They gathered to welcome them.
There are arrivals at the Gates of Heaven every day, of course, but sometimes things are different.
So people formed a Guard of Honour at the gate, heads bowed in sorrow as the little lost souls arrived, looking confusedly around them. Some clutched small dolls. Some held the hands of best friends, now genuinely best friends forever. Some whispered ‘Mommy?’ in tiny voices in which hope faded at each repetition. All of them looked shocked and terrified, after a final hour on Earth that would be the stuff of nightmares, except that nightmares are just imagination, and human imagination has limits that their awful reality had far exceeded.
Arms were put around their tiny shoulders. Words of deep, eternal love were whispered to them.
God stared deep into the vastness of eternity, trying to control his rage and questioning, as he had to do almost daily, the wisdom of the concept of Free Will.
He sat with his own son and watched proceedings below, the panic, the screaming, the inexpressible grief.
They watched the messages from the people who could change things. They heard references to ‘thoughts’ and to ‘prayers’, but melded as always into the mush-phrase ‘thoughts and prayers’, a phrase that sucked the life from each word. They knew that there would be little thought, and that they would be receiving no actual prayers.
They watched as these people, the ones who could change things, who could have changed them the time before, and the time before that, denied the undeniable, defended the indefensible.