You can read the previous post in this series here: Part 4

*****

Am I in Heaven?

An angry Livia followed Sage into the playground and confronted him.

“Stop the sarcasm! Did I ever tell you? I hate you! You compete with me in every damn class!” Livia screamed.

“It’s all in your head. I’m not competing with anyone,” Sage said nonchalantly.

“Liar! Why did you race to answer in our science class yesterday?”

“What’s your problem? I can respond to the teachers whenever I want to,” Sage rolled his eyes, annoyed.

“Vain Sage Brush! Always showing off his intelligence.”

“You’re so arrogant! Livia Augusta: forever competing and whiling away time gossiping.”

“Shut up! Why don’t you disappear and transport to some jungle?”

“You shut up!”

A livid Livia slapped Sage on his face. Sage was shocked. They had fought a lot, but not once in their life had they hit each other.

“I didn’t mean to—,” Livia started.

“Oh yeah? I didn’t mean to either,” Sage shot back, shoving her away violently. Livia recoiled but regained herself. Irritated, she kneed him in his stomach.

Sage was about to deliver a mighty blow that would send her packing when the ground started shaking. A terrible earthquake began as the school’s roof started raining down on them.

The protective side of Sage surfaced. Instead of knocking Livia out, he jumped on top of the vulnerable girl and shielded her from the debris. Sage got a bit hurt, but his muscular body took it well. The ground stopped shaking, and Sage helped Livia up.

“That’s it, Livia! The quake’s over!” Sage shouted.

He spoke too soon. An aftershock rattled, and a massive ravine started forming on the ground. Sage hung on tight to a piece of the roof, as did Livia. The crevasse started getting bigger and bigger, and Sage began to fall. He was already saying his goodbyes when a globe of light encompassed him.

Sage landed in a flat field, with just grass as far as the eye could see. Am I in heaven? He thought as he looked around. There was a figure a few feet away from him. It was Livia. Okay, so this is certainly not heaven. Probably hell! But what’s that glowing ball of light? What is it doing here?

Nothing appeared normal. Livia stared intensely at the light, trying to make sense of what had transpired.

“Sage? What’s happening?” she asked.

“Where’s everybody else?” Sage wondered.

Livia looked around and shrugged. “What’s this weird-looking place? An African savanna? How on earth did we get here?”

“This place is so flat. Even in an extremely flat savanna, there should be some elevation! And, why is that giant ball of light coming at us?”

Livia scratched her chin. “There’s something strange about that light ball. Why’s it traveling in slow-motion?”

Just as Livia finished speaking, the ball of light paced up.

“Darn it, Livia. You’ve jinxed it!” Sage yelled as he took off, sprinting as fast as a deer.

He ran from the light ball as fast as he could with Livia hot on his tracks. Her hair was glistening with sweat as she ran for her life.

Sage picked up the pace and prayed that the light ball wouldn’t catch up to them. Wait! Why am I praying for Livia? I’m sure she’s still competing with me. If Livia’s falling into it would stop that light, then so be it. He thought and laughed maniacally, forgetting about reality.

Life had always been a fight for those two. A battle over impressing teachers, better grades, being famous amongst friends, and what not? Even when running for his life, he couldn’t think of anything else but getting even with her.

Regaining his attention, he realized something. Livia was gone! Where was she? Did that light envelop her? The light was still moving fast. Out of breath and tired, he almost collapsed but managed to keep going. The light got closer and closer. Could he make it?

There was a cliff ahead of him. The first change in elevation yet, but it didn’t look right. He saw a massive black space at the bottom, which seemed dangerous. Either he had to let the light cover him or jump over from that cliff. Weighing in his options, he waited for the light to encompass him.

As the light covered him, everything shined more than usual. He began to see things as if they were on a slideshow. First, some primitive humans banging on stones. Then the Mesopotamians making wheels, and the Greeks performing a play at a festival. He saw some Roman chariots racing around a track, and finally, some Indians building a palace. What’s all this? he observed.

That bright flash disappeared, and he started falling from high in the sky. With a loud thud, he landed in a pond and looked around.

What’s happening? Where am I? All he could see were trees, trees, and more trees. Finally, he heard some rustling bushes.

What’s that? Wild animals? I’m a sitting duck!

*****

Note: This is a collaborative effort with Rishi Sridhar.

*****

You can read the next part in this series here: Part 6

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