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Welcome To Here
“Riley, oh my gosh, I had the most horrifying dream ever. This time instead of solving the case of the rape victim, I was the rape victim myself. I was the one stripped of my clothing and dignity. I need to stop watching Law and Order before bed time.” Chloe reached down to pet her dog, but felt a hard surface where she lied. “Riley…..?” Chloe started to get worried, so she opened her eyes from her dream forsaken world, wishing to see her pink covered bedroom, but was greeted by a classroom.
Is this a dream, or did I seriously fall asleep in class.” The boy to the left of Chloe, wearing baggy denim jeans, a white tee shirt, sporting a long shaggy cut, a normal looking boy, answered Chloe.
“No, this is no dream you are having and you are not in school at the moment. Would you have a wrinkly, humped back, eighty year old student, sitting in the front row at your school?” He pointed to an elderly fellow sitting a few desks down from Chloe. Chloe shook her head no in response. They boy spoke in an even, honest tone, so she got the impression he was telling the truth. “May I welcome you to Here?”
“Where’s here? Where in the hell are we?” Chloe started to get a nervous expression on her face.
“Speaking of hell, Here is located in between heaven and hell, nearer to hell though. People apparate to Here when they have sinned a great terrible amount and don’t remember it. Once you figure ”
Wh Wh Wha What? Yo..you..you…you’re crazy,” Chloe stammered, but deep down she believed him. “I didn’t do anything so ghastly to win a one way train ticket to hell.” Chloe got up, trembling, and started for the door. “I don’t believe you.” Another lie. Before Chloe had a chance to leave, the boy grabbed her forearm. He grasped her shoulders and turned her directly facing him. Then he cupped her face with his soft, big masculine hands, and pulled her close. Face to face with the boy, able to feel his light warm breath run down her neck, Chloe finally got to see into the eyes of the mysterious boy. Right when their eyes interlocked, she knew he was not an ordinary boy. His eyes were icy blue, yet they filled her with warmth and compassion.
“Chloe, you have to trust me. The boy released her face and intertwined his hands into hers, melding them as one. “This is a serious matter. Your insanity could be at stake,” the boy said in an earnest sincere way. “The only way to escape from this chthonic paradise is to figure out why you were sent here. Once you do, you will either enter Heaven or Hell. It’s all up to the Creator. Try to think back and remember. Try to remember pastimes, old friends, family. You don’t want to be here forever, like some, unable to pass on.” The boy released Chloe from his grasp, yet she still walked out the door, leaving the boy to eat his own words.
Chloe walked the hallways with the additional, condemned to fatal futures, gawking as others passed by. Chloe noticed not all met the criteria of a stereotypical villain. Not all had yellow tint teeth, a long scraggly beard, and grimy clothing. Some were parents dressed in jeans reaching their belly buttons and in penny loafers, fat-hunched over, sporting red hats, cat ladies, camouflaged men displaying purple hearts around their necks, and then her. Most just stalked the halls, a dark shadow hovering over head, or were slumped against the wall, sulking in despair.
Till the end of time, which felt like to Chloe, she moped through the hallways, head bent, arms crossed, and shoulders hunched over. Finally Chloe didn’t have the will to maneuver through the sullen, never ending hall. She gave up all hope, plopped down into a corner, and that is when they blubbering began.
“I can’t go on like this.” Chloe muttered to herself. “I have to get home. I just have to.” She slammed her balled up fist down her soft, smooth shaven legs in determination. “I can’t disappear off the face of this earth leaving Mom and Dad on a sour note. I never should have yelled at them like that. At least not Mom, all she did was grovel in the presence of Dad. I hope they are not missing me too much.” Then the tears started streaming down her white porcelain face once again.
Chloe wiped the tears from her face and finally got the nerve to get up from her hunched over position, to begin her quest, to find out why she was sent here.
This time Chloe trudged down the halls with a mission. She analyzed and interviewed every single person she encountered. Chloe would interrupt their wallowing to get the answers she was seeking, do you know why you are here or have you had a past criminal record?
“Pardon me sir, may I borrow some of your time?’ she asked an older, burly fellow. He grunted, pushed her aside, and stormed off. Some of the doomed would chat away, enjoying Chloe’s company, while others would turn up their noses in distaste.
When the end of the day was drawing near, Chloe was still where she started off, not knowing. She slumped to the floor, back sliding down the rocky stone cold wall, with utter devastation seeping through all her pores. Chloe had just curled up into a fetal position, with despair written all over her face, when she noticed someone approaching her.
