I found myself in a very bright place. Bright as though the noon day sun shown through a glass ceiling without any view of the blue sky. But the ceiling was there, and with great vintage looking crown moldings, the kind you found in old European mansions. Tasteful bookshelves filled with glittering paraphernalia and books lined the walls.
And in the center, looking just a bit out of place in the western decor, was a short table with a thick comforter blanket over it. I believe they were called kotasus and were used in Japan.
A man in white robes sat at it, holding a cup of something. It could have been a yukata he wore, but it looked less layered and looser than that.
He smiled as our eyes met. He had very light hair, like white fire, but I thought I could see a tinge of red in it, and his eyes were like lightning.
“Hey, Lillian. Do you remember me?”
“Not even a drop.”
He shrugged. “It does take a bit. The veil doesn’t always go away with death.”
I blinked. “So I’m dead?” And since the atmosphere felt so utterly comforting and welcoming, I took a seat on the cushion across the table from him and folded my legs crosswise.
“How can you not be? Losing a wheel at 80 miles per hour.” He let out a low whistle and sipped his drink. Once he swallowed, he cleared his throat, and said. “You seem to be taking this rather well.”
“Well, when you spend the last two years wishing for death, but not going for it because you think you’ll get extra brownie points from God for not doing so, and because you know you’ll destroy your mother if you did so, death isn’t that scary.” I looked around. “And it isn’t. I didn’t feel anything. And this isn’t so bad.” I nodded towards the tea. “Any for me?”
“Oh, I’d already have some ready if I knew you could enjoy it. But, alas, you don’t have a body. Or, rather, you were separated from it. That is what death is.”
Even as he said so, I realized I couldn’t feel any thirst or hunger whatsoever. I couldn’t even feel the spit in my mouth.
To that, I declared, “That sucks.”
“It’s only temporary,” he said. “And fortunately, for both of us, you’ve lived quite a good life.”
“Oh yes. You did the best you could with the suffering dealt to you. So you’ll be quite comfortable in paradise until judgment day, which, if you keep in the direction you were headed, will look quite good for you.” He put down his cup and gave me a graceful smile that somehow made his lightning eyes twinkle. “Your babies are waiting.”
If I had a breath, it would have caught. Every part of me seemed to fill up with tingles and sparks.
“Where are they?” I demanded, any of my curiosity of this afterlife forgotten. “How are they? How big are they? Can I hold them? Will they know me? Can I name them?”
“Whoa whoa, hold on, they aren’t here. They’re with our Father. You know, God.”
I stared. “You’re not God?”
He looked slightly affronted by this. “I am a god, but I am not the God. You know, Father of our Souls, creator of Earth, etc etc?”
“…there are multiple gods?”
“Yes, and no. Ugh, this would have been so much easier if you had…but, neither here nor there, so here’s a crash course,” he took a sip from his tea mug/cup and set it down. “We’re children of God, right? So, naturally, we have the potential to grow up to be like Him. Fish lay eggs and eggs become fish. Birds begat birds. You get the idea. Not everyone wants to be gods though or hardly qualified to be entrusted with the lives and knowledge of universes, so they get stumped in their progression. I didn’t. So now I’m a god, but not of you or your world, because we’re siblings.”
My head felt a little light, which was saying something since I technically didn’t have a physical body.
“So…why am I with you and not God then?” I paused. “Wait, you’re my brother?”
He held out his arms. “Elder. One of the favorites. We even share the same cheeky smile, ho ho. We were hip and hip in the premortal life–but, course, you don’t remember that yet. Back to the point,” he leaned across the table. “You’ll see your babies if that’s what you want. Guaranteed. But Father kindly leant you to me first before then. It’s not like you’ll be doing much before judgment day anyways, and you can’t be where they are until then anyways.”
This made me frown. “Why can’t I have them now?”
“Fine print, sis, there are procedures to go through and some important hoops to jump through, but you’ll get to have as many babies as you want to love on in the meantime if you help me out.”
That got my attention. “I’m in.”
His eyebrows went high. “Aren’t you going to ask about what I need you to do?”
“Then tell me already. Do gods always talk this much?”
The bright man chuckled, a fondness softening his brilliant features.
“You said that back then too.”