Disclaimer: All events and characters that transpire in the following story are fictitious. Any similarities between anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
Author's Notes: This story was inspired by the passing of one of my dearest friends, Josh. Though his passing and the following story are not related, his passing raised several questions in my own mind. And with the continuing debate overtaking this country about gay marriages, I decided to sit down and write my own thoughts about this seemingly stupid argument. The following story is my take on what view God has on homosexuality and what happens at the defining moment when you take your last breath and cease to be human and emerge as a heavenly body. My viewpoints are my own and I won't presume to "preach" them to others. But as the conservatives argue in the media to take away my freedom to love who I wish, I am standing out in the one way I know best. A voice silence by indifference is a wasted utterance. Please become active in this debate, write your congressman, your elected representatives, tell them to stand up against this crime against all homosexuals everywhere. Do not let our indifference on this debate choose the role we will play in the years to come. All references to Jesus Christ are done with the greatest respect for one of the greatest masters that ever tread this Earth.
This story is dedicated to RogueWolf (Josh) a soul set free to fly who left this earth riding the whims of his mind. I miss you, I love you and I'll never forget you. Angel
A Moment Of Clarity
A Short Story
All alone, in the empty of the sky One Space Boy, gets his chance to finally wave goodbye Dying Age, of a spiritual machine No response, just voidless cyber-optic dreams My headset screams, my headset bleeds With Ransom's static prayers and pleas My spirit sifted, orbit shifted Creating my own gravity I want to stay I want to stay Don't want to see it My first trip to Mars...Todd Evans
It was cold. Cold as a witch's heart. Snow was falling and by the looks of it, it didn't have any plans on stopping anytime soon. The world was askew. Colors reversed like some madman painting. Blues replaced by a milky gray color that sucked the warmth from the very sun. The earth was one big ball of varying shades of gray. Like an old black and white movie of the thirties, its picture scratched and faded. That was the world. Time moved slowly, like a bad imitation of the Matrix. Time slowing as objects shown velocity in a perverted world where relativity ceased to exist. Shock waves followed the icy daggers as they plummeted to a gray world. Gray upon gray fading into nothing. Colors of varying nothingness that inverted into colors of varying nausea. Time had ended. All that was left was the cancerous afterbirth of an aborted dream of god. Black as night inside a coffin was the color of god. God was dead, the great leveler of chaos had decided to reign. Black inside of black till only the diseased mind of color existed. Take black from black and all that is left is nothingness. A world of nothing creates a backlash and a vacuum of nothingness ensues.
Tobias Ritcher sat up in bed, a scream fading from his lips. Thunder rolled across the valley, lightening punctuated his fears across the black sky. His head jerked around the room, blue eyes searching for any unseen horror in the blackness. Lightening lit up the room in brief flashes, jerking shadows around the room causing mixed fears in the mind of the twenty-one year old. As his heart pounded in his chest, his mind began to resister the dream. Taking deep breaths, logic convinced him it was nothing but a nightmare.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, he threw back the covers from his bed. Putting one foot on the hardwood floor, he quickly drew it back. The floor was ice cold. His eyes widened in fear as he switched on the lights he started to scream. His bedroom was covered in snow and he could only see in black and white.
"Toby, is something wrong? Open up."
The banging of the door caused the sleeping boy to sit up in bed, a dying scream on his lips. His blue eyes opened wide, staring into the after affects of his nightmare. His nightmare was superimposed over the waking world, flashes of white against the gray shades of his room. And as the pounding grew louder, the nightmare began to slowly fade until only reality was left.
He frantically looked around the room. The sun was shining brightly through his window and all the colors were as they should be. Taking deep breaths, he fell back against the pillow with a loud sigh. He had made it through another night.
Pushing his long sweaty hair from his eyes, he finally called out in a weak voice, "I'm fine. Just a bad dream."
"Toby. Open up. Is everything all right?"
Cursing silently, he sat on the edge of the bed. Grabbing a pair of shorts off the floor, he quickly pulled them on before opening the door. Though his head was pounding, he smiled weakly when he saw his boyfriend of two years standing there, his green eyes anxious. He asked, "What are you doing here Steve?"
