A bright screen pulsed in front of her, hovering in the air. A sole green button that was the size of her torso stood in the middle of it. It read "proceed"- proceed to what? She wondered. Why was it so dark? And why did the air feel so cold?
"Hello?" She asked aloud.
"Click on proceed to complete initiation." A mechanical male voice echoed around her.
"I'm confused." She said, looking around for the source of the voice. "I don't know how I reached here. Can you please show yourself?" She asked nervously.
"Click proceed to complete initiation." The same mechanical voice repeated.
"Huh?" Beth asked, her face scrunching with an incredulous expression.
Whoever had brought her here was incredibly rude, she thought, tying her hand over her chest in irritation. She was going to stay put until whoever it was showed themselves.
"Click proceed to complete initiation." The voice repeated.
That was when Beth's conviction shook. A strange thought flashed in her mind. The setting seemed familiar. This was how all the system novels that she had read started. Does that mean she got a system? Was she sleeping by any chance? She pondered, rubbing her eyes in disbelief.
The bright green button started flashing urgently, blinking again and again as the same message repeated itself. Maybe she could try this out. After all, if this was only a dream, what could go wrong? She asked herself. Beth took a cautious step forward, looking at her right and left. She couldn't see anything past the darkness. She felt like she was walking on clouds as she moved forward.
She raised her hand before her, reaching for the green button. It's only a dream, she told herself. Taking a deep breath, Beth pressed her palm against the huge button.
"Here goes nothing," she murmured to herself.
Suddenly the button vanished, and the screen before her flashed a congratulatory message. It read - 'Congratulations! Welcome to the God Creation System.'
"Initiation completed." The Mechanical male voice boomed around her.
"Okay!" Beth exclaimed excitedly. This dream was good! A god creation system?! Oh boy! She was going to have some fun with this one. She rubbed her hands together with a greedy smile. "Let's get this started. Show me my options. There should be tasks. What's my first task?" She asked aloud.
There was no response. The screen kept flashing the congratulatory message. Beth waited for some time. Maybe, she'd have to wait a bit before the system fetched her tasks, she thought to herself. But even after waiting what seemed to be like at least half an hour, there was no change in the contents of the screen.
"Hello?" She called out, "Can I get my first task, please?"
Nothing. Only silence greeted her. Irritated by the lag, Beth did what she usually did to the electronic appliances that stopped working at her apartment. She pounded on the screen hard, trying to make it work again.
"What?!" Beth exclaimed as the screen flashed error in big, bold letters.
Did she destroy the system? She thought, her eyes widening in horror. But-
"Initiate sleep." The mechanical male voice echoed, interrupting her thoughts.
"No, no, no, no! Don't sleep!" She exclaimed, desperately pounding on the screen.
All of a sudden, she was enveloped by darkness once again. She cursed under her breath, waving her hands around for the screen. But it was not there anymore. Her fingers passed through cold air.
"Curse my luck at dreams." She said, her teeth starting to chatter violently.
The cold was getting to her. Beth sat down on the floor, wrapping her hands around her body. She put her head down on her knees, closing her eyes in defeat, waiting for the dream to shift to a different setting. She didn't want to be left alone in a cold and dark place. Not even in her dreams.
"Hey, you." Suddenly a voice called out.
Beth looked up, confused. The setting had already changed. Bright light pushed into her eyes, making her squint with unease. "Huh? Me?" She asked, rubbing her eyes vigorously.
"Yes, you." The man replied in a rude tone. "Get up from there and go join the queue."
"Queue? For what?" Beth asked, scrunching her brows. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the surroundings.
She stood up, looking around in awe. She seemed to be in front of an enormous gate. Towards her right and left were queues with children dressed in a plain white dress. The one who talked to her was a man dressed in purple robes. A woman stood to his side, wearing similar clothing.
"Where am I?" She asked.
That was when she noticed her own attire. She was wearing the same plain clothes that the others around her seemed to be wearing. But what shocked her was her hands. They were tiny.
"Wait, why am I in a child's body again?!" She exclaimed in horror. If this was the same dream repeating, then she wanted none of it.
The man on her right sighed, shaking his head in disappointment. "It's another clueless one." He said, turning away from her.
Why were the two people standing in front of her the only adults in the place? Were they doing a child trafficking business? Was her dream going to be about a kidnapping? She wondered, stepping away from the two cautiously.
"Look miss, you're dead." The woman stated, looking at her with an awkward smile, "And this is heaven's gate." She said, pointing to the huge gate behind her. She opened a thick book and started flipping through the pages quickly.
Beth's heart dropped. "Huh?" She asked, gulping nervously. "That can't be true. I was just-"
"It seems that you were shot down in an alley while on your way home." The woman read aloud from the book, peering closely into it.
Beth couldn't believe this. She protested. "But-"
Memories flashed in her mind. Yes, she wasn't sleeping. She was walking down the alley, avoiding Mrs. Walter with a doughnut in her hand. She remembered how she had checked her phone's notification and the intrusion of the men who had suddenly barged into the silent alley. The sound of the gunshots echoed in her head. Beth licked her lips nervously.
"So, this isn't a dream?" She asked, looking at the people in front of her.
"I'm afraid not." The rude man replied. "Go and join the others in the queue."
"For what?" Beth asked nervously.
"Your place." The woman spoke up, smiling at her. "You will be allotted a place in..."She trailed off, flipping through the pages once again. Raising her brows in surprise, she said, "heaven."