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Knocking at Heaven’s Door

by on March 18, 2015

The starfighter dissolved in light. Madeleine’s world flared. Then everything went dark. Gaseous Girl was pretty sure she had just died, again. This was getting old. She wondered if she would be a ghost floating aimlessly in space again, and whether Evil Madeleine would also be around. She did not look forward to spending eternity floating around in space with her evil counterpart.

Fortunately, she didn’t have to. This time there was a bump and a flash of golden light, and suddenly she found herself standing on a cloud before a set of shining white walls. “Ah,” Madeleine said, somewhat pleased. “I made it to heaven. Huzzah.”

“Not quite,” said a voice.

Madeleine turned to see who it was, and her mouth fell open in shock. “Santa?” 

“Who were you expecting, Finn McCool?”

“No. Why would I be expecting a legendary Irish giant? I was hoping for Saint Peter, actually,” Madeleine said. “Tradition, and all that.”

“Peter,” said Nicholas, “handles ordinary arrivals. Your case is somewhat…complicated.”

“I’d imagine so.”

“And I’m not really Santa, I’m Saint Nicholas,” he went on. “You people never did get that right. And I don’t fly reindeer, or deliver presents to millions of children all over the world every Christmas. It was three bags of gold, down a chimney, one time, so one poor father could pay his daughter’s dowries. There were never elves.”

“There go my childhood illusions,”  Madeleine sighed. “Right, well…back to me. Why am I complicated?”

“Because,” Nicholas explained, “you technically don’t exist. You were erased from time. And if you were never born, you can’t exactly have died, and…”

“Look, I’m here,” Madeleine said. “I don’t know how I got here, but I’m here. Can’t you sort out the theological explanations later? I want my harp and fluffy cloud.”

“There’s an even graver problem. You’re Madeleine Prime, so to speak. For every choice you make, another Madeleine exists in another world who made the opposite choice. If you don’t exist, none of the other Madeleines will exist either. Once you were punched out of reality, as it were, you left an awful hole. Reality,” Nicholas said grimly,” does not like having holes punched in it.”

Madeleine sank down on the cloud, burying her face in her hands.  “Lovely. So how do I fix it?”

She expected Nicholas to assign some sort of task, probably very difficult, almost certainly messy. She did not expect him to say nothing. A long pause ensued. “Nick?” she said. “How do I fix it?”

“You assume that you can.”

That was not what she wanted to hear. “Look, I know it’s a time thing, and I’ve said before I hate time things, but even time things are fixable. Remember the Dark Earth Crisis of ’09? Remember when the Red Guardian tried to go back and change the War of 1812? Or that thing with Julius Caesar and the lasers? Been there, done that, hated it, still fixed it.”

“This isn’t just what you call a time thing,” Nicholas said. “This is a….reality thing. All the timelines could collapse. Every universe, everywhere.”

“Can’t the Big Guy fix it?” Madeleine said, motioning towards the Pearly Gates.

Nicholas shrugged. “Naturally. For example, he could wipe the slate clean and start over. But that seems a bit drastic. He’d prefer it if you worked out the problem yourself. Show initiative, so to speak.”

“I don’t get it,” Madeleine said. “You just said I couldn’t fix it.”

“No, you can’t… but another you can. And you can fix what you did.”

For the first time, Madeleine was glad she had died; otherwise she just know she’d have a splitting headache from all this. “You want to explain that, Nick?”

Nicholas said, slowly and patiently, “You, yourself, Madeleine Prime, are not the one who caused the breakdown in reality. But someone else did. Specifically, the evil version of yourself.  And what she did, you can undo.”

Madeleine almost smiled. “Okay. That makes sense. So I just have to track down my bad self and stop her. You wouldn’t happen to know where she is, would you?”

“Yes. But you might not realize what finding and confronting her means. She was on your starship. So she has died as well. And while you went here, she went to…the Other Place.”

“Oh….dear, ” Madeleine said. She didn’t think it would be appropriate to use a stronger expletive at the gates of heaven.

This story was written for Grammar Ghoul Press and the Mutant 750 challenge; it is also a further episode in the ongoing adventures of Gaseous Girl. Who, one of these days, will require a theme song. I will have to work on that.


  1. Another excellent installment!

  2. It’s always a pleasure to read more about Gaseous Girl. Nicely done!

  3. Haha! This is so fun. I like how solving the problem isn’t nearly as simple as it seems. I think you’re right, reality doesn’t like having holes punched into it. It figures that Bad Madeleine is the cause of all this trouble. And now she has to go to hell to fix the problem? Oy! There’s so many good things in this story. Just know that I loved them all. Great job!

  4. So now it’s a Heaven-Hell-space-time-reality thing? I think I’d have a headache even I was dead.

    I love where this story is going. It’s like being on a really fun ride at the best amusement park on Earth. 🙂

  5. Best installment yet. When I read the words, “The Other Place…” involuntarily my head played the “oh shit” crescendo – Dah dah DAH…… Too much fun!

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