Welcome To Paradise REVISED VERSION

by fairchild 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • fairchild

    Okay, here is my revised version of Welcome To Paradise.

    I changed the POV of the story to the third person and also added a few minor things.

    Upon request by some of you, I will be working on a sequel in the next few days.

    Welcome To Paradise

    Glen and Lisa had always been close friends. They had worked at the same office for nearly seven years. Glen was a true creature of habit: bowling on Tuesdays, bar hopping on Saturdays and church on Sundays. His daily routine would only be interrupted once a year for a vacation. Glen loved to visit different places. He had been to the four corners of the earth. Each time he’d come back with a big smile on his face, and for days to come, he’d tell Lisa every little detail of what he’d call his extravagant adventures. But not this time. Glen never came back after his last vacation. When a week passed and there was still an empty chair behind the desk where Glen should be, Lisa’s husband Mike called some mutual friends, but nobody had heard anything about Glen’s whereabouts. Mike and Lisa considered searching for Glen’s parents, but Glen had never mentioned his parents. On the few occasions when they had talked about family, his gaze had wandered off into the distance, and he had changed the subject abruptly. On Tuesday night of the second week after his disappearance, Lisa went over the items on his desk. Most of the papers were mere statistics and calculations, relating to the “125% Of All Statistics Are Exaggerated” project he had been working on. When Lisa put the folders back, a brochure slipped out and fell on the floor. The cover displayed a picture of a man, a woman and a child. They were sitting in an orchard. The trees were heavy with fruit. A basket with picnic items stood on the grass next to the woman. The child was playing with an oversized cat – or was it a lion? Below the picture was written “Welcome To Paradise”. Inside the brochure were directions to Paradise, a small town, about 200 miles west of Indianapolis.

    Lisa took the brochure home and showed it to Mike. They talked things over that night, and decided that this brochure could lead them to Glen. They would spend their next vacation in Paradise. They would bring a picture of Glen and show it to workers in grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. It was worth a try.

    A week later, they packed their bags in their 1998 blue Toyota and started the eight-hour drive to Paradise. The trip was uneventful. Mike took the first driving shift. They stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. Memories of their honeymoon came to mind. They had eloped to Las Vegas where they had lived on love, greasy French fries and burgers. Those were the good old times. They had been too young back then to worry about coronary artery decease or indigestion. On the way to Paradise, however, they read the menu carefully and ordered just a salad and some bread. After lunch, Mike settled down in the passenger seat and Lisa took the driver’s seat. Mike fell asleep quickly. Twelve years of marriage had taught Lisa that it was useless to try and wake him up once he was asleep, so she kept driving. The hours melted away, and so did the miles. Twilight was starting to paint the sky with a reddish glow. Lisa enjoyed the scenery while contemplating the beauty of nature. In her reverie, she almost missed the sign. “Paradise 2 miles”

    She had been driving on back roads for almost an hour. It occurred to her how lonely this last stretch of road had been. She stopped the car and got out to stretch her legs. The pleasant evening breeze felt good, and so did the prospect of spending two weeks with Mike, away from home, in what seemed like a wonderful town, according to the brochure.

    Mike woke up and moved over to the driver’s seat. Lisa went back into the car and Mike started driving. Relaxed now, she lit a cigarette and pulled the seat back just a bit. They arrived in Paradise by seven thirty. The entrance of town was marked by a gate and by a huge rock. It seemed as if a whole chapter of a book had been painted on the rock. As Mike stopped the engine, Lisa started reading out loud.

    “Welcome to Paradise. Please take a moment to read our rules. Rule number one. Everyone MUST attend all meetings.”

    Mike’s laughter interrupted her.

    “My dear, I haven’t even read the instructions on the drill you gave me last Christmas. Let’s go, it is getting late.”

    And thus they made mistake number one. They didn’t take that moment to read the rules.

    Paradise was completely deserted. The streets were empty. The restaurants had a “closed” sign in the windows. Where could everyone be on a Monday evening around eight o’clock? Perhaps there was an important event somewhere?

    They found a motel by the name of Luke’s Place halfway down Joshua Street. But Luke’s Place had a "closed" sign in the window as well. However, the sign read “closed until 9pm”. They used the hour between eight and nine to explore the still deserted streets of Paradise. The streets had funny names. Daniel Avenue, Psalms Plaza, Genesis Road, Exodus Street…. When they went back to Luke’s Place, a man was just in the process of removing the “closed” sign. He greeted them with a warm smile. They shook hands and the man introduced himself as John. When they asked John why the town was so deserted, he smiled and said that the town was always deserted on Monday evenings because of the meeting. Mike and Lisa looked at each other but decided not to inquire about details. They would find out soon enough.

