He considered himself immortal. He’d had plenty of broken bones and visits to the emergency room in his 33 years as a stuntman. In each of the three near-death experiences, he was drawn to a light but it always dimmed before he reached it. And then he woke to excruciating pain.
This was different. He found himself weightless. No sound, no sights, just white. Best of all, no pain. An unseen force slowly propelled him forward and after a time he came upon a huge golden gate.
A kind voice whispered in his head, “Enter ye who are pure of heart.”
Pure of heart? Him? Michael laughed out loud, the sound startling him in the serene atmosphere.
The gate swung open. “So this is Heaven?” he said, looking around.
The voice answered, “It is what you deserve.”
“I’m not so sure I deserve Heaven, with all respects. I never did anything special with my life.”
A wisp of white smoke formed into the shape of a little child. She ran around his legs, her laughter tinkling like glass windchimes in the wind. “Remember me, mister? You took me for a ride in your race car.”
Michael looked closer at her. “Weren’t you in a wheelchair?”
“Yes, but now I can run!” she shouted as she sprinted into thin air.
A touch on his shoulder made him turn to see a young man in a baseball uniform.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’ve met.”
“But I know you. Your blood donation gave me five more years with my family.”
An ethereal figure floated towards him. She had hair like spun gold and huge iridescent wings softly fluttering on her back.
His jaw dropped open. “I certainly would remember you! My God, you’re beautiful!”
“I am you, Michael. I am the reflection of the joy that you brought to so many others. I am the children that enjoyed your stunts, the strangers that you held doors for, the neighbor whose lawn you mowed, and the many donations of your time and money. The world is a better place for your small acts of kindness and your reward is Heaven. We have been waiting for you.”
He turned towards her gesture and saw a crowd approaching. At first it was just a dozen or so people, but as he looked it grew to hundreds and then thousands. He saw his grandparents, a cousin who had succumbed to cancer, his favorite high school teacher, fellow stuntmen and women who died tragically in accidents, and so many that he didn’t recognize but all who seemed to know him.
He was surrounded with light and love and more elation than he had ever felt in his life.
And then it was gone. Michael felt a jolt of electricity pulse through his body and opened his eyes to a woman with blonde hair bending over him.
“There you are,” she smiled. “It’s not your time yet. You have more living to do.”
Written for To Live & Write in Alameda’s October Flash Fiction Challenge #8, “The Approaching Crowd.” We had three days to write a 500 word short story and share with our group.
If you have a writer’s soul and live in Alameda, please join our group! No experience necessary … members range from those who dream of writing the Great American Novel to published authors. No dues, many free daily/weekly meet-ups, reasonably priced workshops and focus groups and retreats, and tons of encouragement and support.
Here’s the link: To Live and Write in Alameda.