Angela needed to get home and collect her thoughts, or at least that was still her plan. She was not ready just yet, hesitant to enter a world that she shared with Edith for the better part of a century. This was their sanctuary, the one place they could be themselves without risking an inquisition. Even in paradise, there were expectations. Most of the dearly departed were free to do as they pleased, so long as it was contained within their pocket of reality. For lack of a better term, people saw and experienced what they desired.
The fable about the Tower of Babel proved to be prophetic in many ways. People were often unable to see eye to eye, discord brought upon by elements that set them apart, and that ultimately sowed the seeds of conflict. Most chose to forgo the attempt at peaceful coexistence in favour of living within a dreamworld of their own making.
Angela was just as guilty as the others, inhabiting a world where she was free to run through the halls of the Tower. She had been so young when she died that her idea of Heaven was playing hide and seek with other girls. For the longest time, that had been her whole reason for being: trapped in a world of fun and games, all the while, blissfully ignorant about the true nature of reality.
It was Edith who opened her eyes to the truth. Being summoned to the mortal realm had been the lesson. For the first time since death, she realised there was a world beyond her own, beyond the veil of death. In a way, Angela had always known there was something special about Edith, since only true love could have summoned her from beyond the grave.
When Angela set eyes on her love in her adult form, she knew immediately who it was. Ever since being summoned, she maintained a vigil over the mortal realm. Edith may have been thirty years her elder by then, but all of the signs were there: eyes with a gleam that never faded, the softness of those lips, and a smile that spoke volumes on how much Edith missed her.
Edith never did learn the truth. Angela never dared to let it slip that she had been waiting for decades. Why risk hurting her? Who needed to know that in a bid to hang onto life, they also managed to reveal the depth of deception that surrounded their life?
From then on, Angela shared her little world with Edith. It had been an adjustment at first because their love was considered taboo. For Edith, she was willing to do anything, including breaching the gates of Hell just to be in her arms. For better or for worse, Edith became her life, and neither had regrets.
“Here you go, little girl,” a man said extending his hand.
He was holding the largest cone of ice cream that she ever set eyes upon. It was a massive waffle cone adorned with at least five heaping scoops of ice cream. Her favouritest in the whole wide world too, vanilla, but dipped in caramel and covered with sprinkles.
Angela had not realised that she had reverted back to her childhood form. She looked up at the man, and found that the view of his face was marred by the sun.
“Thank you,” Angela said excitedly, so much so, that her hands were shaking.
“The pleasure is all mine, child,” the man said.
Even though he leaned towards her, the sun remained at his back. Angela eagerly grabbed the cone and eyed the confection with wide eyes.
“Remember,” the man added. “You need to keep your strength up because you’ll need your wits about you.”
Angela looked up from her cone to answer, but only the blinding light of the sun remained. There were no traces of the man anywhere which was unusual in itself. Outside of their own bubbles, souls did not possess the ability to manipulate their environment.
“Did I miss something?” Angela wondered.
She shrugged and continued to devour her ice cream. The creamy delicacy disappeared in chunks since she preferred to bite into the treat instead of licking it away. Gluttony may have been one of the seven deadly sins, but how could anyone turn away such a feast?
She consumed the ice cream while she walked. When finished with her treat, Angela found herself facing the door to their little kingdom. Before the distraction, Angela had not been sure she would find her way here, her mind unwilling to face reality.
Angela sighed, closed her eyes, and reached for the handle. Just as her slender fingers were about to grasp the knob, it opened from the inside.
The sound startled Angela forcing her to open her eyes. She barely managed to focus before freezing in place and looking stupefied. She remained like this for a minute before collapsing to the ground.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!