- File Size: 2234 KB
- Print Length: 54 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: September 27, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LXX90WR
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,302 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Soulbound Kindle Edition
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Rick opens this rather short book with the main character's written thoughts that sum up the period of the story well: ‘Smoke, thoughts of pills chased with a fifth of Jack Daniels, and Donna Summer crooning “Last Dance” through his earbuds remained vestiges of Paul’s final acts. Muzzy images of his children, a lover he barely knew, and a wife flitted through his mind as he left behind his body. Blackness. Heat. The song’s melody— shifting from its slow start into up-tempo— faded from earshot. Silence. Light. Murky thoughts, as gooey as the slop he felt part of— like an amoeba in a petri dish— confused Paul and waned for an eternity, until, finally, a semblance of recognition dawned. A clip-clop of hooves galumphing the ground. Huh? What am I… I’m riding a… a horse? “My, God, it’s happening.” Paul smiled. Feeling right again, he patted the stallion’s neck, grateful for his long journey’s end. Above the hot and dusty land, clouds of soot billowed from the road. The smoky, gray surrounding didn’t seem like the beautiful afterlife he’d pictured. “Hold on. Maybe this isn’t it after all.” However, he held out hope as years of religious study lead him to believe. The longer he and his equine companion trudged, the further the trip to Paradise seemed— an excursion lasting a lifetime. “How much longer?” Paul murmured. The horse neighed and Paul waved ash from the air. Is the fire out? His mind tripped back to his corporal life.’
So Rick takes us into the paranormal sphere again, this time with spiritual questions, disapproval by family and friend for being gay, and ties it all up in a fine little short story: ‘When Paul Milgrone, a religious man, a down-on-his-luck married man who has lived a life suppressing his homosexuality, dies he is greeted at the Pearly Gates by someone unexpected. According to Paul, his first love— John Rington a gay man who died from complications due to HIV/AIDS —shouldn’t be allowed in Heaven. There it is - two men who never got to actualize their affection for one another until the afterlife. But Love, how do you live without it?’’
Food for contemplation in a short story that could easily be a full novel if the numerous thoughts were expanded. Rick hits the mark again. Grady Harp, September 16
The only reason why I did not rate the story 5 stars is because I did not want the story to end, it actually made me want to know know more and why.
Was my first time reading Mr. Bettencourt's work. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book but I'm trying to read more short stories. The premise was interesting. The writing, okay. Something was a bit off for me. The reader received glimpses into Paul's life as he awaits his fate at the pearly gates. I don't want to tell too much for fear of giving away the majority of the story. I didn't love this story, but I didn't dislike it. It was an okay read for me. I think maybe the snapshots into Paul's life made this story worthy of three stars. I'm a meaty reader. I want to become attached to the characters and just when I was about to, the scenes shifted. I was far more interested in learning about John's story than Paul's. Despite my nitpickiness, this was an entertaining short.