‘Afflicted Bliss’ by Emma Baylis
Light bounced off the walls and made glittering rainbows on the shiny wooden floor. It looked enchanting but Hannah didn’t notice it lying on her rug staring at the blank ceiling.
Deep in thought, she pulled bits of wool out of the rug and flicked them away, watching each one float swiftly to the floor.
She tried to picture his face; she tried to bring back the memories of that eventful experience that had changed her life forever. She couldn’t. All she could think about was the place she very nearly ended up in; the gut-wrenching screams escaping from a big black hole that still lingered in her dreams at night. But she still had hope. Hope that she could tell people about her saviour, the hope that she could change peoples’ destinies…
Dear Diary, I’m Hannah and I’m no ordinary person anymore. No really, I’m not.
Usually I’d be able to spill out all of my feelings into this dumb diary, but the thing is; I can’t.
It’s difficult to explain, and I know you’re just a stupid notebook but it’s hard to put this down in words. Such an amazing, yet terrifying thing has happened to me.
Well, here goes and please don’t thing im a psycho or something…
OK well it was a normal day at school right? I was walking to my next lesson when I saw a load of people surrounding this guy who was stood on a chair saying something but I couldn’t quite hear him.
I edged closer so I could see his face and hear what he was saying. I recognised him as a sixth former…Theo I think his name was. He was saying this:
“ You have to listen to me before it’s too late. We’re all gonna die right? You know that, but what you don’t know is what happens AFTER you die. Most of you think that there’s nothing after death. Nothing. Blankness. But you’re wrong. There’s something amazing and remarkable that’s waiting for you just after you take your last breath on this earth.”
I didn’t know him that well, but I knew that he was a Christian. I now thought he was completely crazy but I still wanted listen to him for a minute or two. Most people had got fed up of this God malarkey and had moved on to their next lesson, but I stayed on. I wanted to hear what he had to say. Couldn’t hurt could it?
He looked at me, and the last remaining people and said “ Please. Just listen to me. If you don’t listen to me it will be to late and you won’t have eternal life in Heaven.”
He was desperate I could tell. But I didn’t have time to listen to this, I wasn’t really bothered. I didn’t believe in this crap and I didn’t want to. My life was fine as it was. As I turned to walk away he handed me a book. I looked down to read the front cover: ‘Youth Bible: New Testament’. Great. “Thanks” I said, obviously not meaning it. He smiled at me feebly, picked up his bag and slowly walked off, his feet dragging across the floor.
I passed a bin on the way to English and I chucked the Bible into it. It hit the bottom with a loud CLANG! Worthless. Gone. How I wish I had read it now.
The bell rang for the end of school. I met Frankie at the school gates as usual and we waited for Matt so we could walk home together. We were walking along the main road, when it started to rain. And I mean full on rain! We were soaked in a matter of minutes and as we ran for shelter, a clap of thunder filled the heavens.
A flash of lightning pierced the sky as we ran towards the huge trees for shelter. Bad idea in a thunderstorm.
We stood under a massive oak tree shivering for a good five minutes, trying to dodge the occasional drip that fell from the branches above us. Suddenly, a deafening crack of thunder filled the air followed by a flash of lightening. The storm was right above us and we were stood under a load of trees. Perfect! I heard another crack, but this time it wasn’t thunder. It was the tree. I screamed as I tried to move out of the way. Too late. Blackness.
I woke up to a brightly lit room in what seemed like seconds later. It was painted white and the brightness sent a shock through my skin.
I sat up, feeling a sense of strange calmness lingering in the air. I was relieved that I was alive. Or was I?
A door across the room creaked open, and a guy dressed in white floated in. He looked at me, and then brought out a clipboard.
“You must be Hannah” he said, his voice was calm and reassured me that I was OK and would be home soon. For some strange reason, it felt like I knew him already.
“Are you a doctor? What happened? Are Frankie and Matt all right? Where are mum and dad?” I wanted to know so much, I was so confused.
“You’re dead Hannah” he replied, as if it was perfectly normal.
“Yeeeah…that’s why I feel perfectly fine and there’s nothing at all wrong with me. Quit joking around, I’m 16 not 3, can I go home now?”
“That’s not possible Hannah. He’s waiting for you.”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
I was annoyed that he wouldn’t give me a straight answer.
“Right, if I’m dead, then who are you? My guardian angel or something?” I joked.
“Exactly” he said, grinning as my jaw dropped to the floor. “Follow me”
Confused, I slowly walked after him. We approached the door that he came through before. He opened it, and I followed after him. I looked around me and realised that we were in a corridor. When I looked either side of me, all I could see was an endless line of doors. This was weird! We were facing yet another door, the same as the last one.
“Right this is your door I think” the angel said, fumbling with a load of keys.
“Where does it lead to?” I asked
“Your destiny” he replied, as he turned the key in the lock and swung the door open.
