Author's note: This is one of my first novels I have written. I really enjoyed writing it and am looking forward... Show full author's note »
MichelleI am standing in a field of golden grass, alone. There is nothing in the horizon, just miles and miles of tall grasses emerging from the ground. I begin to walk forward, seeing there is no place to go.
“Newcomer?” a voice asks from above me.
Startled, I look up to see a girl in a yellow dress lying contently in a cloud. She twirls a piece of her shiny black her around her finger, grinning at me.
“You must be. All newcomers start out confused.”
I stare at her in astonishment.
“What? Haven’t you ever wanted to be able to float in a cloud when you were little before? Dreamed of sleeping on those fluffy cotton balls in the sky? And then those stupid science teachers had to ruin those dreams, saying clouds were just made of water, and that we would just fall right through them.”
The cloud disappears and the girl falls gently to her feet.
“I’m Raven, died in a car crash about eleven years ago. I am still waiting for my soul to be lifted to Heaven.”
From behind me, three young children run through the grass, giggling. Two young girls, who look about the age of five, wear their hair in pigtails. A boy, who looks a little older, around seven, tosses a ball to them.
“Those are the Klaus children. They died in a tragic fire about eight years ago.”
Those children, I realize, if they had lived, would be in their teens.
“Wouldn’t they be confused, I mean, they’re so young to be separated from their families.” I ask.
“Poor darlings, they were absolutely terrified. But I took mercy on them and had them drink from the River, so they have no memory of their past life. I cannot bring myself to drink from the River.”
“It erases the memories of your life on Earth. I refuse to drink from it. I would rather keep my memories, no matter how bad. Some, however, cannot bear the fact that they are no longer living, so it is better for them to forget.”
The sound of running water fills my ears, and then splashing. The three children, whose ball had now disappeared, were now swimming in what must have been the River. Its water was perfectly clear, and I could see the golden sand down below.”
“I have heard the water is just the perfect temperature.” Raven says, “I am afraid if I go swimming, I will accidently swallow water. However, it is also perfect for rock hopping.”
Silver stones big and small sparkle under the sunlight. There are now at least ten people by the river. An elderly man does a back flip off of one of the rocks as if he had regained his strength back. A young couple looks at each other lovingly as they dangle their feet in the clear water. A crowd of children, younger and older, have now joined the three original in the water.
Mountains begin to appear in the horizon, and suddenly Raven and I are next to these mountains in the blink of an eye. The River has disappeared from my sight completely.
“This is where I like to come to pray.” Raven says, gesturing toward the top of the mountains, “I could easily get to the top in no time, but I like the hike up there. It is a good time to catch up on thoughts, plus the view is amazing on the way up! You will never find scenery as beautiful as the scenery on these mountains right here. Once you are at the top, it is so much easier to hear God because you are even farther away from those unfaithful humans still on Earth, who drown out God’s voice.”
“Where do the unfaithful humans go after, you know?” I ask.
“I do not know, but definitely not here. For the most part, this place is filled with amazing people. Everyone you will find here is there for one another, maybe because they want to get to Heaven to be with God faster or maybe because this place is an inspiration for the good heart. Oh, I have to show you my favorite place of all!”
The mountains sink back into the ground and now we are standing in front of a cliff.
“I can see my family from here.” she says, “My twin sister has grown so much. She looks so beautiful now, and if I had lived long enough, I would have been that beautiful too. But that’s okay as long as I can watch over my family.”
I look down, but everything looks so far away and I can’t make out what is down below.
“Look harder, Michelle, focus.”
I do not question how she knows my name. Squinting a little and leaning forward a bit, I can now see my family. They look panicked, Mom and Dad sobbing while Sam lets his teardrops stain his notebook. It is unbearable and I have to look away.
“It will get easier, time heals everything.” Raven says, “Sometimes, I send a raven into my family’s yard to remind them that I am always watching over them. I think they seem to get the message. It is a great feeling to know that I am not completely isolated from them.”
“You can do that?” I ask.
I did not have time to ask for a further explanation. The golden grass is replaced with wildflowers, their sweet scent filling the air. A tall tree towers over them, its branches extending far out in all directions. Raven is climbing the tree, higher and higher until I can just barely see her due to all of the leaves. They are the colors of fall; red, orange and yellow.
The tree begins to fade, along with Raven.
“Wait! I am still so lost!” I call out to her.
Raven just smiles and waves. I can see her mouth moving, but I do not hear any words.
Now I am back where I started, alone in a field of golden grass.