Chapter 1   RACHEL

The last thing I remembered clearly was the screeching tires. That was it.

Then after what seemed like an eternity, a bright radiant light pulling me like a powerful magnet. That’s when you’re supposed to wake up and find you just had a near-death experience, isn’t it? Wake up on a hospital bed with tubes sticking all over the place – mainly into you. Right?

This wasn’t like that. It was like I was dumped onto a tiled patio. Sprawled in a heap.

I glanced up and saw this Angel holding my hand, helping me onto a soft, over-sized pillow. A strange sense of being pulled toward her, more powerful than the support of her hand.

When I was comfortable, she relaxed onto another nearby cushion, and just looked into my eyes. A warm, friendly smile.

I looked around me. We were on a mountainside overlooking a lake nestled in a gorgeous mountain range. But it was not any geography I’d ever heard of before. And the forest around us didn’t quite look right. The leaves were shaped in ways I’d never seen.

A dream?

“Where are we?” I asked. “And who are you? How did I get here? What happened?”

“It’s OK,” she responded, in a soft, low voice. “You’re home now. At least – you’re with me.”

“What?… How?” I stammered.

“When you passed, you touched me, and I reached out to bring you to me.”

I looked at her more closely. This was too much all at once.

She was without question the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her reddish-brown hair flowed straight down to her neck, with some strands gently curving forward. She wore a brown velvet sweatshirt that fit snugly enough to show off a full figure – but while I wouldn’t call her slender, she was close to it. In other words, she had perfect proportions.

Her lips looked perfect, too. Not too wide, definitely not thin. Her soft, hazel-green eyes were bright and sparkling, and her smile kept me entranced. I guessed she was indeed an Angel.

She read my thoughts. “No,” she laughed. “I’m not an Angel.”

I looked questioningly.

“I’m Rachel. Your Soul-Mate.”

I stared in disbelief. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. We’ve never even met – I’m positive I would have remembered…” And then I kicked myself for not simply enjoying the situation I found myself in. Like if I woke up with a harem full of beautiful virgins falling all over each other in their quest to serve me in every way possible, question how I got there.

“It’s OK, it’s normal to be confused and awkward at first,” she said. “And I hope, in time,” she went on, “you’ll find me to be far more enjoyable than a harem full of virgins.”

I guess my surprise was obvious. “Yes, I can read your mind. And in time, you’ll be able to read mine.”

“OK,” I said. “Let’s back up and get a few facts straight. I’m dead. Right?”

“No, you are not dead. Your body has migrated into a higher form. Even though you look the same, it is just like the butterfly emerging from the caterpillar. Dead suggests lifeless.  But you are full of life!”

I chewed on that for a moment. “If you’re not an Angel, what are you?”

“I’m just like you. Only I passed ten years ago, so I’ve had longer to get used to everything up here.”

“Where’s here? It doesn’t seem like Earth. But I can’t imagine this is Heaven – or Hell.”

“No, it’s not Earth. It’s an uninhabited planet many light-years away. I loved it the first time I saw it, and fixed this place up for me – for us. As for Heaven or Hell, well… it just is.

“If you think of Heaven as a place where you just veg and you have no needs and are in a state of perpetual bliss – for no reason at all other than you are in Heaven – this isn’t that. Decidedly. Here the quality of your life is most definitely determined by you and your actions. If you veg you live like a veg that’s been cut off from its roots and any sunshine. You have to live up here to really live!”

“You know, I don’t think I gave that part of it any real thought. But sitting around doing nothing for eternity doesn’t really sound that great, when you look at it that way.

“So we’re Spirits – Ghosts?”

“We just are. Spirit is probably the best term, but there’s a physical element to it as well. Touch me.”

When I reached over and felt her arm, she certainly didn’t seem like a wisp to me. And since I could feel her, I wasn’t just nothing either.  But that just didn’t add up.

“No, I must be dreaming…  That’s impossible!  Even disregarding traveling light years in a split second and the myriad intricacies of creating a human body out of nothing, it’s impossible!  E = mc2.  To create this much matter would require an incredible amount of energy!???”

She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head and pursed her lips in what I was to learn was her trademark smirk.  “It is what it is.  Do scientists have a formula for the power of spirit???

“I’m sorry, Richard, but this is no dream.  You have awakened, and it is to your higher self.

“A caterpillar could have no real understanding of flying.  But in its transformation, when it becomes a butterfly, flight becomes second-nature, even if it might feel baffling at first.”

I swallowed hard.  This was all so difficult to believe.  Both my religious and scientific sides were revolting and cringing in a weird mix of both bewilderment and curiosity.

“OK, so if we’re on another planet, and I don’t even know you, how could I ‘touch you’ when I passed? …And that brings up another thing – how the Hell did I die?”

“You’ll remember soon enough. I wasn’t watching you at the time. It wasn’t until you passed that you got my attention and we touched.

“As for how we connected, that happens to all soul-mates at death. There is a powerful draw between soul-mates who meet in life. But the force bringing them together after death is so incredibly powerful that I sensed, even from so far away, the moment you passed and called out to me – silently, but it was as if you were right next to me. And it doesn’t matter that we never met for us to reach out to each other – that’s just the way it happens. And it is on such a deep level that you were not even aware of calling to me, powerful as it was.”

“So if you’re my Soul-Mate, how come we never connected during life? And how come I didn’t sense you passing ten years ago?”

She seemed to look back into the distant past, and I felt an overwhelming sadness emanating from her. When she was a child, her father was going to the airport to catch a flight. Her mother and she were going with him to see the airport. As they began to leave the house, a rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. And so her mother insisted they go back into the house to get an umbrella so Rachel wouldn’t catch a cold from getting wet. That’s why her father missed his flight by a few minutes. That’s why he had to take the next flight. And that was the one that was hit by lightning and crashed.

“And so, we moved to live with my grandmother. There were two elementary schools in my town. You went to one of them, I to the other. In a few years, we would have gone to the same school and met. We never got that chance.”

“Wait a minute…” I blurted, “You and I are the same age? But you don’t look a day over 25! You couldn’t have been around when I was going to school anyway!”

“Ya, we’re the same age. After we pass, we take on our idealized vision of ourselves. I always loved the way I looked at that age, and I just took it on. You haven’t looked in a mirror yet. You look about 30.

“And the reason you didn’t sense my passing the way I did yours is very simple. When we’re on Earth, we’re not tuned into the same things as when we’ve passed on to the next level. You probably felt something tugging on your gut for a moment, but you didn’t understand it and then it went away and you never gave it another thought. Besides, you wouldn’t have been able to act on it or contact me here anyway.

“Since you weren’t there to reach out to me when I passed, a few others, including my father, brought me to them. And they taught me like I’m teaching you.

“It didn’t take long before I was drawn to you. You might say I haunted you. I followed you when I wasn’t visiting Spirits up here. And soon I could hear your thoughts – all of them. Even the nasty ones…”

I guess I must have blushed at that. You go through life thinking your thoughts are your own. Then suddenly you find they’ve been an open book left lying around and someone has caught you cold. I shuddered at what she must have felt! I’m not an axe-murderer, but I’m no saint, either.

“Don’t worry, I was never that offended by what you were thinking. I was just thrilled that I was establishing such a deep, intimate bond with you. You, of course, didn’t feel it at the time. And you were never aware of it. But it was real, just the same. And became so intense, I sensed your death instantly from light years away.”


Copyright © 2015 Donald P.Gage, DMn.

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