Author: Alastair Millar

“Live clean,” the pastor always said, “and when the Time comes, you’ll be taken up”. So I was good, worked hard, kept my head down, avoided most of the obvious moral pitfalls of 21st century society, watched dutifully for signs of the End Times… and then it happened with no warning whatsoever.

I was just working in my cubicle as usual, wrestling with a particularly recalcitrant spreadsheet, when there was a sudden noise, and a neat, circular hole appeared in the office roof; part of the ceiling just disappeared. Not even any dust.

And then I floated up out of my chair like an overweight helium balloon, straight up through the newly created void. My colleagues were certainly surprised. So was I. I mean, how can you be resurrected if you haven’t actually died? I was expecting something spiritual, but what I got was more like an invisible elevator.

When I got here, it wasn’t all clouds and harp music, either. It’s more like a metal warehouse, with odd shaped recliners dotted around. Clean, though, I give it that. Very cool colour scheme. And there’s no-one checking names or making to consign us to Hell for being in the wrong place, so that’s good, too. I reckon I’ll get used to the smell of ozone.

But seriously, these little grey guys with the big foreheads and no noses? They don’t look like any angels I’ve ever heard of. Too short for starters; not chubby like cherubs, and very thin. No wings, but they do have these big, green, soulful eyes that look right through you.

They say we’ve been Selected rather than Chosen. Though on what basis is anyone’s guess – there’s all kinds of folk here, men and women, obvious students, office stiffs like me, hairy bikers and even a confused looking Catholic priest. They all seem pleasant enough; nobody’s arguing or complaining. No children, oddly. But there are cows and horses, for goodness’ sakes. And some tanks with dolphins, who seem like they’re enjoying a joke at the expense of the rest of us.

It’ll be a long journey, they tell us, but we’ll be taken good care of. We’re going somewhere warm and pleasant with no dangerous wildlife. We’ll be able to take it easy, freed from the daily grind. Plenty of healthy food and drink. Any illnesses cured, long lives guaranteed. And absolutely no probes, which some people were worried about. They’ve even promised a programme to help find us partners, so that we can be content in all ways. Of course, we’re leaving everyone else behind, but I guess that comes with the territory when you’re special.

It might not be the Heaven we were promised, but I reckon it’ll be close enough.