I was living in a city situated in a valley which sat poised over an ancient volcano. One night the earth began to slowly rotate in a circular motion as the soil beneath the city shifted and buckled. Slowly at first, then more rapidly, the city began to sink into the yawning earth. I could both see the sight from above the city and could feel myself falling through the earth, like a grain of sand through a sieve. I had previously imagined that such a catastrophe might be possible, and I anticipated that I would fall many miles.
I fell and fell. After I had plummeted what I estimated to be almost three hundred miles, my protracted descent abruptly ended and I began to feel the sandy dirt pile up over my head. This was what I had feared: being smothered under an agglomeration of dirt. Immobilized in the blackness, I realized it would only be a matter of moments before I would die.
But when I heard voices just above my head, I bunched all my strength, moved my body and was able to pierce my hand through the dirt to an empty space. Grabbing hold, I succeeded in pulling my ruffled body up through a hole until I could stand erect.
Glancing around, I discovered many other people walking about the area. As I also began coursing the environs, I gradually realized I was in heaven. I was surprised to see that most of the people were young, in their 20s and 30s, full of vim and vigor. I thought if any old people were in this place, they would have enormous wisdom. It seemed that this was the way it should be in heaven.
I was also amazed to see that people could pass through solid objects and even through other people. I tried it myself, and was astounded as I passed through something solid.
When I noticed that a woman standing nearby was staring at me, I turned to her and asked if I knew her. After she responded that she did indeed know me, I finally recognized her as someone whom I knew. When several other people whom I recognized also gathered around, I told them I thought I had fallen about three hundred miles and that I had then had to dig through approximately one hundred feet of dirt. But then I amended my story to fifteen or twenty feet. I added that I was concerned about more cave-ins and dirt falling on us.
I asked them about God; I wanted to know if the God in this place was the same as the God of the world from which we had come. It seemed to me there might possibly be two Gods. But no one had any answers for me.
All the people around me had also recently fallen from the same town as I, a town which I now identified as Portsmouth. I noticed an old high school classmate, Phil Waddell, walking not far from us. I ran to try to catch him, but he passed through a wall and I missed him.
By now I had wandered into a building and was standing in a room. I suddenly remembered that all the newcomers to this place were supposed to take a bus at six o'clock to a location where they would spend the night. Looking down at my watch, I saw that it was only a few minutes before six. I knew the bus would be stopping nearby, and I needed to hurry. The only problem was that I had taken off my shirt, and I didn't know where I had laid it. I glanced around the room, but when I didn't see the shirt anywhere, I ran shirtless out the door and into a corridor toward where the bus was supposed to be.
I seemed to be watching myself racing down the hallway, as if I were already sitting on the bus and watching someone try to catch the bus. As I ran, I could see the bus up ahead, inside the building, preparing to pull out. And then it left without me. Watching the bus pass through some swinging doors, I hesitated to follow, unsure that people were permitted to enter that area on foot. But finally I decided to enter anyway.
As I followed through the swinging doors, I stepped into a room with halls branching off in various directions. Instantly I realized I was no longer in heaven, that I had stumbled into hell. I also knew if I didn't reach the bus, I might be lost here forever. I raced after the bus, which was just ahead of me. But each time I drew close, the bus would pass around a corner. I hollered for the bus to stop, but it wouldn't. I even began to fear that it might not be possible for the bus to stop.
Suddenly remembering something, I stopped in my tracks: a woman whom I loved was on the bus. Recalling that she and I had telepathic powers to communicate with each other, I concentrated in my mind on a message to send to her, to tell her that I had been left behind and that I needed the bus to stop. As I concentrated, I could hear her on the bus, saying, "Driver. Please stop. Go back and get Steve. He's behind us. I can feel his presence there."
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