tagSci-Fi & FantasyAn Unforgettable Melody Ch. 13

An Unforgettable Melody Ch. 13

byauguy86©

Well, this is it; we've arrived at the end. This has been an incredibly fun and invigorating journey. I can't thank everyone enough for their support and thoughts as I've written this series. The only thing that has made me happier than connecting with Mike and Melody is seeing how many others enjoy connecting with them as well. The epilogue contains no sex or erotic scenes, but I hope you enjoy it all the same, as this has always been the ending I have envisioned for the series. As always, please rate and comment as you feel so inclined. I hope you all have enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and I hope you will come back to reread it many times in the future. Thank you again. – auguy86

Epilogue Song Titles

I'll Fly Away (Johnny Cash)


An Unforgettable Melody – Epilogue

To the entire world, they appeared to be a normal, if surprisingly healthy, elderly couple. To each other, however, Mike and Melody were still as young and energetic as the day they first met, over one hundred years ago. Still as in love as the day they married, nothing in the universe could ever hope to crack their undying dedication.

Their two children, Harry and Maya, had grown into wonderful adults and lived long, fulfilling lives, raising families of their own. Harry eventually discovered a natural capability as a leader, becoming a long-serving member of the Georgia State Legislature. In spite of his political success, he never desired to run for governor or a position in the United States Congress, saying, "I never want to lose my connection to the people who gave me this job." Maya, following in her father's musical footsteps, became a renowned violinist, playing in several orchestras around the country before breaking out as an extremely popular solo recording artist. By the time of her retirement, her success and popularity had brought about a surge in school-aged children wanting to learn the violin.

The long life Mike and Melody enjoyed was not without consequence, however, as they had outlived both of their children. They felt an enormous sense of pride in the wonderful lives and families that their kids had been blessed with, but there was always something that felt unnatural about parents burying their own children. In their old age, the couple kept mostly to themselves, not wanting to make new friends that they would again outlive and have to say goodbye to. Even so, their unwavering faith never diminished.

As Mike lay on their bed, his wife cuddling in his arms, he reflected peacefully on all of this and the incredible blessings he had been given in his life. Though he had enjoyed immense health for a century, he had always said he did not want his life to be prolonged beyond what his body could naturally endure. As such, he could tell that, even with his great health, his body was close to shutting down. Gazing into his wife's lovely emerald eyes, he kissed her tenderly.

"It's almost time, isn't it?" he asked.

Nodding, she replied, "It is, but... I'm ready. When you die, I will die with you. We will never be separated, of this I'm sure."

"I'm ready too," he said with a smile. "We've had to say goodbye to too many great people; Mom and Dad, our kids, Darcy, Stuart, Ashley, Trey..."

"We'll see them again," she reassured him.

"I know," he mused happily. "When we die, just so I'll know, what will happen to your body? After all, I wouldn't want people to think I mysteriously murdered my wife and hid her body!" he said sarcastically.

Melody giggled, as sweetly as she had the day he first met her. "Don't worry, I will leave behind a body with yours. To all the world, we will have died in each other's arms."

Feeling his end approaching, he drew his wife close, kissing her lovingly one last time. "Thank you, Melody. I love... you..."

Slowly, his vision began to fade... into darkness...

*****

Awaking with a start, Mike immediately gasped and panted, working to comprehend where he was. He found himself dressed in a tailored, tan suit with a blue tie and brown loafers. Looking around him, he was sitting on a sidewalk of a downtown area, yet he saw no other people. Still, the streets were far too clean for this to be a ghost town.

"Melody?" he called, but heard no reply. "Melody!"

Melody, Melody can you hear me? Even in his mind, he heard nothing. Mike was now afraid; there was no sign of his wife anywhere.

As he looked in every direction for her, he noticed an enormous building a block or two over. "Guess that's where I'm supposed to be heading," he muttered to himself. Wearily, he began his walk up the street towards the building.

As the entrance to the building came into view, Mike could tell that it was even larger than it first appeared, stretching upward into the low-hanging clouds. The entrance was guarded by a set of enormous gates. In front of the gates stood a large, imposing man dressed in a black suit with dark sunglasses covering his eyes. Despite his strong appearance, the man strangely had one of the warmest smiles on his face that Mike had ever seen in his life.

