“Shall I show it to you?” Lisa asked, raising a shapely eyebrow.
“It’s… it’s so beautiful,” breathed Pete.
“Why thank you Pete, you know how to flatter a girl.”
“Can I… touch it?”
“No Pete, it’s looksies not feelsies.”
“Fair enough,” said Pete, “I just want to look at it a bit more before you put it away?” The young man stared in awe at the gently luminous sphere of pulsing, pure white light which the young angel cradled carefully in her hands.
“We know each other well enough now for me to bare my soul to you,” smiled Lisa.
“You see the world really is a battle ground. Good vs evil, truth vs lies, however you see it. It’s why all the best stories are about this battle.”
“It’s almost perfectly white, like how a white laser would look.”
“Yes, almost. I still have a little way to go. If my soul were perfectly white I wouldn’t be up here waiting for my next rebirth, I’d be reunited with you know Who.” Lisa paused to point upwards reverently. “I probably have a few things still to learn from samsara, possibly like not flirting with visitors!” she said with a giggle.
“Can I see mine?” asked Pete eagerly. The angel gently reached through Pete’s chest and took out a similar pulsing sphere of light. This sphere was a swirl of luminous pastel colours, with several streaks of dark blue and brown blocking the light. Unlike the gentleness of Lisa’s soul light, Pete’s erupted at times in erratic flashes of brightness followed by dimness.
“Not bad,” said Lisa appraisingly, “for someone that’s still only in six-figure lifetimes.”
“Not as good as yours though,” said Pete wistfully.
“You’ll get there, everyone does,” came the cheerful reply, “I’ll show you.” The lecture theatre slowly morphed into a hospital room. An exhausted looking, unshaven, late middle-aged man was slumped in a chair beside a deathly pale young woman sleeping lightly in the bed. A respirator was slowly breathing for her with terrifyingly calm, precision-engineered noises. “I’m trying so hard not to pressure you, Brian,” said the man, rubbing his temples. A much younger man in a tracksuit and baseball cap was stood by the door scowling.
“Not trying that hard, Dad. Always the same with you isn’t it? Always wanting something. Most dads just want an occasional hand moving the furniture, but you want a fair chunk of one of my lungs. Me, a living lung donor? Well, it ain’t gonna happen.”
“I do not want your lower lobe, your sister needs, your lower lobe,” please understand that, “she has days left at most.”
“Well, boo hoo for Darth Vader over there,” sneered the younger man, “I could be off work for months if I did that.”
“You don’t have a job, Brian.”
“Well… true, but I play football with the lads on Saturdays and I’ll need my full puff for that. Plus what about these?” The young man brandished a crumpled packet of cigarettes. “Any trouble these little fellas cause me in future and I won’t have any margin. Forget it, mate.” Brian strode out slamming the door, leaving his father to sob quietly. Lisa disdainfully held up an oily dark object, it looked like a human liver. “This is his young soul Pete, almost completely opaque so even though he has the source of all light within him, the luminance just doesn’t have a chance of breaking through. His soul needs purifying a great deal over his forthcoming lives.” Let’s catch up with him after a few hundred thousand life times. The hospital room morphed into a hotel room. A young man who resembled Brian physically was pacing the room, with a phone clamped to his ear. “Look Dad, I’m really sorry. It was a genuine mistake. I went the wrong way, I’ve missed the flight and there aren’t any more for a week, I’m stuck in East Africa.” The man paused. “Yes, I know she hasn’t got that long. I’d give her the lobe if I could, believe me. I don’t do a lot of competitive sport any more anyway. But what can I do?” Another pause. “But Dad!” The young man ended the call and collapsed on the bed dejectedly. Lisa reached carefully into his torso and pulled out what appeared to be a pulsating balloon gently illuminated from within. “Here we have Brian’s soul when it’s much older. You see, the aggression and distain are gone, but he’s cursed by neutrality. He’s never set out to harm anyone, but he’s just not quite tried hard enough to be there for his sister, to make his sacrifice.”
“But he’s stuck in Africa.” Lisa grimaced and rotated a slender luminous palm dubiously.
“Kind of, but did he really try hard enough to make the flight? Is there really no other means of travel to save his sister’s life? Is a little part of him secretly glad that he’s spared the short term and long-term dangers and limitations?” Lisa sat on the corner of the oblivious young man’s bed. “You see the world really is a battle ground. Good vs evil, truth vs lies, however you see it. It’s why all the best stories are about this battle. This poor guy’s neutrality just doesn’t cut it.”
“So if this is so many lifetimes later, why’s he still on earth in a similar period?”
“When you fail the test, you have to keep resitting…”
“Ah and he’s failed…
“Hundreds of thousands of times,” grimaced Lisa.
“Such a long process, so much sadness and suffering,” murmured Pete.
“That’s the karmic laws for you I’m afraid, but chin up!” Lisa flashed a dazzling smile, “remember, there are plenty of ways we can speed up the process during our lifetimes. How about I take you to visit some more friends of mine?”
“Sounds good, I could do with cheering up after that.”
“Okay, close your eyes for me and see you soon,” Lisa beamed.
Pete sniffed suspiciously, it felt hot and there was a thick almost choking sulphurous smell. He opened his eyes to find himself in a large, dark stone cellar. A long wooden bench cluttered with what appeared to be complex chemistry equipment ran down the centre of the room. Brightly coloured fluids bubbled in conical flasks above primitive oil burners. Transfixed, Pete gazed around, eventually focusing on purer, transparent fluids dripping from ducts into large glass vats. “Hello Bubbeleh, I’m Mary the Jewess!” a large woman stepped out from behind the equipment, she was wearing long robes, a bulbous cloth cap drawn around her face with a thin piece of lace. She had a broad, flushed face with kindly eyes. (continue)