Allan opened his eyes to a familiar ceiling fan whirling at a slow pace above his head. His bed felt soft and warm as it always did; but, something felt off. The room was dim, almost dark.
“What time is it?” he grumbled and sat up in the bed. He reached for his phone on the nightstand to his right. His phone was missing. He looked around the room in confusion, then it hit him. His room was in a corner of the house and it had two windows; one on each outer wall. This room had the same mint-green walls and the same forest-themed comforter; but, it had no windows. The door to his bathroom was open and pitch-black inside. “What the hell?” Allan swung his legs off the bed and padded to the door to check the rest of the house for anything stranged. He found it as soon as he opened the door.
Bright light flooded his dim room as he stepped out into a brilliant fluorescent hallway. The walls, floor, and ceiling seemed to be made from frosted glass that glowed with cold white light. The hallway stretched in both directions as far as he could see, but his was the only door. After spending a minute looking both ways looking for any clues he picked a direction randomly and took a step.
“Careful, you don’t want to go too far. You might get lost,” a pleasant voice came from his room. There hadn’t been anyone in there when he woke up, but maybe they had answers. He rushed back into his room and found a man sitting on his computer desk. The clean-cut, lean man wore a dark suit. His light brown hair was styled with a neat crew cut. He smiled at Allan.
“Who are you?” Allan asked from the doorway. “Where am I?” The man slid off Allan’s desk.
“Those answers aren’t important,” he said as he crossed the bedroom to Allan. “You’ll get them eventually.” He reached the pajama-dressed man and encouraged him into the room. Once Allan was clear of the door, the suited man closed it. “What is important is why you’re here. I have a favor to ask of you.” Allan narrowed his eyes at the stranger, but the man maintained his smile. He twisted the knob and opened the door again.
Instead of harsh light spilling into the bedroom it was a warmer, golden light. Allan looked out into the hallway but it wasn’t there. A cool breeze whispered past Allan as he looked out onto a wide-open meadow. A golden sun hung in the deep blue sky and tall grass swayed in the wind; and, there were people. Dozens.. maybe hundreds of men, women, and children. Allan caught sight of a group of men playing volleyball nearby; each and every one of them reminded him of himself. He focused on the faces of women and children he could get a good look at. They looked like him too.
“Is this Heaven?” Allan asked. “Is this my family?” He continued scanning any faces he could see to search for his parents. His other siblings were still alive.
“If Heaven was a night club…,” the suited stranger smiled. “…this would be the VIP lounge. They are not your family, they’re you.” Allan tilted his head.
“How does that work?” As he asked, a man from the group approached them. He was shirtless, tan, and slightly more muscular than Allan. He looked to be a bit older than Allan’s 23 years. The topless man nodded at the host in the dark suit, then he smiled at Allan.
“You’ll get all your questions answered if you oblige my request,” the guide said. The topless stranger remained quiet.
“What favor?” Allan asked.
“Wait here. If you please,” he said.
“That’s the favor? You want me to wait here?” He looked around the meadow. A couple of him were working to get a grill lit while other versions of him prepared meat. “For how long?” The suited man gave a half shrug.
“That’s the sticking point. We don’t know exactly. But, there are worse ways to spend a possible eternity.”
“Why me?” Allan asked, then he glanced at his shirtless counter-part. “Why us?” The crew cut gentleman took a breath.
“The cycle of existence; life, death and everything in between is in danger of being disrupted.”
“And I’m the one that can stop the disruption!?” Allan asked excitedly. The gentleman smiled and shook his head.
“This has never happened before. I’m curious to see how it plays out,” he said. “Keeping you…,” he looked at the topless version and the rest of the meadow. “…all of you, here keeps that disruption on track.” Allan’s eyes widened.
“You want it to happen?!” The gentleman nodded.
“As I said, it’s never happened before. I need to let it get to the end so that I’m prepared if it happens again.”
“Who are you?” Allan asked again. The man smiled and gestured at the muscular man.
“This is Allister. He’ll answer all your questions.”