From the Ashes: CATU Book 6 Ch. 26byJoeBarnosky©
SPENCER WAKES UP TO SEE a bright blue cloudless sky. The last thing he can remember is looking up at a beautiful face then a pain in his chest. Reflexively he reaches for his chest but there isn't anything there. No blood. No wound. Nothing.
He lies there for several long minutes before finally convincing himself to sit up. When he does he becomes even more puzzled than before. Surrounding him are evergreens, an entire forest of them, stretching for as far as he can see. Eventually he gets up and brushes the dirt from his clothing, which is remarkable clean and nothing like what he was wearing. A simple pair of blue jeans, a white shirt and a pair of boots is all that adorns his body.
Where am I?
He spins in a circle hoping to see something familiar, even vaguely, but nothing triggers a memory. Every direction looks exactly the same as the next and endless at the same time. Suddenly he stops like a compass finding north and he begins to walk. He feels it is the right way to go. Why? He doesn't know, but he just feels it is the right way.
Time passes, though he cannot seem to keep track of it no matter how many ways he tries. There are no shadows, no sun and no other means for him to physically do so he resorts to mentally keep track, but his mind refuses to work and easily wonders.
This is not like me.
Eventually, the forest starts to thin out. The trees aren't as thick as they were when he began his journey nor are they as big or as thick as the others. Even the smell seems to have changed. He is so wrapped up in the thought that he nearly runs into a man splitting logs over a large stump in the middle of a small clearing.
"Can I help you son?"
"Oh excuse me," Spencer says looking over the man. There is something so familiar about the man, but he cannot quite place it. "I'm embarrassed to say, but I believe I do not know where I am."
The man laughs heartily. "You're on the right path son. Just keep on that way," he says pointing with the axe, "and you'll get where you need to be going."
Perplexed, Spencer asks, "And where is that? As a matter of fact where the hell is this?"
"Not hell," the man says. "Just follow your heart."
Without another word the man turns and grabs another log and begin chops it in half then continues with another completely ignoring or forgetting that Spencer is even there.
Spencer stands there for another few moments thinking about saying something, but he feels an overwhelming pull in the direction the man pointed toward and he just can't find the words to form the questions he wants to ask. Finally he gives up and leaves the man.
Not long after leaving the man he come to another clearing, this one much larger with a small log house set in the middle. Smoke pours out of the chimney and a gentle breeze pours through brushing past to settle onto the clothes hanging out on a line just out behind the house.
He feels the tug even more in the direction of the house and as he takes a step forward his heart skips a beat and he stops dead in his tracks. His eyes go wide and tears well in his eyes. Before him hanging the last of the clothes is his daughter and her mother Sam. He wants to yell out their names but he is choked up and can't.
It isn't until they turn toward him that it is he finds he is able to move. "Spence?" Sam says. "What took you so long?"
Spencer races across the windswept grass sweeping Sam up into his arms, kissing her. "How?" he asks.
She laughs. "This is a special place."
"Heaven?" he asks as everything finally begins to come settling into his mind.
"Kind of," his daughter answers. "Think of it as a special part of heaven for certain people that do special things."
He looks at her with a questioning look. Sam grabs his chin and turns it toward her. "Don't ask," she says then kisses him deep and hard. When they break she says, "We have eternity now."
"I have everything I want then."
"Not quite," she says.
"No? I have you and our daughter, what more is there?"
"Come inside." Sam takes his hand and together they follow their daughter inside.
Standing in the kitchen is a woman Spencer instantly recognizes. "Mom!" He races over to scoop her up into a huge hug. He holds her for a long moment before finally letting her go. "Can it really be you?"
"Yes, it really is me," she says. "It has been so long, but now we are all together. Now I bet you are hungry."
Spencer smiles and says, "Do we get hungry here?"
"You know, I don't know, but I don't want to tempt anything," his mother says smiling. "Besides after chopping wood your father is usually starving."