Neither Heaven or Hell

Claire Sylvester is 24 years old and has everything going for her.

Originally from Yorkshire Claire worked as a shop assistant. Her grandmother died two years before and left Claire and her twin brothers some money. This meant that Claire could leave her home and job and move to London to be near her brothers, while working and studying to be a Legal Secretary. She was grateful to her grandmother for leaving her money to enable the move and for giving her the courage to do it. One of her brothers arranged for her to flat share with Natasha (Tash) who he knows from work. Claire and Tash soon become close.

Tash has told Claire that her boyfriend Jay is going to propose, but nobody else knows. Before she leaves her flat her brother Jim phones. He prematurely congratulates her on her engagement and she wrongly assumes that one of Tash’s co-workers has told her brothers. When Claire hangs up, Tash denies that this could have happened, but she doesn’t believe her, even though there have been weird telepathic incidents between Claire and her twin brothers throughout her life.

It’s no secret that Claire dies early on in ‘Beyond Death’; this is the basis of the whole story. She can’t believe this has happened after the best night of her life and is understandably upset to discover she’ll never marry her beloved Jay. She mourns for the children she will never have, and is gutted that she will never again feel the rain on her face or enjoy a meal with her family. Everything in life that Claire took for granted is now lost to her. She complains that life is so unfair, but then, so is death. Her sadness turns to anger at the injustice. Her death guide (I don’t want to give too much away) forces Claire to calm down and she eventually gets her head around the fact that she is actually dead.

More surprises follow and Claire faces another new situation, which she has to come to terms with.

So heaven or hell? Claire’s current holding area is known as Cherussola (can you work out the anagram?) The Committee has to decide the fate of those suspended in Cherussola. There are two reasons that souls find themselves there. Firstly, they might have erred on earth, but not enough to go to hell. Secondly, The Committee might have made a mistake or be so overloaded due to unexpected tragedy on earth, that there are simply too many souls to process.

Claire’s harassed death guide leaves her alone to ponder the reason she’s not in heaven or hell. While doing so she’s allowed to visit earth, along with her companion that caused her current situation. It’s during these visits that she discovers shocking truths about her family, friends and relationships that force her to question her very existence.