    When they asked for a room, John wanted to know if they were married. “Yes”, Mike answered, “we have been married for twelve years.” John wanted to see some proof of this. Surprised, Mike told him that it was not their habit to keep a marriage certificate in the glove compartment of their car. They both held up their hands and showed the wedding rings.

    “Anyone can wear a ring” was John’s reply. He told them that he would have to give them separate rooms, unless they could come up with more convincing proof of their union in marriage. As they were unable to provide such thing, and arguing turned out to be useless, they had to agree on separate rooms. John informed Mike that he would take him to his room, and John’s wife Carmella, who had appeared in the doorway, would take Lisa to her room. Carmella greeted them as cordially as John had done just a few minutes before. Dazed by this unexpected turn of events, Lisa followed Carmella down the hallway. The room was immaculate. It smelled fresh and the walls held wonderful pictures of waterfalls. Lisa quickly scanned the room but could not detect an ashtray. She asked Carmella if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to bring an ashtray to the room. Carmella looked as if she had just been hit with a wet towel.

    “I am sorry, but smoking is not allowed anywhere in Paradise” she said.

    “But where I am supposed to smoke then?” Lisa asked.

    “God does not approve of smoking” was the short reply.

    “Morning prayer starts at seven and breakfast is at eight” Carmella said, and then she left.

    Morning prayer? The only prayer Lisa needed right now was one to keep her sanity.

    Lisa pushed the nightstand in front of the door. In her creative mind, she could already picture the next day’s headlines in the papers: “Couple separated after attempting to rent a motel room together”. She quickly steered her thoughts in a different direction, not quite willing to imagine what the article under the headlines would tell. Thank goodness, the bathroom had a window. She turned off the light, opened the window and hung herself halfway out the window to smoke a cigarette. Luckily, the cigarettes had been on sale at the casino, so she had bought two cartons. Those should last through her vacation in Paradise, as she highly doubted that they would sell cigarettes anywhere in this town. She flushed the butt down the toilet and went to bed. Sleep came easily after such a long drive. She woke up by a crackling noise. It was then that she noticed the speaker in the ceiling. A male voice announced that morning prayers would start in 30 minutes. Lisa quickly showered and decided to wear her sexy shorts. She had not spent a single night away from Mike since their wedding night in Las Vegas, and she knew he would appreciate the sight of her shorts. The thought brought a smile to her face. Twenty minutes later, she walked down the hallway. Carmella came running towards her. The pitch in Carmella’s voice bordered on panic when she told Lisa that all women had to wear a dress or a skirt to morning prayer.

    “A dress or a skirt!” she exclaimed. I haven’t worn such things in years. Heck, I don’t even have dresses or skirts. Carmella handed her one of her own dresses. Since Carmella was several inches taller than Lisa, and the dress was the kind that touches the ground, Lisa had to lift it up in order to walk. She made it to morning prayer just in time. Mike was already seated at the table. He was wearing a shirt and tie. “Must be John’s” Lisa thought, because Mike had only packed casual clothing. The sight of her husband, sitting at the table, wearing a shirt and tie nearly caused a burst of laughter on Lisa’s part, but she was able to stifle the laughs. John started the morning prayer in a monotone voice. Lisa woke up at the sound of “Amen” and noticed that an hour had passed. During breakfast, John was generous with suggestions concerning places they should visit. He spoke about Paradise in an excited manner. He seemed to be especially fond of the print shop and the lion taming area.

    Since Mike and Lisa loved to read, they decided to visit the print shop first. The print shop was located at the corner of Matthew Street and Revelation Street. It was a fifteen-story building. When they entered through the main doors, a guide by the name of James was assigned to accompany them on their tour. James led them through dozens of rooms where books were being printed in many different languages. They also visited the translation offices, as well as the proof reading departments. Each office had a modest sign on the door, indicating the purpose of that particular office. Down the hallway on the tenth floor Lisa noticed a door with a “authorized personnel only” sign. By the time they had reached that floor, she was in desperate need of a cigarette. She snuck behind the forbidden door. Ahead of her unfolded a long hallway with 6 doors on each side. Each door had the same sign. “History re-writing section”. Now, that was strange! The sound of typewriters penetrated many of the doors, but the fifth room on the left was silent. Lisa was willing to take the risk of being caught and opened the door to the fifth room. The room was empty. The door could be locked from the inside, so she locked it and quickly lit a cigarette. After the second drag, she heard a male voice. It came from under the desk and it scared the heck out of her.

