Heaven or Hell? Part 1

Well, for those of you who read my short story “No More Tears”, which appeared in my short story anthology “Love, Lies, and Heartbreak volume 1”, you will recall that Regina Richards, after years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband Calvin, finally took matters into her own hands. She did what she felt was best to relieve her of the pain she suffered at the hands of her husband. It was not the right way to go about it, but she did what she thought was best. Regina murdered Calvin by poisoning him to death. Well, now that Calvin is no longer terrorizing his wife, it’s time for him to answer for his actions. What will his sentence be? Heaven or hell?

Calvin Richards slowly pulled himself up to a seated position and looked around in wide-eyed wonder. Everywhere he looked, all he saw was white. He felt as if he was trapped in the clouds. He rubbed his hands over his eyes, hoping to clear his vision, but when he withdrew his hands, the same vision greeted him. His head swiveled from left to right, but all he saw was white. It wasn’t as if everything in a room was white. He wasn’t in a room. There weren’t any objects in the area at all. The whole scene was just blanketed in white. There were no corners distinguishing walls and floors. It was just a white space.

He slowly stood up to his feet, jutting out his arm to help him along his way. He cautiously slid one foot in front of the other as he crept along. His arm swayed back and forth, trying to guide his path, but the whiteness didn’t dissipate. Calvin’s brows furrowed in confusion. What was this place? Why was he here? How did he get here? What in the world was going on? The last thing he remembered was lying on the kitchen floor, pleading for his wife, Regina to help him. His last vision he could recall was her angry face staring down at him as he took his last breath.

Just then, a light of recognition shone across his face. It finally dawned on him where he was. Since he knew he had died, then that meant that he was in heaven. Regina had killed him, and he was now in heaven. Calvin’s heart began to drum in an unsteady rhythm as this conclusion settled itself in his mind. He wasn’t sure what to expect. He had never imagined dying so young, so he had no idea how heaven worked. He looked around as he continued to creep along, but it seemed as though he was alone.

If he was in heaven, shouldn’t there be people milling about? What about the innocent babies and children who died way too young? Where were they? Grandmothers, fathers, teachers, students, doctors? Where was everyone? His mother? He knew she was in heaven, so where was she? If he was in heaven, then he was sure he wouldn’t be the only one there. Calvin’s confusion continued to plague him as he crept along. The more he walked, the more everything stayed the same. The whiteness didn’t look as if it was going to end any time soon. Calvin walked and walked, swinging his hand back and forth, but nothing changed. The path before and behind him was still white. He even turned to look back where he had come from previously, and everything was just as it was before. White.

Just as he was taking another step, he froze in his tracks at the sudden sound of a loud, booming voice. He snapped his head in the direction of the voice, but he saw no one. Fear slowly began to creep down his spine as he searched in vain for the source of the voice. Who was that? Where were they? How come he couldn’t see them? Calvin had no idea what was going on and where he was, but he felt that things were not supposed to be like this. A sinking, uneasy feeling tugged at his insides. He swallowed a huge lump that had suddenly lodged itself in his throat as his eyes scanned his surroundings for the person speaking.

Calvin slid his right foot in front of his left one just a fraction before he was halted in place by the bodiless voice again.

“Stop right there. Don’t go any further.” the voice ordered.

Calvin froze where he stood. His body quaked in fear as he waited for the voice to speak again. Right before his eyes, Calvin watched in stunned horror as a small beam of golden light appeared out of nowhere. The light seemed to get brighter the larger it became. Calvin threw his hands over his face to shield his eyes from the bright light. It was extremely too bright for him to look directly into it. Just the little moment he had looked into it, he had felt his eyes beginning to burn.

“Drop your hands!” the voice demanded.

Calvin quickly dropped his hands, but he squeezed his eyes as tight as he could get them. Although his eyes were closed, he could still see the golden light streaming through his eyelids. His stomach began to do flips as he waited with baited breath to see what would happen next. He felt on the verge of hurling up his insides, but he tried with all his might to contain his stomach contents.

“Do you know why you’re here?” the voice asked in its deep baritone.

The voice echoed throughout the place. It seemed to echo on and on.

