Raelo’s Flight (parts 1–4)

1.

Once, long ago, a fallen angel named Raelo was kicked out of Hell. This is the story of Raelo’s treacherous journey through Heaven. But as with all stories, we must return to the beginning.

First, God said: “Let there be light.”

Second, God said –- actually, it doesn’t matter what God said. That’s not what you came to hear about. Let’s skip to the good stuff.

2.

Many hellish denizens were excited that Satan had at last begun redecorating Hell. There was lava, barren wasteland, and dark caverns all around. Soon, it was replaced by shiny white walls, consistent broadband access, and a few too many pictures of kittens. A few days later, Raelo noticed what Satan had done. The prince of darkness proved to have atrocious design sense. After all, the first mistake was shiny white walls when lava was so bright.

“Pay attention to color scheme!” Raelo was none too pleased.

“I did, and it’s magnificent.” Satan was proud.

“The walls blind me, it’s a damn pain.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

“No! The principles of additive color mixing do this to me. I’ll never get used to it.”

“Shut up and enjoy the broadband.” Satan’s horns glowed red in frustration.

“Your blog is so boring, why make us read it to log on?”

“Quiet, fool! Someone’s gotta fill those newsfeeds with trash. I don’t see you working.”

“You waste your time on kittens.”

“Whatever. Go do your own thing.”

“Man, Hell is really going downhill.”

Satan’s horns began steaming. “Enough of you! If you don’t like it here, then… then…”

“Then what?” Raelo rolled his eyes.

“I’m sending you to Heaven!”

Raelo was shocked. How dreadful! How cruel! Did Satan know not of the banality of Heaven? The essence of total brotherhood? None had ever before seen Satan’s wrath. “Not there, I beg of you!”

Satan didn’t care. In one fell swoop, Raelo was struck by an uppercut. He shot through the Earth’s crust. He tried to slow his ascent with his wings, but realized he was already in the upper atmosphere. Soon enough, he feared, his mind would become total mush from the torture to come. The line to the gates of Heaven were visible from so high –- numerous souls were waiting, bored. The gates led to a boringly boxy building that was many miles tall and wide. Raelo crashed in front of the penultimate soul, near St. Peter’s lectern.

“No cutting in line!” a voice yelled.

Raelo scrambled to his feet. Surely, he thought, there’d be a way back to Hell. He supposed that God might be willing to help. Fallen angels were not the types that belonged. However, as was well-known, God’s last project to make Heaven great again failed. The highway to Hell went overbudget thanks to preposterous thinking that Satan would pay for it. God was never seen again.

“I waited 500 years and I won’t wait a second longer.”

“Too bad,” Raelo snapped.

The soul in front of Raelo stepped forward into Heaven. St. Peter spoke. “Next!”

The annoyed soul squeezed by Raelo. “At last!”

“Not you. The soul behind you was first.”

“That’s not true. Look, I’m tired…”

“Back of the line!” The soul wisped away, over all the other souls.

Raelo stepped forward. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding. You see, there was a disagreement with Satan, so now I’m here. Just send me back, easier that way.”

“You’re not registered.”

“That’s my point. I don’t belong here.”

“Yes, you do. You’re here, so you belong.”

“But it was from a mistake.”

“Then why are you here?”

“I need to go back to Hell.”

“So go back.”

“I can’t, there’s no way down.”

“You’ll need a pass from God, or someone of greater and/or equal power.”

“Let me in and I’ll get one.”

“First, what is your reason to join the Kingdom of God?”

“I don’t want to, I want to go back!”

“Sorry, that’s not a valid entry.”

“I lied. I love praying, so I’ll get to pray all the time.” Raelo was absolutely sure that St. Peter would believe him.

“Lies are not valid entries.”

“Fine! I’ll find my own way.”

“That is not allowed.” St. Peter reached into his lectern and pulled out a piece of paper. “Please fill out this form confirming you no longer want to my assistance.”

Raelo violently took the paper and began looking for a pen. “Dammit, I left my pen at home. Can I borrow one?”

“Lending of items is only permissible if the recipient is a member of the Kingdom of God.”

“Just for a minute.”

“The rules will not be broken for anyone.”

“Then the line won’t move!”

“Okay, then fill out the form, please.”

“Grahhhhhhh!” Raelo tore the paper in half and threw the scraps to his feet.

“Our sustainability policy forbids trash. Please dispose of it in the recycle bin sitting just past the gate.” St. Peter pressed a button. The gate opened.

Quickly, Raelo ran into Heaven. The doors to the building opened automatically. Out of nowhere, a body collided into him –- he blacked out.

3.

Raelo woke up and found himself staring at a white ceiling. He wondered how long he had been out. As it turned out, not long enough.

“Angels, always getting in the way,” announced a tall soul in front of Raelo –- a male face and a male body. He was stern for a moment, then smiled. “Just a little joke! Give me a hug, this is a world of God’s love.” He helped Raelo to his feet, then leaned in to give him a hug without warning.

“Get off of me!”

“No can do. We are bonded.” The soul continued to hold.

Annoyed, Raelo looked around. There was a door further inside that was tall, wide, and elegant. It was a way to find God in order to get back home. The soul was speaking, but Raelo ignored him and walked on. The soul followed.

“Kind friend, my name is Siddartha.”

Raelo stopped; Siddartha ran into him. “I thought you reached nirvana?”

“Oh, I did, but then I didn’t really like it. So I applied for a job and got into heaven lickety split.”

“Why are you down here than?”

“I’m a greeter.”

“Then get outta here and greet people.” Raelo pushed his companion backwards and walked to the door. “I have to speak to God about getting home.”

“This will not do. You are my new best friend, I will take you to Him! But only if you make a real gosh darn-tootin’ effort to get to know the place. You might stay.” He ran ahead to get the door.

For Raelo, the prospect of joining with such a goody two shoes sickened him. What use did he have for help if he could just barge up to God and demand exit? There was no need for me assistance. These were his thoughts, up until Siddhartha opened the door. Inside, there was a wide open pasture and green grass that stretched out for miles. There was no sign of a means to go upstairs, let alone to reach God. Siddhartha was his only hope.

“Why, this is beautiful. Come, I must show you the Field of Prayer. After all, this is the tier of Love.” Siddhartha skipped ahead while whistling. “Follow me!”

Raelo moved fast and deliberately, or so he believed at first. Each step looked didn’t lead to a change in scenery, for the landscape was uniform in all directions. Nothing in the background changed position. He felt as if he were walking in place.

“You’re doing it wrong, silly. You need to skip and whistle like me. Then you will be overfilled with joy.”

And so Raelo took his eager friend’s advice. As much as it was insulting, he didn’t want to be stuck in such a place forever. Being in Heaven for just a few hours was irritating enough. But he decided to make the most of it. He began whistling the tune of a Linkin Park song. All the while, he could not but help recite the lyrics in his mind. These wounds, they will not heal.

“Excellent choice.”

Raelo figured the reply was sarcastic, but Siddhartha said nothing more. In a matter of moments, the world before him began swirling. From the chaos, trees appeared, as well as people sitting on the ground in group circles.

Siddhartha pointed out a tree in front of them. Three souls surrounded the tree, lost in prayer. “Now you can see the glorious sights. Please, stop by the tree over here with some people I would like you to meet.” He sat down with legs crossed.

“Hello! My name is Pat,” spoke the middle most soul. He had interrupted his prayer without hesitation.

“I’m not trying to make friends. Only passing by.”

“How dreadful. I will pray for you to make friends.”

“Uh, thanks? I’m trying to get back to Hell.”

“Bless your heart. I will pray for you to find your way.”

“I can do it myself.”

“Praise the lord. I will pray for you to see His light.”

“Really, I’m fine.”

“Hallelujah. I will pray for you to be forgiven.”

The other souls pressed their hands together harder than before. They prayed as hard as they could. Yet, their prayers were not strong enough. Raelo merely watched, wondering if the group would be prayed into annihilation in their intense prayer.

“Satan’s passive aggression is a lot worse, so stop trying.”

“Forgive him lord, for he knows not of what he speaks. I will pray for you to find greater wisdom.”

“Stop it, just how do I get to God?”

“O holy spirit! I will pray for our lord to cure you.”

“But I don’t want to wait more. Let me talk to him myself.”

“Let us pray together, dear brother.” Pat closed his eyes and forcefully grabbed Raelo’s hands.

Raelo pushed back in disgust. “Siddartha, lead the way,” he pleaded.

The companion heeded the words. “My friends! My new compatriot and I must continue.” He walked to the tree trunk and knocked on it three times. A door appeared in the same location.

Raelo went ahead of Siddartha, as Pat once again attempted to grab him to begin a group prayer. With his strong arms, he shoved Pat to the ground.

“Wait!” Siddartha yelled. But Raelo was already through the door.

4.

The door did not lead to an elevator as Raelo had expected. He twisted and turned through clouds. No direction of travel could be discerned, let alone a purpose. Debris flew around him as he was pulled through the sky -– stones, trees, and houses. Planes flew by upside down, piloted by no one. Most curious of all, there was no storm. The day was bright and blue, for it was a piece of Heaven.

After much ado, Raelo emerged onto a cloud and stood, among numerous other similarly small clouds. Nestled into a slight indentation of the cloud was a boulder. In fact, Raelo noticed that each cloud held an identical boulder. Infused with curiosity, he grabbed the boulder and threw it off the cloud.

A tiny voice by his feet squeaked. “But this is the boulder that God created that He could not lift!”

Raelo did not see a soul.

The tiny voice squeaked again. “Please place the boulder, great and powerful one. I am only a small and unworthy soul.”

Raelo looked down. There were thousands of souls scurrying around.

“We are the Humble Ants of God.”

“We are not so faithful.”

“We are not so skilled.”

“We are not so wise.”

“We are not so industrious.”

“Amen.”

For a fallen angel, the affirmations were peculiar. Were not souls condemned to Hell for lacking such virtues? Raelo wondered if God made a mistake. “Ants, are you faithful for remaining in Heaven?”

“No, for to be faithful, we must have faith in God, not tainted by direct perception in God.”

“Are you skilled for maintaining your boulder?”

“No, for the boulder’s comfort is a result of the laws God has created, not our effort.”

“What about your concise words, doesn’t this show you are wise?”

“No, for language is a gift from God –- we know not the True meaning of the words we speak.”

“Surely all you Ants are industrious for not getting squished by a boulder that would squish God?”

“No, for the burden is placed by God, a task we have still to let pass.”

“But, Ants, don’t you see? God doesn’t surpass you! You all can return to Hell with me.”

The Ants shrieked. What heresy to hear –- they knew it was a ploy of Satan to tempt them towards an unholy world. They began to pound upon Raelo’s feet.

“And I thought you were not so industrious,” Raelo responded. Ants began to crawl up his leg. With a firm shake, he knocked them off.

“Raelo!” Siddartha had at last arrived, carrying a boulder. He tossed it onto the cloud. It landed on the indentation. The Ants swarmed underneath. “I couldn’t guide you properly, please wait for me this time.”

“Let’s get moving.” Raelo nudged the boulder. Ants screamed.

“I see you met my friends here! I am overjoyed.” Siddartha waved his hand. A group of clouds gathered, from which an elevator rose up from. He stepped inside. “Join me, friend!”

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To be continued…