Matthew-El (an angel) overhears Sam (a probably dead human) describing God.

Sam was calling over to another group of souls at the next table; reaching out to a huddle of rather terrified newcomers stealing furtive glances over at the angels, and alleviating their fears with a constant stream of Sarah’s finest ales. In an apparent move to help the fearful newcomers feel at ease, Sam began noisily moving the two white metal tables together with a screeching scraping on the stone cobbles. Drinks spilled and slopped with the move. Ham slapped one of them on the back, and they erupted in a chorus of Delilah.

“So, come on, come on, tell us then. What does God look like?” one of the newcomers asked with one eye closed.

Another interrupted loudly: “Nonononono, no, what I want to know is, who was right then, eh? Eh? The Christians or the Jews? Or the Muslims? Or the, erm, the Hare Krishnas? Or, no wait, I ‘spose it was the Buddhists then, because of this festival thing? Can’t have been the Atheists?”

Raen watched Sam put his glass down and look at each of them earnestly.

Ascension Denied Sam Paladin
Sam Paladin: Probably dead, but nobody’s quite sure.

“The fact of the matter is, dudes, the fact of the matter is that nobody knows. Nobody knows!” He threw his arms out and embraced the men on either side. “But at least here we all know we don’t know, whereas on Earth most of us all thought we knew, and those who didn’t know didn’t know that they knew they didn’t know. They didn’t find that out until they had been here for a while. Now we all know we don’t know. Even the angels.”

The newcomers raised their eyebrows in admiration and went “aaahhhh,” and Ham nodded and patted his buddy on the back. “That’s profound, my friend,” he slurred.

“But fear not! I’m not saying we don’t know anything,” Sam continued, wiping up some spilled beer with his tie-dyed bandana. “We know some things. Like, well, for example we know there’s a heaven and a hell on either side of us, you know: Os and Fo. But we don’t know, you know, what’s in them, you know?” Sam gulped some more beer.

Matthew-El grinned at Raen-El and shook his head. “Isn’t he eloquent? And if I could deliver just one message to my eternal dependents, it would be Sam’s. Out of all the humans I’ve protected across Earth since the beginning of time, let’s face it, if any one of those who strictly followed the arbitrarily established rituals of their chosen doctrines took an introspective microscope to their beliefs before they died they would’ve found that what they professed to be a rock hard conviction was actually more like an idle notion.”

“Yeah, and if they’d all compared notes they’d have found that idle notion to have been the same amongst them all,” said Raen, frowning as he stared at Sam. Who was that strange human? Raen had an unsettling feeling that he knew him from somewhere.

Matt clinked his glass against Raen’s and watched the jolly party across the pond.

Ascension Denied Matthew-El
An angel on a mission

“…but what people don’t know…” Sam was telling his friends, his eyes glazed and half closed under exaggeratedly raised eyebrows. “…is that to find out what’s in them it would behoove seekers of this pocket full of marbles between here and there to travel. And that is a journey!”

“Can’t be done,” hiccupped Ham.

“Every road can be trodden, or it wouldn’t have been laid,” slurred Sam, puffing out his chest and jabbing at it with his thumb. “Trodden it my very self, I’m sure! Oh, it’s a Dark road though; you’d need a torch of the Greatest Light you could imagine—”

“—a flashlight,” interrupted Ham.


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