“No,” Calvin said in a small, frightened voice.

“Do you know where you are?” the voice asked.

“No,” Calvin replied.

“Well, let me inform you Calvin Emanuel Richards.”

Calvin shivered at the sound of his full name emanating from the beam of light. It sent an eerie sensation throughout his entire body. How could someone who didn’t have a physical body know his name? As soon as his mind processed that thought, he mentally smacked himself across the forehead. Of course. If he was in heaven, then God would know his name. He just never expected things to be like this in heaven. He thought all people who died would be walking around merrily as if they were still on earth. He didn’t expect things to be so quiet. Eerily quiet. If this was heaven, then it was nothing how he had imagined it to be.

Out of nowhere, a television screen slowly appeared in front of Calvin. He looked around in utter shock as the television turned on by itself. The screen was filled with white static, and the loudness of the volume made Calvin jump back in surprise.

“If you haven’t already guessed. You are in heaven. Well, not exactly. You are in the holding station. You are automatically transported here when you die to be processed. Everyone who dies comes here. I’m sure you’re wondering where all the people who have been admitted to heaven are. They are indeed in heaven where they belong. Just think of things this way. You are on an elevator. There are three floors. Currently, you are stuck on the middle floor. The next floor up is heaven, and the floor beneath you is hell.”

“Holding station?” Calvin asked confused.

“Yes,” the voice boomed. “You didn’t think that you would automatically be granted entrance into my kingdom did you?”

“Um . . . No,” Calvin muttered, looking down at his feet.

“It’s your day of judgment, and I will decide if you are worthy of entering my pearly gates, or if you are destined to spend the rest of your days roasting in the underworld. I am God, and today is the day you answer for your life choices.”

“But how come I can’t see you?” Calvin asked nervously.

“No one can see me until they have been granted access to heaven. If you are not fortunate enough to make it to my holy kingdom, then you will never know what I look like. That is only a perk that my faithful servants are granted. No one who has ever lived has ever seen my face. The only way that is possible is after death, and if you make it to my paradise.”

“Oh . . . “ said Calvin.

He nervously rubbed his hands against his pants. The entire ordeal with making him uncomfortable. A fine sheen of perspiration had begun to form on his forehead and on the top of his lip. His heart rate felt as if he was running laps around a fifty-mile track. Worry lines creased his forehead as he mentally tried to prepare himself for what was to come next. He had no idea what his fate would be. He felt that he had been a pretty decent man on earth, but what he deemed decent may not be the same way that God saw things.

While he had been among the living, Calvin didn’t consider himself a Godly man. He had stopped believing in God a long time ago. He felt that if God really existed, then he would’ve helped his mother out of the abusive relationship that she found herself in, which had eventually claimed her life. He had spent many nights as a child praying to God to help his mother leave his father, but to him, God never answered his prayers. He had hardened his heart to God, and went on with his life without ever acknowledging God’s presence again.

Now that he was faced with the presence of God, guilt slowly began to plague him. He wanted to take back the harsh words he had spewed at God in his times of anger and bitterness, but what was done was done. He never lived his life with regrets, but now that he was faced with an uncertain future, he was regretting his life’s choices. He didn’t see the error of his ways when he was doing wrong, but now he wanted to make amends with the people he hurt. God was real, and Calvin was wishing that he had never turned his back on him. The only problem was, it was too late. He wouldn’t have another opportunity to right his wrongs. Judgment day was upon him, and he had to answer for his actions.

To be continued . . .

Attention All Aspiring Authors

As some of you know, or maybe some of you don’t, I am a self-published author. My genre of choice is contemporary African-American fiction and poetry. I have published six books to date, and I’m in the process of publishing more. I am totally blind and have been writing since the age of eleven. Last year I took a leap of faith to get my work published and submitted some of my work to appear in an anthology. My work was chosen to appear in the book, and so my publishing career began. There were no proceeds from this anthology. It was just a promotional tactic to help aspiring authors get their foot in the door in the literary world. That was the first step I took to make my dream of becoming a published author come true. Since then, I have published my own books via Amazon’s Kindle, Ibooks, and Barnes & Noble and other eBook retailers.

