Rasda Kepi looked up at the towers of Limbo City. Generally, he was here only for a few minutes with the mourners before returning to Earth. Everyone else had gone and he was still here. His main thought was whether anything had happened to his body like those two other angels. All he could do was wait until the next batch of deceased arrived and get something done or at least tell him what had happened in the clinic. He doubted if he’s had a heart attack or died.
Even so, there was time to explore. Outside of Harry Shea, there was little record of any sensitive or angel doing that. They were drawn back to Earth far too soon. Harry had reported that he had tried to get to the city boundary but the metropolis went on forever. Instead, Kepi looked up at the buildings themselves. There were no doorways and certainly no way to climb up to the windows, assuming they were windows. The shape of them were just like recesses. Whatever created the light here, it certainly was no sun, although it did just leave them with the right amount of shade. It was a way station for the dead to wait briefly before they went…god knows where. It could just be a perceived illusion. That alone brought enough questions from the various religious clergies. No one had any answers as to whether there was a deity or not. In earlier times, it was thought earlier generations of angels contributed to the myth of what they were doing today. Many priests were examining their own books on the subject now. None had wanted to see Limbo City for itself in the seven years they had been operating. It was almost as though they didn’t want to be challenged over their faiths. It was lucky for them that none of the sensitives hadn’t been attacked as perverting their religions. Then again, the people who wanted to see their nearest and dearest off far out-numbered most religions. No one had thrown rocks at the angels yet.
Trying to draw a map of Limbo City was difficult. One plaza looked pretty much like any other. Some physicists had speculated that this single place served all sentient species but no one had seen any alien life here.
Kepi involuntarily shivered, The nearest thing to someone walking over his grave which was silly. If he was dead, he was already in the right place. It was more akin to being watched. As a sensitive, people would be flitting in and out all the time…except no one had. What was it? No one had died in however long he’d been here. An eternal city was just that. Just because they arrived at one plaza, didn’t mean it was the same plaza each time.
There was that feeling again. Someone else was here.
The angels hadn’t been stupid. They had looked at various religions for clues to earlier generations as well, if only to find out why there are been no sensitives for so many centuries. About the only one that had no belief in angels was the Buddhists but they believed in reincarnation and Limbo City offered no solution to that. No one knew where the dead went.
With nothing else to do, Kepi followed his nose and walked in the direction he felt whatever was watching him. At least it wasn’t some almighty being. Was he chasing shadows? Could he be chasing himself? Was Limbo City some sort of möbius strip? That would explain why Harry never found an end to the city.
Looking up into the sky, what was there to see? No one could explain where the light came from. There was never any night equivalent here no matter the time of day on terra firma. Then again, there was never any need for sleep neither. No desire to eat or defecate neither come to that. Never a need to fear in Limbo City. Then why hadn’t he gone home yet?
Why had the city had towers in the first place? It’s hardly a city anyone was going to live or stay in? Why not just a set of clouds with a few ladders to polish stars like that ‘Carousel’ film? Yet everyone who came here, from sensitives to mourners always reported the same thing so, if it was an illusion, it was a consistent one.
Kepi touched the nearest tower.
That felt solid enough. Not brick or whatever his hands were telling him. Just a feeling of being solid.
The biggest debate was no sound. One faction had always insisted that as an out-of-body experience, sound couldn’t possibly exist. We don’t have conventional ears in this form. Touching his ears, Kepi was well aware they were there, just not functioning. Except it should be impossible to touch anything as well.
‘It’s about time you started thinking about there being no sound.’
Turning, a dark-haired woman stood facing him. No angelic robes. Just normal clothes. Looking solid.
‘There’s always sound here. We…I didn’t want to startle you. No choir of angels but the chatter…the partying…would disturb the bereaved you people bring up here. They might think we’re having too good a time and want to join us.’
‘Are we wrong to bring them here?’
‘Out of the millions who die, a few waving goodbye is very tiny. It doesn’t bother us.’
‘Are you from up there?’ Kepi pointed to the sky.
‘A higher angel you mean?’ the woman shook her head. ‘No, I died. Not all of us move on. Not when we die ahead of time. That would be a lot of noise you would hear if I raised the volume any more. Some of them love to party. A lot of us just chat. It passes the time while we wait. Others are waiting for a chance to pop back to Earth for a visit. Something to do than just party. When you die, you deserve to move on, not just wait here.’
‘But wouldn’t you be ghosts?’
‘Some of us have the choice to come back. We just need a conduit.’
‘Then ghost stories are true?’
‘Some of them. They just can’t get back. Few of us want to try that route. Not much we can do back there other than make a bit of noise. Few can hear let alone see us. It’s hard enough to make some noise to show we’re there.’
‘Can those we bring up here see you? We could even deliver messages. A reverse of what we normally do.’
‘That’s sweet but I need to deliver a message world-wide. Nearest and dearest would think we are watching them from up here but we can’t. Not all of you sensitives can do this which is why we waited to get you alone.’
‘I can’t be the only one?’
‘No. But I need someone to transport me so I can relay my message.’
