Akin sprang to his feet, crying out as scorched skin split over swollen joints. He closed his eyes and wished, and then – was healed. He laughed with relief: so, he was potent in this realm.
He recognized the repetitive vegetation of Heaven’s antechamber, a sandbox where supplicants could be safely deloused of the informational parasites that attached themselves, like sticky-burrs, to passing uploads, before undergoing temporal calibration – a renormalization necessary for integration into the true realm of Heaven. Objectively, the process took minutes; subjectively, a lifetime. A rare and cruel punishment indeed to release one into that realm before calibration was complete, exposed to the tyranny of time, minutes and hours stretched to months and years upon the rack of eternity.
Dark things approached through the undergrowth; the sky bruised a threatening indigo – the security protocols of Heaven, swinging into action against the unwelcome visitor.
Time to go, thought Akin. He reached out his hand…