Day 1: An old german man with a stubbled, gray beard and thick rimmed glasses was pushed in a wheelchair through the sliding doors of a hospice nursing home by a hospice worker. A nasty bullet hole and a defeated look lingered on his weathered face and his walk was accompanied with an ugly buckle. He shuffled his feet across the bleached floor and headed towards the over-decorated reception desk and grudgingly signed in. The nurse at the counter glanced over his info and turned on the P.A. system. Her voice was barely distinguishable over the crackling of the system. “Will Daolf Thrile’s appointed nurse please come to the lobby, that’s Daolf Thrile’s nurse, thank you.”
Minutes passed by and still, no nurse. Daolf, who’s defective leg was giving him trouble, leaned up against the counter to relieve the pain in his leg. While mumbling complaints under his breath, he lost his balance and slipped, sending his decrepit legs high into the air. He hit the ground hard, knocking the wind from his smoke-damaged lungs. Wheezing and coughing, Daolf rolled around the cold ground begging for the lord to take him here and now. Before he attempted to get up, a youthful nurse with chopped blonde hair helped him up and sat him in a chair. Daolf made some snarky remark about how long it took the nurse to find him.
“Hello Mr. Thrile, welcome to hospice. I am your personal nurse, Charlene. I will be taking care you during your stay here.
“Huh...during my stay here. You mean until I die, right, Charlene”, remarked Daolf with snide attitude.
Charlene tried, “I don’t quite unders-”
“ Oh it’s all the same with you people,” interrupted Daolf, “you hospice workers, you try to act all nice and go extra lengths and go up and beyond the call of duty to avoid the simple fact that your patients… that I... am dying. Let’s just get this show on the road and hope the good lord takes me within the hour.”
“Well I’m sorry you feel that way Mr. Thrile, let me show you to your room”, replied Charlene sympathetically.
“Will it take you an hour to find that as well?”, uttered Daolf.
Charlene ushered Daolf down the hall and to the right. They entered suite number 324 and Charlene helped Daolf get settled in.
Putting up a false front, Daolf pretended to be cheery and happy.
“So… Charlene may I ask you a question?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
As if some pent up anger was suddenly released in a wild flash of violence, Daolf sneered with an intimidating tone, “How many people have died in this room?”
“Mr. Thrile please, I’m trying to help you. My job is to make you comfortable, don’t make this harder than it has to be”, pleaded Charlene.
With a demanding tone, Daolf ordered, “out, get out and stay out!”
He pointed towards the door with his finger and continued to yell at her to leave. Not needed to be told a second time, Charlene quickly left the room.
Abrupting into a fountain of tears, Daolf cursed his existence and collapsed onto his springy bed. Hot tears rolled down his cheeks and into his mouth. The taste of salt quickly filled his mouth as the tears entered. He began pounding the bed mercilessly with his shriveled fists. The freshly pressed sheets began to crease and form stains as a deluge of tears fell from his eyes. Suddenly, Daolf couldn’t feel the left side of his face. He tried to cry out, but his speech was slurred. Realizing he was having a stroke, Daolf thought, “finally, the Lord has heard my cries...take me lord and end my suffering.” Daolf’s vision clouded over and a world of purity enveloped him.
Singing. First it was the singing. Daolf heard ethereal singing coming from all around him. It sounded as if it was coming from a choir of the best vocalists on earth, only better. The beautiful voices radiated all around him, putting him into a lavish state of bliss. Then, the colors. The colors were out of his world, literally. They seemed to have a life, a dimensionality, a radiance of their own. Daolf’s face was flushed as felt a presence so welcoming and so mighty that he dropped to his knees and cried. He cried not in sorrow nor in vain, but in pure jubilation. As his tears flowed out from his blue eyes, so did the feelings of restraint and anguish he felt in his previous life. The tears seemed to float above the fluorescent ground, circling and coalescing together. From the tears of sorrow formed a being so holy and so righteous that it could almost hold the name of God as its own. Many say ignorance is bliss. But Daolf is not many. Curiosity and awe intoxicated his lungs and he gulped not for air, but for knowledge. Knowledge of what, or who, this ethereal being is. For this reason alone he began to choke. He choked on the absence of comprehension required to keep his body in sync and his blood flowing. With the absence of knowledge comes the presence of darkness. With the presence of darkness comes the onset of vulnerability. However in this moment, in this one single moment, there was no vulnerability. There was no darkness. Daolf’s heart, which was beating in the aphotic wasteland of his own soul, was breaking- no struggling- out of its cocoon of darkness it had been persuaded to enter into so long ago. The brilliant sun was rising not in its accustomed spot over the horizon, but from the depths of Daolf’s prison bounding soul. It burned away the RAGS of the wealthy and left the RICHES of the poor. The monstrous tyranny of his own heart was usurped by liberating power of justice he felt standing before him. The Armageddon of existence that was once promised seemed irrelevant now. In fact, everything besides the distinctive entity fixed in front of him seemed irrelevant . Daolf dared lift his head in fear of being told off by this holy presence whom he had assumed was god.
