Faith ------------------------------- by Shadow Unicorn
The Comfortable Couch
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A young woman, of the age of 16, found herself in a new, strange place.  She hadn't the slightest idea how she had gotten there.  She couldn't even remember where she was from, but instead of being frightened, she calmly began to walk around.  Her surroundings reminded her of a garden, though she could not recall ever seeing one before.  There were flowers of brilliant colors, luscious green grass, and a river of deep bluish-green, with fish the colors of the rainbow.  The trees were tall and old, but had a special newness to them.  She could feel everything growing around her.
    As she walked, she encountered animals of the likes she had never seen, but found she knew them all by name.  She would call to them sweetly, pet them, and scratch them behind their ears.  As she continued through the garden, she began to sing.  Birds everywhere answered back with sweet chirping and tweeting sounds of their own.
    Soon she came to the edge of the garden and found herself in a place that was dark, misty, and scary.  She turned to go back to the garden, but when she turned around, it was gone.  She traveled on, hoping that she would eventually get out of the place, but it seemed to go on forever.  Terrible creatures howled in the distance, and frightened her more.  After she traveled for what seemed like days, one could not tell in such a place, she began to lose hope.  She fell to her knees and began to cry.
    A few minutes later, she heard a voice.  It was strong, but soothing, and told her to continue her journey and she would soon be back in the garden.  Mustering up all the courage she had left, she stood up and continued on her way.  There were creatures and evil things that tried to stop her, but she overcame them and pressed on still.
    Finally she made it back to the garden with a new sense of accomplishment.  She decided that after a short rest, she would continue on, but at a slower pace so as not to lose the garden again.  She slept peacefully next to a bubbling brook, under the shade of a weeping willow tree.
    When she awoke, she took a long drink from the brook then continued on.  It wasn't long before she reached a little cottage.  A sign next to the door read:


She didn't know what it meant, but tried the door anyway. It wouldn't budge, so she sat down on a rock to think.
    After about fifteen minutes, a figure appeared before her.  It was clothed in a pure white robe that went down to his bare feet.  The robe was tied by a delicate piece of golden rope.  A bright light appeared to be shining from his head, and she even thought she could make out a faint outline of wings.  The word "angel" popped into her head as she looked at the extraordinary being, though she didn't know why.
    "Who are you?" she asked with the feeling she already knew the answer.
    "I am an angel of God, and I'm here to give you the Key of Knowledge," he answered with a strong yet soft voice that was different from the one she heard earlier.  "Use it on the Door of Truth and it will open.  But be warned, knowledge and truth may be shocking and hurtful, for with them comes pain and sorrow.  Face them with Hope."  With that, the angel handed her a golden key and a wooden cross, the disappeared into a mist of light.
    The girl stood there for a moment, unsure of what she should do.  Eventually she decided to Try the key on the door, and this time it opened.  Slowly, and cautiously, she stepped in, holding the cross tightly.  Instantly her sight was flooded with images, her memories.  Her life flashed before her eyes and ended with an image of a terrible car crash.  She was in one of the vehicles.  Next she saw her mother talking to a doctor in a hospital.  "She didn't make it," she heard him say.
    Tears began to form in her eyes.  She wanted to run into her mother's arms and be told it wasn't true and that everything would be alright, but she knew she couldn't.  She was dead.  Without realizing it, she began to hug the cross the angel had given her.
    Suddenly a loud voice called out, "Come my child."  She recognized it as the same voice she heard in the dark, dead realm.  She walked forward, towards it.
    "Who are you?" she asked.
    "I am God," the voice answered.  "You are on your way to Heaven.  You went though the garden of life, and into the desert of death and misery.  With my help, you came to the garden of rebirth.  In the garden you found the House of Truth.  With the Key of Knowledge you have "opened up to the light" and learned of your past, but never gave up Hope.  If you continue on, you will come to the gates of Heaven."
    The voice faded away and the girl continued on her way, no longer afraid, and never letting go of the cross.  Just as the voice said, she came to the magnificent gates of Heaven.  After the long journey, she was finally home.

The End