Written by: Austin Dreifus (10)

Consciousness blasted back into my body. I felt energy starting to trickle back into me. My eyes squinted against the luminescent, intense, light. I felt hollow and cold. I sat up, even though my body screamed in protest. My head swam, jumbling my thoughts and making my eyes swirl. Then all of a sudden it felt like I was shot with with a bullet filled with adrenaline.  Energy bursted into every system and cell in my very being. I shot up off the ground, I shook the last little bit of exhaustion out of my head. I felt like I got hit by a truck full of confusion and panic, despite my seemingly endless flow of energy. The world around me was black and gray. The grass around me looked ashen but felt lush with life. The trees danced but were shades of gray. The only thing that was emitting light was a white light tinted with yellow and gold. I looked at my surroundings and felt completely stunned. My once apaling vision that made the world a walking blur without prescribed glasses, was know a perfect clear view. I saw gray precipitation dripping off leaves. I saw every stick moving out of the corner of my eye. I saw the light in front of me, it was shimmering and fluctuating like a raging star. I practically smelt the life and different aromas of the various flowers and leaves. I could hear small drops of rain sliding down leaves, gently sploshing onto the blades of ashen grass. I heard the slight crackle of sticks hitting one another and the thumping hearts of small creatures scurrying in the brush. I felt the most alive that I have ever felt. Then all of the sudden the small glowing orb, roared to life it seemed as if it grew in size. It transformed from a circle to a rectangle, like a doorway. The white turned into a complete orange and yellow color. I felt the heat intensify even from about 15 ft away, the glare was blaring. I felt a presence or essence, urging me on, pulling me to it. I looked at the strange light hard. It was beautiful but destructive it was in perfect balance between welcoming but terrifying.  I fell into a trance like state. Captivated by its intense beauty, and started walking towards it without a second thought. Once I got about 2 feet away I finally snapped out of the trance. But when i tried to stop,to my shock I kept moving toward it. It was like a invisible rope was pulling me to the strange light. I tried to go limp and fall to the ground but it just accelerated my ever impending doom. A boom of white light tore into my irises. My ears rang furiously and for a split second I felt my body float, making my back arch. Then all of a sudden, as soon as I processed that I was defying gravity, I was yanked forward. After I was abruptly crashed into the ground by the unseen force my eyes started to clear. I was struck with confusion at what I saw. I was in some sort of white abyss it seemed. Nothing had color, it was just white moving rays with absolute nothingness all around. Than as my eyes shifted behind me, I became filled with astonishment. There was this beautiful arched gate. It had a white and black swirling marbled pattern. It was a symmetrical pattern of perfection, it looked breathtaking. I started walking forward eager to inspect the masterpiece up close. When I reached the piece of perfection I started to inspect every inch of it. Than to my surprise, there was a form of hieroglyphics ingrained into the arch that made the Egyptian Hieroglyphics look simple. Than as I studied and looked at the arch more intensely, I spotted images of what appeared to be angels fighting. I could not comprehend it. The angels had a hard, fierce, determined gaze, unlike the affectionate, perceptive ,carresive, love filled gaze depicted in the bible and movies. They were covered in blood and core fighting demons in flight as well as other malevolent looking angels that were black, red or dark purple winged. The tapestries of the many savage battles enthralled me. I was glued in place, analyzing each glorious battle. “ Hello young one.” a deep bass filled voice of power said behind me. I spun around in shock, and what I saw  made me dizzy with surprise. There was a very tall, at least six- eight, sinewy, brawny being with power rippling off him in waves. He had a pale, elongated face with white winter hair and mint green stars for eyes. His eyes seemed to penetrate my very being down to my core. I felt his probing stare examine me, it felt like he was seeing every sin and right I have done since I was a fetus. I felt very unnerved, “Who are you? Where am I?” I asked with what seemed to my annoyance a small voice. He gave me a smile that seemed cold and bored, like he got those questions a thousand times a day. “My name is Raleigh, as for your other questions, that will be answered in well due time. “ he said blankly. That rather irritated me, “ Or you could tell me now, I don't like surprises very much.” I said anxious to know what was going on. Raleigh just rolled his eyes, “ Look kid it is not my place, nor interest to tell you a thing. I am just here to transport you.” he said without interest. As he spoke to my horror and astonishment, Raleigh's back furled inward as he jumped into the air. While in midair, the sound of bones crunching and expanding occurred then as soon as it started giant wings exploded out of his back. It was like the wings were just waiting right under the skin patiently for his call to come forth. Raleigh's wings were stunning, they were at least 4 feet long and almost as wide as his body by his shoulders but thinned out