It seemed a meaningless way to die. Jasmine Carter was no longer connected to the body in the master bedroom of the Carter home at 713 62nd Street. She wasn’t the first Carter to die in this room, but she would be the last. Jasmine marveled at the combusting fire riding the cherubim to greet her. They took her to a heavenly theatre where her now translucent body floated above the audience. Suddenly, a light shined from behind her and her body was used as a projector for the film titled, “Jasmine Carter, From Beginning to End.”
The angels sung as the same chariot on fire that arrived for her in death raced across the screen and into the master bedroom there on 62nd Street. The woman in the bed was still, but alive. She rolled over with a groan, her hand resting on her soft belly, and the fire breathed over her womb. Jasmine remembered her mother and cheering roared from the audience.
Suddenly, a man’s hand crashed atop the woman’s.
Instantly, the hand disappeared and the woman turned back on her side. The chariot of fire remained. The fire inhaled by opening a gap of golden light into the cloak of fire riding the sons of god - causing the woman to gasp as she rolled over, her hand slapping onto her hard stomach. Jasmine died.
Next, the man’s hand raced across the screen, knocking a young girl’s head from view. The girl’s head bobbled back and her hand covered a bloodied ear. She stood still, obediently dropping her hand for the next blow.
The crowd cheered.
“Be still,” the Light behind her spoke.
A thirties-something Jasmine sat on the side of the bed in the master bedroom, holding the man’s strong hand in hers. She raised his hand and bowed her head, pouring tears. The veins in the man’s arm pulsed, his grip tightened, and Jasmine pressed on in her prayer. A sweet aroma filled the theatre and the crowd swooned. The man’s grip loosened, and Jasmine let go. His hand limped atop the covering of his beer belly. Jasmine cursed the heavens.
The crowd celebrated, chanting, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” to which Jasmine replied, “Holy?” and then the voice spoke, “Be still.”
A teenage Jasmine approached the master’s bed as he slept. His drunken snoring blared through the room. Jasmine raised the knife above her head. The man’s hand was still. Jasmine, shaking, dropped the knife to her side and raced from the room.
“Hallelujah!” praised the crowd.
A smiling Jasmine was then shown in thirty consecutive shots; each time with a different man’s arms around her. Thirty slides followed with Jasmine raising a knife over each as they slept. Thirty more slides followed with her holding the knife at her side.
“Praise His name!” they chanted.
“I deserve that knife,” Jasmine proclaimed.
“Be still,” the Light answered.
The teenage Jasmine sat at the dinner table with dried blood on her ear. Her mother’s face showed despair. Her father’s arm rested on the table.
“Momma, do you believe in God?” Jasmine asked.
Her mother didn’t even look at her.
“God don’t exist!” the man’s voice announced.
“Well,” said Jasmine, mustering all her strength into her throat through a gulp, “I’m gonna believe in Him.”
“Stupid kid. See what a stupid kid you’re raising?” the man said as he left the table with his plate.
Jasmine’s mom finally made eye contact with her daughter. She smiled the smallest grin and a light flickered from within her. Jasmine couldn’t resist beaming with joy. A plate flew across the table, crashing into the wall. The man’s arms reached around Mrs. Carter, grabbed the knife from the table, and held it to her neck. “Don’t you go believing in some stupid God, too! Got it?”
He placed the knife onto the table and spun it on its side toward Jasmine as he walked away repeating, “Stupid kid.”
The very knife Jasmine would hold over him that night came to a rest in front of her.
The screen faded to black and the crowd spoke, “The End! It all happens before rebirth! The End! Praise His Name. Hallelujah! Holy! Holy! Holy!”
Jasmine’s translucent body took on her teenage flesh and the light previously shining only behind and through her filled the room. She fell from mid-air into the arms of the audience. They caught her and passed her around in their raised arms as they worshipped in dance and song.
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