The setting is Purgatory, an endless expanse of rocky desert, dead trees, and sparse shrubs. I am a greeter. I wait by the Entrance to welcome the new less-fortunates and show them around where they'll be spending the rest of eternity. The newest arrival (His name was Pat. I am not kidding.) expresses concern over his girlfriend. She had to have died in the accident that killed him. Why wasn't she here? Thinking I already know the answer, I lead him back to the shanty town we live in. Signs of comfort tend to attract His displeasure, so we keep the town above ground dilapidated and primitive. All our technology is underground. I check the databases; the man's girlfriend was sent to Heaven for "selfless charity and naivete". When he was told his Significant Other was an Angel, he took it fairly well. We get on with our afterlives.
Later. Some citizens and I are stargazing. We know that Hell is out there, somewhere, about as far away as Pluto is from the Earth. The spirits here can fly, in a way. It takes some practice, but if you move your legs in a stair climbing motion very very fast the slow air doesn't have time to move away. I am one of the best, but I can only barely clear the stratosphere (the whole Universe is filled with air so this is not an issue) before my legs turn to jelly. Why do we try to get to Hell? I've never met anyone from there, and there's nothing in the databases about who gets sent to Hell, but sometimes we get messages. They say that's where spirits go where they can be free of His influence. Sheer distance liberates them.
Hell is up, and Heaven is down. The only way there from here is a locked freight elevator in one of our basements. Every now and then an emissary from Heaven visits to sort out paperwork, census information, etc. This scheduled visit was unorthodox. God Himself payed us a visit flanked by his most loyal Seraphs and an information-handling MSE-6 droid.
God was a clean-shaven middle-aged Caucasian man with close-cut jet black hair and a perfect politician physique. Everything about Him was perfect, of course. Fingernails, eyebrows, every tiny hair on His arm, exactly as they should be. He was wearing a midnight black business suit. His Seraphs just looked like normal people in formal clothing. No wings or obvious weapons. Pat, behind me, gasped. One of the Seraphs was his long lost girlfriend. It had been years, but that was a very short time to achieve such a rank. She did not acknowledge his existence.
Business proceeded as usual despite the VIP presence. I was the main accountant of this town and, unbeknown to Him, the foremost authority for miles around on thwarting God's will. I loathed taking his sizable bribes, but I had to maintain appearances. We concluded amicably and just as the elevator rose (Yes, rose. To go down. I don't get it either.) out of sight I caught confirmation that our hacker had taken control of the MSE droid, including video feed.
The ride took only minutes though we got the impression of vast distances being crossed. The doors opened onto a one-story clubhouse-type building, furnished in ordinary-looking decor such as you would find in an average law firm. This was Heaven HQ, and I had the controls of the droid. No one was the wiser, and I poked around cubicles and hallways the legs of various secretaries and officials until I found the office of God Himself. It was surprisingly small, with only room for an average-looking desk, a window, and a bookcase. The bookcase was filled with books with titles like "How to Extend a Small Phase Quantum Waveform through Trans-Newtonian Objects" and other such nonsense. Of more interest to me was His computer. For those of you curious about such things, God runs Windows 2000 and enjoys such games as Black & White. His desktop was cluttered and had the default plain blue background. He struck me as being not very computer literate.
My goal was sabotage. knowing He could walk in any moment to see a random MSE-6 hooked to His computer, I worked fast deleting as many folders as I could. When I could bear waiting around no longer I disconnected and headed straight out of the building.
This was the biggest surprise. I had expected Heaven to be all pristine and, well... heaven. In reality it didn't look much different from the Purgatory I had spent so long haunting. The same harsh sun beat down from the same always-cloudless sky. The difference here was that instead of living in shacks and bunkers the Angels lived in grids of new-looking houses. With it's transplanted grass, bare dirt lots, and tiny baby trees the whole place gave the impression of an unfinished and sterile suburban neighborhood. And it was unfinished; in the distance I could see automated construction-bots making more houses. A few Angels (Remember there were no wings or halos or other fancy things. They were just ordinary people in ordinary clothes.) walked briskly down the sidewalk, their eyes always downcast.
One house had a back door propped open. Despite a finished looking exterior, on the inside this house was nothing but plain drywall and a concrete floor covered in dust, old nails, and other construction debris. There were no lights, but a mattress and pile of discarded clothing on the floor told me someone had to live here. I found him in the next room, a so-called Angel sitting in a corner in a business suit that looked like it had been worn for days. His breathing was shallow and strained, almost sobbing.
I left in a hurry, and was rolling the droid down the sidewalk when on the other side of the street a maniacal man ran right up to another, brandishing a sharp piece of scrap steel. After shouting something incoherent, the maniac stabbed the other Angel in the face. There was no blood, but a kind of ethereal pale blue sand coming from the wound on the screaming Angel's face. In all my years, no one I knew back in Purgatory had ever gotten injured. I didn't know it was possible.
It wasn't long before several humanoid construction droids showed up and wrestled the maniac to the floor. A third, holding a huge sledgehammer, solemnly walked up and crushed his skull flat. Where did spirits go when they died? Maybe he simply stopped being. At this thought, I woke up.
Chilling, but very interesting. Oh, and one more thing. Dates in the database in Purgatory showed this to have occurred about 18 thousand years ago, Earth-time. Not long after the Earth and the material Universe was made. So maybe God had time to get His act together, who knows.