[Chapter One starts here]
Miranda looked around her. They were in a smelly waiting room with nobody in it. There were dusty brown chairs and low coffee tables stacked with old periodicals. It looked like any waiting room at a number of dental offices she had been to over the years. God flicked her hand from off his dinner jacket and grumbled all the way up to the front counter where he rang the bell incessantly.
“What is this place? Where are we?” Mira asked.
God swiveled towards Miranda, “You want to know where we are kiddo! Oh, I’m sure you do. Because of you, we’re basically lost. You’re a soul that wasn’t ready to go to the afterlife yet, so now we have to go through all the appropriate channels to get you back home. Which means, we end up here, at The Hall.” God flourished his arms out to the side displaying the imaginary wonders of the banal room.
“What do you mean I have to go home? I wanted to go to Heaven with you,” Miranda pouted.
“Well, too bad. You can’t get everything you wish for apparently. I wanted to go home and look what good that did me. Now I’m stuck here with you,” God repeatedly hit on the bell until an old decrepit woman came to the window.
“Do you have a number?” the woman asked with a raspy voice.
“Does it look like there’s anyone else here?” God asked sarcastically as he leaned over the counter.
“Young man, I will not take your insolence. Get off my counter and step back and present your number.”
God stepped back with a huff and grabbed a small ticket from a red plastic machine.
“Number 1 billion six million one hundred thousand and eight hundred and three,” the wiry woman called out loudly into the empty room.
God stepped forward and presented his matching ticket.
“Thank you, name and business young man.”
“We go through this every time. I’m God, technically your boss. I’m older than you so stop calling me young man. I have to get this young lady here home.”
Janus peered over her spectacles at God then at Miranda. She made an unhappy gurgle in the back of her throat then begrudgingly stamped a big mark of approval across a small sheet of paper. “Here you go sir,” she said as she handed God the slip. Before she let go of the paper she added, “Now don’t forget your coins as payment. I’m keeping strict records on your expenses, sir.”
“Of course, Janus, as always you do a superb job,” God grunted through his teeth as he pulled at the slip. Janus let go and God’s hand came thumping against his chest along with the little yellow piece of paper. “Thanks Janus, its always wonderful as usual,” God leaned down and took Miranda by the shoulder, “The faster we get away from her the better,” he whispered into Mira’s ear.
God pulled the door open and inside was a long hall that seemed to go on for all eternity. The hall was drab and ugly. It was lit by long fluorescent lights that did nothing for the tooth yellow walls and the graying carpets. The hall was full of brown doors placed at equal intervals along either side. Each door had a warbled glass window that made it difficult to discern any proper shapes behind their hazy glass. The doors had no differentiating marks to distinguish them from one another. The hall was just one big stretch of sameness.
“This is Heaven? This is ugly!” Miranda stated.
“I told you, this isn’t Heaven. This is The Hall,” God plunked two gold coins into a toll box waiting on a stool then tucked the yellow receipt into his pocket to be delivered to accounts later.
“So what exactly are we looking for here?’ Miranda asked.
“We’re looking for the right door to get you home,” God stated as he peered into the hazy windows.
“No we’re looking for the door to Heaven, right?”
God stopped and grabbed Miranda by both arms, “Look kid, you ain’t getting to Heaven, got it. We won’t be looking for Heaven, you’re not going to the afterlife, we’re just looking for your door home. Capiche. Now if you can’t seem to grasp the magnitude of our situation here, you need to understand that there are millions of doors here and we have no idea which one is the right one.”
“It can’t be that hard,” Miranda responded.
“Oh really, it would be like trying to fit your tubby little self through the eye of a needle.”
“A needle has an eye?” Mira dazed off.
“Focus kid, we need to find you a way home. Got it. No more, no less. So start opening doors.”
“Don’t you know what door it is? You are the great and powerful God after all.”
“Whether or not I want to be compared to a wizard from Oz, there’s no way to tell, we’re lost and you got us into this mess so you have to find a way out. But I’ll say this much, would I be this angry if I just had to follow some map to Room 129, then ring a bell or knock twice? No, for Christ’s sake. I was perfectly happy taking myself home and getting out of your crazy household and now we’re here, wandering this endless hall for who knows how long. “
“Well, I think it’s exciting. I’ve never been here before. Do they sell marshmallows in one of these doors?” Miranda’s mouth began to salivate.
“Aren’t you worried about what your family will think when you’re found missing?”
“I left them a note. It said, ‘God has taken me to Heaven’ So they won’t worry at all. I’m quite responsible. I always let Gus know where I’m off to,” Miranda replied.
“Great,” God rolled his eyes. “Just start opening some doors kid.”
At that, Miranda reached up and opened the first door she saw. It was dark and confined and smelled of cleaning products. A broom fell onto the floor in front of her. Mira peeked her head in. “Its just a janitor’s closet.”
“Now you understand our dilemma. This could potentially be a hall full of doors all leading to janitors’ closets.”
“How are we supposed to know that they aren’t?” Mira asked now beginning to get nervous.
“You got me kid.”
They walked down the hall. Miranda heard noises and saw shadows behind the glass but she couldn’t make out the shapes.
“This is useless. What are we looking for?” Mira pouted.
“A way out.”
Miranda turned back to gaze at the front of the hall where the toll box sat, “That’s easy. It’s right back there. The way we came in.”
“Oh you’re so cute,” God pinched her chubby cheek, “It ain’t that simple Sweetheart. You can’t go back the way you came in, its just one of the rules around these here parts.”
“Well this is pointless. All I wanted to do was see Heaven and now we’re stuck here forever,” Miranda crossed her arms and sat down onto the floor.
“So you’re just giving up, is that it?” God leaned against the wall. “That’s just wonderful.”
“Well what am I supposed to do? Just go around yanking doors open?”
“Sounds better than just sitting here till you rot away.”
“Fine,” at that Miranda jumped up from the floor and threw back the door next to her and rushed inside before God could say another word.