Steve's lips were drawn tightly in a frown that gave evidence of his concern. And when Tobias smiled at him, which only caused him to wring his hands in frustration. "I'm worried about you." His boyfriend said honestly. "I know you haven't been feeling well lately but I beginning to worry about you. For the last five nights you've woken up screaming. Is it drugs?"
Tobias started to tremble, hugging his lean frame with both arms, he started, "Steve, I..."
"I told you when we first got together that I won't tolerate drugs. I won't date an addict." Steve stated flatly as he pointed a finger accusingly at his boyfriend.
"I don't do drugs." He denied, coughing harshly. "You should know be better than that."
"A person can only assume." Steve continued in that same no nonsense tone. "You haven't been eating properly and you've lost a lot of weight lately."
Glancing down at his half-naked form, he could see his boyfriend was right. His ribs were sticking out and his stomach was sunk in like a horrible vision of a cadaver.
"Let me see your arms." Steve demanded, grabbing one of the frail arms roughly.
Shrugging his shoulders wearily, he allowed the man to study each one carefully, saying, "See, no track marks."
"If I find out you've been using drugs, I'll drop you faster than your parents did when they found out you were gay." Steve warned, his frown deepening.
He still hadn't recovered from his nightmare, his thoughts jumbled as he tried to think back to the last time he saw his parents. He had been having trouble focusing his thoughts that last few days, his head hadn't stopped pounding long enough for him to think clearly.
"Have they rented out my old room yet?" He asked absently, his forehead creasing as the pain began to slowly creep into his consciousness.
"Where have you been?" Steve replied angrily, shaking his head. "They rented out your old room five days ago. You watched the man move in."
"Did I?" He asked, his mind searching for any clue his boyfriend was right. He could hear a banging sound somewhere in the back of his mind, somewhere near by but no matter how he turned his head, he couldn't find it's origin.
"Maybe your right. I haven't been eating properly, with work and all." He offered lamely, trying to disguise the confusion he felt.
"Toby, I can't have you behaving like this. If your not on drugs." Steve stated as if he didn't believe it. "Then maybe we should go to a doctor."
"What?" He asked, squinting at him. The pain in his head had suddenly intensified to such an unbearable level; he couldn't hear his boyfriend anymore. All he could hear was the throbbing of his own blood as it rushed through his temples. Putting his hands to the side of his face, he opened his eyes and tried to focus on the man he loved more than life itself.
Before he could reply, Steve's face suddenly went deathly pale, like all the blood had drained from his body. His face contorted into a hideous mask of pain, blood gushed forth from his mouth and his eyes stared back at him lifeless and accusing. A deep slash of red formed across his throat and as the blood flowed, it gave testament of his demise. The figure before him, Steve but not Steve, opened his mouth, a wailing sound begging for answers he couldn't give.
"Toby, are you all right? Say something." Steve asked with concern as he saw the horror in his boyfriend's eyes. Grabbing the frail man, he pressed his hand against the sweaty forehead, his eyes widening as he stated, "Baby your burning up."
With a look of horror on his face and a feeling like he had just swam fifty laps in a pool, he took a deep breath when the pain suddenly faded and his boyfriend returned to his normal handsome self. Shaking off the weird vision, he stuttered out, "Maybe your right. I should go to the doctor." Still shaken up from the vision of his boyfriend with his throat slashed, he offered quietly, "Maybe I should call in sick to work today."
"You better go to the doctor as well." Steve stated with obvious concern. "You might be catching that flu that's going around. He can give you some blockers and some meds that'll make you good as new in no time. You need to sleep so you'll get better."
"Thank you. I won't bother you with my screaming anymore." He promised as he turned back towards his room. Shutting the door, he collapsed on the bed, immediately sinking into a deep sleep. He dreamed but after the chilling nightmare the normal weird dreams didn't bother him. For a second time that day, someone banging on the door disturbed his sleeping. Mumbling for them to go away, he rolled over and hid his head under the pillow.
"Toby, open up. Are you all right?"
The banging intensified to a point where he jumped up quickly and threw opened the door demanding in a furious tone, "What do you want?"
