The Wrong Side of Heaven

This one will be another odd one. It’s random song title at Chuck’s site again. The last song played was “The Wrong Side of Heaven” by Five Fingered Death Punch. Here it is at 1001 words:

* * *

I spoke to God today. She said she’s ashamed. I spoke to the Devil today. He swears he’s not to blame.

* * *

I find myself sitting alone in my kitchen. The empty bottle mocks me. I swirl the amber liquid in my glass and feel a dampness on my foot. Damn it! Now I gotta clean this up. I set my glass on the edge of the table, standing to retrieve a towel, but stumble. I’ve drunk more than I should’ve… I brace the table to steady my shaking legs. The shadow of my glass falls upon my hand. I turn and step away, but the glass beckons me. Perhaps one more? I reach for the glass, slip on the spill and land on my back. Damn it! What have I done? What have I become? My vision is fuzzy on the edges. My head hurts! I reach to cradle my aching head. My arms aren’t moving! I squeeze my eyes shut. I feel cold drops strike my cheek. I open my eyes in time to see the tumbler strike me in the face. Then, blackness…

* * *

“Wake up!”

I feel the strike across my cheek.

“I said, ‘Wake up!'”

My cheek stings again.

Stop! Leave me be!

“To what end? I’m ashamed at what you’ve become. I’ll not leave you be.”

My eyes snap open, but still I see only darkness. Had I said that aloud?

A chuckle is her initial response. It was akin to a little girl while the voice is definitely a woman’s. “I hear all. You need not put your thoughts into words.”

I can’t see! Am I dead?

“Had I wished you dead, you most certainly would be.” She paused, “I am merciful.”

I want to see! Although I couldn’t speak, my mind’s eye saw my intonation, my anger.

“You’ve seen all your life. What have you done?”

Nothing.

“That’s right, nothing. Nothing of importance. Nothing of consequence. An existence of waste.”

Please forgive me!

No reply. My sightless eyes well up with tears. Please forgive me!

No reply. I feel the ache in my heart. Mercy, please!

I feel her presence. Her hair brushes my cheek. Her smell is intoxicating. I drink it in. I could stay in this moment forever.

“But, if you did, what would you learn?”

What must I do? What must I say?

My body shudders. I can feel pain in my fingers. My head feels as though someone is playing the drums inside it. I feel nauseous. I’ve felt this way before. Every morning.

“Yet it continues. This is you, again and again.”

Each instance of ‘again’ I feel the pain compound. I cry out, but not in my head this time.

“Purge! Purge this evil from your mind, body and soul!”

The pain is intense! I know I’m not worthy of the pain, of forgiveness… Of life.

My vision clears and I see the most beautiful face. Golden hair, a flower over her right ear. Her white dress billows around us. Her lips are the brightest shade of red I’ve ever seen. Redder than a perfect apple. She leans over and kisses my forehead. It’s a matronly kiss, a motherly kiss. I feel her unconditional love. I wish I felt that love for myself. Heat radiates thoroughout my body, stemming from the spot those lips touched. She stands, and I hear her feet softly on the floor. Then, she’s gone.

I weep openly. Lying there on my kitchen floor. I don’t care if anyone hears me. Wailing, thrashing, cursing the fates. I reach up to wipe away the tears. I can move! I roll over and see the glass and the blood. My hair is matted and damp. Blood, sweat and a little of the amber liquid. When I examine my hands, the stains are obvious. I climb into the chair and toe the glass on the floor, trying to make sense of all that happened. Suddenly, the doorbell chimes out.

I make my way to the door, ignoring my disheveled appearance in the mirror. I’ve averted my eyes many times when I come upon a mirror, but still I linger for a moment. The doorbell chimes again. When I reach the door I open it wide to see a man with his back turned to me. His shoulders are squared, the pin stripe suit he wears looks expensive.

I clear my throat, “Hello? Can I help you?”

He turns, exhales a plume of smoke and flicks a cigarette butt onto my driveway. “Perhaps I can help you.” He says. He runs his free hand hand along the brim of the fedora he wore. Under one arm he carries a box adorned in varying shades of brown. He pats the box lovingly and reaches toward my forehead and wipes something away. He glances at his fingers, looks me in the eye and says, “Lipstick? You’ve had it rough, friend.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m not to blame, I swear.”

“What does that mean?”

“Here.” He thrusts the box into my hands, tips the fedora, turns and walks away. He disappears down the street, his whistling echoing in my head.

I run my hand down my face. I think to myself, Could today get any weirder? I close the door and make my way back to the kitchen. The glass still lies on the floor. The empty bottle still resides on the table. I place the brown box on the table and open the top. My heart sinks and my eyes light up at what’s inside.

I lean over and retrieve the glass. Sighing, I set it next to the box. The spot on my forehead where she kissed me burns. Ignoring it, I pull the bottle from the box, break the seal and pour the glass full. Closing my eyes, I see her face again. The aroma from the amber liquid, it’s… I don’t know, perfection? I raise the glass to my lips.

I’m on the wrong side of Heaven, but the righteous side of Hell.

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

2 responses to “The Wrong Side of Heaven

  • AJ Bauers

    You grabbed my attention right away with your first sentence, well done! And what a terrible, perfect ending to complement your beginning. Thanks for sharing Mark, you do great work with these challenges.

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