Let me be succinct: dying sucks.
Bear with me. It started out as a relatively normal day. Until I jaywalked. I don't normally do that, but I hadn't had my coffee. So this gigantic truck, barrelling along at triple the speed limit, turned me to powder. It was not pretty. I would have thrown up, looking down on the scattered remains, but a ghost can't throw up. Other people did though. I was still short on caffeine, so I just groaned. This was upsetting, but no need to panic. Boy, was I tired. It hurt everywhere when I tried to squeeze back into my body. So I just walked away. No sense dwelling on things you can't do anything about. I stepped into the bluish light and I saw all the people I knew who were dead. My old high school gym teacher, Mr. Philips. Mr. Philips? I groaned. "This has got to be hell," I muttered.
After I finished my exercises (which I still did terribly on) and did eight laps around cloud nine (and hated it), I finally reached the pearly gates. So there was Saint Peter, and I came up to him. He was snoring away. "Hey, Pete," I yelled, and he jumped up. He looked at me. "Um, name?" "Grandé extra-hot no-whip mocha." He blinked. "Come again?" I sighed. "I. Need. My. Morning. Coffee." He sighed. "Name?" He was obviously kind of bored. "Angela MacKinnon." Peter nodded and produced a coffee from who knows where. "Here you go, Miss MacKinnon," he announced, "enjoy Hell." I started falling and I screamed.
Then, I was back at the Pearly Gates. "Just kidding," laughed St. Peter, "I love pulling that one on new kids!" The gates opened. He tried to say welcome, but he was laughing too hard. I walked in. Admittedly, it wasn't what I had expected. Heaven was a gigantic Starbucks!
I quickly learned that Heaven essentially takes whatever form you want it to be. I could live with that. Once I had my coffee, the events of the day started to sink in. I was dead. Wow. I really wasn't expecting that! And I'd never had a coffee this delicious! What recipe did they use? Obviously, it couldn't last. Next thing I knew, this guy with a big conch shell came up to me. "Ah, hello, Ms. MacKinnon. I'm St. Gabriel." I shook my head. "Angela," I moaned, "I don't like formalities." Gabriel nodded. "I know you're having a good time and all that," he explained (and I knew this had to be bad news), "but I'm afraid that now that you're here, you've been assigned as a guardian angel." I snarled. "I'm staring to really regret getting out of bed." Gabriel shrugged. "Don't blame me. I just deliver." He pulled a scroll out of his shell and handed it to me. "Here," he said, handing me a stick, "you might need it." The heavenly Starbucks started faing. "But wait," I yelled, "what about my halo and wings?" "Those you have to buy up front. Sorry." I tried to ask who I was guarding, but then I was heading towards Earth. Unfortunately, I missed and landed in Hell. I felt lucky that I ended up in Heaven. The devil stared at me. I smiled bravely. "Hi," I said meekly, and then I ran like… well, hell.
After passing through Purgatory, I ended up in Limbo. You can't go much lower than Limbo. (Ha ha) Seriously, it sucks. Very boring. All dark and moody. Finally, I got lucky and ended up on Earth. In Antarctica. I startled some penguins. I checked the scroll. The guy I was looking for lived in New Zealand. His previous guardian angel had apparently been killed. I blinked. Killed? How could you kill someone who was already dead? That was when I really started to worry.
I had three options - catch an iceberg, catch a passing ship or swim. I really didn't want to swim and I doubted a boat would come along, so I hitched an iceberg. I examined the stick that St. Gabriel gave me and tapped it on the iceberg in thought. Then, the iceberg sped up. It was going faster and faster, until in only five minutes I reached New Zealand! The iceberg smashed into the shore and shattered to pieces, flinging me far into the countryside. Being in human form, I was flung forward and struck a tree, dying instantly.
I was back at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter was silent. He stared at me until I started fidgeting. Finally, he snapped his fingers and everything disappeared.
This time, I landed in Australia. I had lost my magic stick and repremanded myself. I had to be more careful. Was this how the other guardian angel died? No, he (or she, I supposed) would have been reborn at the gates too. I was confused. But there was no time to be confused. I looked at the sun and oriented myself, then started walking.
After quite a few weeks with barely any food or water (those I got off a puddle in the middle of nowhere with a fish), I reached civilization at last. I decided to catch a plane to New Zealand. The problem was, I lost my wallet.
