Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter IX

Escape from Heaven cover

Escape from Heaven
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 10

In the skies above Heaven’s burning streets, some of Satan’s partisans were skywriting, God is dead—Nietzsche lives!

I’d been an atheist for all but the last few minutes of my earthly life and on earth I had never felt I needed guidance from God. But after just one meeting with God and his family, I felt lost without them. It would be a tragic irony beyond belief if I’d learned the truth about the existence of God just before God ceased to exist.

Of course I didn’t know that God was dead, or even if God could die. God had told me the very reason for my own existence was as a back up for the contingency that he was captured by the enemy. But if God had been captured, what could I possibly do about it? Even already dead, I was still scared to death. Had God given up so much of his power and vision that he could be blindsided by an attack before he had a chance to meet me that morning? And what was the purpose of that meeting, anyway?

I started to realize that I was panicking when I saw a red glow being projected on the walls of my bedroom, and realized it was coming from me. I looked in the mirror and saw that I was flashing like a neon sign.

So I took steps to calm down. I took a step back. I consciously tried to relax. I didn’t even know whether I had a heart anymore (I’d been so busy since I got to Heaven that I didn’t even have a chance to read the user’s manual for my new body; it was still sitting unopened on my bedside table) so I took the deep breaths that in my old body would have slowed my pulse. It worked. I stopped glowing and calmed down.

Hey, regardless that my town home was across the border in Culver City, I was an Angeleno. As a radio personality I’d handled earthquakes, brushfires, mudslides, riots, and Barbra Streisand’s political pronouncements. There wasn’t any disaster I couldn’t handle.

I needed more information.

Since I wasn’t on the air myself, I turned on the TV, just at the right time to catch breaking news on HNN: a press conference by Satan.

Satan walked out with what looked to be her general staff lined up behind her. She looked as if she’d had a sleepless night. For some reason that was not apparent to me, the emotions she was projecting were not in agreement with the message she was delivering. She was about to declare victory but she looked as if she was giving a concession speech.

“I’m not taking any questions yet,” she said, then put on a pair of eyeglasses and read from a prepared statement.

“The Divinity have surrendered Heaven,” read Satan, quietly but emotionally. “The program of the Anorexic Party for transfer of power to a popular form of government has been agreed to.”

There was a huge roar of approval from the crowd. Satan waited until it died down to continue.

“I felt it was better to make some minor concessions rather than have to engage in a protracted war of attrition against our brethren still loyal to the Royal Family. Here are the negotiated terms under which we now enter into the era of Heavenly freedom.

“First,” Satan said, “The palace has been removed from Heaven into its own dimensional matrix and the Trinity are banned from Heaven. Any angels or humans who wish to join them will be permitted to do so while the tunnels are still operating. We have been assured by the Divinity that there is enough spacetime within the palace to accommodate comfortably all angels and resurrected humans who wish to join them.

“Second, with respect to the territories of earth, we have agreed to an earthly Interregnum for the Reformation period of the Christian epoch, at the end of which the future control of earth will be determined by a popular election for the governorship of earth. Qualification for governor shall include only native earthborn, which excludes all previously unincarnated angels; additionally, none of the Trinity may run for this office.

“The Interregnum shall begin Luther 001 at 0900 CeST and end with the election to be held on earth on a date to be mutually agreed to by both parties, who must file before Satan 001 at 0500 CeST. At 1200 hours CeST, all tunnels to earth or to the palace shall go dark. One-way tunnels to transport earthborn souls to Heaven before Satan 001 shall be permitted for the duration of the Interregnum. Those of you not with us: this is your last chance to depart our territory. Outbound tunnels will be dark after noon today.

“Also after noon CeST today,” Satan continued, “all access to the Tree of Knowledge shall be shut off, both here and on earth. The Trinity shall be permitted to listen to and answer prayers for comfort from the earthbound during the Interregnum but neither the Trinity nor our party shall be permitted to perform any miracles above π on the Aquinas Scale for the ­duration.

“At the end of the Interregnum, elections shall be held on earth, and upon our electoral victory two-way tunnel traffic shall be reactivated for all and the Anorexic Party shall be free to take control of earth in addition to the territories already ceded to us today.”

Satan paused for a moment then put away her statement and took off her glasses. “I’ll have further statements, and perhaps answer some questions, later this afternoon, after I have a chance to consult with my kitchen cabinet. That’s all for now.”

The crowd erupted into shouts of “Say-tun! Say-tun! Say-tun!”

Lights flashing, Satan walked off the podium, her retinue following.

I couldn’t believe it. How could God just run away like that, giving up to someone as evil as Satan without a fight?

It just didn’t make sense. But it was about to. Big time.

My doorbell played the chimes of Big Ben. I opened my front door. It was Sophia and Estella. I let them in.

“We have a recorded message for you,” Sophia said.

A holographic image of the Trinity appeared in front of me, backlit as if in solar eclipse. I saw my daughter Felony standing off to the side.

It was way too bright. I needed to shield my eyes. Estella saw my problem, waved a hand in front of my face, and my eyes adjusted properly.

And God spoke:

“My son, I know you’re frightened right now. You’re just now coming to realize that I’ve been watching over you for your entire life, even though you didn’t know it, and now you will learn that I’m going to have to leave you on your own for a while.

“I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but even I can be afraid. Especially I can be afraid. I have more reasons to be afraid than anybody because I have more that I love at risk than anybody else. It’s all right to be afraid. Just don’t let your fears get the better of you.

“I would have preferred to tell you this in person but events have come to pass sooner than I would have hoped, though not sooner than I prepared for.

“I’m sending you on a mission of vital importance. You must return to earth before the tunnels are shut down at noon today. Sophia and Estella will see you safely back to earth but they may not stay there with you. Be certain of this: everything you need to know, everything you need to know how to do, is already within you. You do not need to look to the Tree for guidance. All of the Tree that you need is within you.

“You are to be our Ambassador Plenipotentiary to earth, with full authority to act in our name and to make binding commitments on our behalf. To put it another way, you are the campaign manager for the Party of God in the upcoming gubernatorial election that will determine the fate of earth. The outcome of that election will in turn determine the fate of the rest of my creation.

“I give you these blessings to help you on your mission:

“First, look for a circle to form around you.

“Second, don’t make campaign promises I’m not going to be able to keep.

“Third, feel free to ask for advice, but when it comes time to do your job, you’re the only one qualified to do it.

“Fourth, resist not evil.

“And fifth … use the Force!

God smiled at me.

“Your daughter will be safe here with us so you don’t have to worry about her being used as a hostage.

“I’m betting everything on you, Duj. You are my ultimate go-for-broke: all my cash bet on one horse to win. You have all of our blessings, all of our love, and all of our faith.”

The image faded.

“We must fly, sir,” Sophia said to me, “if Estella and I are to have time to make it back to the palace from earth before the tunnels are shut down.”

I had never been a religious man but I crossed myself.

“But, sir, you’ve never been a Catholic,” Sophia said to me.

I grinned as bravely as I knew how. “You ever try to make a Star of David on your chest?” I asked, knowing she wouldn’t get the joke. “Come on. Let’s get the hell out of here.”


Next in Escape from Heaven is Chapter XI.

Escape from Heaven is
Copyright © 2002 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

Bookmark and Share