“Oh my God, Chloe, are you alright?” It was Chloe’s best friend, Sarah, since pre-k all the way up to middle school. Yet once high school rolled around they had a falling out period. Chloe hadn’t talked to Sarah since. Her voice was filled with sincere worry.
“Sarah, is it really you?” Chloe asked, confusion filled her voice. “I was just thinking about you. You always did know how to get me out of a tight niche.”
“It’s me in the flesh,” Sarah said.
“ Why wouldn’t I be okay, besides for being stuck here in this hell hole? Chloe gave Sarah a perplexed look. “You seem to be in the same boat as I, so why single me out?”
“Chloe look down, it’s your leg. You’re bleeding.” Sure enough, Sarah had the right to be concerned. Chloe had a gash, starting from the knee, going all the way down the leg, 2 inches deep, and trickling blood down Chloe’s right leg and dripping onto the floor.
“How in God’s name did I get this?” Chloe said in a startled tone. “This wasn’t there before.” She tried putting pressure on it with her hands, but the blood still kept spewing out. Sarah got down on her hands and knees, took of her jacket, and pressed it against Chloe’s wound.
“I was sent here to help guide you back to your path. You’ve been hot on the trail for a while now, but then you ventured from it, just like Red Riding Hood. Chloe, you don’t need any ones help. You can do this all on your own. Try to think back and remember what your last memory was of?”
“The last thing I can recall is anger. Anger, which felt like fire, burning up my insides and out,” Chloe got a far off look to her eyes. “I had never felt like that before. Dad and I were arguing about my future, which is always the dinner table conversation. I was telling him of my career choice. I decided to become a Detective/CSI, yet Dad didn’t approve of it. He wants me to become what any young woman should be in his opinion, a homemaker, not the one wearing the pants in the family. He has decided I will get married right out of high school, have 4 kids by the time I am thirty, and should live obeying my husbands every whim. The last thing I said to him was, it’s my future, my life, there is no way you can control it, or me.
“Anything else?” Sarah asked, hoping Chloe would answer.
“No, that’s all I can remember. I can only see back to the last conversation Dad and I had. My memory ends with me storming off to my bedroom, shaking with rage, right before Dad had a chance to slap some sense into, which is what he usually does when I or Mom don’t quite fit his itinerary . “That’s it. That’s all I can remember,” tears started to well-up in Chloe’s eyes. “Will I never be able to go home?”
“I guess I could help you a little. If I get in trouble though, it’s your entire fault,” Sarah said with a sigh. “You, you,” Sarah paused. “You got that gash from your father, who in turn was trying to defend him self, and your mother from you. But the knife didn’t save him in the end. Even the slightest fights, when wrath is unleashed, can turn into so much more.” Chloe shocked to hear that she was a blood thirsty killer, and murdered her parents, started flailing her arms and taking her sadness and anger out on Sarah.
“I would never do such a thing. I could never brutally kill an innocent being, let alone my parents,” Chloe explained in shouts. “Once I was old enough to realize what Dad was doing to my mother and my self, abusing us, I made a vow to never practice violence. I promised to never lift a finger in rage against someone.” Chloe paused, taking a deep breath. “I guess Dad’s habits rubbed off on me without my knowledge, but I took them a little farther than him. He only hit, I committed homicide. “I love them…..I really did love them,” she whispered, as softly as slippered feet walking across the floor board. Chloe’s vision started to blur, her world started to wobble back and forth, then she found her forehead up against the cold, hard, tile floor. That was the last thing she remembered.
Chloe awoke, weeping in the strong, sturdy arms of the boy, pressed up against his muscular chest. He cradled her like a new born babe, rocking her while singing a soft lullaby, protecting her from the outside world. “Golden slumbers kiss your eyes. Smiles awake you when you rise. Sleep little baby, do not cry, and I will sing you a lullaby.” “Shh…everything is going to turn out alright. You’ll be just fine. I will keep you safe, the boy whispered, softly into her ear.
“How do you know? My parents were slaughtered, and I was responsible.” Chloe tried to choke down the sobs, but just couldn’t. The boy leaned down towards Chloe’s face. He pushed back a strand of blond hair, out of place, covering her eyes. Their eyes met, locked for one moment, energy surging, till he broke the connection to place a soft, tender kiss on Chloe’s forehead.
“Because….. I am all knowing.”
“Who are you?” Chloe asked yearning for an answer.
They boy answered saying simply “I am.”