Chapter 1: Life Goes On
The Heavenly Express post office in the afterlife had been crowded with massive lines of angel time travellers as usual and it had taken ages before Balthazar finally managed to slap his letter on the well-polished counter of the officer with exhaust.
“Two letters, one for the Murphy Residence and the other, the Dakota Household, 21st century.”
The female counter lady nodded with an affirmed smile and took the letters and let them float off to join the other letters in waiting. “They’ll arrive at the destination right before noon, Mr Cavendish.” She waved after the male angel as he turned heel. “Thanks for using the Heavenly Express! Hope you can come again!”
Balthazar chuckled amusedly and rolled his eyes. "It’s the only post office around here. It’s certainly not like there’s anywhere else I can go,” He murmured and with a weary sigh, hovered and started to fly forward across the heavenly grounds. The grey haired man closed his eyes in reminiscence as he felt that familiar wave of pain…
It’s hard to believe it but it’s true. It had been quite a while since he had died twice in a row - The first time taking place when he was beaten up by former boss Block and his goons and the second, when saving little Milo’s life during an explosion on his ‘boat trip’.
It was a peculiar story to tell. One that he made sure to thoroughly write about to his dear Vinnie Dakota and Milo who both deserve to know every single bit. It was tough having to remember again and write, but they deserved to know. He’s had enough of keeping secrets from them. Especially from his Vinnie Dakota.
Basically all it took was the underwater malfunction of his 'watch of life’ to kill him and Balthazar could have been sent to Hell, due to his rejecting of Heaven the first time he died and he is never to come back. Balthazar left out that part. He doesn’t need them to know that.
But alas, that merciful angel Orton had come to take him back to time traveller paradise, saving him from the hands of Hell and here he was, because of his giving his life up for a child. So for that he was set to rest in peace for good amongst hundreds of fallen.
It was very lonely without his two favourite people and Balthazar had made it very clear in his letters. Heaven may be a peaceful land full of everything, but nothing can replace the wonderful two people he had loved ever so dearly.
And fortunately for Balthazar, Heaven has its ways of letting the angels watch their loved ones below via a huge portal where each angel can see their individual families.
Balthazar remembered the first time Orton took him there and from then on, he watched Vinnie and Milo grow up from afar. Now if only there was a way where he could hold them while watching…
A sudden calling of his name caused the man to jolt in his flight and crash clumsily into the ground in crumpled heap. He grunted slightly as he got up and dusted any dirt particles off of his pure snow colored robe.
“Looks like even Heaven doesn’t spare one from the case of the klutziness.” Muttered Balthazar. Never had he experienced one flim since his arrival and a single call had made him crash.
The caller let wore an apologetic look and he floated down to help the fellow brethren up. “Sorry for that, Balthazar,” Said he. “I didn’t know you were so deep in thought. I apologize,”
Balthazar’s annoyance softened instantly and he quickly bowed before the superior angel standing before him. “It’s no big deal, Orton.” He assured quickly and shrugged. “I’m quite okay.” He tilted his head. “So you were calling me just now?”
“I sure am,” Orton nodded and floating forward, he beckoned for Balthazar to fly alongside him; To which the latter followed. “I’ve come to inform you that Heaven’s Gates will be opening shortly and we’ll be welcoming some newcomers,” He cringed slightly in remembering something awful. “I only pray that they’re not like that Blockhead upon their arrival. Now that’s a type we do not like to have; Even though they’re a time traveller.”
Balthazar winced. “Of course we don’t.” He shrugged and the two flew on. Now how can he forget about Mr Block? That monster had done so much badness but yet he somehow ended up here behind the Pearly Gates.
He remembered that unplesant first day. Poor Orton had been hit in the face with that scoundrel’s Halo and the terrible man had caused the fainting of several angels as he deliberately attempted to wind up his life clock so he can return to earth for who knows what reason.
What will become of that tyrant in the future? Balthazar along with every angel around here will never know.
Luckily for them as of now, Orton after running out of patience for the wretched newcomer, had sent Block into recluse for this so called 'Redemption Therapy’ where no angel has ever been needed to attend.
It’s indeed without surprise too if some angels here can be seen muttering on how much Block should be in Hell. Balthazar heard even Orton mutter so to some other archangels who agreed on this as well…
The two angels landed on a cloud a short distance away from the Gates where a few others stood waiting. One angel, a young man, was preparing a golden horn for usage while the rest are idly chatting to pass the time. Balthazar eyed the horn as it caught his eye.