‘What kind of message?’
‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Er…Sorry, I can’t remember everyone. A lot of people die.’
‘I wasn’t one of the special jobs. That’s your people by the way. We call them specials. My appearance here was sudden. With several others.’
‘A natural disaster?’
‘A criminal act? A shooting?’
‘It was quick. I ended up here. We all ended up here. Far too early.’
‘It’s a personal one but for everyone at once. I presume you can get media coverage?’
‘Not personally but someone back at the Guild will know how.’
Kepi paused to think. The girl was not giving him many answers. To volunteer.
‘Do I get things organised and come back?’
‘No. I can come with you now. Just an extra passenger in your brain. I can pop out for a time then when I jump back in again, we come back immediately and I jump out again.’
‘Will people be able to see you?’
‘Yes. Of course. You angels are the conduits. Doesn’t work with normal people. They should be able to hear me now I have the sound up.’
‘How do I get back to Earth?’
‘When we touch.’
The camera was quickly set and placed on network, much to the surprise of the Guild. Considering how everything was done on trust with the angels, this was regarded as instantly newsworthy as soon as it was mentioned that one of the departed had come back.
When the red light on the camera flashed, the woman stepped out of Kepi, who moved away from the podium.
‘Hello, world. This is as new to me as it is to most of you. I used to be physical but now what you see is something like a ghost or spirit. Some of us are stuck in Limbo City for a time. None of us know what to call ourselves. We just lost our physical bodies but we seem to be still alive in some way or other.
‘Yes, there is more than me. If we die before our appointed time, we don’t go beyond the Limbo City limits. We’ve been staying out of the way of your angel sensitives until now. My friends say we’re not there for a chat. ’
She paused to look around. The immediate people recording were just watching transfixed. They all wanted to hear what she said. Even so, she needed more than them gawping. With a flourish, she waved her arm through a wall.
‘See. Not physical.’ Looking down, she rose into the air and twirled around. ‘I’m only appearing to stand on the ground.’
She settled back near the ground and wriggled her toes.
‘My time here is limited, so please forgive me if I go onto my message.
‘If I look familiar to any of you, then it’s on account of my being a bomb victim last year. Me and twenty others. It wasn’t nice. It took a while to wake up in Limbo City as you call it and join the others who died…prematurely.
‘We see other people passing through. Some with the angels and families watching. Something that will be denied us. It wasn’t our time to die. Destiny or whatever it is hadn’t called us yet.
For the bombers, there are no trace. They died at the right time We want to pass that message back. They aren’t in a seventh heaven. No heaven. No twenty virgins to see to their every need. They weren’t even seen passing to wherever the other people go. We know. We watch and wait for our own time.
‘If you are that type of person, do not believe what you are told. There is no heaven for you. If there is a hell, Hades or underworld, you are likely to be there forever. It makes the bomb-blast nothing in comparison. It’s the only thing we get comfort from. At least we will move on…eventually.’
She paused and waited again. Looking down, she saw her arms wavering…shimmering.
‘My time here is limited. Please remember my message. Live long lives. Don’t push the decision. You should only go at your right time.
‘Sorry. My time is up.’
She stepped out of camera and walked into the waiting Rasda Kepi. At a touch, they were no longer in the studio but back in Limbo City.
‘Do you think the message will be understood?’
She shook her head. ‘Who knows? It might save some lives. It might not. We thought we ought to at least try. The future of any of us can be changed by someone else’s decision. It’s when we are allowed to move on that isn’t.’
‘Is it true? I mean, about the bombers?’
Again, she shrugged. ‘Well, they aren’t here and they didn’t go up there.’
‘Maybe there is a Hell after all?’
‘It’s a long way down.’
‘Can you do me a favour?’
‘If I can.’
‘Leave the volume up. It’s better than using sign language.’
‘I’ll have to talk to the others. Maybe leave it up a little so you can talk. Thank you, Rasda.’
‘What do you do now?’
‘I’m going on. A year after the bomb-blast, I was supposed to die of a brain aneurism. I felt myself being called on Earth. The others will be here much longer. Thank you again.’
When she vanished, Kepi found himself back on Earth, dusting himself off as he got off the floor. The other people in the small studio surrounded him.
‘You were only gone a second.’
‘So there is a life after death?’
‘Is there a God?’
‘Is there a Devil?’
Kepi put up his hands and waited for them to quieten down and looked up. The camera was still on him. ‘To all those questions, I have no idea. All we sensitives do is act as conveyors of passengers…the recently dead to the first waystation as far as we know to wherever they go next. They’ve been waiting a long time for someone who could bring one of their own back to Earth for a little time. I don’t think even they know any more than we do.’
He looked around. They were still recording. The red light was still flashing on the camera.
‘I have no idea how many other…dead…people are in Limbo City nor did I see anyone else. All I know was I was she asked to come back to Earth for her message. She is also no longer there. It seems her own time was up before moving on. Please consider her words wisely. The longer you live, the easier it is to move on.’
© GF Willmetts 2017
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