After fifteen hard pushes straight into the eyeball of the ghoul, Juliet was covered in blood, breathing heavily, and past the point of retching.
“Now what, goddammit?!” Juliet turned on the older lady who had watched dispassionately as Juliet’s pencil gouged the eyeball and some of the brain of the ghoul.
The ghoul was quiet and slumped over.
“Now, you get answers, Juliet. Before your next target.” The older woman said, moving closer to Juliet.
“Tell me, then. What….what is this…place?” Juliet waved her bloody hand that still held the broken bloody number two yellow pencil.
“It is not a test. It is revenge for you; punishment for those you appear to kill.”
“What do you mean, pretend to kill?” Juliet’s brow tightened.
“My dear you lived a hard life. You suffered, was abused, and had more than your share of violence. As a result and before any rewards are given to you, you get a chance to get revenge.”
“Wait. So…wait. Are you saying I am in heaven then?” Juliet asked, bypassing other important points the older woman made.
“No, child. This isn’t heaven. Look around. Does this look like heaven to you?”
Juliet stood still.
“No, of course not. But you did say I am getting a reward so…is heaven my reward then?” Juliet asked earnestly.
“It is. You will go to heaven. That part is set. But before you go, you get a chance to exact revenge of those who caused you harm while you were alive.”
“That… doesn’t sound very godly.” Juliet said trying to make sense of what the old woman had told her.
“Haaahaaa. That’s what everyone says. It is because all those religions are mixed up and do not understand what we do up here.” The old woman was still laughing as she motioned for Juliet to follow her into another doorway that had opened.
“Come. I will explain more as we walk.”
The old woman placed her arm around Juliet and the women passed through the doorway and began walking down a long, circular tunnel that had a small rectangular opening at the other end.
Judging by the size of the rectangle, Juliet determined they had a long walk ahead and for that she was grateful because her shock at what the old woman said was wearing off and her questions were adding up.
The tunnel was dark but there was enough light emanating from the approaching exit that Juliet could make out some of the features of the older woman’s perfect complexion as they deliberately walked and talked.
The older woman was beautifully aged.
“It just seems crazy. And unlike what I thought – think – heaven is about.”
“You’re not alone, Juliet. Nowadays everyone says something similar. It’s the recent religious teaching that gets it all wrong.”
“I wasn’t very religious so I really don’t know what they are teaching.” Juliet knew very little about any of the major religions.
“Yes, you do.” The old woman answered, seeming to hear Juliet’s thoughts.
“And of course I read your thoughts. How do you think I can do my job without knowing what you think, what you fear, and what kind of revenge you want?”
“Oh. Okay.” Was all Juliet could say.
“You didn’t go to church or synagogue or mosque but you didn’t have to. You – everyone – absorb the teachings of all those religions because of your laws, rules, and social standards. So of course your life was governed by their understanding of religion.
And since they were wrong in their understanding, you were as well.”
“That does make sense, I guess.” Juliet said honestly.
“It’s fairly recent though because a couple thousand years ago most people around the world had a better understanding of the idea of heaven. But ever since then.. it’s wild. Some think there are mansions others say virgins and still others say absurd things like gold roads.” The old woman doubled over laughing.
“So, none of those things are true?” Juliet genuinely asked. She had heard of them all, as the old woman said.
“Well, you can make those things for yourself, I supposed. But trust me, once you get to heaven – the real heaven – the last thing you’ll think about is literally anything having to do with houses, virgins, or gold. Trust me.”
The women continued walking and talking.
“Wow, so heaven is an actual place.” Juliet responded to the old woman telling her exactly where heaven was located, which was both within and outside of the universe.
The old woman went into more detail and Juliet seemed to understand her even though the old woman had used words and concepts Juliet understood but didn’t know how she understood.
“Because once you’ve died and left earth, let’s just say your blinders are taken off and you can understand more of what you call science. So, everything I say will make sense to you,” the old woman said in a manner so matter-of- fact, Juliet could only smile.
They walked on.
“You’ve said a lot and I guess I am understanding better. But one thing I do not understand that I really want to before I go through that door is…why am I doing this…with you?” Juliet had learned and understood so much now and she was grateful to the old woman for guiding her and answering her questions.
Juliet now knew how the universe was created – on a whim and dare. And how large the universe was – over a trillion light years and growing. What was on the other side of black holes – nothing. They were drains to keep the universe correctly proportioned. The multiverse – it didn’t exist. And she finally learned the truth about God(dess).
And that truth actually made her laugh because it made the most sense and Juliet couldn’t imagine how all those religions got the obvious so wrong.
“Thank you for answering all my big and small questions. Every answer seems so obvious that I am ashamed for humans we got it all so wrong.” Juliet said apologetically.
“Let that go. It’s all part of some plan, as the saying goes.” The old woman said in understanding but also dismissively.
“Now, to answer your previous question, this revenge process was decided long before I was created. But it was done because it was decided that humans needed to get revenge before you all pass on to heaven. So, this little process was created and it has worked fine.”
“That was a bit of a circular answer, but okay I suppose. Does everyone get to do this, then? This revenge part” Juliet asked tepidly, feeling the older woman was no longer answering with specifics.
“Everyone. Every dead human wants to get revenge, some more than others. And I am the guide for each one. I follow the same process as I did with you. You get to shop at the horror market and your desire for revenge produces the weapon, scenery, and targets. I just escort you but your subconscious does all the work. It’s better that way. And we know that because our first few billion or so revenge acts were mostly attempts to kill entire kingdoms, or cities, or even entire oceans, so we made it more personable.”
“I didn’t know how much I wanted revenge until I saw that girl – me – on the operating table.”
“Yes, I know.”
“How much more revenge do I get?” Juliet asked as she and the older woman stood at the door opening, having reached the opening.
“It depends on you, really, Juliet. Some humans have just a few, others thousands. There are no restrictions or limits. You can go on forever, I suppose. Though you’ll tire of it. Everyone does eventually.”
“I can just keep going then?”
“And I am not really killing them?”
“No, what you experience and what they experience are different. To them, they are having a nightmare. A particularly vivid nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless. And of course I can do this…forever.” The older woman said, releasing Juliet’s arm.
“I bet you can. And there’s always available weapons, too, right?”
“The horror market never runs out of weapons because as I said, they are generated from your mind.”
Juliet held the pencil in front of her face.
“I hated my English teacher. I’m going to enjoy this one.” Juliet stepped through the doorway into her college English instructor’s classroom just as the professor was berating a college-age Juliet over her usage and defense of the Oxford Comma.
To be continued…
Copyright 2020 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved