Fiction

The Atheist – Episode Eight

THE ATHEIST - EPISODE EIGHT

Copyright © Ufuomaee

We were immediately flooded with light; indescribable brilliance. And I knew I was in the presence of God.

I was temporarily blinded by the light until my eyes adjusted to the brightness of it. Pretty soon, I could identify moving bodies and structures in the distance. The light gave way to unimaginable beauty; green fields, vast meadows with colourful flowers and fruitful trees. Then I saw all sorts of animals and beings, crawling, walking, and flying in the open skies.

This was not hell... This had to be Heaven! Was I in Heaven?

As I walked through the fields, some of the animals approached me. They were friendly and had kind eyes. I bent to stroke a lion cub, though slightly afraid of its vicious mother. The cub returned to play with his siblings, who were sucking on their mother's breasts. She only gave me a passing glance, as I strolled along.

Turning around, Samuel was nowhere to be found. Okay, this was strange. I didn't know where I was going, but I continued to journey forward, taking my time to enjoy the scenery. This was unbelievable!

In the distance, I heard the sound of children laughing. The voices drew closer, and I soon saw the bodies to whom they belonged. They were three little children, and the eldest couldn't be more than ten years old. They were playing with the animals in the field and paused as I walked by.

They whispered among themselves, before the eldest approached me. "Are you Darren?" she asked.

I nodded before appraising her. Such a beautiful, young girl. She bore a striking resemblance to someone I knew, but I couldn't place it. "How do you know my name?"

She simply smiled and beamed at her friends. "It's him!"

The youngest ran and hugged me, her small arms wrapped around my waist. "Daddy!" she cried. "It's you!"

I pulled her away and looked in her eyes. Then I saw the resemblance. They both looked like Angela, and the little girl had my eyes. How could this be?

I swallowed and looked up at the young boy that strolled towards us. He wore a gentle smile on his face, as he beheld me. I reached out to him and pulled him into a hug. The eldest joined us. Oh my God! My children, I cried. And they were perfect!

Eventually, I got a hold of myself, and let them go, but only to look at them more closely and ask the many questions that ran through my mind. How old were they? Where were we? How did they know me? What were we all doing here? What about God?

A sad expression crossed Robert's face at the last question, but Mariam beamed. "God is the best, Daddy!" she said with glee.

Roselyn gave me a small smile. "We'll take you to Him."

Robert nodded. "The host is waiting..." he swallowed.

But I was not as afraid as I once was. Seeing my children brought me unexpected joy and a satisfaction I have never known. I felt fulfilled, like my pain finally had meaning, and there was purpose to my existence.

***

The hall was full, and the host sat on an array of golden seats, that would make a treasure hunter salivate. Angels, clothed in white and bearing long white wings, ministered to the twelve elders seated by the throne. The presence on the throne was indescribable; without form yet with commanding presence. Light and goodness oozed from this Being, permeating all around it.

When He spoke, I heard His voice in my soul, and my spirit was awakened, desirous to obey. Approach the throne, He commanded, and I did.

I trembled and fell at His feet when I had come too close for comfort. I am a sinner, I confessed. Have mercy on me, my Lord!

"According to Your Royal decree, my God, the soul of every sinner is mine! I have come to collect," said the Accuser.

I could not look upon him, because I was in distress before the Lord. I remained bowed to the ground, pleading on the mercy of the Supreme.

Arise, Darren, the Lord spoke.

I could not but obey. In His presence, I knew I was unworthy. I knew the terror of the wicked. But I also knew His goodness and His love. To that, I clung with daring hope.

"Bring the Book of the Lamb!" cried the angel who ministered to the King on the throne.

A man, dressed in royal garments and a crown of twelve jewels on his head approached the throne, bearing the Book. He bowed, as he presented it before the Judge, then took his seat on the right hand of the throne.

"The Prince of Peace has sat," the heavenly host declared, and a choir of angles chorused, "All hail the Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world!"

The book was opened, and the Lord spoke. "The Accuser has stated his claim. What is your plea, Darren?"

"Guilty, Lord. But..."

That's enough, Darren. And so, I was silenced.

"He has confessed to his guilt. Unless his name is found in Your good book, my Lord, he is now my possession, to do with as pleases me!"

Terror filled my soul when I finally gazed upon my accuser. So much hate and darkness oozed from his being. I could barely stand for the fear that took hold of me.

"We have heard your request, Lucifer. It is enough!" said the One that was called the Prince of Peace.

I bowed my head, awaiting my sentencing... This was it. This was the end of the road.

Look up, Darren. I looked and beheld the face of the Prince. He had left His throne to stand before me. In His eyes, I saw compassion. I also saw recognition. Where had I seen Him before?

He spread his arms to the congregation that had gathered, and I turned to see. "In as much as you have done to the least of these, you have done to Me..." He said.

Among those seated to my right were people I had known or met, and many I had not. I did not recognise all, but those I recognised, I remembered that I had helped at one point or the other. But to my left, an even greater multitude sat, and they beheld me in judgement. I remembered, painfully, the times I had disregarded them, accused them, or maltreated them. And those were the ones I remembered. Most, I did not know how I'd ever met them.

I turned back to the Prince. "What does this mean?"

To be continued...

Photo credit: www.pixabay.com.

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