CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN

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Even before I opened my eyes, I knew something was wrong

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Even before I opened my eyes, I knew something was wrong.

Grandma Leanne—being the fashionably devoted Christian she was—would often describe Heaven as the perfect place. She would speak of blooming gardens with marbled fountains and endless lines of cedar trees that outlined the borders and faded out into thick, wooded sections, giving you the impression of a never ending haven.

Along with the awe-striking architectural descriptions of grand palaces, she would also fantasize for hours about the different hues of blue in the sky, and how they varied into deep oranges and reds. They were supposed to give out a homey sense of forgiveness and completion, one that was said to invade whomever got lucky enough to get there.

I never believed any of it.

Not that I blamed her for doing so, either. She always found the most honest comfort in her Bible and restless faith, and no one ever felt like contradicting her theories. That was not to say that whenever she went on and on about how the purified waters of God  flowed through the open green areas, eddying around the twigs of the fallen tree branches near the river banks of Paradise, I would sometimes dare and ask her how much of it she was actually capable of believing.

Now more than ever.

My environment didn't feel like Heaven. There were no birds chirping or water running down a magic stream but pain enclosing my body instead. Blurred shadows danced around the moment I forced my eyes open, but I was only able to catch the contorted grimace of the broken down Christ staring down at me—almost as if he was lamenting my poorly thought-through decisions all the way up to this moment.

He looked slanted, as well as the rafter next to him. The world had toppled over and there were no more traces of Roy hanging on to the bars, only a louder and clearer downpour falling through the massive hole atop it. I realized the chilling waves that ran through my body were due to the coldness of the floor, and I winced at the uneven surface digging into my lower back.

Suddenly I envied the marvelous thrones of gold Grandma Leanne described. They sounded a lot more comfortable than this.

Noises around me were muffled by a high-pitched buzz, and it was hard to focus around the ache coming from the right side of my head. Luckily, the shrill ebbed away slowly, allowing me to catch the beating of constant, heavy drops against the metal bars and marbled floors, as well as the faint echo of voices coming from all directions.

More people were inside the church.

Focusing all my intent on making out the words closest to me, I held my breath and listened. There were multiple, distinct voices, most of them hollow and barely audible. For a moment, I thought they were murmuring inside my mind instead, but the sounds became a clear, low chant.

I tried to readjust my body in order to get a proper look at the source, but quickly realized how futile the intent on itself was when I had to bite my lip to keep from crying out. Sharp pain lanced through my head and colorful spots flashed in front of my eyes.

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