"Are you Tobias Richter?" A man asked abruptly, dressed in a blue suit, a police badge held out in front of him.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Tobias stared at the man blankly. Realizing he was standing there in nothing but a pair of shorts, he suddenly became embarrassed as he answered, "Yes. Can you wait while I put on some clothes?"
"Sure." The man said evenly, as he watched the frail man pull on a pair of jeans. "Do you know a Steve Winters?"
Whirling around, he demanded, "Is he okay?"
"Do you know him?" The man asked again.
"Yes. He's my boyfriend." Tobias answered a feeling of dread falling over him like a death shroud. Grabbing a shirt from the edge of the bed, he slipped it on, asking, "What's this about?"
"When was the last time you saw him?" The man asked, pulling out a notebook from his pocket.
"Earlier today." Tobias answered hesitantly, reaching for his cigarettes.
"You saw Mr. Winters today?" The man asked, surprise showing clearly on his face.
"Around what time did you see him?" Probed the man, watching Tobias search for a lighter through his pockets.
Tobias asked, "What time is it now?"
Looking at his watch, the man replied, "It's three seventeen. Here." The man pulled a lighter from his pocket and handed it to the visibly shaken man.
Lighting the cigarette, he guessed, "He woke me up earlier this morning. Maybe around eleven or so. We talked for a few minutes and then I went back to bed."
"So you say you saw him around eleven am." The man stated, clarifying the man's statement.
"What's this about?" He asked again, that feeling of dread sinking deeper into his mind. "Is he in trouble?"
"So you claim you've been here sleeping all day, right?" The man said questioningly. "Did anything disturb you? Any strange noises? Anything?"
Shaking his head, he replied, "No. I felt sick this morning and haven't been sleeping well lately. I went back to bed and must've died."
Even as he completed his sentence, that banging noise started up again from somewhere. Looking around the hallway, he tried to find the source of that annoying noise. "What's this about? Please tell me." He begged, remembering the horrifying vision he saw earlier.
"There was a murder in the house today." The man explained in an even voice.
Laughing, he answered jokingly, "Yeah right. It was Steve and his throat was slashed." His laugh was almost hysterical, the absurdity of the situation finally breaking his fragile hold on sanity. The pounding in his head had started up again and he felt lightheaded and slightly nauseous.
The man glared at him and he folded his arms across his chest and demanded harshly, "And just what do you know about that?"
Staring at the man before him, his face drained of color and terror gripped his very being in a tight grip, "I'm..."
He never finished his sentence. Collapsing on the floor, he started to tremble uncontrollably, mumbling over and over again that he couldn't have known. The pain in his head was violently racking his body with convulsions and a blinding white light flashed in front of his blue eyes and he lost consciousness.
"Open up. Can you hear me? Are you all right?" A man's voice shouted through a closed door somewhere. "Answer me."
He slowly regained consciousness, the world changing from nightmares of colorless landscapes to the familiar surroundings of his room. A blanket was draped over his prone form and he could hear someone talking from the open doorway. Though he was drenched in sweat, he couldn't stop shivering. Wrapping the blanket tighter around his lean body, he managed to call out weakly, "Hello, is anyone there?"
The man quickly entered the room and stood at the foot of the bed. Looking down at the weakened boy, he said softly, "Take it easy."
"What happened?" He asked confusedly as he tried to sit up in the rumpled bed.
The man's face, before all plains and angles, was now changed into a compassionate face with kind eyes. The man smiled at him and explained, "You passed out. Do you remember?"
Realization slowly seeped into his clouded mind. He demanded, "Is he all right? Is he really gone?"
"Calm down son." The man said soothingly. "You have a very high fever. The paramedics are on the way."
Breaking into tears, he stammered, "I saw it. This morning I saw him dead. It was horrible."
"Did you watch it happen?" The man inquired as he stared intently at the weeping man.
Looking directly into the man's concerned eyes, he gripped the man's arm hard, "I was talking to him in the hall. I thought I was just sick, you know, some kind of fever dreams. I saw his face; he was begging me to tell him why. I didn't understand it, his throat was slashed and his head was bleeding. His eyes, so dead, so accusing. I could've saved him."