Since I have gotten my foot in the door and have generated a fan base of loyal readers, I am extending the same opportunity to my fellow blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. I am putting together an anthology of short stories entitled United in fiction. This book will feature 12 authors, one story per author. Any genre is permitted except for children’s stories and erotica. The book will consist of many different genres and styles of writing, so I wanted to pick a general title. The stories have to be fiction, hence the title. Each story must be no more than 10,000 words and no less than 8,000 words. There will be no proceeds from this publication. This is just to help people who aspire to be authors get there foot in the door. I will take on the expense of editing, formatting, graphic design and publishing the book. It will be available in eBook format and paperback. People will be able to download the book free of charge from Kindle, Ibooks, Barnes & Noble, and other EBook retailers, but there will be a price to purchase the paperback version to help with cost of production.

This book will be published under my very own publication company, Diamond in the Rough Publications. I recently established my publishing company so that I can give other visually impaired and blind aspiring authors a voice in the literary world. For right now, I will be my only client until I build up enough revenue to take on other clients, but I will be producing anthologies so that you can have the opportunity to get your work published. Once I have generated enough revenue to take on clients, I will post a calls for submissions post, seeking books for publication. This has always been a dream of mine, and I am happy that I can have a hand in making someone else’s dream of becoming an author come true as well. There will be a contract for you to review and electronically sign, agreeing to the terms of the publication of your story in the anthology. It will all be simple enough for you to understand the terms of the agreement.

The deadline to submit stories to be published in, United in Fiction is May 31, 2018. I am looking to publish the book in late June, or early July of 2018. Not all stories submitted will appear in the book. They will be sent through a screening process by my co-editor who is helping me on this project. If your story is selected to appear in the book, you will be notified via the email you provide during the submission period. If your story is selected, you will need to provide a 100 to 150 word bio written in 3rd person along with the genre of your story. You will also need to include your social media links so that readers can follow, or befriend you if they choose. Providing social media links is strictly optional. Once the book is published, you will be provided with links that you can share with friends and family members. You will also be provided two physical copies at the expense of me, the publisher for your own possession. This is something that I thought would help those who do some day want to be authors. This is how I got my start, so I am providing the same opportunity for anyone who is interested.

You can send your submissions to Diamond in the Rough Publications. I will let you know when I have received your submission, and I will also notify you if any changes need to be made before the final manuscript is ready for publication.

Even though I was the only visually impaired person featured in the anthologies that I appeared in, my goal for this anthology is to feature only blind and visually impaired aspiring authors. It’s a way to showcase your talent for writing, and for you to have pride knowing that you have contributed to the publication of a book that the world will read. I look forward to hearing from anyone who is interested in being a part of United in Fiction.

**Note**

If you are already a published author, and you have your own Amazon author page, or Smashwords author page, please be sure to include your author name in your submission so that I can link you as a contributing author to this book. If you have not published anything yet, then this does not pertain to you. Also, the physical books will only be shipped in the US.

Diamond in the Rough: A Collection of Personal Essays and Poems

 

 

Picture of a shining black diamond gem

 

Being the inspirational person that I am, it has been put on my heart to write this book. In it, I share different accounts of things that I have experienced in my life. Much of what I talk about in this book is painful, but I feel that it can help someone out there suffering through something that they feel is pulling them under. I want to give my readers hope. I want them to know that despite how things may seem right now, things will get better. The underdog doesn’t stay down forever, and with God by your side, you can make it through any situation. That is the only way I can explain how I am still here after all I have been through. It has to be nothing but God.

 

I want to share with you the introduction to my book. My hope is that this book touches someone out there struggling to get through life. I want to inspire, encourage, uplift, and motivate them to keep going. Don’t give up on life. The waters may look murky now, but through strength, determination, and God, you will clear away all the murk and see the clear, clean water below. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I had to go through all I went through in order to help someone else through it. Lets cross the finish line to victory together!

