Painful screaming that pushed the inner ear on itself like a battered drum.
Roman clasped the thick mane on his head the higher he ascended in this world turned in a black and white spiral. Once it all became white, he knelt on the ground. Though, he could not see the ground or the corners to this place, his fingers felt the warmth of the surface. The pain left him as a shadow soothed his face.
A man in a white gown approached him, his bare feet visible with each step taken. His hair was shoulder length and wavy, but Roman couldn’t make out his face as the brightness of the space blinded him.
“Who… who are you?”
“Don’t you recognize me?”
Slowly, Roman rose from kneeling. “You’re Uncle Maximo.” He shook his head, but the Uncle still stood there, watching every move he made, “I don’t understand… you’re dead.”
“And I have been dead for a very long time.” His hand reached out to Roman.
Roman stepped back, unsure of where he was.
“Do not be afraid.”
“What is this place?”
“You’ve died and gone to heaven.”
“Heaven? Heaven’s supposed to be a paradise… trees, a garden, flowers, people.”
Roman turned every which way and found the same white space inclosing them both. This was not how he imagined heaven to be or how he would have liked to be greeted.
“This is the entrance to heaven.” The Uncle tugged his gown and gestured for Roman to follow him, “Come, you will know what to expect of your afterlife.”
As Uncle Maximo proceeded forward, Roman felt they moved in the same place, nothing had changed.
“You see there,” the Uncle pointed into the white abyss, “there is the paradise you seek.”
“I see nothing but emptiness.”
The Uncle smiled like the Mona Lisa and turned in the direction he pointed. “You will live here and carry on as the Angels aide. They will ask for assistance in earth matters and you will provide it.”
“How am I gonna do that?” Roman lifted his arms and turned about in a half circle. “I don’t have any special skills. I was a bank teller.”
“You will know. Open your heart and you will believe.”
Roman squint, trying hard to focus in the white void before him. He thought about the secret pictures in a book where the image was hidden from the naked eye. He opened and closed his eyes multiple times. Then, another thought popped into his head, but he decided to wait after the strange tour.
Uncle Maximo stopped walking, and said, “Here it is.”
“Your new home in heaven…”
Roman still couldn’t see anything but white. “If you say so.” He pretended to open a door.
“I must leave you. I have more to greet. We will meet again.”
“Wait.” Roman placed his hand on his Uncle’s shoulder. “There’s one thing I need to know.”
“What am I doing in heaven?”
“You died a most unfortunate death on earth… rejected in the counterpart world because you were an honest bank man.”
The writing Prompt was from Writer’s Digest on October 2, 2012. If you want to see the original or the comments, go to http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/the-afterlife