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Hark! the herald angels sing

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He looked around, a slow grin spreading over his face as his eyes struggled to adjust to the blinding darkness surrounding him. He was swimming in black light, everything simultaneously remote yet intolerably close, and the only sound he could hear was that of his own heart beating inside his chest. This was nothing like any of the other worlds he had visited so far, and for the first time ever since he could remember, he longed for the company of a fellow human being.

“Please, identify yourself.” The voice was coming from everywhere, reverberating through every fibre of his being. He straightened his back, put on his most charming face. “Colin Denham, Blue,” he replied smoothly, smiling to the nothingness all around him. “Charmed, I’m sure.”

“Welcome to Heaven, Mr Denham,” the voice resonated once more, as if echoing around an impossibly vast hall. Flames of impenetrable light flickered somewhere to his left, casting brightly coloured shadows through a seemingly thick fog. Eventually the mist dissolved to reveal a stunningly beautiful woman, a somewhat ridiculous robot floating at her elbow.

“Heaven,” he repeated. “I suppose this makes you one of those – oh, what are they called – angels, right?” he nodded to himself, a new plan gradually forming in his mind. “Any chance you might let me have a word with your boss?”

The angel woman regarded him for a long moment, the little robot still buzzing at her side. “Walk with me, Mr Denham,” she commanded eventually, and just like that, he knew he had won.