“Corwin Francis Holiday, I presume,” spoke a man seated behind an executive desk. “Well, not that it’s much of a presumption. Considering that my secretary hasn’t made a single mistake in the last eight hundred years, I’m quite certain that you’re Corwin.”
“I, that is, yes,” stammered Corwin, eyeing the man suspiciously. He was positive that no one had been there a moment ago.
The gray-eyed stranger twirled a pen in one hand, his relaxed demeanor testifying that, unlike his guest, he apparently found nothing about the present situation to be out of the ordinary. A wave of dirty blonde hair contrasted with his dark eyebrows and the stubble that shaded his chin. He was maybe in his mid-thirties. He wore a charcoal suit, perfectly tailored, with a matching tie and a white collared shirt.
“Please, have a seat,” he said, indicating a chair that sat opposite the desk. “Make yourself comfortable.”
Not taking his eyes off the man, Corwin lowered himself awkwardly into the chair. The stranger drew a tin cigarette case from his breast pocket and flipped it open.
“Care for a smoke?”
“I don’t smoke,” replied Corwin.
“No, of course you don’t, or at least you never have, but if you ever wanted to try, well, now’s the time! I mean, you’re already dead. What’s the harm?”
“I’ll pass,” Corwin insisted.
Putting the cigarette to his lips, he snapped his fingers and a tiny flame sparked to life, hovering above one fingertip. A spiced aroma filled the air as he puffed contentedly and sank a little deeper into his seat.
Corwin was still at a loss.
“And you would be . . .”
“Attorney Ransom J. Garrett, at your service.”
With another snap, a beveled glass nameplate instantly appeared on the desk, denoting its owner in bold text, with the words “Attorney at Law” centered just underneath. He reached over and Corwin absently shook his hand.
“I’ll be representing you,” continued Ransom.
“Representing me?” echoed Corwin with a quizzical look.
“In the trial, naturally. I believe your kind call it a Final Judgment.”
For a long second Corwin’s jaw hung open. Then something clicked in his mind. Realization dawned and he burst into a chuckle.
This time it was Ransom who looked confused.
“This is finally starting to make sense!” declared Corwin. “Everything that I’m experiencing right now, it’s all a dream, a very vivid dream!” He plucked a bronze paperweight off the desk, tossed it and caught it with a swipe of his hand. “It truly is astonishing to think that the human mind is capable of such a convincing illusion!”
“That train must have hit you pretty hard,” remarked Ransom.
“Indeed,” Corwin assured him. “Why, I’m probably as good as dead, but it’s been shown that just before a man dies, there’s one last surge of brain activity.”
“And that’s what you think this is?”
“What else could it be?” He fixed Ransom with a knowing stare. “You said ‘your kind’ earlier, which is to say that you’re not a human, but an–”
“An angel,” Ransom offered.
“Yes, an angel! Don’t you see it?”
Ransom was scratching his head.
“I might not be a Christian, but I was born into a Christian culture. Heck, I even went to Catholic school for a few years. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, angels . . . It’s only natural that such images would linger in the back of my mind.
“Had I been born somewhere else, maybe things would be different,” Corwin went on. “Instead of an angel, you might have been one of my ancestors, or Buddha, or my animal spirit guide.”
Propping one elbow on his desk, Ransom buried his face in his palm and massaged his aching temples.
“I think we could both use a drink,” he decided, promptly rising and heading for the liquor cabinet.
Fetching a stout crystal flask, he produced two rocks glasses and set them on the bar, then bent down to open a wood panel door that blended with the rest of the cabinetry. Inside was a small freezer, from which he drew a pail of ice and tongs.
“What can I get you? Bourbon? Scotch? Gin?” With each word, Ransom flicked the side of the flask, the shade of the liquid within changing from amber to gold to clear.
“No thanks,” Corwin replied. “If this is to be my last dream, I believe I’d like to stay sober for it.”
“I sure wouldn’t,” muttered Ransom, ice cubes tinking as he tipped back his glass.
When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.
Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?
Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.
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Genre – Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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