They're All Right

Hakim opened his eyes on a stunning scene: clouds glowing ivory beneath the shining sun, a man wearing flowing robes and a kindly smile, and a tall, golden gate.

Hakim's mouth opened, his legs wobbled, and he fell to his knees on the impossibly comfortable clouds. "The Christians were right." He looked like he might weep.

"Oh, no," the man said. "Everyone's right.

Hakim looked up at the man. "What? I.... What?"

The man sat cross-legged in front of him. "Your beliefs are true. So are theirs."

"But where is the paradise of heaven? Where is the ecstasy of knowing Allah? Are you an angel?" His panic nearly boiled over.

The man pointed over Hakim's shoulder, and he turned to see the heaven he had always imagined. Fear left him like air escaping an inflatable snowman.

"Oh, thank—wait." His murmur of relief transformed. "What's with this Western Christian bullshit?" He swept his arm to include the clouds, the gate, and the bogus St. Peter.

"Yeah, western Christianity's snuck into a lot of subconsciouses. Well, see you when you get to stage two." He waved.

"Stage... what?" Hakim had been gazing at paradise. When he turned back, everything else was gone.