Time passed by and nothing changed, so Clara wavered between the presumption of madness and sanity. Each argument, when carried to its conclusion, could be used to prove either side.
Eventually, she gave up on this never-ending battle of wills, closed her eyes, and began to meditate. Given the lack of distraction, it was only fitting to relax her body and mind. Once her heart rate slowed, Clara began to recite a prayer.
“What’s the harm in meditating?” Clara asked. “None at all,” she answered.
“Quite correct,” a voice boomed.
Clara fought against her desire to confront the voice. If it waited this long to make its presence known, then she should not risk rolling back any gain.
“I’m Clara Grey,” she said.
A weak opening move, but she had no precedents on how to approach such a situation. How did people normally introduce themselves? They provided their identity and waited for a reply.
“Ah yes,” the man said. “Just as my register states.”
“Saint Peter?” Clara asked.
“Of course, child,” Saint Peter replied. “You can open your eyes now.”
When Clara complied, she found herself in a world of dreams. Clouds, angels frolicking in a bright blue sky, golden gates, and a wise old man behind a podium looking through a ledger. It was perfect, too perfect.
“Had I guessed Osiris, Aeacus, or Freyja, would you have replied accordingly?” Clara asked.
The old man quirked a brow while his deep blue eyes twinkled. Even now, she saw that he was concealing a slight smirk.
“Of course, child. That is, if you had been Egyptian, Greek or Norse,” Saint Peter said. “Freyja would have been proud of her latest shieldmaiden.”
“To ease my transition?” Clara asked.
“In a way,” Saint Peter replied. “Unlike your faith, death has always been a part of life.”
“Will I be judged?” Clara asked.
Saint Peter chuckled then said, “You were judged before you reached these gates.”
Clara’s eyes widened in surprise. While technically an answer, it did not address the how. Did that matter?
“You were expecting different surroundings?” Saint Peter asked.
Clara shrugged because she honestly had never thought about it. If one followed the tenets of a Franciscan monk, then Clara was far from immaculate. Her list of sins was rather extensive.
Saint Peter flipped a few pages. He appeared to be pensive as though he were absorbing a large amount of new information quickly.
“Projections indicate that you might have lived for thousands of years had you accepted Hecate’s proposal,” Saint Peter said.
Clara remained quiet. The idea that she could have lived a long life if she acquiesced to that goddess was astounding. She had been so certain in her convictions that she would end up as a chew toy to be tossed out once threadbare.
“You were given a sixty percent chance of ending up a goddess in your own right,” Saint Peter added.
“What happens in the other forty?” Clara asked.
Saint Peter cringed before he said, “Less than desirable.”
“Just ducky,” Clara said.
“Although, you did cut short Drusilla’s forecasted lifespan by two thousand years,” Saint Peter said. “I can also assure you that she won’t be passing by these gates.”
It was Clara’s turn to quirk a brow, even if the news did not come as a surprise. Although, it was still a point of pride that Drusilla’s reign of terror warranted a different locale.
“You only talk of probabilities,” Clara said. “Why is that?”
Saint Peter leaned in nice and close from his podium before he said, “Free will tends to wreak havoc on predicting the future.”
Until now, Clara had equated omnipotence with all knowing. Admittedly, it would be difficult to account for over a billion people on the planet. Accounting for every action and thought accurately over time meant there were no random elements to life. In hindsight, Clara thought that reality would turn out to be quite boring.
“Were those two choices the reason I am here?” Clara asked.
“You were judged on the whole of your life,” Saint Peter said. “Those were merely recent highlights.”
The gates opened, but Clara did not move. She was not quite finished with this conversation.
Sensing this, Saint Peter said, “Those highlights did not tip the balance of where you’d end up. However they did a great deal in determining your role in the afterlife.”
Clara looked puzzled when she said, “Role? What role?”
“All in due time,” Saint Peter said while directing her through the gates.
So Clara smiled, curtseyed smartly, and walked on through the gates. She wondered what she would find on the other side.
“All in due time,” Clara said.
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!