The guy put his wallet down and walked away. Making sure nobody was looking, I walked over and picked up the wallet. A meaty hand landed on my shoulder. The guy was covered in tatoos from head to toe. "Not a good idea," he warned me, dragging me into an alleyway and bashing me over the head. I probably had the bad luck of running into the only criminal in Australia. I'd heard good things about Australia.
When I woke up, I had returned to the Pearly Gates, which really sucked. A wallet materialized in my hand with all the neccessary ID.
I woke up in the same alleyway. I decided to skedaddle for the local airport.
The plane crashed.
I ended up hiring a helicopter.
Never, ever hire a helicopter if you can get a plane.
I threw up several times before finally, I reached New Zealand. The scroll said my guy, Jason Wall, lived in some small coastal town on South Island. I was in Wellington. Far north of New Zealand. "Just once," I yelled to the heavens, "just ONCE would be nice!"
After a good deal of walking, swimming, boating, swimming, and quite a good deal of walking, I was getting close. Finally, I-
Got hit by a car.
Next thing I knew, I was in Seattle, Washington. "THIS SUUUUUUUUUCKS!!!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I got a kayak and started paddling across the Pacific Ocean. I ran into a hurricane, unfortunately. I was stranded on a remote desert island with nothing to sustain me but coconuts.
As I built a raft, I wondered how my mom was taking it. That was the first time it really sank in that I was dead. I stared at the stars for a while before I went to sleep.
I dreamed about an angel being tortured in the depths of Hell until finally, his soul faded into nothingness. There was cruel laughter.
I paddled for weeks on end, constantly dogged by sharks. I landed somewhere along the coast of South Island and headed for the coastal town. By some miracle, I arrived in one piece. It felt good to be (semi) alive!
I asked around about a Jason Wall. "Oh, the nut," people would say before walking away. Bad sign. Finally, I discovered he lived at 42 Moa Street. I walked over to his house. It had eight locks and a passcode. Then, I realized why my scroll was so heavy.
Jason heard the click of the door opening and left his experiment for a moment to grab up a kopesh. There must be a demon. Who else could get through his locks? He screamed "GO TO HELL, DEMON!" and decapitated…
By now, I knew I needed some wings. I marched into the Starbucks, plonked down $100 and grabbed up the halo and wings package.
I landed at his house and opened the door again. "How'd you get in?" Jason inquired, obviously a little shocked. "I accept your apology for decapitating your guardian angel. St. Gabriel gave me the keys and the password. Isn't "Lucifer" a bit obvious if you're fighting demons." Jason shrugged. "Want some sandwiches?" I blinked. "Sandwiches?"
Jason Wall made really bad sandwiches. "So," I said conversationally, "what's your beef with demons?" Jason shivered. "Nobody believes me, but they found a gateway between Earth and Hell. I think they want to finish what they started." I was confused. "What who started?" Jason sighed. "The serpent. Adam and Eve, and the rebel angels. It's a massive conspiracy. They want to tear down Heaven by the roots." Mad as a hatter. I thanked him for the sandwiches and made to leave. "I can show you," he yelled, "I know where the gateway is." I sighed. "Fine, but if I don't see it, we part ways." He nodded. "Fair enough."
I fingered my coffee from the local café and we headed into some dense forest. I knew this guy was probably mad, but that dream was still nagging at me. Finally, we reached a clearing. There was nothing there. He was shocked. "But it was right here!" I decided to make my escape and started flapping my wings. Something grabbed me. Something big.
I screamed and squirmed, but it held on tight. Obviously a demon. Others poured out from the trees. Then, with a flash of light, a pool of lava opened at the heart of the clearing. The portal. Jason's sword flashed about and tore through demon after demon. The one holding me readied to crush me. I threw coffee in it's face. It screamed and dropped me. I rolled over and fell into the portal.
The big guy himself was there. I recognized that evil laughter from my dream. He drew upon a sword made of fire. "Miss MacKinnon," he rasped, "I will end you. Fool." I drew upon my stick (which St. Peter had kindly replaced).
I jabbed the stick in his eye and he screamed. Then, I grabbed up some hellfire and leaped through the portal. I flung the hellfire to the ground and instantly the forest was ablaze. I then realized Jason was in danger and shielded him without thinking.
I was back at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter nodded. "I thought you'd need that stick."
The explosion destroyed the portal and Gabriel thinks it will be some time before it can be opened again. In light of my success, I was promoted to Archangel in charge of gardening. All in all, a job well done. But there was still one more thing I had to do.
My mom looked so peaceful, lying there in bed. I stroked her head lovingly. She opened her eyes. "Angela?" I started crying. "Mom!"