“What are they going to use that horn for?” Balthazar asked the other angel. “It looks quite fancy compared to the rest I’ve seen. Shouldn’t it be in the Music Room with all the other horns?”
The tawny haired angel laughed heartily at this. “In the Music Room? Oh no, we can never put a horn as sacred as that in that place.” Balthazar’s eyes widened and Orton gestured to the horn in the angel’s hand as he floated forward. “That instrument you see over there is Gabriel’s Horn. It is extremely powerful and we only use it to open the Gates in order to welcome the newcomers. It is to be kept in the most secure place to avoid any tampering with.”
Orton gave a sheepish look towards Balthazar. “Of course, no one here has ever dared to misuse the horn for years. Why, you should hear what has happened to the poor canines in their Heaven. They were very fortunate that the Horn has been used by a pure dog to save them all after a demon feline had summoned them to earth - Using the Horn itself.” He shrugged. “I’d love to tell you the full thing but it’s best if you hear it from the dog angels or Anabelle herself. They’ll explain it better,”
A sudden melodic blaring coming from the horn echoed from near the gates and the two sat up. Orton grinned at Balthazar. “Well would you look at that? That’s the signal!” He announced and he jumped off their cloud. “Now chop chop! Let’s go see who’s arrived!”
Balthazar nodded quickly and reluctantly lept down from his spot, flying after Orton and they disappeared into the flock of both winged and wingless angels who are all heading to the gates to greet their newcomers…
Chapter 2: The Assignment
Next up; Balthazar meets someone special :)
“Wow. That must be all the newcomers over there,”
Balthazar gaped slightly in awe at the small group dressed in assorted time era clothing as they stood behind the gates, clearly waiting in confusion for they have randomly been summoned here as souls. Just like Balthazar had been on his first death.
The people behind the gated varied in age. Men, women, elderly… And even a father and his young child. All appeared to come from periods ranging from the 1870s like Balthazar is wisely dressed as before to others like the medieval times or even the present.
Can they all really be time travellers?
Balthazar couldn’t even recognise them as agents from the bureau. For once, maybe the bureau was right. There are indeed a lot more time travellers than he thought and not all of them are in stuck-up organizations like his former. He felt relieved to know this…
A nudge disrupted his from thought and he turned to see Orton giving him an amused look.
“Thinking deeply again I see?” He mused and Balthazar shrunk slightly. “Not exactly,” Said he and he turned to look at the awaiting crowd once more. “But I have been wondering. All of those newcomers are time travellers, aren’t they?”
Orton nodded. “Affirmatively yes. This is where every single one ends up if they perish. Time travellers can come in all sorts of ages and sizes. Either way, that doesn’t matter. They’re gone through the timestream once or twice in their lives so that automatically brings them right here at the end of life.”
The archangel’s eyes widened. “Which reminds me,” He reached into his robes in rummaging for something. “Balthazar, I have a form of assignment for you to do.” He continued to dig into robes and when failed to find something, started looking into his large sleeve holes and looking around him still.
Seconds later, the angel gave an accomplished noise and stood fished out what looked like a yellowish-white card that resembled a part of a scroll and handed it to Balthazar, who took the card and scanned it. It contained no more than a name that gave Balthazar the furrows.
“And who is this supposed to be?” Balthazar queried in regarding the name and he lowered the card to put it in his robe pocket. “Is he another angel living here?”
Orton looked thoughtful and tilted his head. “Not exactly as of now.” He shrugged. “But he will be once he’s been welcomed,” He looked over at the crowd. “This fellow you ask of is on the list of today’s newcomers according to Gretchen. You might see him shortly when the arrivals have entered,”
He briefly glanced at the gates once more. “So as for your assignment, the lad is going to need somebody. A spirit guide. We could have had someone else to take charge of him till he’s ready to be on his feet,”
Orton gave a cheeky look. “But then Angel’s Intuition has told me that a fine man such as yourself is more suited for a type like him. I’m sure the both of you will get along just fine - Just like how we did when you first came about,”
He kindly patted Balthazar’s shoulder as he spoke while the latter just finished taking in the task. “So I’ll just have to guide him around here until he gets on his feet?” He gained a nod from the other angel. “Alright I got it.” Orton gave a crooked grin and wrapped an arm around the other. “Ah that’s the spirit Balthazar! I knew I could count on you!”
