• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 01

Joyride To Heaven

They come to meet you on the way up. You knew they would. It is Uncle Fritz who spots you first, sputtering towards you in a rickety contraption, propeller whirring, his loud laugh booming.

“Ahoy, young Gustav!”

He is sailing across the sky, far out, to your starboard side and the sight of him buoys you. Closer, you must get closer. And you pull on the cord to set the flame roaring, the silk billowing. Higher, faster. Remembering the blue glint of his eyes, his laughter, the sour candies he would bring you as a child. Your delight.

“Ahoy!” you cry. “Ahoy!”

The room below, the bed where you had lain just moments ago, the scratch of starched sheets on your skin, the view from the window out over the fields, the tree you had watched from season to season, all of that fading from view now. A world forgotten. Save for them.

They swirl around you now in crafts of every colour and shape, your sister lifted by angels wings to hover above you, around you.

“Agatha!” you cry. And you watch as she is set down in the basket beside you. Her fingers stroking your cheek, your hair.

“So,” she says. “You were gone a long time.”

And you nod and smile and breathe deep, accept her kisses. The clouds parting to reveal a sky so azure, so bright.

“Look,” Agatha says. And you look. See swooping crafts gliding and looping, hear their joyous cries, “Gustav! Gustav!”


Joyride To Heaven

“Take my hand,” Agatha tells you. And you grip tight as she lifts you to the edge of the basket.

“Okay?” You nod, step off the edge, and fall into the air to glide and swoop and holler.

Below, Marie closes the shutters and pulls up the sheet, whispers “adieu”, the word the puff of air which lifts you higher still, carries you beyond, as the clouds swirl tight and enfold you.