Lady Katrina opened her eyes.
‘Good Heavens! I have never seen a hospital ward as splendid as this!’
Magnificently sculptured pillars and walls surrounded her, made of translucent marble.
‘Actually, “Good Heavens” is closer to the truth than “Hospital Ward”, Katrina.’
Startled, Katrina turned toward the voice. The speaker was a large and beautiful person whose clothing shone a dazzling white.
Memories flooded back to Katrina’s mind. The horrible pain in her chest as she walked up the stairs. Her collapse. Her desperate heartfelt cry. Darkness consuming her, dragging her downward. Then a great voice dispelling the darkness.
Now she knew where she was -- and it wasn’t in hospital.
‘Oh my G…..!’ She stopped herself just in time.
‘You’ve come home!’ said the angel reassuringly. ‘In fact, you’re in the King’s palace! You are about to come before His presence. I’m here to prepare you for the event. You could say that I am your wardrobe manager.’
This, at least, was familiar territory to Katrina. She had appeared before royalty many times. Refreshed, she leapt to her feet, feeling none of the aches or weariness that had dogged her for months.
Then she noticed the long, drab white gown that covered her from her neck to her toes.
‘WONDERFUL, darling! Clothes have been my obsession – my life! But do, DO take this ugly thing away! Even a hospital nightgown looks better than this, this sack! Let me see my wardrobe, if you please. I hope it’s worthy of my figure, for I have been dieting HORRIBLY for months. So, let me see. I shall need….’
‘Sorry, Katrina. Protocol works very differently here. You shall be assigned your raiment according to your status.’
‘Marvelous! As duchess of the realm? Oh, but I left my tiara back home … on earth, that is.’
‘None of that counts here, I’m afraid.’
‘Oh dear! And makeup?’
In answer, the angel indicated a charmingly ornate mirror on the wall nearby.
Staring at her image, Katrina could see that all the wrinkles and blemishes she had struggled with for years had gone. She gasped. She looked her stunning twenty year-old self again.
She had no time to indulge in vanity, however.
A trumpet sounded. A procession of cheering crowds passed outside her door.
Looking out onto the golden streets, she saw crowds of gorgeously dressed saints and shining white angels. They were waving and bowing before a glorious and exquisitely-dressed knight (or maybe a nobleman?) passing on a glowing white horse.
‘Hail, Saint Harold!’ they cried. ‘Warrior and martyr! Greatly honoured by the King!’
He was dressed far more tastefully and magnificently than any male model she had ever seen on earth. But there was nothing pretentious or arrogant about him at all. He waved genially as he passed.
It appeared that he was made for his glorious apparel. Handsome beyond words, yet somehow he looked familiar.
‘Who IS he?’
‘Look in the Mirror of Truth and it will show you.’
The angel waved her hand over the mirror, and the image of the room and Katrina’s face faded. It was replaced by an ugly and toothless face of a middle-aged man, sitting outside the rear door of Katrina’s fashion studio. His clothes were indescribably filthy.
The face grinned.
‘Gawd bless ‘ee, Lady Kat! Oi’m prayin’ for ‘ee!’
Katrina recoiled with revulsion.
‘Eeuw! It’s dirty Harry! How many times I’ve had him removed, but he kept returning! Surely it can’t be him!’
‘He was once a homeless drunk.’ explained the angel. ‘He was gloriously saved and became a street evangelist to his former fellow-drunks and drug-addicts. He became a mighty prayer-warrior, too. He was so effective, in fact, the drug cartels killed him. His prayers helped you more than you know. Outside you see his real self.’
‘But… what about me? I’ve tried to be good! I’ve given generously! Attended church regularly! Doesn’t that count?’
In answer, the mirror showed her as a wrinkled and calculating old woman, dressed in Harry’s filthy rags. Katrina screamed.
‘No Katrina.’ the angel said. ‘The mirror shows you your heart – your real self. It was your final prayer that brought you here. You cried out for God’s mercy, and He heard you.’
Looking in the mirror again, Katrina saw her younger self, now dressed in a plain but shining white robe.
She sighed with relief. She bowed her head.
How could she have been so blind all these years?
‘Now you are ready to go to the King.’
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