    The voice said “Don’t be afraid, I know that you are smoking, but I am on your side. I am coming out now.”

    A middle aged man crawled out of the tiny space under the desk. He sat down in the office chair and pushed a round item in Lisa’s direction.

    “What is this?” she asked.

    “This is a smokeless ashtray” he replied. “The best invention since the wheel.” “When you put your butt in here, it releases an odor which neutralizes the smell of smoke in the room immediately. Ever since my sister sent me this lovely item, I have become the most popular man around here. And a wealthy man as well. I charge fifty cents for each butt.”

    “So are you telling me that more people smoke around here?” Lisa asked.

    “Yes” he said, “but the punishment for getting caught is severe.”

    “What is the punishment for getting caught?” she asked.

    The man did not reply. A darkness came over his face and Lisa guessed that it might be better to leave the subject well alone.

    She finished her cigarette, threw the butt in the smokeless ashtray and handed the man fifty cents. He led her down a different hallway, back to where the guide was talking to Mike. He quickly gave her some breath mints and disappeared.

    Mike and James were talking about the print shop.

    “Why are so many books printed here? Who reads all this, and where is it all going to?” Mike wanted to know.

    “I do not know” James replied. “All I know is that we are spreading the word of God and I am proud to be a part of this.”

    “But you told me that you work twelve hours a day, six days a week. Don’t you think that there is more to life than just working?” Mike’s voice was gentle, almost as if he felt sorry for James.

    “All I know” James said, “is that I am in Paradise”.

    James had stated this last phrase as if it explained everything, and Mike didn’t insist.

    By the time they reached the eleventh floor, the speakers, which seemed to be present everywhere, announced that the noon prayer would start in ten minutes. Lisa was still wearing Carmella’s dress, but Mike had put John’s tie in his back pocket. Lisa helped him to get the tie straightened out, and they followed the crowd to the noon prayer room. Another hour passed. Lisa didn’t pay much attention to what was being said. Instead, she peeked around the crowded room. She didn’t seem to be the only one peeking. Every once in a while her eyes would meet someone else’s eyes. She’d smile and think haha, you’re caught. In spite of the strange situation Mike and Lisa had walked into, her sense of humor had not left her. Not yet.

    After the noon prayer, Mike and Lisa decided to get out of the stuffy offices and find something to eat. They found a small diner on Mark Street. After being seated by a friendly waitress, they each ordered a BLT and some coffee. The waitress brought empty plates and empty cups to the table, as well as some napkins and silverware. A half hour later, the plates and cups were still empty. Puzzled, Mike called the waitress and asked how much longer until their lunch would arrive.

    “Oh your lunch has been ready and waiting for twenty minutes” the waitress replied with a smile.

    “Is it going to grow legs and walk to the table? Mike asked irritated.

    “I am waiting to serve it until you have prayed” the waitress replied. “I cannot serve food until the customers have finished their prayers.”

    Mike said that they had patiently endured an hour of morning prayer and an hour of noon prayer and that they were a bit prayed out at the moment. However, another half hour passed and it was obvious that there would be no food without prayer, so they obediently bowed their heads for a few minutes. As soon as they came out of their feigned prayer stance, the waitress served their food promptly. Hungry now, they ate the BLTs in record time. An old man was seated at the table next to theirs. Lisa had noticed earlier that the man looked very pale. Just when they finished eating lunch, the old man passed out. Mike ran over to his table and yelled to nobody in particular to call a doctor. The waitress approached and told Mike that there were no doctors in Paradise.

    “We are never ill in Paradise” the waitress assured him.

    “But this man is obviously ill and he needs medical attention” was Mike’s reply.

    The waitress insisted that the old man was not ill, he just had a spiritual weak moment. Nothing more, nothing less. The man opened his eyes and apologized for the inconvenience.

    After lunch, Mike and Lisa paid and left a tip on the table. The waitress caught them on their way out the door. She gave the tip back to Mike and told him that tips should be placed in the donation box on the corner of Kings Street.

    Dutifully, they drove to Kings Street and placed the tip in the dedicated box. By now they had gotten used to the unusual and they merely tried to go with the flow.

