‹ Prequel: Eyes of the Devil

The Angel of Death

Chapter Eight

Flying over the earth instead of simply passing it by was really different. It didn’t take long to see what my dad was talking about; tiny puffs of red and blue dotted the ground, but they were impossible to separate from each other, so I flew lower to get a closer look. He had called them “people.” They looked a lot like my parents, but each one was different. Some of them were even different colors.

“Hi!” I called, waving. None of them looked up at me, and I frowned. That close to the ground, they should have been able to hear me. I dipped lower still, now hovering just a few feet above the ground. I had a sudden idea and made my wings disappear. I fell soon after that, wincing as I hit the pavement. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would. “Ow…”

“Are you okay?”

I looked up at the sound of the voice. I didn’t recognize the person, but he took my hand and helped me stand up, so I decided he couldn’t be so bad. I nodded, smiling a little.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“What are you doing down here?” he asked. I brushed myself off, even though there wasn’t really any dirt on me.

“I’m getting souls for my dad,” I answered. “…even though I don’t really know what that means.”

“You’re their son, right?” When I nodded again, he took my hand and started walking. “Come with me.”

He explained to me that souls were the weird cloud things I had seen floating above everybody’s heads. We got to a place with a bunch of big rocks all over it. Some of them kind of looked like me; they had wings, anyway.

“What’re those?”

“This is a cemetery,” he explained. “After they die, their bodies go here and their souls go off to either Heaven or Hell.”

“How do they know where to go?” I asked, starting to get a little confused.

He turned me around so I could see the people walking down the road. “The blue ones are going to Heaven, and the red ones are going to Hell.”

“You mean…they don’t get to choose?” I didn’t think that was very fair.

He shook his head. “That’s not how it works.”

“…then…I don’t get it.”

He laughed a little. “It’s alright. You’ll understand in time.” He ruffled my hair a little. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“Angel,” I answered, though I soon frowned a little. “But…my dad calls me Death. So I guess…I don’t know.”

“Well, what do you want to be called?” he asked. I thought about it for a minute or two, but I couldn’t decide, so I just shrugged. He laughed again. “Well, my name’s Bob.”

“That sounds funny.”

I heard something in the distance. It was sort of like music, but just one note being played again and again. I asked Bob what it was.

“Those are bells,” he answered, taking my hand and leading me towards the sound. “Church bells.”

We reached the source of the noise, a tall stone building with huge doors. It looked really pretty, and a lot of people were walking inside. I started to follow them, but Bob pulled me back.

“Are you sure you want to go in there?” he asked. “You probably won’t like it.”


He sighed. “Alright.”

Inside, the place was even stranger. More music was being played, bouncing off the walls and echoing throughout the entire room. There were strange paintings all over the place; a lot of them looked like people with wings, but I didn’t like them. They didn’t smile or anything. Bob took a seat on one of the hundreds of benches lined up in rows, and I jumped up to sit next to him. We were near the back of the giant room, and we had a good view of everyone else there. I glanced around. From what I could see, they all had glowing blue auras; some were a little grayer than others, but they were all blue.

A man wearing all white stepped out in front of the crowd of people, a dark red cloud hovering above his head. He began to speak to them in an abnormally loud voice. I didn’t see why he wanted to shout so much; everything echoed so well in the room that even the slightest whisper could be heard everywhere.

“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to a big wooden thing on the wall.

“It’s a cross. Part of their religion,” Bob explained. I guess I must’ve looked really confused, because he just laughed a little and gave up on continuing. “It’s kind of impossible to explain.”

“Who’s that guy that’s yelling at everyone?” As I looked again, I realized all of them were looking at the floor, with the one guy speaking in an incredibly boring monotone.

“And please, Lord,” he droned, “also be with the Harris family this week, as they’ve just discovered their oldest son has chosen to commit a terrible sin and condemn himself to Hell-”

“What are you talking about?” another person cried, standing up and breaking the man’s monologue. Everyone gasped, staring at the girl in stunned silence. “He didn’t do anything that bad!”

“The Bible clearly states that being gay is a sin, young lady,” he said darkly.

I frowned. “What’s he talking about, Bob?”

Bob just shook his head. “These humans distort things so easily.”

“That doesn’t mean he’s going to Hell!” she shouted back, now standing in the walkway.

“Are you saying I’m wrong?” he questioned, a cruel look on his withered face.

“Yeah, I am,” she answered coldly. I climbed down from the bench and walked toward the guy. I wanted to ask what he was talking about. Bob stood and followed me.

“Hey, mister-”

“You are speaking against the word of God!” the man shouted accusingly.

“No, you’re just twisting the words for your own purpose,” the girl shot back. Her parents tried to get her to sit back down, but she refused, staring lividly at the man. I walked closer to him, trying to get his attention, but it was like he couldn’t hear me at all. Like none of them could.

“I only speak the truth,” he insisted. He suddenly lifted his arms outward and looked towards the sky. “If I am wrong about this, let the Lord strike me down now!”

I grabbed the edge of his robe and pulled on it. “Hey, down here.” A second later, something shocked me and burned my hand. I felt really weird, but I ignored it and backed away when the guy suddenly fell to the ground before me. Bob gripped my shoulder and turned me around, horrified.

“We have to go.”

“But I didn’t get to ask him-”

“Come on.” He took my hand and briskly walked outside, leaving behind a crowd of screaming, terrified people. I looked back at them just in time to see the girl glancing at us as we left. Once we were far enough away, Bob stopped walking and knelt down to my level.

“Do you have any idea what you just did?” he asked quietly. I couldn’t tell if he was mad or not. He didn’t sound mad. I shook my head, and he sighed. “Well…make sure you take that down to your father, alright?”

“Take what?”

“The soul.” He held my hand open, palm up, and placed his other hand over it. There was a small flash of light between them, and I felt like I was holding something. He moved his hand so I could see what it was. A little puffball sat in my hand, a tiny cloud of red that swirled over itself and felt soft and warm. “That’s what he sent you up here for, isn’t it?”

“I think so,” I answered.

“Listen to me very carefully,” he began firmly. “You can’t do something like that again. You should only take the souls of those near death, not those who are still alive. It’s a very big responsibility.”

“Why do I have to do it?” I asked. “I mean…people would’ve died before now, right?”

He actually laughed a little. “I’ve been taking care of it up to this point, actually. But I have other things I must attend to.”

“So…you’re not gonna help me?” I looked at the ground, hearing the rumble of thunder in the sky overhead. He put a hand on my shoulder, but it didn’t scare me nearly as much as when my dad did.

“I’ll be around when you need me.”

Just like that, he was gone. I looked around, trying to see where he had disappeared off to, but no luck. I closed my fist around the cloud so it wouldn’t go anywhere, then unfolded my wings and shot up towards the sky so I could finally go visit my mom.