The man shook his head and stated, "Son, your sick. You're burning up with fever. It was nothing but a hallucination."
"No." He denied venomously. "It was a vision. I was supposed to save him, to help him. To stop him from dying and all I did was go to sleep. I loved him."
The man tried to calm down the distraught man saying, "It's not your fault. Sometimes bad things just happen. You can't blame yourself."
"I could've saved him." He declared, anger flashing in his eyes.
"No. It was his time to go." Came the soft reply. "How were you to know?"
He stared at the man with tears in his eyes. Eyes that were glazed and bloodshot. He was trembling all over and his face was contorted from the pain racking his body. Raising one arm to his head, he started screaming as somewhere in the background he heard someone banging on a door.
The man placed his hand on the boy's chest tenderly. He could tell the boy had a high temperature and it would more than likely kill him before the paramedics arrived. But inside the blue eyes he also saw the man fighting, desperately holding on to the threads of his mortality. This man would not give up without a fight.
"Hang on kid." The man commanded, hoping to give him some kind of hope. "Don't think about him. The paramedics are on the way."
"I saw the horror in his eyes. He knew what was going to happen. He watched as his own throat was slashed. He could feel the knife as it cut his skin. I could see it in his eyes. He knew." He sobbed almost incoherently into the arms of the man.
The man was a total loss. He had seen more than his share of things in all the years he had been working the job. But this was something that neither training nor experience could ever prepare one for. Each time was as difficult and painful as the time before. He thanked God he had not gotten callous over the years and that death still affected him deeply. He did what he could do to soothe the crying man. "It's going to be fine." He uttered, believing the words he spoke.
"Do you think he went to heaven?" He sobbed.
The man answered immediately, "Yes I do. All good people go to heaven Tobias. Just think about that. No more pain, no more suffering."
He could only partly focus on the words of the man. His entire conscious was racked with pain, making it hard to concentrate on anything but breathing. Plus whoever was pounding on that door was getting louder.
"No more pain." He groaned, a concept he couldn't understand. "Do you really believe that?"
"Yes." The man answered simply. "Heaven is a wonderful place. I hear that angels are beautiful and they sing forever. No more pain, no more war, no more killings. It's a paradise where each and every person has their own mansion and there will be no more sadness. Wouldn't you like that?"
"Do they have TV?" He asked through heavy breaths. "What about food?"
"Oh heaven has wonderful food. Any type of food you like." The man described as he held the young man tightly. He could feel the fever burning through the man. A layer of sweat already forming on his own body from the heat radiating off the man. But through all the hardship, Tobias still hung on with a determination that astonished the hardened man. Wiping the sweat from his eyes, the man asked, "What's your favorite food?"
Stammering through the chills, he answered weakly, "I love hot wings and beer."
Laughing a deep rich laugh, the man stated, "I have it on very good authority that heaven has the best hot wings in the universe. Do you like them hot?"
"Hotter the better." He smiled briefly before the pain returned more intense than before. Whispering he asked in a small voice, "Does God really hate fags?"
Tears started falling down the man's cheek, as he finally understood why Tobias was hanging on so determinedly. He replied confidently, "No. God does not hate homosexuals. How can a being that is nothing but love ever hate someone for falling in love. Just as God did not choose to love the human race, it just happened as he held his creation in his bosom. God smiles on anyone that finds true love."
"What's God like?"
"He's wonderful. He's kind and gentle. He loves us so much."
Looking down at the young man with great sorrow, he realized how much he hated this job. The pain of seeing this young man struggle to live was becoming unbearable as he started to thrash around weakly. He had to strengthen his grip on the young man to hold him from hurting himself.
He whispered, "I don't want to die alone. Don't let me die alone." He pleaded in a weak voice filled with determination.
"I'm not going anywhere." The man promised. "Did you know that no one dies alone?"
"What?" He slurred.
"Yeah that's right." The man answered through tears. "That's how much God loves us. When someone is about to die, God sends and angel to his side to comfort him and to escort him home."
