voltron, "That means I get to put the last box on! I figured out-I figured out that if you put two more boxes on, I'll reach the ceiling! Voltron, I'll reach Heaven."

This usually was the point where Charley would leap up and down, but he dared not today. He didn't want to even chance hurting the sacred pile of boxes. Charley figured that if he somehow managed to knock down the pile of boxes, he would have to start all over and all the other booboos' would count for nothing.

But Charley could still smirk, and that wouldn't kill anything.

Charley was sure that Voltron was beaming along with him. Though, Voltron had the same flat, heroic face that he was fashioned with-because creating a Voltron with a smile was simply apparently unheard of.

Charley sat there for a moment, thinking, "This means I'll get to visit Heaven! I'll even go talk to Grandma and Aunty and everyone! Maybe I'll meet some new people too! Then, I think God will let me come back here and tell you about it! Then I can visit whenever I want after-oh, as long as we don't knock down the pile."

And without even giving Voltron a chance to respond-though he wouldn't have-Charley got to work, angling the stool by the boxes so he could get as much height as possible. With the heavy box in one hand, and the grappling shark in the other, Charley began to ease the box onto the wobbling pile, pushing at it slightly with the shark's open jaws.

"Easy…easy…," Charley mumbled to himself.
The boxes wabbled and wavered for a few seconds, Charley's body feeling hot from the tension, until they settled down as if they had only stirred to frighten Charley.

"Yes!"


The box was now completely on top of the other ones, and he had almost reached the ceiling.

Getting down from the stool, his foot landed straight on a piece of chalk almost sending Charley sprawling. Luckily, Charley caught his balance on the bed, and didn't move until his heart began its regular pattern again.

Never had his heart slowed like that day-ruining that pile would have been a disaster. Sure, he could have rebuilt it, but it take many more scrapes and bruises and bloodied noses.

Charley wasn't exactly on close relations with bloody noses.

Charley gradually let his foot roll the chalk to him, small, thin lines of chalk escaping onto the already ruffled carpet. Picking up the chalk-eying the boxes every thirtieth of a second, to make sure they were still in tact-and then suddenly remembered he had to write the numbers on the boxes.

Charley believed there were certain rule in the steps to Heaven: You HAD to pile up the boxes marking your progress throughout the days. It was a MUST to write the numbers on the sides of the boxes. You HAD to pick the boxes randomly (and of course Charley had done this, and even if he hadn't have, he was the boss, he could have exceptions once and again). And should you, by any reason at all, knock over the boxes before they were completely touching the ceiling, sorry buddy, you had to start all over.

Charley had no one to testify against his rules, so he kept them that way, adding this and that when and where he wanted. He drew a light circle-so light only Charley himself would have been able to find it-on the dinosaur box and a zig-zagged line on the pirated box.
4 and 5.

Next, he got a long, skinny box that once had had a Light Bright board and pieces in it-a few peieces still in it, for when Charley pulled out the box, a tinkling could be heard. He wrote a straight line to represent 6 and the line turned out to be perfectly straight-straighter than you would have gotten it if you used a ruler.

"Here goes."

Were Charley's last words to Voltron prior to finishing the steps-with all rules followed completely.

This time, Charley had tossed his lamp lightly onto his bed, and had replaced it with the stool. Charley had placed the somewhat light box into the grappling shark's mouth and began climbing his bed; thereafter, hopping on the dresser and onto the stool. He could touch the ceiling easily from where he was, without the assistance of a grappling shark. For a moment he peered down at his room-at all the action figures that looked like small slaves waiting to take orders from him-the highest one. Charley boomed out laughter and wondered if this is what Heaven was like when you were standing next to God. Heaven crossing his mind again, Charley set to work.

The stool was metal, so it wasn't rickety but it slid a few millimeters as Charley pressed his tiny hand into the wall for more balance. The shark slid the box onto the pile, and it fit perfectly with the ceiling, practically wedged in there, and the shark's mouth opened, and then closed, releasing the box onto its spot.

"Mr. Voltron, by gosh we've done it! I'm going to Heaven! I'm going to visit Heaven! Whooo!"

Mary and Oliver Biggens heard the noise clearly this time and thought they knew exactly what was going on.

They eyed each other for half a second and then dashed to Charley's room.

They found him on top of a stool on his nightstand, screaming.

"Charley, it's okay, we'll get you down from there!"

"No, mom! No, dad! Look! I did it! I'm going to vis-."
CRASH!


Charley's stool fell from under him and he began to fall.

Falling to his death from his nightstand.

Mary Biggens, Oliver Biggens and Voltron all watched helplessly as Charley crashed to the floor-a strange snapping sound being heard.

So many thoughts were going through his head.

His mom's lullaby, his dad's dollar bills, Voltron.

All of this toys, all of his friends, Elliot Lindbey
His Big Wheel, Charley Jr., Jonezetta.
I think you got one step closer to Heaven…
Charley, in his last minutes, as his breath left him, and the wind rushed by his face, knew that if his dad knew what he had done, he would have gotten a, "That's great Charley. That's great." And maybe this time…it would have been real.
He wondered who Voltron's new best friend would be, wondered if Voltron would like them better-hopefully not.
Voltron's face appeared as the wind continued by-on the dresser, by the stool sat Voltron, watching powerlessly. Charley giggled and gave him a thumb's up-swearing Voltron's expression had sagged and his mouth was turned into a frown-though it wasn't but it's usual flat, heroic expression.
And then it was over, Charley was no more.
On impacting the floor, Charley broke his neck and cracked his skull open on the bedpost.
The boxes had but swayed as their maker lay lifeless on the floor.
For some reason, when Charley's parents came to his side, they didn't accidently knock over the boxes, or throw something out of the way that hit the boxes so they collided-the boxes stayed in tact, and remained that way even after Charley's funeral.
Nobody knew what the boxes had been for, maybe that's precisely why no one move them.


To everyone, they were just junk placed on top of itself, piling up.
If Elliot Lindbey had seen them, he could have possibly figured it out-just possibly.
But Voltron knew.
Voltron knew for sure what the boxes and chalked marks represented.
Voltron knew the boxes had reached the ceiling, and Charley had reached Heaven.





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