    They visited the lion taming area in the afternoon. The lions were divided over several cages, ranging from “wild” to “almost tame”. They were allowed to feed the almost tame lions, but they had to keep their distance from the cages that held the wild ones. All lions, wild and almost tame, seemed sleepy. Were they drugged? The lion taming area was immaculate, as was every inch in Paradise. Each cage had a blackboard, indicating the feeding schedule and the cage-cleaning schedule. Lisa scanned the schedules with her eyes, almost expecting to see prayer times on there as well.

    Since the place was rather busy with people, they decided to show Glen’s picture around. They approached many people, showing the picture and asking if anyone had seen this man. The answers were negative, until they showed the picture to a woman who was cradling a baby.

    “Oh, that is my nephew Glen” she said.

    Lisa’s heart skipped a beat. They were going to find Glen after all. They had not been enduring this craziness in vain. They asked the woman where they would be able to locate Glen. She told them that Glen lived on Judas Street. They thanked the woman and left.

    Once they were back in the car, they opened the street map that they had bought on the way to Kings Street. They were unable to find Judas Street on the map. They looked at the index where the streets were listed alphabetically, but there was no Judas Street to be found. Puzzled, they went to a grocery store and asked for directions. When the storekeeper heard the name “Judas Street”, his smile slipped off his face. He told them that perhaps they should ask someone else.

    They did.

    They asked eight different people and the reactions varied from turning red in the face to turning away alltogether.

    Since Paradise was not too big of a town, Mike and Lisa decided to drive up and down every single street until they would find Judas Street. But it would have to wait until the next day, because it was going on dinner time and evening would drape the town in darkness soon.

    They returned to Luke’s Place where dinner would be served at eight, according to the motel brochure. They arrived at Luke’s Place at seven, and John urged them to go to the prayer room, because there was only a minute left until evening prayer. Another hour of head bowing and peeking passed at the pace of a snail. They had dinner at eight and made sure to bow their heads in order to see something edible appearing on the plates.

    After dinner they went to their separate rooms. Lisa began her evening routine of pushing the night stand in front of the door and hanging out the window to smoke a cigarette.

    It was difficult to fall asleep that night. It had been a strange day and she couldn’t help wondering what the next day would have in store. She thought about the normal life which lay in a world four hundred miles away.

    The speaker in the room woke her up at six thirty in the morning, just as it had done the day before. She pretended to have a headache and stayed in bed through the morning prayer.

    She took a shower and decided to wear her comfortable jeans. Carmella stopped her once again in the hallway, handing her a different dress. She assured Lisa that the dress would come in handy for noon prayer. Lisa thanked her, grabbed Mike by the arm and dragged him out the door. She was eager to start the search for Judas Street. To her utmost surprise, Mike told her that the morning prayer had been interesting.

    “Interesting?” she asked incredulously. “How can an hour worth of rambling be interesting?”

    He admitted that he didn’t know, but repeated that he had found some interest in the morning prayer. John had also given him a copy of “the rules”, which he had read in bed. He said that there was a meeting on Wednesday and that they would get to know everyone in town because everyone goes to the meetings.

    Mike started the car and they began the Paradise tour. He drove slowly through each street, but still they did not come upon Judas Street. When it was going onto noon, Mike suggested they stop somewhere to catch the noon prayer. Lisa told him that he was free to go by himself. He stopped at the print shop they had visited the day before. Lisa told him she’d wait in the car. Mike disappeared into the building and Lisa started driving around until she found a quiet place where she could light a cigarette without being disturbed.

    An hour later, she picked up Mike, they went out for lunch and drove around again. They had checked out every street in Paradise and there was no such thing as Judas Street.

    Paul Street, which had taken them out of town, ended abruptly into a dirt road. They saw recent tracks in the dirt, so they decided to follow the tracks. After six miles of difficult driving on dirt and stones, they came to a junction. The road to the left did not have a road sign, but the one leading to the right had an old, fallen down sign. Lisa stepped out of the car and picked up the sign. The paint was weathered, but one could still distinguish the words “Judas Street”.

    They followed this dirt road for about two miles, but then the driving got very rough because of rocks and holes in the road. In the distance, they could make out the shape of houses. They parked the car on the side of the road and started walking. The sun was going down when they finally arrived by the houses. The buildings were in bad shape. Duct tape seemed to rule Judas Street. It was stuck to broken windows, it was used to hold bicycles together, it was everywhere. Judas Street did not have power lines or phone lines. The disarray and the poverty, seeping through every broken door and window, was overpowering. Judas Street was a far cry from the clean and nicely kept streets in Paradise.