"Hello, sir," the man said as Mike approached.

"Hi, um... I think I'm lost."

"Nah, you're not lost. I just need to see your invitation, and you can head on inside," the man said casually.

Searching his coat and pants pockets, Mike found nothing. "I don't seem to have an invitation... where exactly would I have gotten one?"

Holding his hand up, the man said, "It's alright, not everyone has an invite. If you know me, you can still go on in. So, do you know me?"

"I don't believe so, but I'd love to get to know you. Mike Braxton," Mike said, extending his hand in greeting.

"Good to know you, Mike. Name's Pete. I'm the greatest bouncer in the universe," he replied, shaking Mike's hand. "So, do you know me?"

"Do I... know you?" His wording confused Mike. Hesitating, Mike pondered what Pete could be getting at before answering.

"Pete?" Mike asked.

"Yep."

"The greatest bouncer in the universe?"

"That's me."

"Pete... Pete..." Mike continued to mutter to himself. "Wait a sec... Pete wouldn't be short for Peter, would it?"

"Why, yes. Yes it would be."

"As in... The Rock on Which I Shall Build My Church?" Mike said with a grin.

"It seems you do know me," he said with a smile.

"Saint Peter himself!" Mike exclaimed, immediately grabbing him in a manly bro-hug. "So... is this it? Is this Heaven?" Mike asked.

"Yes and no," Pete said with a shrug. "All of your questions will be answered in this building behind me, but I'm not the right person to answer them. Head on in, and at the main lobby, take the first hallway on the right, room 107." With a snap of his fingers, the gates creaked open.

Stepping through the gates, Mike turned back and asked Pete, "By the way, you haven't happened to see my wife come this way, have you? A girl about my height, red wine hair, gorgeous emerald eyes... have you seen her?"

Thinking for a moment, Pete replied, "I see a whole lot of people come through here, so I can't be certain, but that description does sound familiar."

Breathing a sigh of relief, Mike waved goodbye to Pete and entered the enormous building as the gates locked behind him. As he stepped inside the warm brown hallways of the building, Mike was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in the building, all in a flurry of activity. He noticed that all of them were dressed in tan suits identical to his, with pants and ties for the gentlemen and skirts and scarves for the ladies. Quite a few had on blue ties or scarves as he did, but a great many had on yellow ones. He couldn't be sure, but the ones with yellow seemed a great deal more stressed than the others he passed. As he looked around for his hallway, a pair of little boys flew past him.

"Hurry up, John!" one of them called.

"Ok, ok, wait up Rich!" the other said.

"Huh, interesting," Mike mused to himself. "Those kids were wearing green ties. Wonder if all that means anything?"

Turning down the first hallway, he waked for a few paces before arriving at a door labeled "107." Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and stepped inside, finding an office with chairs, a huge desk, and a rolling chair turned away from him.

"Hello?" he said as he entered. "Is anyone here?"

"Well, well," said the occupant of the enormous desk chair. "It's 'bout time you showed up here boy."

As the chair slowly turned, Mike did a double take and rubbed his eyes to be sure he was seeing properly. In the chair sat a man, perhaps in his late twenties or early thirties, wearing a dark black suit, with jet-black hair and thick, round glasses. The Texan drawl and huge grin on his face seemed familiar, but the hair was completely throwing Mike off.

"You... sound like Harry Weston," Mike said cautiously. "But there's only one way you could actually be THE Harry Weston."

The man chuckled. "Welp, the only way I could be Harry Weston... is to be sweeeeeeet," he said bleating like a sheep on the last word.

As Mike's face turned to one of joy and exuberance, he exclaimed, "Oh my GOD! Granddaddy! It is you! It's really you!" He instantly found himself wrapped up in one of Harry's signature bear hugs.

"Boy, I tell you what, you're somethin' else," Harry said as he released his grandson.

"Ok, tell me. What's going on here? Is this Heaven or not? Pete out front said it was and it wasn't."

"He's right, boy. Think of this building as the customs house. Everyone comes through here first before learning where they'll go next," Harry explained.

"Customs house... does that mean that Melody is here?" he asked excitedly.

