The following day, they awoke in the afternoon. Their first day’s march took a lot more out of them than they had anticipated. They ate and cleaned quickly, in hopes of maybe catching those lost hours.
Rin flew ahead of them as they walked to cut down on surprises. He would fly back every now and then to check up on Marc. Their friendship still had to be improved.
Joel spent a great deal of time speaking to Lily, getting to know her. He soon learnt, however, that he did not even need to talk to her to reach his goal; she expressed her thoughts, feelings, and her essence in her motions and posture. Everyone did so, but Lily did it in such a way that was just short of reading her mind. Her soul was so pure that she had nothing to hide, so that what you saw was what you got.
The three angels walking down the path, came across an unconscious Rin laying in the middle of it. Lily ran to where Rin was resting, and was so relieved to find that nothing was broken.
Joel curiously asked, “Rin, what happened to you?”
“What happened?” repeated Rin, “One moment I was flying, surveying the land, the next I hit that large wall and I landed here.”
“What large wall?” inquired Marc.
“I didn’t see it either, until after I hit it.”
“Rin, can you show us where it is?” asked Joel.
Rin stood up, and wobbled over to the wall. Hitting it with his wing, he produced a large hollow ‘boom’.
Marc walked over to where Rin was. When he attempted to hit it, his fist went through along with the rest of his body. This infuriated Rin, and he tried to get through again, but to no avail.
After speaking about the matter, it was decided that Marc and Joel were to go through the wall, being the only ones who could, while Rin and Lily went around it. This way they would discover what was inside and would not lose that much time.
When Marc and Joel stepped through the wall, the outside, where they just were, disappeared and was replaced with clouds. All around them there were clouds, it was just like Paradise had been.
“This is eerie!” said Joel, “It reminds me of Star Trek. Jumping here and there.”
From ahead they could hear someone preaching. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and join-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
As the earth-angel who had been preaching finished his last words, Marc and Joel approached. The preacher was preaching to himself, or practising for a later presentation.
Marc looked over at the man-boy who had worked up a sweat on his forehead, and realized who he was. “Mr. Burg! You were my grade eight teacher.”
“Just call me Paul. So Marc how did you work your way up here? When I knew you, you were the worst student I ever taught. Always falling asleep in my religion classes, dreaming of some far off land in my geology classes, and doodling in my math classes.”
Marc was a little hurt at this, and sarcastically said, “I guess even students who are ‘mal élever’,” Marc looked over to Joel and translated, “not brought up properly, can come to heaven too.”
“Words spoken in the heat of the moment,” said Paul. “Please take my apologies. Now then, what brings you here to visit me?”
“Oh purely coincidental, we, my friend Joel and I, are on a quest to find God. We were merely walking down the path when we found your wall,” said Marc sitting down on a cloud.
Joel walked over and sat with Marc. He was quite interested in hearing about the wall.
“Wall, I don’t own a wall. I’m in heaven, I don’t have any possessions. In heaven there are no possessions, corruptions, curse, death, night, pain, tears, or marriage.”
“Uhm Sir?” started Marc, “The things that you mentioned are human beliefs in heaven. You’re an angel now, you only have to open your eyes and see what heaven is like. There are possessions I know I have some, I also have a wife, and I sleep at night.”
“Blasphemy! I knew you could not be real. You’re a test, I’m being tested by Satan. Right here in heaven!” Paul turned his back on the two boys. “Be gone Satan and take your dark angel with you!”
“But Sir. I’m not a devil. Please come walk with us, come see the birds of heaven. See the bluest of skies, the greenest of trees.”
“Young Marc, haven’t I told you before that heaven is a place of reward for humans. Animals don’t have souls, and they don’t go to heaven,” said Paul crossing his arms. “Now begone! Either you are a liar or a devil. So go, I wish no longer to speak with you.”
“But sir,” tried Marc.
Marc and Joel decided that it would be better if they were to leave, so they continued their walk through Paul’s fabricated heaven. The air that they breathed was once again like that of downtown heaven, an air conditioned feel to it.
“How odd,” thought Marc aloud.
“What do you find odd? This part of heaven or your encounter with your school teacher?” asked Joel.
“His perceptions of heaven. And the manner in which he has control over his surroundings,” explained Marc.
Joel thought about it for awhile and said, “Hasn’t man always had the ability to change his surroundings? And I suppose that all his lifetimes people have drilled into him what heaven should be. When he got here and found something else, perhaps he made his own heaven.” He paused and then added, “As long as he is happy. Does it matter that he doesn’t realize what he is doing?”
They walked a little further until they came to the wall once again. When they walked through they found that it was night. Rin and Lily were sleeping by a small camp fire. They could only account for about a half hour, and no matter how they added it up, it should not even be a few hours after noon. Marc and Joel saw that this was peculiar.