Forever 1.9: In the House

            Glen hardly sat before a new angel came to fetch him.  “Come, come,” the angel said and ushered him far enough toward the center of the room where he could see no outside walls at all.  “We have not got a lot of time before my regular case load starts, and I do want to be fair about this.  Have a seat.”

            Glen sat beside the desk as the angel got behind the desk and began to tap on his computer keyboard.  Glen got a word in.

            “I was not aware I was expected here.  How do you know you even have the right person?”

            The angel showed Glen the computer screen.  The picture certainly looked like him.  Then the angel rattled off his name, birthday, social security number, several driver’s license numbers from the several states he had lived in.  He told Glen his mother, father, brother, sister, wife, children, and Glen surrendered.

            “Now, let’s see,” the angel said.  “I see you were quite the artist.  It says here you acted in several films before you were thirty and even wrote a couple.  You were a musician, and wrote some music which sold quite well.  As you got older, you turned to writing books and had several bestsellers among the fifty-seven books you wrote.”

            “Wait,” Glen protested.  “Whose life are you reading.  I didn’t do any of those things.  That is not my life.”

            The angel paused, but only to give Glen a look that said that was not the time to lie.  “Now, let’s see what you did with all that wealth.  I see you kept it all to yourself and hated even to share it with your own family.  It says you abused your parents, wife and children.  Oh, look, you even abused your dog.  This says you were a great atheist who preached hatred and violence, and just before you died, you gave big sums to satanic causes and converted the rest to hundred dollar bills to burn.  You said you would rather burn the money than let anyone benefit from it.  And you died cursing God.  Does that fairly summarize things?”

            “No!”  Glen really protested now.  “None of that is true.  I served in the ministry for years and worked in management for several national retail outlets.  I never had money, struggled near poverty all my life.  I certainly never had money to burn.  But I gave what I had, my whole life really to others and to my family.  It was never about me.”

            “Your record says otherwise.”  The angel was unconvinced.

            “Look, who wrote that drivel because none of it is true.”

            “Your guardian angel.”

            “I haven’t got a guardian angel.”

            “Don’t be absurd.  Everyone is assigned a guardian angel at birth.” 

            “Well, I wasn’t,” Glen said.  “Look, can you trace and see who filed that report.  I tell you none of it is true.

            “I told you who filed it.”

            “You said you wanted to be fair.  Was that just talk?  Do you want to be fair, or are you just going to railroad an innocent man?”

            The angel rolled his eyes, like he had heard that an infinite number of times before, but he agreed and checked, and then paused before he spoke.

            “This is odd.  There are always words that come out of the darkness, but we ignore them because a guardian angel cannot lie.”  The angel began to click furiously.  He spoke haltingly.  “It appears as if this whole report is out of the darkness.  I cannot seem to find your angelic report.  Who is your guardian angel?”

            “I told you.  I haven’t got one, at least not one that I know of.”

            “Don’t be absurd.  Everyone has a guardian angel.  Sometimes the guardians don’t bring their charges all the way here, but that is generally when they are quickly reassigned.  It happens at times, but surely you met yours when you died.  You can’t have died without meeting yours.”

            “And that’s another thing,” Glen sat up straight.  “I’m not dead yet.  At least as far as I know I haven’t died.”

            The angel looked at Glen and appeared almost ready to believe him when something popped up on the screen.  “Aha!  Here we are,” he said.  “But wait, that can’t be right.”

            “What?”  Glen asked.  He could not see the screen, but he saw the angel look from him to the screen and back again several times rapidly before he reached out and pressed a big red button on his desk.  There was a whistle, like an alarm that echoed throughout that whole room.  Most angels were just arriving, but Glen saw them all stop and stand at something like attention.  He saw the angel at his desk also stand and bow his head. 

            There was a brief shimmering in the air beside the desk before the most perfect creature Glen ever saw appeared in a shower of light too bright for the eyes to behold.  The presence of this creature made Glen tremble to his bones.  He was terrified, but at the same time there was something old and oddly familiar about this angel.  He had to speak.  It was just one not unexpected word, but it was said like a name.

            “Angel?”

            “Glen.”  Angel showed some sign that he knew Glen in some fashion as well.

            “Lord,” the angel behind the desk had his eyes lowered and trembled even more than Glen, but he took the sign of familiarity as an opening to speak.  “The record shows that you were assigned to be guardian angel for this man, but we have no report from you regarding his disposition.”

            “I am not this man’s guardian angel,” The response was unarguable in a way that was hard for Glen to describe.  “I have other duties.  Either another was assigned to this man or he has lived his life without a guardian.  Let us hope it is the first, and to be sure, I do not know why he is even here.”  With that said, Angel’s light grew brighter and stronger until it filled the whole room.  Glen not only had to close his eyes, he had to cover them with his hands to protect them.  Then all at once, the light went out and Angel was no longer with them.

            Glen opened his eyes, blinked from the spots, but saw that the angel behind the desk was now looking at him with fear and uncertainty.  The angel said nothing else, but slid the red button back from its location on the desk.  There was a second, deep-set red button beneath it.  The angel pushed it and Glen found himself covered in darkness and falling.

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