A New Soul In Heaven, Part 2

By Vaughn Romero


I entered Heaven in much the same way I had entered the world eighty- five years before: naked, scared, and crying. Tears of desperation, joy, and relief ran from my eyes and reduced my world to a watery blur, masking the multitude of kind hands that guided me deeper into my new home.

"Welcome to Heaven, blessed one," I formed the words again and again in my mind, switching between the language of my former life and the music of the angel's song. More of the musical tongue rolled over me like a wave, asking if I was alright, asking me my name, asking what I would like to do and see.

I closed my eyes to squeeze the tears from my eyes and felt the drops fall from my cheek taking the weight of my doubt with it. I had entered Heaven. I had not been cast out. I had not been damned for my lack of faith in God.

"What do I do now?" I asked to no one in particular.

"That is entirely up to you, Mason" said a rich male voice in English.

I opened my eyes to look at the source of the voice. Before me stood what had to be an angel: a handsome man in robes with white wings visibly folded behind his back and a golden white halo over his head. The angel was watching me, holding out his left hand and offering me a handkerchief. I suddenly felt very foolish blubbering in the street with an angel watching over me.

"I suppose I'm a bit surprised to be here," I said as I took the handkerchief and wiped the tears from my eyes. "I wasn't sure I'd pass the test," my voice cracked with a weak laugh.

The angel gave me a knowing grin like he heard this same line a thousand times before.

"We get all those who achieve their destiny - it is our mission - and your being here is no mistake. As hard as it may be for you to believe it, you have earned your place in Heaven." The angel's words resonated with an authority of truth I had never heard on Earth.

"But how did I get here? What did I do to achieve my ... destiny?" Somehow the word felt new to me here, as if I had never really known the meaning of the word until this moment.

"I do not know the particulars of your destiny. If it is important to you, I can take you to an angel at the Library who can answer your question. It is not far from where we are now."

I looked around the street searching for something to make sense. A library. Somewhere here there was a library with an angel who could tell me how my doubting soul had earned eternal paradise.

"I would like that very much... angel?" I looked at the angel awkwardly hoping I was not offending him with the title.

"You may call me Dabiel. The Library is but a short flight from here. If you will permit me to carry you, we can arrive there in minutes."

My mind slowly pieced together the implications of the words flight and carry. On Earth I had always been afraid of heights, but I had nonetheless managed to enjoy flying in airplanes. Dabiel's proposition was at once thrilling and terrifying.

"I don't mind a walk. It's not like I'm in any rush..."

Dabiel gave me another knowing grin that told me he had heard this particular protest many times before.

"You are in Heaven now, Mason, and no longer mortal. You have nothing to fear from flying, and I will not let you fall." Dabiel extended his left hand to me and winked. "Trust me, the view is like nothing you have ever seen in your life."

My eyes drifted upward and I counted the numerous flying things in the sky. To my surprise, not all of the things had wings.

"Let's do it."

The city of Heaven defied all earthly explanation. In appearance it stretched as far as the eye could see, a seemingly endless supply of avenues, plazas, parks, bazaars, and churches stretched out before me in every direction. Yet unlike a city on Earth, none of these wonders were crowded together and despite the incredible scale of some of them, it never took more than moments to pass what should have taken hours.

My mind struggled to reconcile the inconsistency of our movement and our progress. Dabiel's wings beat almost lazily, yet we were obviously moving quickly. Stranger still was the utter lack of discomfort I felt. My weight did not seem to burden Dabiel at all, nor did I ever feel the grip of gravity trying to pull me down or the sudden pull of momentum tug at my stomach.

"How do we move like this?" I called up to Dabiel with a voice louder than I had intended. There was no rush of air to pull my words of away.

"We're not in Kansas anymore, Todo." Dabiel's voice was playful. "Just try to enjoy the ride. You will not always have an angel to taxi you about."

As we raised higher into the air I could see more of the Heavenly city. No matter where I looked parts of it stretched to the horizon. Straining to see the limits of the city, I had a sudden thought: everything is so clear here - there must be no smog in Heaven. On its heel's another thought followed: if Heaven has a horizon, then it must not be flat. At least something around here was familiar.

