Suddenly, they all cried out in one of many screams of terror as the pulling sensation became a feeling of dropping, with no parachute to soften the fall. They plummeted like dead weight and the portal turned black as night. The grip on each other loosened as they tumbled and turned, bodies bumping and bouncing off one another.

And then the hum began. Embedded in the walls of darkness, a vibration so deafening rang out as they continued to fall. Second guess thoughts of where their destination was flew through their minds. Was this a direct trip back to the planet earth or was it a one way descent to Hell?

Peter held Savannah’s hand tight the entire plummet. And even upon impact on a grassy slope, they never broke touch.

The Gathering, as a unit, had made it successfully back to earth. They appeared to be in a park somewhere, on a beautiful summer day. Undetected by the humans, they all laid there for a minute or so, grateful to be on solid ground. Then, as if on cue, they sat up, one by one, then climbed to their feet. They spoke amongst themselves, in hushed tones.

“What is the plan now?”

Another questioned, “Yes. We’ve arrived back home, but now what shall we do?”

The wise old soul, with the help of Peter who took his hand, got up onto his feet and turned to face the group of misguided souls. “We must disperse immediately, for time is undoubtedly not our friend. Go to your home and re-inhabit your body, as Peter had. Come back to life, every one of you.” He said the last line with a great smile creasing his elderly face.

A high level of excitement broke out over The Gathering. The notion of living again, with a family and boring flesh and bone… nothing could be more exhilarating than getting back which was once lost. Being trapped in purgatory for what felt like eternity, only to be loosed on earth to be, in a sense, born again? This was a good plan.

One by one, souls vanished from the park, migrating to the last place they had lived and breathed earth’s air. Each spirit honed in on their earthly shell, one by one, arriving within feet.

Timothy and Eden, twins who lost their lives in a high school shooting, ended up in a graveyard, standing upon a settled grave. The headstones, in sequence, read ‘Timothy Resnik, Born September 12 and Died August 1’ and ‘Eden Resnik’ dated the same. Instantly, Timothy dove through the six feet of soil and smashed open the pine box. To further his shock, what he saw was dirty old bones in a nasty looking suit.

Back on the surface, he looked at his sister then his eyes the head stone again. “There is nothing here for us. We can’t go back to who we were. We truly are dead.”

At another grave, Raj discovered the same fate of his physical body. He shook his head in disbelief and spoke out to the sky, “What now, Promise Keeper? Are you even there?”

Jalanda’s soul came to a halt inside of a sterile and cold building. She was filled with confusion and started pulling out several drawers, only to discover toe tags in a room full of pale corpses. Without knowledge of where her body was, she touched the wall of drawers and was mentally teleported to visions of her demise.

The scenes flashed quickly. Her dad wept as he held his daughters lifeless body, racked with cancer. He closed her open eyes and screamed at The Promise Keeper as he wept uncontrollably. Next, she witnessed her body being engulfed in white flame, destroying all that was left of her. The remains of her were collected into a beautiful opal urn and that urn sat on her parent’s mantel for a brief period of time. The last scene she saw was her parents, all four hands cupping that opal receptacle and pouring out her ash over board their family boat, into the still sea. They cried and they prayed through the tears, thanking the Promise Keeper for her.

Peter went with Savannah to her body site. When they arrived, they saw Savannah’s grave, to their surprise. “Why, Peter, why? This plan was destined for failure, was it not? Why did we ever hold faith it could work?” Savannah’s fury was undone quickly when she realized whose grave was beside hers.

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