Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: NEIGHBOR (06/01/17)
TITLE: what Are You Doing Here?
By Art Westefeld
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In fact, she expected a rather exclusive neighborhood of her fellow saints. She felt it was her due for holding tight to Christian morals for all those years and trying to get other people to follow her lead.
So it came as a shock when the neighborhood hussy she knew and despised for years appeared next door. “Ashley, what are you doing here? I was lead to understand Heaven only let in Christians, the kind who didn’t lead lives full of sin, as I know you did.”
Ashley Jones, just deceased woman who had died in her thirties, looked across the neat little patch of clouds that separated her home from Grace Detwiller’s and asked askance, “Just what makes you think I had a `life full of sin?` Was it my job working at the tavern?”
Grace wanted answers from Ashley, and wasn’t planning to hold back on the woman whom she had reported to the local law for fornication, a clear violation of city laws dating back to the town’s founding in the 1700’s. “Welllll, what about those men you regularly lived with, you hussy? I want an answer.”
“Good grief, old lady, I just passed on because some junky burglar thought it would be better to kill me than leave a witness. Also, Peter let me in, so don’t you think you should take up your issues with him?”
Mrs. Detwiller stood, arms akimbo, and glared at the new neighbor who had, oddly, gotten a larger mansion than she had. She had been a church going woman for over 65 years, and felt she deserved a larger house than some liquor selling whore. “I’m waiting for answers young lady.”
The cause of Ashley’s death was tragic, true, but Grace still wanted to know how a sinner like her had been allowed into Heaven, instead of being sent to where Satan and his demons waited for their judgement from the LORD.
Ashley sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Are you asking about my two brothers and cousin who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives?” she asked in a tone that was bordering on annoyance. “It's called Christian charity to help those in need. Heard of it?”
Grace couldn’t accept that this little girl was lecturing her on Christianity. She and her husband had practically supported the missions budget of their small church.
At that instant the angel Peter had assigned to show her to her home floated into the middle of their discussion and asked, all innocence, “Is there a problem, ladies? The Holy Spirit is grieved that people in Heaven are quarreling.”
Ashley looked at the angel and said, resignedly, “I don’t have an issue. I think Mrs. Detwiller has one with me being here.”
The angel floated towards Grace and asked, “Is she right?”
Grace looked sharply at the angel and asked in an affronted tone of voice, “Isn’t Heaven supposed to be for Christians?”
The celestial messenger smiled. This was an easy one compared to dealing with those hard to convince women who wondered who was going to roll the stone away years ago, mortal time.
“Yes,” he responded calmly to the new resident’s tone of voice, “But Ashley accepted Christ as her Savior when she was a child. That’s all that is needed to enter Heaven, as you know. Are you aware the man at the end of this street was one of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus? He accepted as he was dying, and here he is.”
Grace was scandalized, a thief ‘living’ near her, an upright woman of God. It made no sense!
“Are you saying that a sinful woman like Miss Wilder can be in Heaven with the thief who was killed with my Lord?”
The angel wagged a finger at her. "Now, now, Grace, no need to be possessive. He’s Lord of all.”
As the angel was speaking with Grace, Ashley went into her mansion and returned with a large basket of fruit, which she gave to Grace. “No hard feelings?”
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