to a sharp point at the end, it looked like it could impale someone. The feathers were long, elastic, and firm looking but seemed like the reflected light off them. The feathers that hung off the bottom looked like they could cut steel and be miniature swords if ripped off. But the most noticeable and eye grabbing detail was Raleigh's wings, they were violet with white stripes. They were absolutely gorgeous, “ You...your a bird-man thing?” I asked starstruck. Raleigh flinched, like I kicked his ego” What! No I am not a bird, I am a angel you blasphemous fool!” he said mortified. I tried and failed to hold back a smile. Raleigh huffed with annoyance and in one fluid motion, jumped into a backflip over me and grabbed my shoulders then shot off the ground before I could even protest. We blasted through the gate and in a matter of moments the white abyss faded from view. It was like the gate was a portal to a different realm full of life and vibrance. Because after a few minutes of flying in the air, a plethora of rocky, jagged peaks and forested land and rolling hills, that were full of autumn leaves.  Which was weird, because it was in the middle of summer, so they should be completely green. Than it seemed as fast as it appeared it became out of sight. Then we flew low over a shimmering lake of light blue, crystal clear water that dropped off into bumpy rapids. I instantly fell in love with this alluring landscape, wherever it was. Then all of a sudden the peaceful, tranquil flight turned into a complete and sudden rollercoaster( fun fact I hate roller coasters!) as we veered to the left suddenly and did a complete dive bomb. I started to panic as we continued to plummet towards what appeared to be the ground. I closed my eyes, waiting for the impending doom awaiting me. But it never came, I squinted my eyes at first, than fully opened them. We were accelerating through a tunnel, the intens wind felt like it was ripping my skin off. Than right when it was becoming too much to bare, right when I thought I would become deaf and dumb from the screams of wind. Everything abruptly dispersed, it was like we were under the land we flew over recently. All around us were puffy, pink, and white clouds. It looked like the sun was rising and shining but I could not spot where the source of the light was. “ Uh so, where's the land?” I asked dumbfoundedly. He looked down to where he was holding my by my shoulders, “ Up there, we are under Litherail “ he said simply like it was oh so casual to have a sky under the friggin land. Than ever so slowly a building a building that seemed to be made up from dreams and mythology appeared in view. It was massive, it looked like a church, college hybrid. It had at least 5 stories and a massive courtyard that looked longer than a football field. In the middle of the courtyard there was 3 colossus towers with long sharp spires. The two on the left and right were at least a hundred feet tall, there slick and elegant made of ebony and littered with windows. The other was all white and at least 50 feet taller than the twin towers on the left and right. Thant there was 4 smaller towers on each corner of the massive squared building made of cedar wood and stone. The size of the towers looked mediocre to the 3 massive ones in the courtyard though. The rest of the building seemed to be built out of polished stone and white marble. After I was done marveling over the building I realized that the exquisite building was on a thin but very long and wide piece of land. It seemed to be in the middle the plot of land. But there was no telling how long the land actually was, this place was full of surprises thus far. Than the true elegance was spotted, it was a statue under the land, appearing to hold the land and the building up. The statues face was half a grimace the other half was smiling. It was all made of white stone with the rest of its body hidden beneath the mass of clouds. “ This is absolutely breathtaking.” i stated breathlessly stunned.  He gave a small, sly small, “ Kid, you haven’t seen anything yet.” he said soberly. Then without warning he dove right above the ground, then barley slowing dropped me, swirled around and without a word shot back off into the sea of clouds. “ Hey! Wait come back! What am I supposed to do now?” I yelled in annoyance. “ Hello Eridian, why are you yelling?” a soft musical voice sounded behind me. I twirled around and was instantly astounded, the girl in front of me was striking. She seemed to be 17 or so, around my 16 years of age. She had dirty blonde hair, sea green eyes, aesthetic facial features, round face, and a soft but intelligent gaze, Which seemed to show nothing but kindness and acceptance, and was a welcoming sight compared to Raleigh. I felt slightly more comfortable but still on edge, I silently chided myself for making it so obvious that I was staring. I tried to break the silence, “ Who are you? How do you know my name?” I asked curiously. She gave me a small, understanding smile, “ My name is Taylene, and I am here to collect you for the initiation ceremony.” she said casually, like I was supposed to be okay with this and know what “initiation” meant. I was beyond the level of confusion, “ What initiation?” I asked impatiently wanting to know where I am already. Her smile became larger, “Welcome to the citadel, a school to train the new angel trainees on how to protect and fight for humanity and the heavens. We are the wall that holds back the tides of evil from hell and its spawns. Now let's welcome you to your afterlife.