If you ask a dozen souls about what the pearly gates look like you are bound to get a dozen different answers.  It is such a brilliance that the mind sees what it can comprehend.  There is in fact no golden gate, heaven has no need for such worldly precious metals like that.  In fact, the gate to heaven can be seen more of like a turnstile.  We would like to think that our lives are so special that heaven takes the time to judge us all with time and diligence, but the reality is that thousands of us ascend everyday.  Therefore the gate spins at a constant and rapid pace, trying its best to keep up with demand.   It is in its very nature a simple device…allow those that deserve entry through and refuse those that don’t.  At the same time it has become almost obsolete, a piece of equipment that has worked so well for so long that management has ignored the fact that it is due for an upgrade.  

In a meeting somewhere up in the sky’s an argument has erupted with voices so raised that it’s a wonder if the humans on earth could not hear it.  The arch angel Solaris sits at a round table listening to three or so conversations all happening at once and with a sigh he slams his fist on the table.  The shouting stops as the other angels quiet down and slide back into their seats.  

“Enough of this!” Solaris shouts with a stern look on his face.

“We do not interfere with the natural life of a mortal! To end his life to save our own is a horrible thought, it is why we stand up here and not lay below in the depths of hell.”

“Sir, if I could speak?”  Another angel says lifting a hand timidly.

Solaris nods in acceptance and reclines back into a more comfortable position to listen.

“I think we can all agree that interfering with this soul is not the appropriate action of the heavens, but if we don’t…millions of souls could be in jeopardy…surely the many outweigh the few?”

The other angels nod in agreement while staring down at their own laps looking almost ashamed of themselves.

“Then we will take another route to this problem, bring the demon to me.”  Solaris says almost regretting those words.

The room gasps with shock as angels all at once stand to their feet and begin shouting “Sir!” and “No, you can’t!”.

Solaris stands to his feet with such anger that the ground seemed to tremble slightly and the room grew darker.  The angels quickly sat back down stopping in mid-sentence like children about to be scolded by their teacher.

“Do not presume to tell me what I can and cannot do!  My mind is settled, bring me the demon they call Raven!  Now go! This meeting is over.”

The room slowly empty’s out as Solaris sits back down and sighs heavily staring at the table.

A familiar face hangs around patiently waiting for the arch angel to acknowledge his presence.  We know this angel as the one that has visited Raven in his apartment. He stands quietly for what seems like an eternity when Solaris finally lifts his head and their eyes meet.

“Sir…are you certain this is the right course of action?  I mean never has a demon step foot in our realm”

“Certain?” Solaris says almost laughing.  

“I’m certain about nothing! Never could have I imagined this….a demon falling in love with a mortal, and an imbued mortal at that! The consequences of their actions could throw everything into chaos…and I can feel the king of hell laughing already, I feel it riding up my spine like lightening.” Solaris says clinching his fist.

“See to this matter personally for me, seeing as how you somewhat already have a repoire with this demon.”

The angel nods and makes his way hastily from the room.

The day on earth has come to a close and as the birds begin to slumber and the crickets begin to sing their songs Raven wakes from his sleep and begins his daily routines. Checking his phone constantly to make sure he hasn’t missed a call or text from Jake.  Eventually he makes his way to the shower and bathes as he goes over the plans for the night in his head.  A weird feeling creeps over him as if he's being watched but he ignores it and keeps bathing.  Once again he decides to up his muscle mass just slightly, making sure to really show definition in his abs this time.  As he turns the shower off and reaches for his towel he realizes it’s not where he expected it to be.  Sliding the curtain open Raven is startled to find the familiar angel standing there with a grin and holding his towel out for him.

“What the fuck!”  Raven says falling backwards against the shower wall.

The angel laughs as he tosses the towel at Raven and glances down at Ravens package.  

“I would hand you a sword so we can battle but it appears you’re already equipped with one.”  The angel says smirking.

“How dare you come in here without my permission?” Raven says bowing up.

“Oh calm down Raven it’s not like I haven’t seen it before…except I don’t believe you were so buff.”

Raven seems a little embarrassed as he nods his head and begins drying himself off.

“Well” Raven says sighing a little.  “That was a longtime ago, I had just about forgotten it all.”

“I know were enemies now Raven but once upon a time we used to be really close.”

Raven looks deep into the angels eyes and for a few seconds the memories of a past life come flooding back.  It’s easy to forget a past life, when you die it’s like starting all over and for Raven it’s even harder to remember.  His human life had more misery in it than most.  And the angel before him shared that life, they were in fact good friends, at a point almost lovers.  But as the time passed their lives took different directions and Raven found himself in bad company.  Fueled by anger and a constant conflict over his sexuality he did many deeds that helped to earn his current title.

