[AGttA] Chapter 10.2: The Celestial Court

Continued from Chapter 10.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

The woman in the shabby little office had thrown back the curtains, blinding me with the light that came shining in.  But when I lowered my hand from in front of my eyes, I was no longer sitting in a small little book-filled room.

Instead, I sat on the same rickety chair – but it was in the middle of a huge amphitheatre, spreading out in all directions, rising up almost too high in the sky for me to see the top.

And every seat in the amphitheatre was filled by angels. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.1: The Moral Debate

Continued from Chapter 10.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

“What?”  I didn’t understand what the woman sitting on the other side of the desk meant.

“The price,” she repeated patiently, looking at me.  “You asked what it would take to bring your friends back, to put a stop to the Apocalypse, to restore everything back to normal.  You said that you would be willing to do anything.

“And that, it seems, is exactly the price for you.”

I felt like my stomach was dropping away from me, like I was in the front seat of a roller coaster that had just plunged over the first big drop on the ride.  “I don’t understand.” Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.0: The Professor’s Office

Continued from Chapter 9.2, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

At first, I was certain that I’d somehow screwed things up.

I had imagined that, upon stepping through that door, I might find myself in some vast tribunal, some sort of huge celestial court where I’d have to argue my case to God himself, standing in a massive room and with a billion angels all staring down at me.  No pressure, of course.

But instead, I found myself standing in a small, rather shabby feeling office.  I felt like I’d landed back on earth, in one of the rear rooms in some community college department building.  This felt like the kind of space where an elderly English professor might spend his tenured twilight days, reading papers that no one else ever touched and writing responses that no one would ever get around to reading. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.2: The Library

Continued from Chapter 9.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

The first difference that hit me, after I stepped through the door at the top of the stairs, was the silence.

Of course, this might have been the first thing that I noticed because, despite all my survival instincts screaming at me to keep my eyes open, those lids were firmly shut as I passed through.  I’m not sure why – maybe I thought that, if I didn’t look at any of the eldritch horrors on the other side, they wouldn’t be able to hurt me.

But after a couple seconds of listening to silence, I finally opened my eyes.

Books.  My first impression came as a single word.  Books, millions upon millions of books. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.1: The Climb (haven’t we done this before?)

Continued from Chapter 9.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

Although this really, really didn’t seem like the time for introspection, I couldn’t help but reflect, as I ran through what seemed to be Heaven’s equivalent of a loading dock, on how I ended up here.

Just a little while ago (days? weeks? months?), I’d been living a totally ordinary life, headed out to the mall to pick up another pair of jeans from Gap.  Next thing I knew, the Apocalypse hit, I’d been plunged into living like a hermit in a Starbucks, and I had no idea what, if anything, would exist in my future.

And then, first Alice stumbled into my life, and then Eremiel.  Somehow, even though I’d only known the two of them for a few days, I found myself intensely attached to them, barely able to consider the idea of living without either of them filling my life with irritation and adventure. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 9.0: Please stand clear of the portal. The portal is opening.

Continued from Chapter 8.4, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 9: Don’t lose hope.

The first thing I saw, after stepping through the portal at the top of Mount Megiddo, was a very surprised looking angel.  I barely even had time to notice that he appeared to be wearing a bright orange safety vest with reflective stripes over his white robe, and holding a pair of light-up orange cones, before I instinctively lashed out.

“Hey, what are you-” the angel began before I hit him with Eremiel’s sword.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – I wasn’t holding the sword firmly, and the blade didn’t cut forward.  Instead, however, I smacked the angel in the face with the flat of the blade, knocking him back and probably leaving a nasty welt on his face.

Gripping the sword with both hands, I spun around in a circle, desperately trying to get my bearings.  Judging from the fact that I’d just hit an angel, I dared to hope that I was in Heaven – but what I might encounter here, I didn’t know. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 8.4: The Summit

Continued from Chapter 8.3, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 8: Adapt to setbacks.  

I stood on the top of Mount Megiddo, the fabled ground zero of the Apocalypse, the mountain foretold in Biblical legend.  The wind whipped around me, pulling at my tattered clothes, cutting through the layers of insulation and hitting like knives against my bare skin.

“Now what?” I asked out loud, even though the words were stolen away by the ever-blowing wind.

A little part of me had hoped that, when I got to the top of the mountain (the real summit, not the false one), I’d find a sign of some sort.  Of course, I was thinking more of a circle of stones with crackling energy swirling inside of it, although I would have happily settled even for a real life sign, maybe one that said something like “Click your heels together three times to go to Heaven”.  

But instead, I saw nothing but rocks and desolation, the mountain sloping down and away from me in all directions. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 8.3: The Climb

Continued from Chapter 8.2, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 8: Adapt to setbacks.

When I woke up, the lion was still there.  He yawned at me when I crawled out from beneath his paw, revealing incisors big enough to easily bite my entire face off, but didn’t seem inclined to attack me.

“Uh, hi,” I said to him.

He blinked huge, golden eyes at me, and then pushed his head forward.  For one terrified second, I thought that he was about to rip into me, but instead he tilted his face aside so that his cheek rubbed against my shoulder, and a low rumble drifted out of his mouth.

“Oh.  Right, cat.”  I reached up and tentatively, still a little worried that I’d draw back a bloody stump, scratched him along his big jaw.  The massive cat purred louder, tilting over to one side so that I could reach all the way under his chin. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 8.2: The Journey

Continued from Chapter 8.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 8: Adapt to setbacks.

It turns out that deserts are hot.  And the sand really stings when it blows in your eyes.  And even though something doesn’t look that far away, as you start walking towards it, you realize that yes, it really is that far away.

In short, deserts suck.  

I repeated this thought to myself over and over as I trudged through the sand, the tip of the sword blade dragging along as it hung low from my belt and leaving a long track behind me (at least, until the blowing, shifting sand covered it up). Through sunburned, slitted eyes, I glared at the mountain of Megiddo, which appeared absolutely no closer than it had started off whenever I first began hiking.

“Screw you, Apocalypse,” I coughed out from between dry, sore lips before I closed them, trying to keep the last little bit of moisture from seeping out of my husk of a body. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 8.1: Megiddo

Continued from Chapter 8.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 8: Adapt to setbacks.

Okay, I told myself as I forced my eyes open.  Think about good news and bad news.

The good news was that, although I couldn’t confirm for certain that I was in Megiddo, the surroundings around me certainly matched my mental picture.  All around me, dust and sand blew across a constantly, ever-changing surface.  Ahead of me, I could see a single mountain rising up into the air, the scene shimmering in the heat radiating off the sand.

It certainly didn’t look like Hell, at least.  No enclosed cavern, no stalactites hanging from the ceiling, no demons flitting about on their little red wings and waving pitchforks.  

So that was good, at least.  I’d made it out of Hell, back up to the surface of Earth.  Presumably, Heaven was just a single step from here.

Of course, I didn’t know how to get to Heaven from here.  Eremiel hadn’t bothered to share that part of his plan with me.  Add that to the “bad news” column. Continue reading