After a brief laugh, Harry said, "Melody's already come and gone. Sweet girl, I tell you what. She was so excited to meet me; apparently you've been talkin' me up."

"Come and gone? Where is she?"

"Well, she's already on the other side boy!" he replied happily.

"Other side?"

"Sit down, sit down, I'll explain everything." The pair sat at Harry's desk as he began to elaborate. "When you first entered the building, I'm sure you saw that everyone was dressed alike, save for one thing. Did you notice that one thing?"

"Uh, yeah. Everyone had different colored ties and scarves on."

"Right. Those colors are an indicator of a person's status here in the customs house. There are four colors: green, blue, yellow, and red, and they each mean different things. Now, which colors did you see?"

"Quite a few blue and a whole lot of yellow," Mike replied.

"Very good. Did you happen to see any green by chance?"

"Umm... yeah, there were these two little boys that ran past me. They had green ties on."

"That's the first status. Green means that you're automatically guaranteed to get into Heaven, with no waiting or facing of your sins. Greens are relatively uncommon, since it's mainly reserved for children who die before they can fully grasp the concepts of good and evil and make their own choice. Additionally, anyone who was enslaved in some way or had no choice or free will in the circumstances of their life is typically a green as well. We call these people the 'Innocents,' in that they never had the chance to accept or reject God to begin with. As a matter of fact, Melody was a green herself."

"Really?" Mike said in surprise. "But, I gave her free will, and she willingly chose to learn about God and his teachings."

"That's true, and believe me, that's a big factor in your status as well. Ultimately, though, she was still enslaved from birth and had no choice in the direction her life took, granting her the status of green."

With a sullen look on his face, Mike said, "I... participated in that enslavement. Guess that means I could be in serious trouble here..."

Laughing, Harry gave him a friendly slap on the head, saying, "Not so fast, boy. Look at your tie. What color is it?"

"It's blue."

"Exactly. Blue is the next status, and the second most common of the four. What it means is this: you've been deemed unworthy of going to Hell at all. Unless you specifically request to go, you won't be sent there. Where you go from the customs house depends on your upcoming hearing. In that hearing, you will have your sins and shortcomings made clear to you, and you will have to respond to them. If you respond well, you'll be granted immediate entry into Heaven. If not, then you'll have to work through your shortcomings in Purgatory."

"Purgatory?!" Mike said, laughing to himself. "Are you tellin' me that the Catholics had it right all along?"

Harry laughed out loud at his realization. "Yep, that they did! You ever read Dante's Divine Comedy?"

"Yeah, about his journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven."

"Well, he basically hit the nail on the head, at least as far as Hell and Purgatory are concerned. Purgatory is essentially a mountain, just as he described, that one must climb to work off their sins and be deemed worthy of entering Heaven. How long you're there for just depends on the severity of your shortcomings and your own will and determination. For example, another blue, Gandhi, was going to be admitted into Heaven, but he felt that he was not ready, and, in an unprecedented move, asked for time in Purgatory to better himself. When it was all said and done, it took him only six hours to climb Mount Purgatory. It takes most people days, weeks, sometimes many years to do so."

"So, you're saying that I'm going to be on trial? And the outcome of that trial determines where I go?" Mike asked.

"Well yes, but trial isn't the best way to describe it. They won't be in the Judgment Chamber to determine your guilt, as that has already been determined, not just for you, but also for everyone in the customs house. After all, nobody except the Son of God Himself lived a life free of sin."

"Ok, I guess that makes sense," Mike said, feeling more at ease. "So how do I properly respond to my sins and shortcomings?"

Harry frowned, saying, "I'm sorry, but I can't tell you that. It's something you've gotta discover for yourself."

"Guess I better think on that," Mike said quietly, now beginning to worry.

"Anyhow, next in line is yellow, by far the most common status," Harry continued. "They almost made you a yellow, but your efforts in teaching Melody about free will and God's love prompted them to upgrade you to blue. Those who are yellows could end up anywhere. Typically, their hearing determines whether they go to Purgatory or Hell. They can also gain immediate entry into Heaven, though this somewhat less common. Purgatory is the most likely destination for a yellow, though anything is possible, depending on the severity of their sins and their response to them.

"Finally, the last status is red. You probably don't even need me to tell ya what that means."

