In April 2021, I submitted five entries to a postcard story (500 words or less) writing contest by Geist magazine. It didn’t cost much so I put a batch in of whatever I got done by the deadline. This one was inspired by stories in David Eagleman’s delightful short story collection about the afterlife called Sum. One of my five entries got short-listed, but not this one. Still, I enjoyed the thinking and writing process, and wanted to share it with you. The picture is the image of the postcard I chose to go with the postcard story. I hope you’ll like it.
If you liked these postcard stories and wanted to see others I had submitted, please click here.
Binaries are for the simple-minded. Take good and evil, for instance. If people were simply good or evil, it’d be easy to put them into Heaven or Hell after death. But nobody is 100% good or evil. So where do they end up and how?
You die when your body can no longer hold your chi stably in this universe, at which your chi phases into another universe where it is most stable quantumly. There, it assumes a balloon animal ghost of your former body to be more stable energetically. Floating in Brownian motion among others’ chi in semi-darkness, it soon joins the soul stream that feeds it to a twinkling white light far away.
As the white light approaches, details comes into focus. A gigantic, robed Jesus in pastoral Heaven is on one side, with a gargantuan, naked Satan in scorched earth Hell opposite. Neither stands on anything visible, with Their respective landscapes behind Them at elbow height, fading to black on the sides, and blending into each other to jut out into a tabletop in the middle.
In Their spots, Jesus and Satan takes turn grabbing an action figure sized soul floating in mid-space by one end or limb, then holds it out for the other to grab the opposite. For a second, They stare into each other’s eyes, before flashing a facial expression and nodding to acknowledge They were ready. With a mighty pull, the good in the soul filters to Jesus’ end, turning it white, while the evil in it filters to Satan’s end, turning it red. Fully filtered within a few seconds, the soul rips in proportion to the good and evil within it!
With Their soul portions still twitching in Their hands, Jesus and Satan each examine Their share and express how They feel about it. Satan then throws His share behind Him into Hell. Jesus, meanwhile, turns and places His share in Heaven. Purified, both remnants assume the most energetically stable spherical shape for eternity as a nanopixel in the background.
Once in a while, a soul is so predominantly good or evil that Satan or Jesus would get barely anything from it. For such souls, They would arm wrestle on that tabletop of land between Them! The winner gets the large share, thus, sometimes polluting Hell with a little good, and Heaven with a little evil!
It was the ultimate deal with the devil, but it was Jesus’ idea! He proposed it eons ago to be a compassionate god rather than a punitive one, to offer salvation to those who sinned to gain more followers. He was just overconfident, surrounded by those who saw Him as descendant of God, to think He would win all the matches. In reality, the outcome was even against a fellow being who was His equal.
The deal wasn’t fair. No. Especially to some who were chiefly good or principally evil. However, nobody ever said life was fair… or afterlife was fair, for that matter… including Jesus.