‹ Prequel: Eyes of the Devil

The Angel of Death

Chapter Nine

I sighed a little when I landed on the white tile obscured by clouds. I looked around for my mom, but it didn’t take long to find her. It never did.

“Mom!” I cried. She ran to hug me and picked me up just a few seconds later.

“Angel!” She sounded so relieved that I wondered why I had ever wanted to leave her from the very beginning. “I missed you so much! Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

I shook my head. “He wanted me to do something, though.” I opened my hand to show her the little red cloud, but it vanished the second I did. My face fell. I had no idea where it was.

My mom sighed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t have to get caught up in all this.”

“Get caught up in what?” I asked.

“It’s complicated.”

I could tell she didn’t want to explain it, so I changed the subject. “What happened to the soul I just had?”

“It doesn’t belong here,” she answered. “It’s evil.”

“Where’d it go?” I asked, looking around like I could still find it. My dad was going to be really mad if I came back without it, and now that he was even scarier, I didn’t want to find out what happened when he got angry.

“It’s gone, Angel,” she said calmly. “It belongs in Hell, and that’s where it went.”

“Oh…so…dad has it, then?” I sighed a little in relief when she nodded. At least he had it.

“Let’s not talk about your father right now, sweetie,” she insisted, hugging me close. “I’m so happy to see you.”

“I missed you too, mom,” I said as I hugged her back. It sounded muffled, but I knew she understood. I heard footsteps clicking on the tile, and she turned to see who it was.

“He made it back alright, then?” Mikey asked. Both of us nodded. “Good.”

She set me on the ground and told me to go play, meaning she wanted to talk to Mikey alone. I left the room, but I wanted to hear what they were saying, so I didn’t go too far away.

“See? He’s fine. You worry too much.”

“I just don’t want anything to happen to him,” she said sadly, sitting on the couch. Mikey sat next to her, placing one hand on her back.

“I know, Lyn.”

She stood again and walked away from him a little, then waved one hand in the air before her. A shimmering cloud of fog appeared, slowly growing and changing color until it looked like a person. I couldn’t believe it. It was my dad.

“What are you doing?” Mikey asked, sounding confused.

“They look so much alike,” she murmured. I wanted to run in and ask her why he was suddenly there, but I had no idea what was going on, so I decided to wait and see if something else would happen. She tried to place her hand on the side of his face, but when he didn’t do anything in response, I started to wonder if it was really him. “Angel has his eyes.”

Mikey sighed. “You know that’s only going to make you feel worse.”

She kept talking to the cloud like she couldn’t even hear him, and it didn’t take long before he silently stood and left the room. As soon as he was gone, I ran inside and hugged my mom as tightly as I could.

“Don’t be sad, mommy.” She jumped, and the cloud instantly vanished. Sighing, she knelt down and hugged me. She sniffled a little, trying to hide it, but I knew she was close to tears. “I don’t like it when you’re sad.”

“I’ll be alright, sweetie,” she assured me. She pulled away from the hug and brushed some of my hair out of my face, smiling a little. I couldn’t help but smile too. She was really pretty when she smiled. “You look sleepy.”

“I’m not sl-” I yawned in the middle of the sentence, laughing a little when I had stopped. She laughed and picked me up again, carrying me down the hall to my room. I wrapped my arms around her neck and rested my head on her shoulder. I felt so much safer around her. By the time she set me down on my bed and pulled the blanket over me, I was nearly asleep. I saw the world go dark beyond my eyelids as she leaned forward and kissed my forehead.

“Sweet dreams, Angel.”
The next day, I flew down to earth to see if I could find any more souls for my dad. I didn’t want to leave my mom so soon after seeing her again, but I couldn’t wait too long to do what he had told me. I promised I wouldn’t be gone as long next time, even though I wasn’t sure I could really uphold that promise.

I saw a bunch of red and blue clouds all over the place, but all of them were moving, so I didn’t want to take them. Then I saw something really strange; there was a girl walking down the sidewalk with no red or blue cloud over her head. There was a sort of gray fog around her. I had never seen anything like it, so I dropped to the sidewalk and followed her for a while. Eventually she ended up at home, slowly climbing the stairs to the second floor like it was really difficult for her. I guessed it was her bedroom, because she lay down on the bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

“Hey, are you okay?” I asked. I didn’t really expect anything to happen, but when she rolled over and opened her eyes at the sound of my voice, I could hardly believe it.

