Can I help you?

Ian looked at the grey building in front of him. Recessed from the rest of the street and just a few minutes walk from some of Edinburgh’s most notorious strip clubs, this didn’t feel to Ian how a Catholic church should look. It seemed almost unassuming, hidden even from the rest of the world.A sudden sense of caution came over Ian as he approached the main doors. How would they react when he told them what he had seen? Would they even believe him? He wondered if he should tell them about Nathalie and Angela and about their return trips to the Gates if they didn’t.
As he stepped through the doors, the church seemed to open up and grow, as if he had stepped into a grand cathedral, not just some dull unassuming building on a side street. Wooden pews stretched to the altar at the far end and large murals, taller than a person, ringed the room, depicting the Stations of the Cross. A plaque by the door told the story of their restoration and Ian smiled and thought of Angela when he read that the paintings were originally by a Bavarian artist over a century ago.
He took a seat near the back of the church. The pews were mostly empty, but there was the occasional person sitting by themselves nearer the altar. He looked at the pulpit on the left, which was empty. He felt awkward, even clumsy as he sat there, not sure of what to do now, or where to go.
“Can I help you?” asked a voice from behind him that seemed to hauntingly echo the tone of the angels. Ian turned round and he saw what he assumed was a priest, a man with a strangely friendly face and dressed in clerical clothing. Ian stood up to greet him.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

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