 

Introduction to Diamond in the Rough: A Collection of Personal Essays and poems

 

Introduction:

 

My purpose for writing this book is to help encourage, motivate, uplift, and inspire others out there who may be struggling with things in their life for which they see no way out of. It was not my intention to write a book sharing different events in my life that were painful for me, but when God puts something on your heart, you do what you are led to do. In this book I share my personal stories of trials and tribulations that I have endured. Things have never been easy for me, but through it all I am still standing, and I am stronger than I have ever been before. It took me a long time to transition into this state of mind. The roads were dark and long, and most times lonely, but I made it through. By the grace of God, I am a survivor. I am alive to tell my story. There were many times I wanted to just give up on life, but God brought me through. He is an awesome God, and heard my pleas. He delivered me from the pain and brought me peace.

 

The essays and poems you will find in this book are true accounts of situations that I have faced throughout the years. From child abuse, rape, and domestic violence, I share them all here. These are my true emotions, thoughts, feelings, and ideas written in these pages. I’m sure there is someone out there who has experienced one, some, or all of the situations that I have faced in this book. I want my stories to show you that you don’t have to remain a victim, but you can become the victor of your circumstances. God does not put more on us than we can carry. I know at times it seems as though things aren’t ever going to get better, but believe in your heart and soul that you will prevail. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. You are stronger than even you know you are.

 

If no one else has ever told you, I want to be the one to tell you that despite your dark past, you have a bright future ahead of you. We all suffer in life in some way, shape, or form, but we have to have the strength to go on, but sometimes it’s hard to smile when you’re used to frowning. For me, my life has been filled with nothing but pain and tears, but through God and his unconditional love for me, I have a reason to smile. When I shed tears, they are no longer tears of pain, but tears of joy. Through Jesus Christ, I found the love I have always been searching for. No matter what, his love will never forsake me.

 

I have broken my chains of pain and heartache. I am no longer a prisoner of fear, humiliation, and doubt. I know who and what I am. I now have confidence in myself that I didn’t have before. I am no longer ashamed of the things that made me who I am. I turned my trials into triumphs. Instead of breaking me, my life’s experiences made me into the diamond you see today. A diamond starts as a piece of coal deep in the belly of the earth. With time, heat, and pressure, slowly that piece of coal transforms into a beautiful gem. It took trauma, abuse, neglect, and fear to transform me into the diamond I am. Instead of letting the struggles of your life keep you buried in the ground, use those struggles to rise to the top and shine bright like the diamond you are.

 

When I was finally able to conquer my demons and see myself for the beautiful, light-hearted, ambitious, quizzical, unique, and extraordinary diamond I was, Blaque Diamond was born. For me, it represents words I feel describe me. It symbolizes my growth and my strength to overcome the toughest situations and still be standing. I am renewed. I am reborn. I am a Blaque diamond. Reach for your inner Blaque diamond. Let your light shine through.

 

A Blaque Diamond

 

Beautifully created from this earth

Light-hearted and full of laughter

Ambitious and goal oriented, I am

Quizzical and willing to seek knowledge in all ways possible

Uniquely different and at times the same

Extraordinary creation from god’s paintbrush

 

Determined to overcome all obstacles in my way

Intelligence is a gift that is priceless

Another gem within a world of beautiful gemstones

Miles of mountains and hills climbed to seek inner peace

Observant of my every day development and ways to improve me

Not easily broken and defeated, instead I conquer

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I am my own diamond

 

Coming soon in April 2018!!!! Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Evil is His Name

 

picture of a man with an angry expression on his face

 

This is an excerpt from my short story anthology of love gone wrong entitled “Love, Lies and Heartbreak Volume 1”. This excerpt comes from the story “No More Tears”, which is a story of domestic violence. Regina Harris is being physically abused by her husband Calvin, who vowed to love and honor his wife until death do they part. His way of showing his undying love is kicks to the stomach and angry, harsh words spewing from his lips towards the woman he is supposed to love.

 

“Owww!” Regina screamed as Calvin’s foot connected with her ribs.

 

Delivering another kick to Regina’s side, he yelled, “I’ve told you about running your fucking mouth so much.”

 

“Please, Calvin, stop!” She begged as she tried unsuccessfully to stop him from kicking her repeatedly.

 

“You think I’m fucking playing with you don’t you?” he screamed as he continued kicking her. “What have I told your ass about messing up my food?”

 

“I’m sorry Calvin. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to burn the rice. I’ll do it right next time.”

