Chapter Forty-Two

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A/N: Surprise! An extra chapter has been added, guys.
I repeat: a chapter has been added!
So, to clarify, there is one left AFTER this one--
the EPILOGUE. :0
Carry on reading — this is definitely going down as one of my favorites. :')

                                           Cassandra

The land is as we make it.

Rolling hills, wide-open countryside. A unified desire that adheres to us both. The cold dirt is soft beneath our bare feet. The grass brushes our knees as we immerse ourselves in an oasis, merging through the stalks. The flowers are the hue of rubies, the same color of the heirloom on my hand, sprinkled amongst the earth under the rainbow twilight.

This will be our first night in Heaven.

Our first night of peace.

A tumbling spring trickles nearby, all of this conjured from our dearest memories, somehow merged into one. Our minds find the perfect in life, and multiply it to craft this quiet nirvana. Leaves sing to us; the insects keen with the fall of day. Gradually, the watercolor sky blends, a canvas of dimming light, and each flower, each plant, each drop of water in sight sparkles under its might.

Every so often, Elijah's fingers delicately graze my own as we walk in silence, allowing the gift we've been given to truly sink in. A world where time slows, where love is infinite, and separation is impossible. Our souls have been given a sentence for happiness. Here, our dreams can live. Here, a life that earth couldn't provide is made possible.

To imagine I once shunned such a prize is overwhelming.

Because here he is, walking beside me, alight and beautiful, filled with peace that even touches my own heart. We are in disbelief, moved with a kind of euphoria that cannot be achieved without sacrifice, without the plunge into darkness.

The harshness of the earth we lived in makes this sweet.

With untouched land spreading out as far as the eye can see, Elijah lays a blanket down against the flattened blades of soft grass. He wears white, loose clothing, the shirt so thin, his skin is visible, even in the dimming light. Our clothing reflects our spirit, the innocent purity of the afterlife.

All day we spent surrounded by the ones who had effect on our previous lives. Stohl reminisced with Elijah on the intricacies of various Literature. Jiayi embraced his family, the community that was taken against their will but saved by Jehovah's insistence. Chen was there, gleeful, and loved, carried by her own mother, forever spared the agony of loneliness. I could hold her, feel her natural warmth. Somehow, it healed the wounds in me I thought were irreparable.

She is safe. Forever.

In this Heaven, there is no hiding, no judgment, no need for concealment.

We are one, born from the same creator.

Elijah will never again have to worry about his sons. Our versions of Heaven are different, but we will always be together. We can always find each other. Family is always near. A family I've longed for. To be embraced by Elijah's mother, who knows the descent I took and speaks only of admiration. To see Elijah's face as she admired her own ring against my finger. Bliss doesn't even come close.

The celestial earth is like a pillow beneath my heavy head. Divinity eradicates any discomfort, any pain. We are enveloped by the never-ending vastness of nature, a plain of time only our minds can touch. I can gaze upon him privately, for the first time, without the eyes of another raining down over me.

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