“That’s okay. Let’s go.” I say as I take a step forward. He holds his hand out to me and I take it. I look back at my family one more time as they slowly start to fade away. A white light surrounds me and then a sudden darkness for just a moment until I hear birds chirping. I open my eyes and see my family standing there smiling at me.
“Mom? Dad? Trevor? Where am I?” I ask them. They give me a confused look before pointing to a lake.
“We’re waiting for you to get ready to go swimming.” My brother tells me in an annoyed tone. I look back at my family again and see that they are all in swim suits. I quickly pull off my shorts and t-shirt to reveal my swimsuit and smile before running ahead and jumping off the end of the dock into the lake. My brother cannon balls right next to me and I laugh a bit.
“This is so much fun!” I yell at him as we both tread water. He laughs at me.
“You say that every year!” He yells back. Every year? I look around again and realize that this is one of my favorite memories. I blink for a second and when I open my eyes the lake and my family are gone and I start to feel sad again but then a light appears and I walk forward. I see a door as I make my way closer to the light and I slowly push it open to reveal a woman holding her hand out to me.
“Welcome, I have been sent to escort you.” She tells me. I nod and follow her through the door. Grass starts to appear under our feet and trees start to grow. I look back and see that the door is gone now and there is only a blue sky.
“Excuse me, could you possibly tell me where I am?” I ask the woman. She smiles as she lays her hand against something invisible. She gives a small push and another door opens and my name appears on it.
“You’re in Heaven. This is where you will be staying. It’s where you will sleep or rest when you are tired of seeing the other people on the outside.” She explains. I nod and look around at the world again.
“I guess they weren’t lying when they said that Heaven is perfect.” I say. The woman doesn’t smile but she nods her head.
“Of course. There is one more thing, if you ever get tired of seeing the people in the outside we can recreate your family and your best memory so that you don’t ever have to interact with other people. And you are allowed to search for people but only in your section, you cannot travel between the dimensions to find lost family members or anything like that, if you are caught you will be warned the first time and the second time you will be kicked, we have no tolerance for breaking rules here. Do you understand?” The woman asks. I nod and look into my room.
“Thank you for showing me here.” I tell her. She nods and then disappears into thin air. “I thought angels were supposed to be nice and helpful.” I muse out loud as I walk over to a bench in the outside world. I see an older couple walking down the sidewalk talking and laughing, there are some children on a playground, and now that I have seen my door I can see all of the rest of them surrounding this little park in a square making it feel more claustrophobic than it did before. Most everyone looks happy but there definitely aren’t as many people out here as there are rooms surrounding the park. I stand up from the bench and approach one of the doors, I knock twice and wait patiently until the door slowly creaks open revealing a guy about my age.
“What do you want?” He grumbles at me. I smile and hold out my hand.
“I’m Savannah.” He glares at my hand but opens the door and shakes it anyway.
“Gavin.” He tells me. I nod with a smile still on my face.
“Why are you staying in your room? Don’t you want space?” I ask him. He looks around the small square with raised eyebrows.
“Space? This is too claustrophobic for me. I have a lot more space in my own Heaven in my room. How did you end up here anyway?” He asks. I shrug my shoulders.
“I guess I was murdered, I don’t remember it at all.” I tell him. He gives me a confused look. “I found out that I was murdered after I was already dead for a week. I guess I was just trying to hold on too tight to my family. It felt nice to let go enough to be able to come here but it’s still a bit sad for me.” I explain. He nods.
“Well, I died of a drug overdose almost twenty years ago and I have almost completely forgotten exactly how it happened since being here. But my Heaven is nice and I can’t die again so I can do whatever I want.” He tells me. I nod and try to look over his shoulder and into his room but he moves into my line of vision. “You don’t want to look in there. You’re probably better to stick to yourself and not be nosy, the angels are always watching us.” He warns me. I nod again and take a step back. He smiles as he retreats back into his dark room and I am left staring at his door. I look around at the sky.
“I wonder where they are that they can always watch us.” I say. Then, a siren starts going off and a group of four men comes running in through a big door in the corner of the square room. They are running right for me and I quickly get out of the way as they stop in front of Gavin’s door. One of the men knocks.
“Sir, we need you to open up.” He says politely. The door opens again and Gavin gets dragged out by two of the men and the other two run into his room and drag out another person.
“This is the second time, Gavin. Do you remember what happens once you’ve gotten a warning?” The woman who had shown me the way earlier is back and standing over Gavin with a dark look in her eyes.
“A one way ticket downstairs, ma’am.” He sneers. The woman glares at him and then moves her head slightly telling the men to take him away. The woman turns to me with a softer but still stern face.
“Thank you for helping us catch him. He has done this once before and we didn’t catch it for years. It took a shorter time this time thanks to you.” She says. I tilt my head slightly to the side.
“What did he do?” I ask.
“I cannot tell you. Please enjoy your time here and let us know if you need anything.” She says. I nod as she disappears again. I look around once more before deciding to just stay in my room. I close the door and instantly the old memory of the lake shows up again. I smile and strip down to my swim suit again before jumping in and splashing my brother. It’s so much fun that I lose track of time until a knock sounds on my door.
“Miss, we need you to open up.” I hear a man’s voice and I quickly get out of the lake and everything from the memory disappears as I open the door to reveal the same four men that had taken Gavin away. Two of them grab me by the arms.
“What? What’s going on? I didn’t do anything.” I tell them. The woman appears again and glares down at me.
“You’ve been in isolation for a while haven’t you?” She asks. I look up at her in question.
“I’ve only been in there for a few hours. I was going to come back out to get some fresh air at some point.” I explain.
“You have been in your room for 20 years, Savannah. We have reason to believe that you have been hiding someone in your room.” She tells me. The men that went into my room walk back out holding a young girl by the back of her gown and sets her down next to me. The girl lifts her head and I gasp, the person looking back at me…is me.
“What is this?” I ask as I try to pull away from the men that are holding me down.
“This is the part of your soul that separated from you when you decided to only keep that one memory. She is the part of you that remembers everything else and you are the part that only remembers the lake. This is a warning, you cannot keep another person in your room.” She tells me.
“But we are the same person.” I tell her.
“No, you are two different people at least according to what we can see and that is not allowed. If you would like to keep the one memory, you will have to let go of her and if you would like to keep all of your memories you should go away and let her stay.” She tells me. I look over at myself and think hard. “Let them go.” She instructs the men and we are both let up. I look around the outside world and see that it is still the same bright blue square that it was before. I look at myself and then back at my room. I feel tears well up in my eyes as I make my final decision and close the door to my room, choosing to lose that one memory as opposed to losing everything else and slowly everything comes flooding back to me, all of my sports, how I left my family, everything and I sit on the bench under the tree again.