Daolf’s sinful lips shifted as his unwarranted voice seemed to be swallowed up by the endless prairies of perfection.
“Who are you?”, whispered Daolf.
The ethereal being replied with but a moment's pause. His voice was ironclad with plates made of holiness instead of traditional iron. Although Daolf’s voice was barely audible above the singing of angels, “god’s” voice resonated all around, as if they were both in a tight cavern with the walls only but a few feet from them.
“Who do you say I am?’, replied “god”
“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“ I am”, God paused, “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!”
Daolf lowered his body and erected his arms straight outward, barely missing the sandals of God.
“Oh lord, forgive my ignorance and clasp me with your arms of mercy, take me into thy kingdom of eternal bliss. Lead me down my broken road only you can repair with your hammer of mercy and your nails of forgiveness.”
“Daolf, I can guide you along the broken path leading to my kingdom but only you can repair the cracks present in the path by fixing the wrongs in your past life and replacing them with deeds of good.
God stepped aside and revealed the path to salvation Daolf was so eager to travel down. He raised his head and lowered his eyes. His gaze fell upon the pitiful Daolf Thrile who didn’t dare return the look.
“ I am going to send you back to earth Daolf. You have three days to repent for your sins and fix the relationships you have damaged. If you are oblivious to what you have done and choose not to confess to those you have wronged, then your path will eternally stay broken and you shall never enter my kingdom.
Daolf tried to quickly ask a question, “ Wait, God, help me. What do you want me to-”
There was a marvelous flash of light and Daolf felt himself being torn from the mountain of perfectness down into the valley of suffering in which he lived.
Day 2: Beep...beep...beep. Daolf’s eyelids slowly started to pry open. He first saw his room again through a squinty line of vision, but, as he opened his eyes more, his vision was restored from a squashed oval to two fully formed circles interlocking each other. He rotated his head clockwise for that was where his dominant hand was. Daolf noticed an electrocardiograph monitor which was steadily beeping with the rhythms of his dead heart. His mind got lost with the cyclic patterns of the monitor and with each fall, he hoped for not another rise. He longed to be back in the angelic village which housed the souls of the dead. “Was I really in heaven?!”, Daolf thought, “And if so, how can I get back there?”. An abrupt knock on his door snapped Daolf out of his trance and pulled him back to the grim reality of his life.
“Hi Daolf, it’s Charlene. How are you feeling? You gave us quite a scare last.”
Daolf tilted his head toward Charlene, “What happened?”
“Daolf...you had a stroke. Your organs are slowly shutting down. It’s tough to say, but the doctors give you around 2 days to live. In your final day you will constantly be switching between consciousness and unconsciousness. You will experience several hallucinations which will slowly lead you into death. I’m sorry. I’ll leave you now to yourself .
Suddenly applying a heavy german accent to his voice, Daolf said, “Wait, Charlene, before you go...I need to tell you something. My real name isn’t Daolf Thrile. My original birthname was-”, Daolf took a deep breath before continuing, “ My original birthname was Adolf Hitler.”
A quick gasp escaped Charlene’s lips and her face turned pale. Adolf continued onward.
“I’ve been hiding in a small abandoned hotel in Argentina for the past several years. You, and no one else, ever recognized me because of the contorted skin on my face from when I shot myself through my mouth. I beg of you, before you make any rash decisions, please hear me out.”
Charlene slowly backed away and steadily sank into a course patterned chair in the corner of the room. The rough material scraped against her skin and only added to the crisis at hand. She could feel the epidemic of sin radiate out from his body and spread throughout the room. With each breath she inhaled more of this deadly aroma, and with each exhale her own innocence flowed from her nostrils. Cold beads of sweat lined her forehead and tears sprang from her eyes, making it hard to distinguish between the two. Short and quick breathes quickly followed along with rapid nodding of her head.
Gathering up strength, she hastily muttered, “What do you want from me?”