“Who are you?” she asked with a quiver in her tone. “What are you doing in my room?”

“I, uh…” I had to think fast. My mom called me Angel and my dad called me Death. I combined some of the letters in my head, and after getting everything jumbled up more than a few times, I had an answer. “My name’s Ande.” Apparently it sounded normal enough to her, because she didn’t look confused when I said it. Well, any more confused, anyway.

“Why are you here?”

“You looked sorta sad…and your soul’s not colorful, so I wanted to see if I could find out why…” Now she really looked confused, so I stopped talking. “What’s your name?”

“Holly.” She sat up, still staring at me. It was kind of uncomfortable. “What’re you talking about, my soul isn’t colorful?”

“It’s hard to explain.” I stepped a little closer to her. She was taller than me, with light brown hair and eyes that were a little uneven, but still pretty. Her light eyebrows were wide and flattened at one end, sloping up before arching high into a point and tapering off, making her look naturally angry. They reminded me of my dad.

“Where are you from, Andy?”

“It’s Ande,” I corrected.

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“It’s not the same.”

She looked at the floor. “Oh. Okay. You still didn’t answer my question.”

“I’m…not from around here.”

I was a little surprised when she laughed. “I figured that out.”

“Hey…I remember you now…you’re that girl.”

She blinked. “Huh?”

“When I took that guy’s soul. You were yelling at him ’cause he was being mean or something.”

“Oh! In church?” She suddenly looked really scared of me. “You killed him?!”

“I didn’t mean to…my dad told me I had to get people’s souls and I didn’t know what I was doing and it was just an accident-”

“Hey, calm down,” she said warmly. “I’m not mad, just a little surprised. I thought he had a heart attack or something; he was so ancient.”

“I guess you didn’t like him.” It made me feel a little better, but not much. She shook her head.

“He was crazy. He made my friend so miserable…” She looked sad again. “I hope he gets better. He’s gotten a lot more depressed.”

I wanted to ask what she was talking about, but a voice interrupted my thoughts.

Come back here now.

It was my dad. “What did I-”

Now, Death.

I glanced at Holly, who was now staring at me and probably thinking I was talking to myself. “I have to go.”

“Are you going to come back?” she asked. I opened my mouth to tell her I wasn’t sure, but my dad threatened to start yelling at me. I jumped up in the air and made my wings appear before diving straight down through the floor to go see what he wanted. I hoped she would understand.

Once I reached the big, empty room he usually stayed in, I realized something was different. Instead of his sharp, polished footsteps on the stone, I heard heavy bass steps and the occasional flap of wings. There were a few lines of fire along the ground, but they were being snuffed out as whatever it was crushed them one at a time.

“What’s wrong, dad?” I asked timidly.

“I entrusted you with the simplest of tasks, Death,” he began in a low voice. “And yet, even with this, you’ve failed me.”

“Dad, I-”

“Silence,” he snapped. I cringed and shrank away, but it felt like there was nowhere I could hide from him. “You directly disobeyed my orders and took a soul somewhere it did not belong.”

“How do you know about that?”

“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out?” he shouted. Something slammed into the stone, and the impact knocked me to the ground. “A soul appears to me overflowing with nonsense about how perfect and beautiful Heaven is?” Something grabbed me, wrapping around my whole body and threatening to crush me. I realized it was my dad, but I had no idea how it was possible. “You’re a fool to think I’d overlook such a thing.”

“I’m…sorry,” I choked out, beginning to panic as it squeezed the air out of my lungs. Flames appeared all around the room, and my eyes widened at what I saw. He had turned into a huge black dragon, and he was holding me in one claw. I wanted to scream, but I could barely even breathe. His eyes were blank and gray, glaring at me as dark smoke puffed out from his flared nostrils. His voice was dark and even.

“You will be.”

He threw me to the ground. My head started to spin, and I could barely keep my eyes open as I gasped for air. He raised one giant foot into the air, letting out a low laugh. I tightly shut my eyes before he slammed it down on top of me.