A blast of noise hit me like a slap in the face. As I stepped through the door, I was greeted by the sound of cheering and shouting and I realised that I was in a sort of Olympic stadium. But this was different. Thousands of people lined the stadium, and in the middle of it all I could just make out a man sat on a throne. Seven men in white, just like my angel, surrounded him. As my angel led me closer, I tried to steal a glance at the man in the middle of all this madness. He was dressed in white robes and was sat on a gleaming white throne. A large book was in front of him…all those R.E lessons suddenly came flooding back to me. I knew where I was. I knew who He was, why I was here; everything. It suddenly hit me that I was here to be judged by a God I never knew and an over-powering feeling of guilt, regret and sadness enveloped me. Why hadn’t I listened to Theo? Why hadn’t I believed? Now my fate was hell. An eternity in a place that was so awful, I couldn’t imagine the horrors that it held. I was petrified. What was my fate?
The angel looked at me, took my hand in an almost protective way and as if he could read my mind, he said to me
“ I know where you’re going. I have been watching you all your life, God chooses angels to guard and protect all his children on earth, and I was chosen to protect you. I’m your guardian angel Hannah. I know you never believed in Him, and He does too. I don’t know what Jesus will say to you, but I’m sorry that you never knew Him.” And with that, he left me. I knew I had to face Jesus some time, so I stepped to the back of the never-ending line of people who were also waiting to be judged.
After what seemed like centuries later, I reached the front of the line. I had seen hundreds of people taken to the right hand side of Jesus. To heaven. There faces were consumed by happiness, and the look of love upon Jesus’ face as angels led them off made me think “Maybe he’ll let me off this time, maybe I’ll go to heaven instead.” But then I saw the others being dragged off to the left hand side, to hell. And the look on Jesus’ face was different, it looked hollow and empty and I instantly knew how much He loved everyone and how much this was hurting Him.
The angel next to him took a loudspeaker and said: “Hannah Sarah Davies” My name boomed out across the wide sea of people, and an eerie silence wavered over the stadium as I took one step towards Jesus. Towards my fate
As I stood looking up at His face, I felt so unbelievably helpless. I knew there was nothing I could do to change His mind. He was looking down at a book that rested on His lap, and He glanced down at me when I knelt down before Him. I couldn’t read the expression on His face. It was a mixture of love and disappointment and I knew that He had loved me all my life. I felt so angry with myself. I waited with baited breath for Him to speak.
“Hannah, I know you never loved me as I have loved you. You never knew me; you never even wanted to know me. But I love you so much, unconditionally.”
“I’m sorry” I muttered. Here I was in front of my Saviour, my Lord, who has loved me since the day I was born and all I can say is “im sorry”?
“I am going to give you your life back. You will go back to your family and your friends and you are going to get another chance to live for your Father and to know me. It isn’t your time to be judged yet.”
I couldn’t believe it. I was speechless, I wanted to jump up and down and shout for joy but my legs were glued to the floor.
“Thank you so much, I won’t let you down Jesus, I’m going to tell everyone about you and how much you love them” I managed to blurt out and at that moment I felt so uplifted, so incredibly renewed and different. I wanted to shout out the news to the entire world, and there was nothing stopping me!
I felt a strong hand grip my shoulder and I turned round to see my angel smiling down at me.
“Come on” he said, and snapped his fingers.
A giant gold lift appeared in front of us. Its gigantic doors flung open and as we walked in they shut immediately behind us.
I felt my stomach flip as we hurtled at a terrific speed in what seemed like every direction possible. After a couple of minutes, we shuddered to a halt. The surreal reality of this whole experience had already hit me a while ago, but I was still really shaken up.
“Come on then, don’t you wanna see everyone again?” my angel said.
The doors flew open, and there, right in front of me, was a gaping black hole staring at me. Suddenly, a blast of sound rang out. Screaming that cut straight through me. Painful cries rang from the deep hole. Sounds of eternal death.
The doors shut with a loud BANG after a few seconds. The angel was backed up against the wall, his eyes wide in horror. We both looked at each other in shock as we came to terms with what we just encountered.
“I am so sorry” he said. “That shouldn’t have happened. I guess we went too far. I can never control this lift, I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t have seen that.”
“Good thing I was so lucky then. I could have ended up there.” I replied, still shaking. I couldn’t block those terrifying sounds out of my head.
He pressed another button and the lift started moving again. As the lift shuddered to a halt again, we both smiled at each other awkwardly.
“OK, lets hope this is the right stop this time!” he said. “It’s time for you to go now. Just walk into the light and you’ll be back.”
I stepped towards the doors, still unsure if I wanted to. I remembered I needed to the angel a question:
“I never did catch your name” my voice was still shaking slightly.
“You’ll find out next time, hopefully that won’t be for a while!” he replied, winking at me.
The doors opened and a light as bright as the sun filled the lift. I walked forwards, not even looking back over my shoulder.
Hannah was out of hospital the next day. Her and Theo met as soon as she got back to school. They are now a couple and are thinking of moving in together. Hannah has been attending church with Theo regularly, and sometimes, when she’s asleep, she can sense someone watching her. An angel perhaps… THE END
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