 

“You damn right you’re going to do it right next time. Right damn now.” He yelled as he dragged her up from the floor by her t-shirt and dragged her into the kitchen.

 

Calvin was upset because Regina had accidently let the rice cook for a little too long because she was on the phone talking to one of her friends. He liked his food cooked a certain way and if it wasn’t done the way he liked he had a problem. This was just one of the many ass whippings over the years that she had received for one thing or another. After that initial incident at the restaurant, Calvin did not keep his word. That was just the start of the downward spiral of their marriage. He beat her every opportunity he got. He was very jealous and any man that he saw talking to her, he assumed they were trying to holla at her and that earned her an ass whipping even if it wasn’t true. If she didn’t come home at a particular time, he would accuse her of sleeping with someone else, and he would beat her for that too.

 

He wanted to know where she was at all times of the day. He even popped up at her job just to make sure that she was really there. He monitored her phone calls whenever he could to make sure that she wasn’t disclosing to anyone what was going on in their household. Over the years, he had gotten so controlling and abusive that Regina could hardly leave the house to visit her parents. When they wanted to know why she didn’t come to visit like she used to, she would come up with excuses why she couldn’t come over. The real reason was she didn’t want them to see all the bruises that Calvin was constantly putting on her. He was beating her so much that it was almost on a daily basis.

 

She let out a shriek of pain as she grabbed at her stomach. She rolled around on the floor where she still lay moaning from the pain. She was three months pregnant, and she had a feeling that she was having another miscarriage. This would be her third one thanks to him. She had been pregnant two years ago but lost the baby when he threw her down a flight of stairs when she hadn’t answered the phone when he had called. Two years before that he caused her miscarriage because he pushed her out of the moving car while they were in the middle of an argument. She wasn’t seriously hurt since the car wasn’t going that fast, but when she landed on the ground she fell on her stomach, and she lost the baby. Calvin looked down at her in disgust as he saw red fluid leaking from between her legs.

 

Glaring down at her body sprawled on the floor, he demanded, “Get your nasty ass up and clean yourself up.”

 

“Help me, Calvin.” Regina whispered. “I think I’m losing the baby!” she screamed out as she felt another sharp pain shoot through her stomach and more fluid gushed from between her legs.

 

“It’s all your fucking fault,” he complained as he yanked her up from the floor and threw her over his shoulder. “You can’t do shit right. Can’t even carry my baby to term. Just fucking useless.” he continued ranting on.

 

He went to the kitchen counter, grabbed his car keys and walked out the door. He walked up the driveway to his car and unlocked the passenger side. He opened the door, tossed Regina in and slammed the door behind her. He walked over to the driver’s side and hopped in and started the car. The drive was silent except for the occasional moans from Regina as she continued to grip her stomach in pain.

 

“You better not tell them doctors shit either.” he warned as he drove to the nearest hospital. “If they ask you anything tell them you fell down the stairs. Do you hear me?” He asked staring a hole into her.

 

Mustering up a bit of strength, she squeaked in a small voice, “Yes.”

 

When they finally arrived at the hospital, Calvin got out and ran into the emergency room to ask for help with Regina. Two nurses came out immediately and attended to her. They lifted her from the car and placed her on a gurney. They rushed her into the hospital and behind the double doors. Once he parked the car he made his way into the waiting room and up to the front desk. He got the necessary paperwork that he would need to fill out and found a chair to sit in. Once he filled out all the papers, he took them back to the desk and waited to see if he could get any information about his wife. The lady at the desk held up a finger to him to wait as she dialed a number and waited for the call to be answered. She talked for a few minutes before she hung up. She filled out a visitor’s pass for him and gave him the directions to Regina’s room. He made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the floor that she was on. Once the doors opened on her floor, he searched until he found the correct room. When he walked in Regina was lying in a hospital bed while a nurse was taking her vitals. There were tear stains on her face, so he knew she had been crying.

 

“Hey, baby.” He greeted innocently as he entered the room.

 

“Hey,” She replied solemnly.

 

“How are you feeling baby?” He asked as he walked over to her and gave her a hug and a peck on the lips.

