Marc looked over his shoulder at the ghost Joan and shrugged. After Marc’s fruitless attempts at providing proof, they began discussing philosophical questions and did so for the rest of the night. As the sun rose, so did Marc’s friends and they began to prepare to move on.
“..So to find true harmony with the universe, where everything else is finite, humans too have to be finite. Even the longest living trees die, the stars can be counted and they too die, tortoises and parrots die. Humans are no better or worse than any of them, and so they must also die. It is unreasonable to think, that for some reason we are better and have a soul when they do not. When it has been proven that we are all made of the same building blocks, and in fact only a small difference in our DNA separates us from chimpanzees.” Joan folded her arms across her chest.
Marc finally smiled and decided he now had a good plan of action. “You just said that all things are finite, but as I’m sure we both know,” Marc snapped his fingers, “energy cannot be created nor can it be destroyed. Snapping my fingers, if we were on earth, releases energy that I have stored. That energy is transferred to moving the air around us, and heating the air, and I’m sure some physicist could tell us all the other wonderful places where that energy went. Now suppose that souls in all living creatures could not be destroyed, but would transfer like the energy of snapping your fingers. And suppose that the soul being better put together than energy, would stay together and search a new place to live.”
Joan thought for a second, and wrinkled her brow. “But if a soul can’t be destroyed then like energy we have to assume that it can’t be created. And if so, then we never existed past the electrical stimulation of our brain cells. Which only backs the idea that we can’t be in heaven.”
Marc smiled and wrapped his arm around Joan’s waist. “At one time in the beginning of the universe and the beginning of energy, that energy must have been magicked or tricked into being. Just as our souls must have been tricked into being. Admitting that you did once exist proves that energy must have once been, is it much of a stretch to think that ‘God’ tricked us into being.”
Joan shook her head vigorously. “Ok! I’ll travel with you a little, but if I find out that you made me waste my last few minutes of conscious brain cells on a fantasy I’ll kill you.”
The ghost Joan floated down and winked at Marc, then touched lips with her other self and disappeared. When the ghost Joan vanished so did the wall, and in came everyone else to finally meet Joan.
The day passed as they walked with only short pauses. Everyone took turns explaining to Joan about themselves and how they fell into the quest. They passed several small houses and stopped to talk to people and drink from their wells.
Early that evening they arrived at a building site. The building, early in its stages of being built, had eight black stone walls six feet tall that stretched hundreds of football field lengths in an octagon shape. Each stone was carefully selected and shaped to fit in its position. The walls were perfectly smooth, even where the stones met. This in itself was spectacular, but the white chalky lines where the black stones met with other stones became a drawing. When the building was finished it promised to have the most spectacular mural ever made.
Nathanial went to the wall and felt the stones, caressed the lines and traced them following a child’s foot, leg, stomach and what would have been his chest if the wall was finished.
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” gasped Meribah.
Joel and Marc wore stupefied faces of disbelief, and each began to walk the length of the front wall. A tear rolled off Lily’s cheek and fell to the thirsty ground. Meribah joined Nathanial tracing the mural people, trying to feel what they would look like when they were finished.
On top of the front wall, a man dressed in black placed a large corner stone that finished a woman’s elbow on the mural. The man wiped some sweat from his face on a handkerchief then wiped the stone with the sweaty cloth. Seeing Marc and Joel, he climbed down his step ladder.
“Hello there!” said the man wiping dust from his clothes. He was dressed as a priest, but his clothes were wrinkled and his face unshaven.
“Good day, father…” said Marc hoping to get his name.
“Oh please, just call me George.” The priest put out his hand. “I never believed in classifying people. Were all the same in God’s eyes.” Marc and Joel both shook his hand. “Besides, I never wanted to be friends with a man who needed a title to show importance. You know: doctor, father, president, pope. Better to judge a man by who he is rather than what he is.”
“Then, George, you’ll like me,” Marc said quite frankly. “I’ve never been more than a common man. I’m Marc and this is Joel.”
“Heaven is made for the common man.” George slapped Marc on the shoulder.
“What about the not so common man?” asked Joel.
“Oh yes there are plenty of them about.” George began to walk towards the others. “But they find it harder to fit in here. Come on, teach me the names of your friends, and maybe the Lord shall provide us with food.”
They entered the building through the half made archway in the front wall. Once inside they saw that each wall had an arch that was also half finished. Near the doorway a table had been set with fruits and bread. There was exactly enough chairs to seat everyone, so they said grace and began to eat.
“If you spend all your time on the walls, who prepares the meals?” asked Marc.
“That’s a good question.” George took a drink of wine to wash down the bread in his mouth. “I’ve never thought about it. It’s just always there, three times a day when I stop to eat it’s there, inside the closest doorway that I’m working on. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?”
“Why are you building this….” Meribah looked around, not knowing what to call it, “this thing?”
“Well my lovely, It is a church and an arena.” George raised his hands to his creation. “A church like none that has ever been made before. When I’m finished, if God approves, it will seat all of the Dorom. At the beginning of the eighth day, He will come and all wrongs will be rectified, and all good shall be glorified, and all things will be put right.”
“Has God told you this?” asked Nathanial.
“No. No. I’ve never met the Lord.” George gave Nathanial his first full attention since they met. “I guess you can say he told me in the same way he told me to be a priest. I just know.”
“So you were ‘called’ then?” Marc broke his attention on Nathanial.
“Oh yes. I was called.” George smiled. “But there will be more, I am just the first. Many more, for there is much work to do and so little time.”
“So little time till what?” Joel asked with irritation.
“Before the eighth day, you know Armageddon,” said the priest.
“Oh.” Joel returned his attention to his supper.
They decided to stay the night with George in his church. George showed Nathanial around. As they walked away from everyone else, George could be heard saying, “..and notice how there is an decline towards the centre, there will be seats all around climbing towards the walls, and on the walls there will be balconies, and lots of ’em…”
“Armageddon,” said Joel solemnly. “I was hoping that part wasn’t true.”
“Why would you hope that? Good should always win,” said Lily.
“I really like earth, and…” Joel looked down in embarrassment, “I was hoping to ask God if he could send me back. I guess it was silly.”
“No, not silly. Just unlikely,” Meribah said and leaned over and hugged Joel.
“What’s a Dorom?” asked Lily remembering the word that George had used earlier.
“I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to ask George tomorrow,” assured Marc.
They turned back to the table, but it had disappeared with the remaining food and the chairs. Shortly after, they were asleep behind the black stone walls, and the next day Marc forgot to ask.