———-Somewhere across the sea, there is a land not many people know about. It is a land plagued with famine, strife, and sickness. Because of this, the people of the land live very sad lives, devoid of any real meaning. People here never smile, and because of them, the sun never really rises.
———-In this land, where orphans are as plentiful as leaves in the fall, there was a boy. He was an orphan like all the others, yet different in one way. Abandoned as a child, the boy did not know who his parents were; he envied the other children who could at least mourn parents they knew about. The boy always wondered if his parents were really alive. Had they died? Or did they just abandon him? Did they even love him? As far as the boy was concerned, he was alone in the world.
———-Then, one night, the boy had a vision. In the dream, he met an angel: she was a beautiful creature, with wings as white as snow, kind eyes, and a warm smile. The angel said to him, “Come join me in the land above the sky.” For once, he felt warm; for once, he felt safe; for once, he felt happy. But then in an instant, her words melted away, and he watched as her image faded into the shadows of his mind. When he awoke, he felt lost, cold, and alone. He needed to find the angel, because he was certain she would love him. He quickly set off on a journey, certain that his desires of warmth and happiness would soon be a reality.
———-Yet, as he journeyed, he did not know how to get to the land above the sky. How does one get to the land above the sky? The boy pondered on this question constantly. Undaunted by this obstacle, the boy journeyed on, and with every step he could feel his hope of happiness become ever more real. Every day, he would imagine what kind of paradise the land above the sky was like, and every night, he would fall asleep, hoping to see the angel again. He wanted to see her so badly, if only once more, but night after night, she never appeared. Still, everyday he thought of her, trying desperately to hold on to the feelings of warmth and happiness he had felt when he first saw her.
———-After many days of journeying, he found the sea. On the beach was a giant turtle, and it was weeping.
———-“Why are you sad?” asked the boy.
———-“My children can never reach the sea. The birds keep attacking them.” Full of contempt for the birds, the boy decided to help the turtle. He grabbed a stick and scared the birds away, allowing the baby turtles to make it safely to the water.
———-“Thank you for your kindness,” said the turtle. “If you should need help with anything, I will assist you.”
———–“I would like to get to the land above the sky,” said the boy.
———–After some thought, the turtle replied, “I know of a tall castle on an island. Come, and I shall take you there.”
———-The boy got on the turtle’s back and, once again, the boy continued his journey.
———-Through many stiff currents and fierce waves the turtle and the boy struggled, but the boy’s determination was unshaken by his constant battles with nature. After days of travel, they reached the island with the castle.
———-On the island was a princess. She was very frightened.
———-“Why are you scared?” asked the boy.
———-“That giant turtle, it scares the people of my castle. If you get rid of it, I shall pay you dearly.”
———-Forgetting the turtle’s kindness in his quest for happiness, the boy was given a spear and a net, and with much effort, he scared the hurt turtle away.
———-“Thank you for you good deed. If there is anything you need – anything at all – let me know.”
———-“I would like to go to the land above the sky,” said the boy.
———-The princess took the boy into the castle. The castle was enormous, with stairs that spiraled to the blackness of the sky itself. But when the boy reached the top, he did not see any angel.
———-Instead, he saw a dragon. The dragon looked furious.
———-“Why are you angry?” asked the boy.
———-“The people of the castle keep me chained up here, as though I’m a symbol of their power! Free me, and I shall take you wherever you want to go.”
———-Seeing his goal within reach, the boy released the dragon from its chains. When this happened, the people of the castle ran to the roof in horror.
———-“This cannot be!” cried the princess. The dragon flew high into the sky and blew fire to the towers of the castle, causing it to collapse.
———-Quickly the boy got on the dragon’s back. “Take me to the land above the sky,” said the boy.
———-Higher and higher the boy flew, past clouds – past stars and planets. But still he saw no angel.
———-“Higher; we must go higher!” yelled the boy, but the dragon was growing very tired. Still though, the boy urged the dragon ever higher. He was so close to happiness, to real love; he wasn’t going to let anything stand in his way, not when he was so close.
———-Finally they made it to the land above the sky. But the dragon had grown too weak and began to fall. Desperately, the boy reached for anything he could to avoid falling back to his reality.
———-The boy grabbed onto a cloud and watched as the dragon crashed back to the Earth. Then, he continued his journey.
———-All around him, he could see only darkness. There was nothing – nothing at all. Even the ground itself was dark.
———-The boy grew anxious. He searched for days for that angel. But in the land above the sky, there is no time, and in the days that passed, there could have been no time at all.
———-Finally the boy met a falling star. The star looked at the boy with curiosity, for he had never seen a human before.
———-“What are you doing here, boy?” asked the star.
———-“I am looking for the angel; she told me to come here,” replied the boy.
———-The star smiled. “Silly boy, there are no angels here. Nothing lives in the land above the sky.”
———-Then the star fell forward and eventually the boy was alone again.
———-The boy wanted to go back home, but he had wandered so far that he didn’t know which way was back. And as the light of the star faded in the distance, the boy thought again of the angel. Where is this heaven that the angels roam in, if not above the sky?
Was there ever one?