 

“Well, I will leave you two alone. I will be back Mrs. Richards to check on you.” The nurse said as she exited the room giving Calvin a sideways glance of disapproval.

 

“I’m fine Calvin. I lost the baby, but you already knew that.” She said looking away so that he wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes.

 

“Well, if you didn’t make me do these things to you then this wouldn’t keep happening, now would it?” He asked as he roughly turned her face back towards him.

 

“No Calvin it wouldn’t–” Regina had stopped herself before she went any further.

 

He glared at her angrily and asked, “It wouldn’t what?”

 

“Nothing,” she replied, looking down at her hands.

 

“That’s what I thought. If your ass were anything of a wife, then I wouldn’t have to put my hands on you. Get your ass dressed and come on. I don’t have all day to be in here with you. I got shit to do!” he commanded.

 

In a weak protest, she said, “But Calvin, I just had a miscarriage. I can’t leave yet.”

 

“When I come back in here you better be dressed and ready to go, and I’m not going to say it again.” He said as he walked out of the room.

 

Regina began pulling the I V drip from her arm as she ripped off the heart monitor equipment. As soon as she did, a loud siren-like sound came from the device. The nurse ran in quickly in a panic to see what was going on. When she arrived, she saw that Regina had disconnected herself from the devices she had been hooked up to. She ran over and turned the wailing siren off and turned towards her.

 

With a frightened look plastered on her face, the nurse cried, “Mrs. Richards, you can’t go yet. You just had a miscarriage.”

 

“I know, but I got to go,” she replied as she spotted her clothing on the chair that was next to her bed.

 

The nurse took a deep breath before she said, “Mrs. Richards, I have to ask you a personal question. Did your husband do this to you?”

 

“No. I told y’all I fell down the stairs.”

 

“Mrs. Richards, the doctor and I do not believe your story. The bruises that we saw on your body do not consist of falling from the stairs. Some of those bruises are old, so they have healed.”

 

“Well, I don’t know what else to tell you. I fell down the stairs, and that’s that. Y’all can think whatever y’all want, but that’s what happened.” Regina said as she put on her clothes in a hurry.

 

“Mrs. Richards, if your husband is abusing you we can help. We can get you into a shelter, and we can file charges against him. All you have to do is say that you want our help.” the nurse pleaded looking at her with sympathy.

 

Used to this normal line of questioning Regina recited, “No. My husband doesn’t hurt me. He loves me.”

 

She didn’t believe her words, but she said what she felt she had to, to get the nurse off her back. She hated the ground that Calvin walked on, but she kept her true feelings to herself. Every time she showed up at a new hospital with injuries they always said the same thing to her. If she wanted to, she could have recited the words right along with the nurse. That’s how often she heard them.

 

“Mrs. Richards, I can tell that you’re lying. I would advise you to get some help before it’s too late. Men like that don’t change. If he promises you that it will never happen again, it is a lie. I would hate to see you on the eleven-o clock news because your husband has killed you. Please let us help you.”

 

“As my wife says she doesn’t need your help.” Calvin interrupted glaring at the nurse angrily as he stomped his way back into the room.

 

“Well, Mrs. Richards, I will need you to go to the front desk and fill out the paperwork stating that you willingly signed yourself out of the hospital against medical advice.” The nurse said as she looked at Regina with pity and walked out of the room shaking her head.

 

“Let’s go.” Calvin demanded as he gripped Regina’s arm tightly and dragged her from the room and over to the receptionist’s desk for her to fill out the papers.

 

Once that was complete they got on the elevator in silence and rode it down to the ground floor. They walked out and headed for the car. They both got in, and Regina closed her eyes and laid her head on the passenger side window as Calvin started the car and drove away from the hospital. He glanced over at her several times during the drive home, but he didn’t say a word. Once they arrived home, they went into the house and she went straight to their bedroom. She laid down on the bed and cried herself to sleep like she did just about every night.

 

 

If you enjoyed this excerpt, find out what happens next in the story by purchasing your copy of Love, Lies and Heartbreak Volume 1 from a EBook retailer near you. This book is also available in paperback as well. Visit my Blaque Diamond’s Books page and click on the retailer of your choice to purchase your copy today.