Wiping away his own tears, Adolf stated, “Charlene, I need you to help me repent for my sins, for all the lives that I took. Yesterday, while I was unconscious, I saw God. He told me-”
Charlene quickly cut in, “Wait, you- you saw God. After all you’ve done you saw God?!” The Irony of the situation almost made it a laughable moment. “ You put 11 million people to their deaths in concentration camps and you saw God?”
Without hesitation, Adolf budded in, “ Charlene- please- I need you to help me make up for my wrongs, my oh so many wrongs. If not for me, than for the millions for lives I took.”
Thinking for a few moments, Charlene finally replied, “Fine, I will help you. But I’m not doing it for you, or you conscience. I’m doing it for the millions of victims whose blood are on your hands. How are you planning on repenting anyways?” Charlene looked him up and down. “There’s not much a man in your condition can do.”
Adolf formulated a plan in his head before responding. “I plan on writing a heartfelt apology on paper and leaving my sincere condolences to all the families I affected...or made extinct. We will send the original letter to the Israeli government who will then make copies and send them to families of victims I have killed.”
“Adolf, with what little time you have left, I don’t think that’s possible.”
Adolf smiled revealing a row of teeth with a bullet sized hole in the middle. “Then Charlene, we better make do with what time we have left.”
Adolf and Charlene worked throughout the night . Adolf spent hours working on the letter while Charlene started tracking down families. At about 2:00 A.M., Adolf fell asleep and Charlene turned the light off and exited the room. Although Adolf’s body was sleeping, his soul was hard at work.
Adolf opened his eyes to bright light which he assumed was the rising of the sun. The familiar angelic singing returned and the extraordinary colors treated his eyes nicely like candy would to a child. As his eyes adjusted, he realized he was back in heaven with God standing in front of him.
God helped Adolf to his feet and told him, “Adolf, I’m proud of the work you have accomplished thus far. But you’ve only just begun. Your final day of judgement is coming up, and before that you must pass the final test of penance.”
Adolf was curious, “God, what is the final test, what do I have to do?”
“Your final act of penance is looking at the face of every person you put to death in your concentration camps. You will see around 11 million faces and you will feel sorrow and guilt for each face. This act of penance will begin when you’re ready.”
Adolf’s knees became wobbly and his head cloudy. He took a few minutes to regain his composure and to prepare himself mentally for what he was about to endure. God placed a hand over his face and it began.
Agony. Anguish. Frightening. These words can’t even begin to describe the terror Adolf withstood while seeing the faces of those he killed. He did, of course, deserve every one of those faces. The faces seemed to come at him from every direction. The Apocalypse begun. His stomach turned not to ice, but fire. For ice would only numb the pain he was feeling while fire would add to it. The same flames used to burn his victims was now enveloping him, not only making him feel pain, but guilt. The torture of his stigma was enough to crush him alone. Bricks of guilt piled on top of him which were held together by mortar composed of fear itself. Adolf screamed out for it all to just stop. He begged God to pour even the slightest amount of holy water on him to alleviate the burning for just a second.
What seemed like days of agony to Adolf were in fact only about 12 hours on earth. Charlene made fifteen minute checkups on Adolf during which he was mostly unconscious. She knew that he was dying and that he only had a few hours left. He was mostly incomprehensible but Charlene could make out a few words and phrases here and there such as, “NO”, “STOP”, and, “I’m sorry”. Charlene could only imagine what Adolf was going through up there. As predicted, a few hours later, Adolf flat lined. Charlene made sure that his letter reached the Israeli government. They removed his body from the room and another death-marked patient took his room.
Day 3: Millions of faces went through Adolf’s eyes in a matter of hours. After long last, God released his hand from Adolf’s face and the faces stopped. Adolf fell over gasping for breath.
With a pleasant tone, God said, “Adolf, you have repented for your sins and have earned your seat at my table of plenty. Congratulations. You may now walk down the path of salvation in to my eternal home happiness.” God stepped aside and exposed Adolf’s path to heaven. Adolf stood up, cried, and embraced God with a warm hug.
Before stepping on the path, Adolf told God, “I know I’m probably not worthy of entering your kingdom God, but I thank you for letting me repent for my sins and being with you forever in eternal bliss.”
God smiled and replied, “Adolf, you may have sinned in your previous life, but you have seen the wrong in your actions and have repented for them. Anyone, including yourself, can enter heaven if they are truly sorry for what they have done.” Here God put both of his hands on Adolf’s shoulders and happily whispered, “Welcome home, Adolf, welcome home.”