Saturday, April 4, 2015
Helen Downing Spotlight
Awake In Hell by Helen Downing
Meet Louise Patterson. She's dead.
She has been dead for a while. And she is in Hell. The foul-mouthed hero has a Hellacious adventure ahead of her. Not quite sure what will lay around the next corner, her journey is filled with demons, ghosts, dreams, magic, too many temp jobs, wardrobe malfunctions worthy of hell--and quite possibly redemption.
Here comes the part you’ve been waiting for, the part where I tell you how I got here. See, the note that is now sitting quietly in my pocket is screaming in my mind. Do I belong here? I can’t honestly say I know, without a doubt, that I deserved to go to Hell. However, I do know that I didn’t in any way, shape, or form earn a ticket to Heaven either. I didn’t do anything. And I don’t mean that as an indignant “I was framed” kind of defense. I mean I didn’t do anything with my time, with my talent, with my life. I was born Louise May Patterson. All things considered, I had a normal childhood and a very nice set of parents. I was in my mid-forties when I bit it, but I was still acting like a teenager. I lived at home with the aforementioned parents, or on the street, or with the occasional lover. I was always managing to never pay a single dime in rent, ate for free, and never reached the mentality of a true adult. I used to joke with Linda, back when she was still partying, that if I ever got a job she should shoot me in the head and put me out of my misery. We would laugh at all the “rats running the maze” every day, going to work at ‘o’dark thirty’ in the morning to try and screw the other rats out of the title of “assistant manager of paper clip requisitions”, or something equally meaningless. Wake up, rush through a cup of coffee, spend nine to five at a job they all hated, go home and go to bed just to do it again the next day. That was never me, and never would have been me. I mean, really, what’s the point?
So, every day was a holiday for me and those in my circle at the time. This circle I speak of was always changing. My “lost boys and girls”, because everyone else grew up and left me. It didn’t bother me much. They all thought they were smarter than me, and I knew I was smarter than all of them. I would move on just as they moved on. I’d take on the newly single, the addicts, the newcomers to town, the young ones... Occasionally I’d find a sugar daddy, usually a married one, to take me away from the small, one-horse town, where I grew up and still lived.
But I always came back. It might have been the charm of my home town that drew me back, but I sincerely doubt it. More likely, my adulterer and I just got bored with each other. I’d tell you the name of that town, where it is on a map, what great state it sits smack dab in the middle of, if it mattered. But it doesn’t.
Louise Patterson is back! Now a long-term resident of Heaven, Louise finds a need to return to the one place she thought she had left behind forever –HELL. Back in Central City Hades, she meets Joe who needs a guardian angel. Louise also meets a tall, dark and handsome stranger who just may change her afterlife. In this compelling sequel to 'Awake In Hell', you are invited to return to the land of the damned with Louise as she learns a whole new set of lessons about how to live a good life, even after you’re dead.
My name is Louise Patterson, and I died and went to Hell. Whether or not I deserved it, or if I did indeed earned the redemption that I finally found are purely subjective. However, I did end up here, in Paradise where everything is cool and folks are happy and the general population tends to frown upon the gratuitous use of the F bomb.
“Lou! Haven’t heard you talk like a truck driver since...well, since you were a truck driver!” Will says, laughing at his own joke. Will is one of my dearest friends up here. At one time, he was my guardian angel. I was once damned to eternal temp jobs, and Will had to stalk me. He was so bad at it I almost always saw him hiding or following me. Good times. Well, not really, but I’ve learned to remember the good and let go of the bad.
I get up from the wall of screens I’ve been parked in front of for the past few hours. We are in the central office at WF&PI. The “company,” as we call it, is a remote viewing center for family members and curious angels to look in on what is happening on Earth. This is a wondrous place, and if people watching is a hobby of yours in life? You’ll want to spend a great deal of time here once you are dead. Joyous occasions are celebrated tenfold up here, with generations of families reuniting for weddings or births or even deaths. When someone shuffles off the mortal coil, they are brought here where they can be welcomed back into the bosom of love from everyone who knew them in life. That is, as long as they make it here. If they end up in the opposite place, they are usually alone and confused for a while. But it doesn’t take long to figure it out. For me, I knew I was in Hell the second I realized that I had no choice in what I could wear every day, and the supernatural closet that was providing my outfits had been programmed by someone for which torment and disgrace came as naturally as mother’s milk to a newborn. At the time I thought it was some kind of Devil. In reality, the one person who knows how to punish someone more acutely than anyone else is one’s self.
When I got to Heaven and could choose my occupation I considered working here. In the end my ambition got the better of me, and I chose a different path. But I like to spend my extra time here. I get to see my parents or grandparents occasionally when they come in to hang out and watch my daughter or grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
It’s bizarre to think of myself as a great-grandmother since my appearance hasn’t changed since my demise. I died of breast cancer when I was forty-five years old. That means I get to be middle-aged for eternity. Lucky me! I watch from on high as my family and friends go on with life. Many of them aged and eventually passed and came here. I try not to take it personally when a few of them look at me with surprise, as though I was the last person they’d expect to see in Heaven. But most of the ones I was closest to were very happy to see me. Almost as happy as I was to see them. There is a great sense of peace when someone I love shows up here. I get to be part of the welcoming, with smiles and tears and eternal agape. Agape is my favorite word. It means unconditional love.
And I’ve been fortunate, that all of my loved ones who died ended up here immediately. No one had to take the detour I did through Hell before finding their place in eternal bliss.
Well, at least not yet.
Helen Downing has aspired to be many things in life. An actress, a writer, a trophy wife, a publicist, and a bang up media sales executive. In reality, she's a chubby, middle-aged, twice-divorced battleaxe who is addicted to sci-fi and social networking. Please buy this book. It's her only chance of ever fulfilling her full potential, and possibly getting into heaven.