The man extended a sheet of paper towards her. He said, "Here is your number. You will be herewith known as number twenty-three."
Beth quickly took the paper from him and stared at the paper. On it was a photo of a childhood version of her. That must be how she looked right now. Her silvery blonde hair was combed back neatly, secured with a simple clip. The deep green of her eyes contrasted against her pale skin. She looked like a female version of her favorite character.
But that was when she was a child- her mother used to dress her up every day. She wondered how they got the photo. Below it was the number twenty-three written in bold letters. There was a bunch of information written after that. But she didn't bother to read it as she was disturbed by a particular detail.
"You can proceed to the gate. The gatekeepers will help you erase your memories, after which you will be allowed to enter heaven." The man said, pointing towards the direction of the gate.
Beth cleared her voice. "Does that mean that I'll have no name from now on?" She asked, raising her brows.
"Your name is twenty-three." The man said, shaking his head in irritation.
"Next!" He called, ignoring her protest.
Beth sighed. Clutching the paper in her hand, she walked towards the huge gate that loomed in front of her. She took a last glance at the man at the table. He was busy talking to a child.
"How is this even fair? What am I some sort of hitman to be numbered?" She moaned in complaint.
Why had no one warned her about this? Twenty three? Are they numbering cattle? She thought, anger rising up inside her. She waved her little fist in front of her and cursed all the way to the end of the gate, where another man in purple stood. She stopped in front of him, with a frown. He had a huge smile on his face and a long heavy-looking staff in his hand.
"Stand to the right, miss." The man said, smiling at her as if she were really a little kid.
"Alright," Beth said, tying her hands over her chest angrily. She moved towards his right, standing on a small raised platform. The ground underneath her small feet lit up instantly. It looked sophisticated, becoming brighter by the second.
"Safe passage to you." He wished, lifting his staff up in the air, and thumping on the ground loudly.
Beth raised her brows in confusion. What was he doing? The man kept smiling at her, raising the staff above his head once again and bringing it down in quick succession. The light emanating from the platform increased, heat building up around her. She started getting a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach as he raised the staff for the third time.
"Hey, what are you-"
Before she could complete the sentence, the staff came down on the ground once again, with a loud thump. A bright light enveloped her surroundings, blinding her for a moment. Beth quickly closed her eyes, feeling uneasy.
Suddenly she started hearing voices. There were so many of them as if she were in the middle of a busy street. Beth opened her eyes to what looked like a dusty town. She stood there in her plain white clothes and a paper in her hand, staring at the sight in front of her in horror. This was heaven?! This dirty town was what was supposed to be heaven?! She screamed inside her head.
A woman in purple robes walked up to her, her face hard, without even a trace of emotion. Her skin was pale and her eyes were pitch black like the darkness that would suck you in and never let you go. Beth instantly knew that she didn't like this woman. Though she looked beautiful, there was something cold about her that screamed at her to run as fast as she could. But there was no time for that. She was standing right in front of her.
"Show me your paper." The woman demanded, extending a pale hand towards her.
Beth knew to hide her right hand behind her. Extending the paper to the woman, she stood back cautiously. The woman didn't bother to notice her tiny movements. Her hawk-like gaze swept over the contents of the paper with an irritated expression. It was as if Beth had done a mistake by entering heaven. It was at this point that she started wondering how hell would have been to someone like her. Maybe she should go back to the gate where she entered from and try again, she thought to herself.
Turning away quietly from the woman, she glanced around. She was standing in front of a huge gate, identical to the one which she had entered from. Since she hadn't moved at all from the time of her arrival, she was standing on top of a platform similar to the one that she had stood before getting sent here. But strangely, it wasn't glowing like the other one.
"Thinking of escaping already?" The woman's high-pitched voice asked, cutting down her plans with a single swipe.
Beth turned back towards the woman with an awkward laugh.
"I think there has been a mistake." "The man at the gate might have gotten me confused with someone."
"Number twenty-three, right?" The woman asked, stepping towards her in irritation.
"Uhhh... I guess." Beth replied uneasily.
No. Her name was something else. What was it? She wondered.
"There has been no mistake. You will be settled into the slave's quarters immediately." The woman said, staring at her coldly.
Beth couldn't believe what she heard. "What?! Slave?!" She exclaimed, shocked to her core.
"Yes. Got a problem with it?" The woman asked, raising her brows.
Beth licked her lips nervously. She didn't want to get into trouble on her first day at heaven. But neither did she want to be a slave. Did it make sense by any chance? Why would heaven have slaves?
Taking a cautious step forward, she pointed towards the paper and asked, "Uhhh...are you sure that that is what is written in there. because I'm sure-"
The woman flipped the paper over for her to see immediately.
There written right under her number was the term "slave".
"Yes, see?" She asked, tapping on the word. "It is written right here."
The woman tapped on her forehead, leaning down towards her face with a dangerous look. "Move. You have work to do." She commanded.