He stared at the man in disbelief; "I don't see an angel."
The man smiled at the dying man and said, "You're not looking hard enough."
Tobias's eyes widened in wonder as he watched the man's face change. The stony face was gone, replaced by a face that held boundless love and compassion in its onyx eyes. He looked into that face and saw the wonders of heaven staring back at him. He could feel the love of God flowing through his creation, caressing him with love and comfort. The angel's wings unfurled from his heavenly body and wrapped around him in a gentle embrace. All the pain and suffering he had endured melted away like the coming of spring. He smiled and lifted a trembling hand to the angel's face.
The angel looked down at him and smiled, saying, "Come Tobias. It's time to come home."
He laughed and wrapped his arms around the angel's neck and left his earthly body behind. A brilliant light flashed and the angel shot to the heaven's carrying his charge safely in his arms. As they entered heaven, a chorus of angels lifted their voices in song that rang across the heavens. The song was one of joy and rejoicing for another soul had finally come home.
"He's gone." The paramedic said sadly to his partner as he fell back on his knees.
"What time is it?" The partner asked, sadly looking at the boy before him.
"What a shame. He can't be more than twenty-one." His partner stated as he studied the young man lying on the bed.
"It's tragic. But look at his face. His boyfriend said he heard screaming coming from his room but his face is so serene." He commented. "It doesn't look like he was in any pain at all. He even as a smile on his face."
"I know." His partner agreed, then added, "I wonder what he saw in the last seconds of his life."
The first paramedic covered the body with a sheet and busied himself with his instruments. There was nothing they could have done for the boy. He was dead before they had even arrived. His partner asked one of the officers first on the scene, "What was his name?"
The officer looked in his notebook saying, "Tobias Ritcher. His boyfriend, Steve Winters came over and heard the man screaming. After banging on the door for several minutes without getting an answer, he called 911." Shaking his head, continued, "By the time I arrived on scene, the screams had stopped. Can you tell me what happened?"
The first paramedic shrugged and answered, "I would guess he had an aneurysm. He probably died moments later."
His partner mused, "I wonder what went through his head the last moments of his life."
"Whatever it was, it left a smile on his face." The officer stated, putting away his notebook and adding, "I just hope I see whatever he saw when I die."
"Welcome to this special edition of World News Tonight where we'll be taking an in-depth look into one of the most beloved hero's of our time if not our most controversial figure of the century. Heralded by some as the savior of New York. This legendary hero of the Urban Wars disappeared one hundred years ago today on the eve of then President Clark's landmark address where he publicly admitted involvement in the coup that marked the downfall of the United States of America and opened the door for the New Order of Humanity."
"We'll take you back to the humble town of Lodi California where it is reputed that he spent his formative years in the school for the gifted under the tutelage of Reverend Carmichael. Then through his short but amazing military career where he served under General Hastings defending his country through both the Urban Wars and the Food Riots that followed America's second Revolution. We'll take you through his last mission where he allegedly murdered all seven members of his team and his subsequent court martial where it was decided to publicly execute the traitor for his crimes. Through old footage not shown in over ninety years, we'll show you his miraculous escape and how he became the pivotal man that single-handedly ended the plot that nearly toppled the United Nations. Whereby ending a fifty year reign of a secret organization who's only goal was total pacification of the world."
"Tonight we take you on a journey of a man destined to become a hero. A man that loved his country and the belief that all beings were created equal. A man who did not hesitate to answer the call when greedy politicians threatened this belief bent on power and world domination. A man who fought and help establish the very government that a few years later would turn their back on him and accuse him of traitorous acts against humanity. A man who stood up and fought for his ideals when they were taken from him so harshly and wrongfully by the country he loved more than life itself. A man who changed the world because he dared to challenge his circumstances and fight when all hope was lost. This man who arguably was the single most influential human that ever lived. The myth, the legend, the man behind the name. This is the true story of Padin Fain."
Coming Soon Exclusively to Nifty
Something Like Human
A novel by FireAngel
Copyright©2004 Burning Angel
All emails will be promptly answered at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding this story or others I have written. Like the burning of the sun, Angel.