My Life Hereafter is a mesmerizing tale of resilience, redemption, and the unyielding strength of the human spirit.
In this young adult Christian fantasy novel, embark on a captivating journey with Sunel Anderson, a young girl who finds herself in a mysterious and fantastical realm after a tragic accident.
Sunel possesses an extraordinary companion—an invisible man who sits on her shoulder and offers guidance. However, Sunel has never paid much attention to his counsel, until a life-altering event alters her perception forever. A blinding flash turns her world upside down, shattering her reality. Instead of the darkness she expected, everything appears unsettlingly similar to the way things were before the fateful day when her school bus careened over a cliff.
Among the other students from the ill-fated bus is Mark Landon, accompanied by his twin brother, David. However, Sunel learns that David was sent across the valley to the other side. Filled with determination, they set out on a perilous quest to find David, braving unknown dangers and facing their doubts and fears.
As Sunel and Mark navigate a world rife with enigmas and supernatural occurrences, they encounter magical landscapes and hidden truths that challenge their understanding of faith, life, and purpose. Along their arduous journey, they both grapple with questioning their beliefs and discovering the power of faith and friendship.
I stand with Charlene, Mark, Lionel, Rudi, and Carly in the quad of grey.
The cement slabs beneath our feet are grey, and the walls surrounding us are the same dreary shade of colour.
The large group thins out slowly and somehow my group ends up being the last to be called.
This seems to be like an entrance to the other side. None of the other kids who have gone into the building before us, called by name from a huge register, by a burly woman with forearms almost as big as the man’s we saw earlier in the hall, have come back out on this side.
The grey walls surrounding us are high, and we cannot see what is happening on the other side.
Once again, I tell myself this is like a railway station, but here people only arrive, they never depart.
The woman in the white caftan dress with the muscular arms appears in the doorway of the entrance to the reception room. She looks down at her register, and then she calls out our names one by one.
She turns and we follow her into the building. If I had to be polite, I would say the décor is minimalistic. Once again, white tiles cover every surface and the white is overwhelming.
A mangled, wobbly wooden table stands in a corner with piles and piles of paperwork. Whoever does the filing has neglected his or her duties for a while, or otherwise, they are just terribly busy. I have to smirk at my internal humour, the little fellow who sits on my right shoulder, whispering inane sarcastic innuendos in my ear throughout my days and sometimes gets me into a heap of trouble.
In single file, one at a time, we walk through what looks like a metal detector, similar to those a person will find at the airport. I wonder if a person would be able to bring earthly possessions here. I am still wearing the same baby doll shirt and faded jeans I put on this morning after I woke up, but if I had, for instance, a knife in my pocket, would it still be in there? To test my theory, I push my hand into my pocket to feel if my iPod is there and pull my hand out empty. I suppose not. Earthly possessions are just what they are – earthly.
After I walk through the metal detector looking device, the burly woman calls me back. I frown and look at her questioningly, while she says, “I need you to walk through again.”
My frown deepens, but she is a scary looking woman, and as it is, I do not know where I specifically am. I know without a doubt I am dead, so I am obliging.
I see her look at the screen in front of her perplexed. She turns her back to me and looks at the dainty woman behind a thick, plastic windowpane. I see the small woman frown and her lips move, but I cannot hear a word she is saying. The window is muffling the sound. The thick, burly woman who is standing a mere few inches away from me nods her head in agreement as if she has heard every word and then as she turns to me. She nods her head and angles her neck to my group of friends, which I assume means I can join my group.
The woman then ushers us out the door on the other side of the building.
A person would expect to see winged chariots soaring around in the sky, crystal-clear water splashing softly, melodiously over snow-white pebbles in little streams criss-crossing through the lush, bottle green grass under the cerulean sky. A person would expect to see superbly crafted men and women with marvellous wings, dazzling under the bright midday sun flying above. However, there is none of that here. It is all just mundane. It looks normal, as normal as an everyday on Earth. The grass is still green, and the sky is still blue. The roads twist lazily through the landscape with grey buildings dotting it here and there.
Once again, all sixty of the students I was on the bus with this morning are standing in a group in front of the reception building. The reception building is on a hill, and the view goes on ceaselessly. There is no horizon.
A pretty girl is standing at the edge of the large group and she smiles at us kindly. Slowly, one-by-one we stop talking. I look at the girl and I notice she is radiantly beautiful, with golden flax locks and intense blue eyes. She is not like the man and the woman we encountered before her, she is petite, and her arms are normal looking.
When every student is silent, she says in a resonating voice, “Good. I am going to call out your name, and you are going to step toward that oak tree there. There will be forty names in all, so please be patient until I call your name. For those of you, whose name I do not call, please remain standing where you are.” She does not hesitate and starts to call out names.
I hold onto Charlene’s arm tightly. I honestly did not want the list to separate us. I hold my breath as the group under the oak tree grows and grows. I count nervously as each name is called out, hoping, and wishing neither Charlene’s or my name is called, and if either one of our names is called, that soon after the other’s name is also called.
At the count of forty, she finally brings her list of names down from in front of her face and I sigh relieved.
I look around me to Carly, Lionel, Mark and lastly, Charlene. From our original group of six, only Rudi was called to stand in the other group by the oak tree.
The pretty girl walks to the oak tree and I can hear her say friendly, “You will now all proceed to climb into the vehicles behind you.”
I notice some of the naughtier students, the bullies, and the disruptive kids resisting. Four broad-shouldered men appear, and then the group of forty kids climbs into the vehicles standing behind them obediently.
An overweight boy, by the name of Oscar, makes a run for it. Oscar is a nasty boy, and from when I can remember, he has ruled by fear. He likes, especially, to hurt and humiliate the younger boys in the halls of our school. He really is a wicked piece of work.
Two of the four strong men - sentries, I suppose, go after him, and to be honest, I doubt he ever had a chance of running away. I bet, after all that bullying, he is scared now of going to a place far more sinister than what he has experienced so far this morning.
The two sentries catch Oscar and then drag him by his arms back to the trucks. I see panic etched on Oscar’s face and he is whimpering softly for his mother. Hard-handed the sentries push Oscar into one of the trucks.
They close the doors and then the four trucks pull away and I see them trail each other down the hill, following the road. My eyes follow the slow-moving trucks down into the valley and then into a vast forest of huge trees. The trees continue up into an opposite hill, so I am unable to see where and when the trucks stop, if ever.
The pretty girl walks back to us and then she says pleasantly, “Welcome. I have been chosen to be your custodian, and you may call me Vera.”
She turns away from us and I wonder when someone will be telling us what is going on. I know we must be dead, after the way the bus was rolling and tumbling down the cliff, and into the river, but is this Heaven?
I wonder why we were split into two groups and why our group is smaller. I suppose, the other group was filled with lawbreakers and wrongdoers, so would it mean I have been selected to be amongst the group of worthy and good kids, and there is always more bad than good in the world.
Sunel would never have imagined that a small prank could lead to the unexpected for her and 60 classmates. Where are they? Are they dead? Why have they been separated into three categories? Where is David, Mark's brother? These questions and many more are answered as Sunel, Mark, and Carly go to the otherside to find David. Will Sunel be able to save her friends, or will it cost her her soul?
My Life Hereafter offers insight to the inner pysche and the afterlife. No matter if one believes in Heaven and Hell, the author has a way of prompting the reader to question the supernatural world. The reader is kept on the edge of his or her seat while trying to figure out what is going on along with Sunel. The novel is a love story, a mystery, a lesson learned. This book is a great read for teens and the young at heart.