Author's Note: This is a direct sequel to "Guardian Angel", so I strongly recommend reading that first. There are a lot of references to "Guardian Angel" in this story and it's not going to make much sense if you haven't read it. The article ID's in order are 9092, 9119, 9157, 9218, 9281, and 9306.
It's amazing how quickly your life can end. Dying only takes as long as the pull of a trigger, the stab of a knife, or the impact of car on car; really only as long as breathing your last breath. Life and death are barely distinguished in the mere seconds between them. For some people, that bleeds together like watercolors. For others, it stays in the mind perfectly forever like a photograph. But either way, there is time between the two.
I felt myself wondering where I was when I opened my eyes. Was I even alive? I was hovering over a dismal mountain like a cloud. I realized that I didn't remember anything. I looked at the back of my hand wondering whom it belonged to. It really is strange when you don't know who you are.
I saw a boy standing on the mountain's peak. He had brilliant white wings on his back. He looked at me. I don't think he could see me because his eyes seemed relatively blank like he was gazing into a horizon.
I realized I knew that boy.
I recognized his dazzling green eyes and blonde hair, but I couldn't match a name with his face. But I knew I'd seen him many times before, and I'd see him again.
I felt myself drift farther away like a string attached to my back was reeling me upwards. I felt like I was being carried away by and endless sea. But I soon found an island to take refuge on.
That island was Heaven.
My feet touched the ground. I looked around. I felt like I was inside of a white box; everything was plain, white, and featureless. A woman in long white robes appeared before me. Like the boy on the mountain, she too had white wings. She greeted me in a firm, gentle tone, "Welcome, Elizabeth Falkner."
I felt something click in my mind. I remembered myself. I replied, "You can call me Liz."
The woman smiled. "Of course. Would you like a tour of Heaven?"
She took me by the arm and led me forward. Soon, a glittering golden gate came into view. It was part of a giant brick wall that seemed to stretch on forever. The wall was so tall that I couldn't see the top.
"Amazing, isn't it? It's designed to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. But once, something bad thing did get in."
"Really?" I asked. It seemed pretty impossible from where I was standing.
"Yes, and I think you encountered him during your mortal life."
"Wow . . . I wish I could remember that."
"No, you really don't. Besides, that can just be one of the things you try to figure out about your past."
"Is there a time limit for that?" I inquired.
"Nope. You've got all the time in the world now."
The gate opened and we walked through it. A giant metropolis stood before me. I felt so insignificant standing there. It was like a modern El Dorado, only with white and light gray instead of gold. There were dozens of skyscrapers in the distance. My tour guide told me they were part of the more industrial area. I certainly believed her.
We kept walking forward, and she led me through town. We passed by many of the important sites of Heaven, including Angel HQ. She eventually led me to my new home.
It was a giant apartment building made of sand-colored bricks. It had balconies on all the top floors and flowers all over the place. I really liked it.
"You're staying in room 706," my guide told me. She handed me my room keys and several pamphlets that said things like, "Welcome to Heaven!" and "Everything You Need to Know About Your New Life!"
I went inside and used the elevator to get to my room. It was a cozy apartment. It wasn't too soft and cushy, but at the same time it wasn't too sharp and modern. I thought it suited me nicely (or at least I what I had remembered about myself up to then). I sat down on a big red sofa and started reading through the pamphlets.
One was about memories. It said that certain things that were important in your life on earth could trigger recollection of your past. For an example, seeing a trophy could remind you of a sporting event you competed in, or a wedding ring might remind you of a spouse.
The next was about the laws of Heaven. I sped through that because they were pretty obvious things. But when I was about halfway through, I noticed that it wasn't written in English, and yet I could still read it. The writing was in Latin. One of the laws said, "Keep evil out." The word "pravus" was included in the phrase. That word rang a bell. I wasn't sure why, but I was somewhat positive that it had to do with the boy I saw on the mountain.
The last pamphlet I read was about getting a job.
A mark forms on an angel's palm when reborn in Heaven. It's color represents different jobs, such as Guardian, Engineer, Cook, etc. Your color appears automatically and is affected by the life you had on Earth.
There were color samples listed and a key to identify them with their job. I overturned my left hand so that the palm was up and compared it to the other marks. It was blue, so I was a Guardian. I read through the job's description and thought it sounded good. I decided to visit the training academy the next day.