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A Little Taster of my upcoming Collection of Short Stories book !!!

A Life Beyond

Samuel breathed his last. His body lay peacefully on his bed as his family and friends gathered around to pay their last respects.

A womanly being came and led him up to a colourful spinning tunnel. He felt very light and bouncy as he was lifted by the warmth of the wind that carried him and the woman through to the tunnel. He could glimpse the stages of his previous life on earth as they passed along the way.

When at last they came out to a very bright and cloudless space, they were led by dozens of angels down to a path surrounded by beautiful gardens, and he could smell the sweet scent of his wife’s favourite perfume amongst the flowers.

The woman ushered him towards an ascending step. Their destination was a room with no wall, no ceiling, no floor, yet a bright, welcoming space of togetherness.

He was bewildered for some time and wondered where he was. He couldn’t see himself but felt the presence of other beings around him. They all seemed healthy and happy, and the atmosphere was very calm, quiet, and peaceful. They understood one another without uttering any word. Samuel eventually felt at home.

A year ago, Samuel was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. It was a big blow to his very young family. How could he have developed such an illness at an early age? But then, it would have been caused by all those years of use and abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. He had come clean from all those vices since he got married six years ago, and he started to enjoy life with his beautiful wife Rose and his now five-year-old daughter Lily Ann.

Samuel stopped working since he was diagnosed with cancer and Rose had to give up her part-time job to take care of him and their daughter. It was a blessing that he had a critical illness insurance payout, which made his family financially secure. Samuel had to undergo immense therapy and various medical treatments. Still, amidst all the challenges and sometimes constraints his condition put upon their relationship as a family, they spent happy moments together and shared one another’s little joys and sorrows. Then last month, he lost his fight for life, leaving his wife and daughter devastated.

Now, he could only watch over them and how he wished they could easily sense his presence around them.

Mama’ called Lily Ann, who was looking up in the sky through her bedroom window.

‘Yes, my dear,’ answered Rose.

‘Remember what papa said before he died, that whenever we miss him, we look for the brightest twinkling star up in the sky, and that will be him?’ Lily Ann was very excited.

‘Oh yes,’ replied Rose as she approached Lily Ann by her window.

‘Well, see right there,’ pointing to the very far left side of the sky.

‘I have been looking out for the brightest star ever, and there it is!’ she exclaimed as she jumped up as if trying to reach for the star. ‘God has answered my prayers, mama!’

Rose held her by the shoulder, looked into her eyes, and hugged her tightly.

‘Yes, my child, your papa would have been forty-two years old tomorrow.’ Tears were rolling down Rose’s cheeks.

They both stood by the window, hugging each other while staring up in the sky.

If only they could feel the warmth around them; Samuel was hugging them both too.

As he floated about the house, he pondered how he could go to different places simultaneously. He did not feel pain anymore, and he was happy where he was. He enjoyed the company of all his family, whom he had not seen for many years. He had learned through them how to live his new life. Sometimes, he felt sorrowful when he saw his loved ones on earth cry, and wished he could do something to make them happy again.

He recalled the day he and Rose got married in the village chapel. Rose, three months pregnant at the time, looked so beautiful in a stunning and elegant white long dress. He was wearing a traditional barong and a pair of black trousers, but everyone had eyes on Rose, especially his best man Mark.

‘You know Samuel, you are the luckiest man here on earth, and I wish you and Rose the best of time together. Do take care of her.’ Mark said to Samuel after the ceremony, and he promised Mark he would do his best for Rose.

They all grew up together in the mountain village of Palgaw. At college, Mark went to pursue his studies in engineering in the city while Samuel stayed in their town and trained in agriculture and farming in the nearby town of Galat; Rose studied in the same college as Samuel and went on to become a midwife.

Both Samuel and Mark fell in love with Rose, but she chose to be with Samuel. However, the two men remained good friends. Soon after the wedding, Mark left the country to work in an engineering firm in the Middle East and only returned for special occasions.

A knock on the door startled Rose and Lily Ann. Then slowly, both walked towards the main entrance. There was another knock.

‘Hello, this is just me, Mark,’ called a familiar voice from the outside.

Both Rose’s and Lily Ann’s faces lit up.

‘Oh mama, it’s ninong Mark!’ Lily Ann exclaimed as Rose opened the door.

‘I’m so sorry to come here this very late in the evening,’ said Mark as he handed a bunch of flowers to Rose and a tiny beautiful pink box to Lily Ann.

Lily Ann kissed him, and Rose hugged him.

‘I wasn’t able to come for Samuel’s funeral as I was tied up with a building construction in Qatar and didn’t get the news until the funeral day’ explained Mark to Rose as they sat in the living room. Lily Ann played happily with the music box that Mark just gave her.

‘Don’t worry, I’m sure Samuel understands…Oh, we miss him so much, and Lily Ann talks about him all the time.’ Rose started to cry, and Mark hugged her.

‘You know, I’ve decided to give up my work in the Middle East and move back here.’ Rose and Lily Ann both looked at Mark in disbelief.

‘That’s great, Uncle Mark! Can I see you more often then?’ asked Lily Ann with hopeful eyes.

‘Every day if you want.’ He replied as he picked her up and gave her a big cuddle.

Samuel smiled as he watched the three together. He could now sit back and relax that his two beloved ones would be looked after by his best friend. But he would always be watching over them for the rest of their lives on earth.

In the meantime, he could go for some adventures that he never had the chance to do while on earth. He planned to go to places in the Pacific, America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pyramids. Even to planets Mars and Pluto. Oh, his list was endless!

Till here for now, until next Wednesday. Keep well, and stay safe!

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