Balthazar gave a nod. “Now what else would I have done around here if not that?”
In readying to say something, Orton opened his mouth only to be disrupted when a petite, dark haired woman angel with glasses landed enfolding her wings. “Sorry for interrupting sir,” She spoke in a low, emotionless tone. “But Nebulas is being difficult again. The others need backup asap,”
Orton frowned at this and rolled his eyes. “Oh for crying out loud..” He sighed and looked apologetically at Balthazar. “Forgive me Balthazar, I need to go tend to business. You know the Blockhead. He can be quite a handful to deal with,”
“Oh a very big handful alright,” Balthazar murmured in distaste before shaking his head. “Well, I wish you good luck on the job. We can simply meet again later,”
The tawny haired angel smiled. “Of course, Balthazar.” He turned around and disappeared after Gretchen. “Au Revoir!”
Balthazar waved after the angel until he disappeared. Once finished, he made way towards the Gates and stood amongst the crowd of other angels who are already living here.
Presumably they have either been assigned a similar assignment from the Archangels like he is or they are longing for arrival of their relatives. That or they could also be just standing around to welcome the newcomers.
The horn continued to blare out in summoning the awaiting angels around before the blower started to play the horn in a melodious tune that drew Balthazar in. It sounded far more beautiful than the regular horns in the Music Room and it was within the next sight did Balthazar realize the truth in Orton’s words about the horn’s function.
As the melody played out, the Gates slowly started to swing open letting in the newcomers. Some of the angels in the crowd excitedly swarmed forward just as the newcomers have lined up in single file to have their attendance checked by an angel.
Balthazar quickly floated down to join the crowd and he watched the newcomers reunite with their angel relatives or have their guides introduced to them. He spotted a male angel rush forward and he was instantly hugging the newcomer father and their child. A whole family once again. Balthazar felt a pang of longing.
Vinnie Dakota and Milo Murphy.
The two people appeared in Balthazar’s mind once more. The familiar sensation of loneliness and heartache overcame him and he wished that he had a reunion too. Vinnie will definitely arrive here when his time comes and maybe even little Milo because he’s time travelled few times as Balthazar knew.
When their time comes, Balthazar swore the first thing he’ll do is grab them in his arms and hold them near and dear to his heart for all eternity. Something he should have done when he was alive and still with Vinnie who had been his lifelong partner for ages…
“And that’s all of them!”
The Angel who did attendance check announced and it was followed by the cries of rejoice and applause - Rendering Balthazar stunned. “What? Already?!” He looked about the crowd. All of the newcomers seemed to have connected with their guides or family. No one left seemed to be looking for anybody and the gates are already slowly closing by themselves as the opener ceased control.
Balthazar shook his head in disbelief and he approached the angel with a clipboard of names in his hand. “I apologize for the sudden cut in sire, but there must have been a mistake! This can’t be all of them!” He gestured to the newcomers who are now making their way into their new home with family or guides.
When the angel rose a brow in confusion, Balthazar pulled out the name card and handed it over for him to read. The angel took a second to study it and he formed a look of realization. “Ah I see. Yes this is definitely one of the newcomers on the list,”
Balthazar nodded. “Orton has assigned me to be the Guide of this particular fellow,” He explained while glancing at the gates and back at where the welcomed newcomers disappeared. “Did he happen to arrive with the others?”
The angel frowned and shook his head. "Aw I’m sorry Balthazar. He’s not here yet,” He showed Balthazar the clipboard. “But then chances are he might be here during the next openings of the gate.” He explained. “You see, not everyone on the list has arrived so he’s definitely going to arrive later on with the rest. This list contains every soon to be newcomer for today after all!”
“Sounds reasonable,” Balthazar shrugged. “Well I guess I could stick around nearby and wait for the next openings for the day.”
The angel with the clipboard smiled. “Gabriel’s Horn will be played out for every opening. You can’t miss it so be sure to be right here once you hear it,” Balthazar nodded understandingly. “Alright. Thank you for telling me,”
He turned around and flew to rest at a nearby bunch of clouds. Once settled in the white fluffs, Balthazar turned to lie at his side and sighed as he watched the other angels both new and old roam about. Waiting for his client is going to take quite a while.