The angels grin turns to a more somber look as Raven is obviously battling with mixed emotions.

“Raven…” The angel says while looking at the floor with emotions of his own beginning to swell inside him.  “…do you even remember my name?”

Ravens eyes look back and forth as if he’s searching hard for the answer.

“It doesn’t matter I guess….ill just remain the nameless angel.”

 Raven looks at him with a saddened expression.  

“I’m…..I’m sorry.”

“Well now” The angel says with a smile creeping back to his face.  “A demon that’s sorry…maybe it’s true…maybe you are changing.”

“Now on to business!” the angel says clasping his hands. “Get dressed, were going somewhere that’s gonna make you shit your pants!”

“I’m not going anywhere with you!” Raven says in defiance.

“You will if you care about Jake, it’s all about him anyways.” 

Raven steps out of the shower and walks up to the angel still naked and slightly damp, chests almost touching.  The angel can feel the heat emanating off of Ravens body as they stand so close they could make out.

“Enough of this shit!” Raven says staring intently into the angels eyes. “Why does everyone want Jake?”

The angel slowly raises his hands and puts them cautiously on Ravens pecs and gently nudges some space between them.

“I simply can’t say Raven but I’m here to take you to the person that can tell you everything about it.  Please come with me alright?”

Raven nods his head but doesn’t move, whether because he is still furious or because he feels a lingering emotion for the angel it’s not clear if even Raven knows.  They continue to stare at each other as the angel begins to crack another smile and Raven slowly becomes disarmed.  

“Raven”  The angel whispers as he slowly massages Ravens pecs.

“what?” Raven says with a tempered voice.

“Are you going to get dressed now?”  

“Oh…uh yeah…let’s get this over with!”  Raven says shaking the emotions off.

Raven shuffles around the angel out of the bathroom and walks over to the dresser.  The angel watches with a grin and Raven pauses.

“Could you stop staring at my ass!”  Raven yells into the air.

The angel turns his gaze and starts walking for the living room.

“Yeah sorry couldn’t help myself.”

“Wait!”  Raven says as he steps over to the angel.

The angel turns around and smiles as Raven once again comes chest to chest with him.

“Why are we different than other angels and demons? Why is it we can stand here and you can smile and I’m not worried about us killing each other?”  Raven says deeply curious.

“Because Raven…” The angel whispers again as he puts his hands back on Ravens bare chest.  “We were in love…and love ignores all laws of the realms.”

Ravens eyes look like they could begin to tear up as his hands clutch onto the angels hips. Emotions from the past begin to overwhelm him as the uncontrollable need to press his lips onto the angels slowly nudge them closer.  Just as their lips begin to touch the angel pulls away.

“I’m sorry Raven…I’m so very sorry.  If I had tried harder maybe things would have been different, maybe we could have been together.  But that’s all history now…now we need to worry about you and Jake.  Do me a favor and forget about us again ok? At least one of us should be happy and maybe there’s hope for the two of you but we need to hurry!”

Ravens hands slowly slip from the angels waist and he turns around, saying nothing as he resumes getting dressed.  Raven has so many things now running through his head, so many what ifs, so many regrets.  The angel wipes his eyes and walks into the living room, patiently waiting by the front door.  Raven comes out a minute later clothed and flashes a fake smile hoping to lift the mood.

“So what do you think about Jake?”  Raven says as he opens the door.

“Well I like him…” The angel says with a serious look. “…the question is will he still like you when he finds out you’re a demon?”

Raven pauses for a moment and realizes something…he has barely given it any thought.  Now that they are boyfriends he has to tell Jake soon, there’s no way he won’t find out eventually.

As the angel slowly opens the front door it no longer leads into the hallway but instead into a brilliant light.  As they step through and Raven’s eyes begin to adjust they find themselves in front of the turnstile.   Spinning at a pace that makes the doors almost seem like a blur.   As they approach, the turnstile begins to almost scream with the blood curdling grind of metal on metal.  It has sensed Raven’s presence and brings itself to an immediate halt.  Raven stands completely still in complete shock, almost frightened to move by its reaction to his presence.  The angel walks closer and glides his hand down the side while making a shushing sound as if to calm an upset child.  The turnstile slowly begins to spin again with what can best be described as reluctance and hesitation and finally resumes its quick pace. The angel motions for Raven to approach which he does as well with some hesitation.  Standing behind Raven with both hands on his shoulders the angel leans in and gently whispers: “this is probably going to sting a little”

As Raven turns his head to respond the angel gives a forceful push…



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