Estimated reading time — 12 minutes
I awoke in a dark room on a cold, hard floor. It’s difficult to tell how long I’ve been laying here, but the creaks in my bones and aches in my muscles tell me that it has been a while. My mind feels empty, blank, desolate. I quickly glance around, surveying my surroundings. From what I can tell, I am in a windowless room, which would explain the darkness.
I push my self up slowly and rise to my feet. At first I stumble a bit and nearly fall over but I luckily catch myself. ‘Have I been kidnapped?’ I wonder. The room appears to be completely empty. No chairs or bindings or anything one would expect to see when they’ve been kidnapped. I feel slightly relieved and began to shuffle over to the walls of the room. It is fairly small, about the size of a bedroom.
Through the darkness I can make out the shape of a door. I fumble for the handle blindly and finally feel my fingers close around it. I flinch a bit at the handle’s icy coldness but nonetheless attempt to turn it. Nothing. The damn thing won’t budge.
Pain suddenly shoots through my skull like a bullet. I remember the headlights, the car crash, the fear, and most of all the pain. I clutch my head and squeeze my eyes shut, hoping that the white-hot pain will subside. I stumble away from the door and land flat on my rear. After a few seconds, it finally fades away and the horrifying realization begins to dawn on me. “Am I dead?” I wonder aloud.
As if to answer my question, a door swings open and blinding light filters into the room. I shield my still sensitive eyes from the glaring light. Two men step in. One is tall and has a shock of blond hair and deep blue eyes. The other is shorter and has shaggy brown hair and quick green eyes that dart around. They are both wearing suits and have what appears to be wings protruding from their backs. They’re each grinning widely at me, revealing their pearly white teeth.
“Welcome to Heaven, Jason Gray.” the tall one says in a voice smooth as silk.
“Heaven?” I ask. The angels nod, their grins still present. I lose myself in thought. How did I get to heaven? I wasn’t a particularly bad person when I was alive, but I wasn’t religious either. “Why am I here?” I asked, confusion clearly written on my features. “Because everyone goes to heaven. Hell is just a little lie to push you in the right direction. Ultimately, everyone ends up here.” the tall one explained calmly. It seemed as if he had to explain this to people a lot.
“We’re here to take you on a tour of heaven!” the shorter one says, bouncing up and down in excitement. “A tour?” I ask, standing up once again. “Follow us.” the tall one says, striding out of the room. I notice as they turn their backs that the wings are stitched on. The sutures appeared to be sloppy and rushed as if the patient was moving around a lot during the procedure. What kind of place is this?
A bright white light floods my vision as I exit the room. I quickly turn around and see that the door I had just come through was gone, vanished as if it had never existed into the first place. The short one giggles a bit at my bewilderment and motions for me to follow. Turning my gaze forward I can see a factory of sorts. There are other angels dressed in work clothes pushing carts full of lumpy objects everywhere. It is difficult to tell what the objects are.
I see a quite pretty female worker push a cart nearby me. Her hair is the shade of an autumn afternoon and her eyes are like sunlight shining through a glass of whiskey. I flash her a quick smile and she turns to smile back. Oh god. Her face. Half of her face appeared to have been burned off. Her teeth and gums are clearly showing, pearly white bone with glistening pink flesh encasing them. It appears to be the only part of her tortured face that isn’t marred.
I quickly avert my eyes from the grisly sight, choking back vomit. My guides take no notice of my repulsion, or if they did they didn’t show it nor care. “What exactly is this place?” I manage to choke out. “Heaven.” they both reply in unsettling unison. I shake my head. “No, it’s supposed to be all pearly white gates and cherubs, right?” My guides both look at each other as if they’re the parents of a child who’s asking why the sky is blue. “All will be explained soon, Jason.” the tall one said. Their ever-present smiles are beginning to unnerve me even more. I would answer them if I wasn’t so occupied with choking down my own stomach acids.
I continue following them because that’s the only thing I can think of doing right now. The more I look, the more the shapeless objects in the carts are beginning to look human shaped. No, it can’t be. But, then again it wouldn’t be surprising at all in the midst of this chaos. A million questions raced through my mind but my lips couldn’t form the words to voice them.
My terrifying guides lead me through seemingly endless hallways that twist and turn like an impossible labyrinth. I search for any landmarks that would give me a clue as to where I am in the event that I need to flee, but they all appear to be the same colorless halls with exactly seven doors. I absently wonder how the angels find their way around here.
The two angels suddenly stop in front of a door. There is nothing special about the door, it looks the exact same as all the others. The short one grasps the handle and holds the door open for me. Peering inside I can see what appears to be a surgery table complete with a tray of all the instruments a surgeon would need. My eyes drift to a pair of wings that are hanging on the wall from a hook. Putting two and two together, I quickly jerk back. “No, no, no, no.” I sputter, backing away as quick humanly possible until my back hits the wall.