Nodding Mike said, "One-way ticket downstairs?"

"Yep. Only the worst of the worst, which knowingly did enormous amounts of evil, are assigned this status. They don't receive a hearing, but they must still stand before the Throne of God and face all of their sins brought to bear. Thankfully, reds are extremely rare, as it is a status reserved only for the most deserving individuals. If there is any doubt at all as to whether or not they warrant this status, they're automatically upgraded to yellow."

"Wow, that's heavy stuff," Mike said with a sigh.

"Sure is. Anyway, your hearing is coming up shortly. Before that, there's one matter of business to attend to. Everyone is allowed to watch one other person's hearing before their own, so that they can see what they are getting into beforehand. It can be anyone of your choosing, so how 'bout we head back out to the lobby and find us a good candidate?"

"Sounds good," Mike replied, standing and exiting the office with his granddaddy.

As they stood back in the lobby, the hustle and bustle of the many souls moving through never slowed. Mike watched intently, wanting to consider several potential candidates before making a decision. As he watched, however, a blood-curdling scream erupted from the other side of the room.

"NO!!! I do not accept this! I am a martyr! A saint!" a man fumed, speaking to a larger man dressed in a black suit. As the angry man attempted to attack, an invisible force knocked him off his feet to the ground, where he was swarmed and restrained by three more men in black suits.

"What was that?" Mike asked.

"Look at his tie," Harry replied.

Mike could see that the man's tie was red. "What did he do?" Mike asked.

Bowing his head, Harry explained, "In life, he fought for a terrorist group made up of religious extremists. Though he saw himself as servant of God, his crimes were heinous. He captured a bus full of twelve year-old girls to make them all slaves for his group and brainwashed many of them to try to get them to join up willingly. His final act was to go into an elementary school just as class was letting out and detonate a bomb strapped to his chest. He killed fifty kids in that act alone."

Taking this new information in quietly, Mike finally replied, "I don't need to see what happens to him. A part of me wants to see him punished. Still, I guess that wouldn't make me much better than him, would it?"

"I agree," Harry said with a smile.

Scanning the room, Mike's eye caught sight of a man with a yellow tie that he recognized as a prominent politician from Georgia. He had served alongside Mike's son for several years before being elected governor. Though he constantly talked about his faith in God and family values, Mike had long suspected that he was one of the most corrupt men in the state, as every law he signed seemed to do nothing but grow and consolidate his own power. Since Harry had said that Mike had nearly been a yellow, Mike thought this would be a good person to observe.

"What about him?" Mike asked, pointing to the man.

With a chuckle, Harry answered, "Henry Buchannan? Excellent choice."

Harry led the way up to a booth on the third floor where they would view Henry's hearing in the Judgment Chamber. There were identical booths lining the wall of the circular room, extending upward for about eight floors, though Mike noticed a section between ten o'clock and two o'clock completely devoid of booths. Most of the occupants in these booths were dressed in black suits, like Harry, though a few were wearing the same tan suits Mike had on. He surmised that the ones wearing black suits must be those who had already made it into Heaven.

The ground level of the large chamber was a circular floor containing several panels on the wall that appeared to be able to open. In the smaller, inner circle stood two podiums, each surrounded by circular wooden railings. Soon the light began to darken, and a ring of large men in black suits and sunglasses entered from the many panels around the room, surrounding the edge of the ground floor and standing in the shadows just beyond the illuminated center of the chamber.

"Who are they?" Mike asked quietly.

"Security," Harry replied. "An elite group of God's angels. They are not to be messed with."

As he finished speaking, the two podiums began to shine with an ethereal light, growing brighter by the second. With a brilliant flash, the entire audience was blinded. Upon opening his eyes, Mike could see Henry standing in the podium to his right, with another man in the podium to the left. He was tall, though not as muscular and imposing as the other men on the floor. His dark black hair and goatee matched his suit for a very striking appearance.

"That's Thomas, the Chief Council," Harry said.

"Thomas? Doubting Thomas?"

Chuckling, he replied, "Yep, though truthfully, he gets a bit of a bad rap. Very few of the Apostles have grown to be as thoughtful and insightful as he has over the centuries. Like I said, nobody's perfect, but he's responded to his trademark shortcoming brilliantly."

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