    A man in worn out jeans with patches on the knees was walking down the street. Mike and Lisa approached the man and showed him the picture of Glen.

    “That’s our Glen”, the man said. “He lives in the red house on the right there.”

    His trembling finger pointed at a nearby trailer that needed some serious repair.

    They didn’t dare knocking on the door out of fear that the door might fall off its hinges, so they went right in.

    Glen was sitting on an old, ripped couch. He was reading in the bible. He held the bible close to a candle, which was the only source of light in the room.

    He looked up, and the amazement and joy, which lit his face when he saw his friends, was too big to describe.

    After a series of hugs and delightful cries, Mike and Lisa told him their story, beginning with the brochure on his desk and ending with their arrival on Judas Street. Through tears, Glen told them that God had blessed him after all with two true friends.

    He then told his own story.

    Glen had grown up in Paradise. A few days after he had turned twenty-one, he had come down with the flu. On the second night of his flu attack, he had developed a high fever. He had barely slept that night and never heard the morning prayer announcement. The owners of the print shop would be present for the morning prayer at his house that day, so it had been important to make a good impression. That day of all days, he had overslept. He had woken up just a few minutes before seven. There had been no time to shower or shave. He had shown up for the morning prayer with an unshaven face, uncombed hair and his tie only half tied. This was considered an offence, and as was the custom, offenders were banned to live on Judas Street for a certain amount of time. Instead of obeying, Glen had opposed to it. He had tried to explain to the council how the flu had gotten a hold of him and how he had overslept that morning. The fact that he had opposed the council’s decision had only resulted in more time on Judas Street.

    Once he had arrived on Judas Street, he had heard horror stories of people who had lived there for fifty years and more, often for minor offences.

    Two years had gone by and Glen had still been living on Judas Street. He had not seen his parents or his siblings. That was when he had decided that it had been enough. He had moved out and made a living for himself far away from Paradise. When he found a brochure for Paradise, he had cried for days until he had decided that he had to go back to Judas Street, as it would be the only way to ever see his parents again. He never told Mike and Lisa anything about this, because he didn’t know how to tell such thing to ordinary people.

    Mike and Lisa stayed overnight at Glen’s place, and went back to downtown Paradise the next morning.

    They visited Glen’s parents and told them how much Glen missed and loved them. His parents assured them that it was necessary for Glen to live on Judas Street until he would come to his senses. Lisa couldn’t help herself and told them that he had come to his senses many years ago. Where was the mercy? Where was the love?

    As their first week’s vacation passed in Paradise, they went to visit Glen daily. At the start of the second week however, John told them that they would have to move out of his motel if they kept visiting people on Judas Street. Such people were outcasts and they were to be left alone. Lisa was furious, but Mike managed to calm her down.

    Lisa had seen a gradual change in Mike during this past week. He seemed to look forward to going to the morning, noon and evening prayer. He had gone shopping for a suit and a tie. It worried her a great deal. He had talked about finding some property to buy in Paradise. He had purchased a briefcase to put his books and magazines in.

    On Thursday morning, Mike gave Lisa a present. She unwrapped it and was looking at a blue dress. Not the sexy kind, but the kind that covers everything a woman wishes to show. A horrible panic slowly crept into every pore of her body.

    ©copyright Chris W 2005

  • Goldminer

    When they finally pull in to Paradise after a long drive you could say:

    "They saw Paradise by the dashboard lights."

    Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents;I'll be expecting royalties when your book gets published.


  • fairchild

    Well well goldminer, what a fitting name you have. Thanks for the two cents, every bit helps, especially if I am going to have to share my royalties with you.

  • inbyathread

    Stephen King would be proud. Great story. Love the ending of "Chapter 1". Left chills up my spine.

    Will print this out and share with some "friends" that need to see the truth about the truth. (With your permission of course.

    Anxious to read the next horrorific chapter.

  • AuldSoul

    Goldminer, You know what they say, "In for a penny out with a pound!"

    Fairchild, good read. When is the movie coming out?


  • forsharry

    Very good! I'm hooked. :)

  • fairchild


    Yes of course you can print it out. I will have the copyrights on this by 3 o'clock this afternoon, so any time after 3 you can print and spread it. However, you will need to make mention of my full name. I was unable to put my full name under this story because google picks up on my name and should someone google me, they would find this story, attached to me. I am only trying to hide my identity from a few JWs in my area, at least for now. (Still hoping that they will start treating me like a human being instead of like a piece of dirt).

    You can retrieve my full name by clicking on the following link. Please use it in full.


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