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  • Rhyan Aneev

Assessing One’s Character

Michael Pereira had been inclined to the slightly incorrect path of life since childhood. He had been a mischievous adolescent since his school days. Growing older didn't change that either. He grew to be a bit of a hot headed, slightly immature, tall muscular man with a bad character that performed many misdeeds . He felt no shame for what he did, and laughed at the thought that he might be punished for it. All he cared for was the money it got him. However, one day, he got what he deserved and learnt an important lesson.

One day it so happened that he had an accident after having stolen a bag of cash and was injured.

After a while he opened his eyes and leapt to his feet in fright, swaying a little due to the accident. He reached for the bag of cash he had stolen but it wasn’t there.

“Oh, sit down.” A voice said impatiently.

Micheal looked around. He was in a sort of office, sitting in front of a large desk covered with a tottering pile of papers. In front of him was a short old man in a suit, looking at him through a pair of small pince-nez glasses.

“Who are you? Where am I?”

I am a man of the Law. I’m here to explain things to you. You see, you’re detained.”

“Is this a police station? Have I been caught? Am I a prisoner here?”

The man extracted a file from the stack on his desk and read aloud from it. “Michael Joseph Pereira. Born, August 28, 1982, aged thirty-five.” He tossed a newspaper clipping across the desk. “Here’s a list of all your life long actions.”

Michael looked at it, shocked. “I’m dead?”

“No. However, think of this as the day of Judgement.

“I’m dead?”

“No. It’s not that difficult to understand. You had a car accident. That’s usually fatal.”

“So... where am I?”

“You have been detained. I believe I said that already. Here your virtues and misdeeds are weighed, and depending on them, you go where you’re supposed to go. Come with me, and we’ll see.”

The man walked out of the office, and Michael followed him hurriedly. Outside was a typical room, with several people working in cubicles. Michael was starting to feel worried. If this was an elaborate hoax, then it was working. He started thinking about all the things he had done during his life, and wondering where he would go.

The man led him through several winding corridors, past a large cafeteria to a room lit by oil lamps, in the middle of which was a large, golden scale. Besides it was a dark man in a shirt and slacks. He shook hands with the man.

“Hello, Gabriel.”

“Hello, Horus.”

“This is a new entry?”


“Excuse me, can you at least tell me what you are going to do to me?” Michael demanded.

The two men glanced at him. “Ah, yes. We are going to judge you. Assess your character, your personality, your soul.” The agent – Gabriel – replied.

“Judge my soul? How?”

“Well we weigh your deeds against an ostrich feather,” The other man, Horus, explained. “If it is lighter than the feather, you get to enjoy a life of peace and happiness, also known as “the good place”. If it is heavier than the feather, you go to “the bad place”.

“What?! How can anyone’s deeds be lighter than a feather?! How many people go to the good place?”asked Michael

“Oh, not as many as you think.” Gabriel assured him. “The feather’s quite heavy. Still, there are many who do tip the scales – ”

“King Herod.” Horus offered. “General Dyer. Emperor Nero. Adolf Hitler.”

“Even so, your sins must greatly exceed your virtues for you to do so.”

Michael turned around and ran.

He ran through the corridors, past the cubicle, desperately scanning for a way out, any way out, until he was jerked back, as if by an invisible string. Suddenly, he found himself back in the room with the two men. “How – ”

“You cannot run.” Horus said. He opened his hand, revealing a shifting ball of red fire.

He placed the ball on the scale, as Michael watched with trepidation. From thin air, he pulled a large feather and placed it on the other side. The scale tipped one way, then another. Finally, it tipped towards the ball as Michael gave a cry of terror.

“Your life is filled with misdeeds. What did you expect?” Gabriel said.

“I’ll take you to the head administrator. He’ll be waiting for you.”

He led Michael through the building, a broken man. Escape was impossible. There was nothing he could do but submit to his fate. Gabriel led him to another office, where he saw a man with white hair look at him expectantly.

“Hello, your highness.” Gabriel said. “Here’s your new inmate.” He left immediately, for it was clear that he had distaste for the man.

The man looked at Michael without interest. “So, you’re the newcomer? He said, in a voice that was rich and adult. He snapped his fingers and the room vanished. “Welcome to the bad place.”

“So, you would be fine to spend eternity here?”

Michael turned to see that the ruler's face was lit by a grin.

“Everyone first says that it is no punishment, but they soon eat their words. You will have to stay here alone, with nothing, for eternity. Years, with nothing to occupy you, no one to talk to, no goals. – an eternity of nothingness!”

With that, he vanished, leaving Michael alone. Alone to think of his deeds, his decisions and actions.

All he could ponder over was when he would finish serving time, he would help all those selfless individuals who were his support in times of need, a smile in the darkest of hours and a shoulder to lean on when he needed support.

For Michael repentance came too late but for you dear readers, think before you act . Be humble. Be empathetic. Be the light you wish to be. Your Character is what is seen…

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