The angels standing before the doors of the Library had black wings like those I had seen over the Gates. Up close I could now see that each of them wore a set of necklaces about their necks. As I examined the angels, the pair sang a greeting to Dabiel and then eyed me quickly assessing something.

"You should not leave him unattended so early, Dabiel. Perhaps a Guardian would be in order?" The singing language of the angels was a mystery. How could I understand it?

"I will see that one of our brothers watches him, Virtue. His soul burns with questions that only the Library can answer."

"A guardian?" I inquired of Dabiel.

"A title for one of our choirs, Mason. A Guardian is an angel whose purpose is to watch over and protect the things that Heaven values. You have nothing to fear, it is a quite common for new souls to have a Cherub attune to them." Dabiel led me within the Library as he talked.

"A Cherub? One of the babies with wings?"

Dabiel shook his head with laughter. Several angels sitting around tables must have also heard my question for they too smiled with amusement. "Some things are lost in the translation between Heaven and Earth and the popular image of Cherubim is most certainly one of them. No, Mason, A Cherub is something quite different. You will see for yourself in a moment."

Still laughing under his breath, Dabiel led me deeper into the Library. Walking through the book-lined walls was both familiar and comforting. We climbed a set of stairs to a higher level and then walked to what looked very much like an Information desk.

"Friend of Sages, this soul has need to consult the book of Destiny." Dabiel addressed his song to the winged serpent hovering behind the desk. Two of six eyes lifted from reading a book and looked at Dabiel and then me.

Returning his gaze to my guide, the serpent addressed Dabiel "Is that wise Friend of Man? Humans are not always pleased to learn of paths missed and choices unmade." The serpent's song was hushed but easily heard in the serenity of the Library.

"I think it would put this soul at ease to know that his beliefs have value in Heaven."

"Ah yes, another human struggling with the divine religions. Has he no family or friends to guide him?" The serpent's question awakened powerful memories. Faces lost and forgotten suddenly flashed within my mind.

"I do not know, Most Holy." I addressed the serpent directly using the title I had heard the alien-angel use at the Gate.

The serpent lifted all six eyes to look at me, his gaze searching for and finding some hidden message in my words. "You doubted your own worthiness, and now extend this doubt to those you love. Yours is a common and regrettable human condition. Dabiel may be right, perhaps the truth of your destiny will allow you to accept your place here and seek those you hold dear. I shall return with the necessary information. Wait here." The serpent silently glided into the air and flew deep within the stacks leaving me to ponder its disturbingly accurate analysis.

After several silent moments Dabiel interrupted my thoughts, "Mason, When the Seraph returns, I shall go and find you a suitable Guardian. You have much to learn in the time ahead, but my duties will soon take me elsewhere. Should you have need of me, you may inquire with any angel of the Library and word will reach me."

"Thank you, Dabiel. You have been most kind to me." My angelic care- taker nodded in acknowledgement, and perhaps sensing my mood stepped back to give me some space to myself.

In the silence of the Library my thoughts drifted back to those I had known throughout my life. Would my family be waiting for me somewhere? How many of my friends were here for me to find? How had they handled this new world that at once confirmed and denied much of what I had held as truth? Had they too wished desperately that this place came with an instruction manual? Some movement brought me back to see the Seraph-serpent returning with a scroll floating before him.

"I have copied the details of your destiny to this scroll. May you find what you are looking for, blessed one."

The feeling that came over me then was one that I had not felt since I was a child. It had been countless ages ago since I'd had a report card, but this one was a long time coming and carried with it so many answers - and questions. Opening the scroll I scanned the contents expecting the worst, bracing myself for a near failing grade. I was surprised.

"Well, I guess I could say I got a few A's, but I don't suppose there's a retest?"

Dabiel smiled. His brother angel the Seraph gave me what I later learned was a who-can-ever-understand-humans? look. I treasure the memory of both reactions to this very day.


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