“Backing out isn’t an option.” the tall one says. He grasps my arm firmly and begins to pull me forward. My feet dig as best as they can into the slippery floor in an attempt to stop myself. His friend is still waiting by the door patiently. It appears as if they have had to deal with this many times before as well. As much as I try to fight my way out of the tall angel’s crushing grip, I still find myself inside of the room.
Next thing I know, the short angel is at my side and helping the other ease my protesting form into the surgery table. I thrash wildly against the leather straps but to no avail. “Let me go!” I screech. “Please calm down, all will be explained now, Jason.” the tall one states in a somewhat hollow tone.
“Go to hell!” I yell at it through gritted teeth. “I’m afraid I cannot do that. We have already explained that there is no Hell.” the tall one says calmly. His nimble fingers carefully select a scalpel. “Ooh, can I do it this time?” the shorter one squeals. The tall one rolls his eyes at him and reluctantly hands him the scalpel. “Try not to mess up like last time.” he warns. ‘Last time?’ I wonder, my eyes going wide with terror.
The shorter one giggles like a child and begins approached with the blade. He props the surgery table up and opens up a slot that gives him access to my back. They really did plan for this. “You see, Jason, you have been fortunate enough to be selected for the esteemed job of being an angel.” the tall one explains. I can feel the shorter one beginning to slice away my shirt. “But why me? I’m not even religious, I don’t even believe in any of this crap!” I protest. The shorter one begins making precise incisions near my shoulder blades. I flinch at the pain and grit my teeth to prevent a cry from escaping my lips. “And that is exactly why you’ve been selected for this role. Because you never devoted yourself to God during your time on earth, you now must do so here.” The scalpel bites deeper into my soft skin so that I can feel small rivers of hot blood beginning to trickle down my back. “Those who were religious in their time on earth have no need to devote themselves. As such, they finally get to fully become one with God as they wished in Heaven.” the tall one continues.
In the corner of my vision I can see the shorter one taking the wings off of the wall and bringing them over to me. He carefully picks it up and begins positioning it by one of the incisions. However, I barely took notice of this because I was too busy mulling over what the tall angel had meant by “fully become one.”
I was interrupted from my thoughts by the feeling of a syringe being inserted into the side of my neck. “It’s better if you’re asleep for this part of the procedure.” the tall angel explained. Before I could retort, black spots obscured my vision and the whole world seemed to tilt before me. It was only a matter of seconds before I was plunged into complete and utter darkness, freed from pain.
I am driving my car along a road that seems to have a sharp turn every few minutes. It’s nighttime and I’m driving away from my girlfriend’s house after we had a particularly nasty argument. I had just found out that she had been cheating on me with some cocky bastard and was planning to never return to her house. My phone buzzed in the seat next to me, its screen lighting up to alert me that I have a text. No doubt, its her. ‘r u still mad at me???’ she wrote. ‘What do you think?’ I answered mentally, still keeping my hands on the steering wheel. ‘I’m really sorry’ the text read. Oh, so now she was using correct grammar. The bitch must be feeling really bad now.
More and more texts began to pour in, lighting up my phone’s screen. I did my best to keep my eyes on the road but the texts kept beckoning to me. I succumbed and grabbed my phone with one hand to text her back something nasty. However, this happened just as I was approaching a turn. My eyes widened in shock and terror as my car plummeted off the edge. I clearly felt the dread and anticipation sitting in my stomach like acid before the world went black.
I awoke with a start, my chest heaving and sticky with sweat. As the horror of my nightmare began to wear off, I became acutely aware of two heavy objects on my back. It felt as if my spine was going to collapse from just the sheer weight of them. I craned my neck to see what the objects were only to be met with the grisly sight of two stark white wings protruding from my back.
“Oh, you’re finally awake.” the all too familiar voice of the tall angel said. “I did a good job, right?” the shorter one inquired eagerly. His question was responded with a sigh and a resigned ‘yes’. “How long was I out?” My voice sounded hoarse and foreign as if it hadn’t been used in quite some time. “Time is irrelevant.” the taller one said. He walked over to the chair I was currently strapped into and carefully undid the bindings. “We’re going to show you to your job now. Follow us.”
I rose from the chair, wincing at the searing pain in my back this brought me. I could feel the sutures begin to bleed slightly, sending a trickle of warm liquid down my exposed spine. With heavy feet and shaky legs followed my guides, unsure of what else to do.
They led me down the colorless halls that I still couldn’t navigate. My mind felt numb, probably from the pain blooming from the area around the wings. I could do nothing but follow them blindly like a dumb sheep. It was difficult to tell how long we walked before we reached a metal door, so very different from the others. Time seemed to be nonexistent here. The fact that every hallway looked the same and seemed to never end did nothing to help.
Without any flair, the tall angel opened the metal doors and held it open for me. Despite this polite gesture, I didn’t walk in. I didn’t WANT to walk in for in front of me was a slaughterhouse. Angels dressed in bloodied aprons toiled over hacking off human limbs with bone-saws. Wide, artificial grins were stretched across their perfect faces. Some of them even hummed as they worked, flecks of crimson staining their pearly white teeth. Some of them turned their heads to stare at me and gave me a wave.
I tried to back up but found myself bumping into the chest of the shorter angel. He gripped my shoulders so tightly it seemed as if he wanted to break my skin. “Go on.” he sang before shoving me roughly inside. Before I could make a run for it in the opposite direction, the metal doors slammed shut behind me, sealing my fate.
I wanted to scream, cry, and crumple to the floor on the spot all at once, but my body remained frozen. It was like I was watching everything happen rather than actually being in the moment. The tall angel came back into my line of sight, holding out a pristine apron to me. “This is for you.” he stated calmly. Knowing what wearing that apron meant I would have to do, I shook my head quickly and felt tears rising in my eyes. “No..please..” I choked out uselessly. He shoved the apron into my arms and put on one of his own. It was significantly dirtier than mine, bits of viscera clinging to it. “Come on, we can’t dilly dally. We’re on a very tight schedule.”
‘A tight schedule?’ I wanted to ask. Before I could voice my question, the doors on the opposite end of the room fell open. Everything went silent and still as a hunched figure shuffled into the room with the aid of a cane. He was an old man with wrinkles riddling his face like countless rivers. The only sign of hair on his body was a long, graying beard that nearly dragged on the floor. Dark crimson stained it, complimenting his bloodshot eyes that slowly moved around the room. Although I was far away from him, I could smell the pungent stench of decay emanating directly from him.
His eyes finally met mine, causing me to freeze. I felt trapped by those all-knowing eyes of him which seemed to pierce my very soul. They were entrancing, in a sense, and I found myself unable to look or move away as he started hobbling over to me. “Jason..” he rasped in a voice that sounded as if it hadn’t been used in decades. I nodded, that being the only thing I was physically capable of doing. “Welcome.” He flashed me a smile, revealing his rows of yellowing crooked teeth. Quite a few of them were missing. From this close proximity, I could clearly tell his breath was positively rancid. A terrifying thought shot through my mind. Was he..?
“Yes. I am God.” he stated plainly, answering the question that had been running through my mind. “And this, as you have probably learned, is heaven.” He laughed as he gestured to the macabre display around him. It sounded more like a wheeze than an actual sound of amusement. “You’re surprised, are you not?” I nodded once more. He waved his gnarled hand nonchalantly as if dismissing my confusion. “Most are. Which is why I shall explain.”
He looked away from me and started pacing back and forth. As soon as his eyes left mine, I felt as if an enormous burden had been lifted from my shoulders. “Tell me, Jason, why do you think I created humans?” Speech had returned to me, and so I put it to use. “I’m not sure.” I answered lamely, feeling relieved to just hear the sound of my own voice. My mind raced to remember what little I had been taught in Sunday school, but only fragments came back. “Uh..Adam and Eve, right? You wanted them to..tend to the garden or something?” He chuckled once more, albeit darkly. “Not quite, not quite. That’s human’s interpretations of it. Think larger, Jason. Think beyond what you have been fed.” I struggled to understand what he was getting at, but found that I was unable to do what he requested. “I can’t.” I replied simply, my voice strained.
“Of course you can’t.” he replied almost immediately. “Your minds have been engineered to work a certain way and you can’t change that by sheer willpower.” He sighed, not in a particularly sad way. “This may help. Why do you raise pigs?” I was a bit taken back by this and furrowed my brow. “To eat?” He smiled and nodded at the ground. “Yes, exactly. You raise them only to slaughter them in the end. Although you may give them pet names and grow attached, the end result is always the same.” My blood ran cold as I slowly started to piece it all together. His analogy could only lead to one chilling explanation that I didn’t want to acknowledge. Yet, it was so plausible that it was impossible to ignore. The bodies, the slaughterhouse, the overall atmosphere of the damn place.
“We’re…pigs.” I choked out. “Yes, precisely.” came his reply. Although my eyes were dry, I couldn’t help but feel a sob rise in my throat. “Why?” I asked. “Why would you do this us? People love you! People dedicate their entire lives to you! Wars have been fought in your name! How could you just..how could just betray us like this?!” He raised a steel gray eyebrow at me. “Betrayal? Is that how you view it?” he asked. I didn’t respond. “I created you. I gave you everything that you possibly ever needed. Is it so wrong to want something in return?” I weakly raised my head to look at him, still pacing, only now somewhat angrily. “I thought..you loved us..” I said quietly, my voice barely a whisper.
He turned his head to look at me and gave me an almost patronizing smile. “Oh no. I don’t love humanity nor do I loathe you. You see, at the end of the day, you are nothing more than mere livestock.” With that statement he picked up a spare saw off of a nearby table and shoved it into my shaking hands. “Now, work.” He turned on his heel and started lumbering towards the exit. Halfway through, he paused and turned back to look at me. “And do me a favor, and do smile.” I gulped and opened my mouth to protest, but found that I had no free will of my own anymore. Blinking tears from my eyes, I forced a smile onto my face, and set to work along with the other angels.