MY CHARACTER DEATH HAS TAKEN ON THE ROLE OF MY MUSE
To read part one first go here: PART I
PART II The Many Faces of MUSE
I was sitting in my office staring at my computer screen when I felt chill bumps roll over my entire body, you know the kind you get when you have Deja Vu or sense something otherworldly, or you get all emotional over something uplifting; those type of bumps? I looked up and in walked Death. Heart stopping? A bit. Unsettling, why?
I wasn’t dreaming this time. He looked a bit like Chris Cornell, ex-lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave in his grunge days with short wild black hair, a goatee and the clearest, most startling blue eyes I have ever seen. Yeah, rather otherworldly. He had that biker-rockstar thing going on for him, but neatly rakish. I took a deep breath and said, “Am I dead?”
Death didn’t smile, but those riveting blue eyes did. “No. And, neither am I.”
“So you’ve not come to Reap me, huh?”
Death took a seat by my desk and leaned forward. “I need you to find my brothers.”
“Brothers? As in War, Famine, and Pestilence?
He gave me a flat look. “As mythology goes, yes, but we prefer Marek, Nikos, and Limos, and you can call me Azrael.”
“The Angel of Death? That does not make me feel less stalked.” It didn’t. I wondered if Death caught my sarcasm, after all, that is a human reaction.
“I am not stalking you. I do not stalk. I transform. You are no help to me in that state.”
That made me smile. “What state do you need me in?” Did I just flirt with Death? I did not. Yes, I did. I waited.
“Breathing,” He said deadpan, but his eyes twinkled. He did know I just flirted with him. I should be embarrassed, but I really could not work up the blush.
“Are you going to help me find my brothers?”
“Like I am going to say no to Death…”
“My name. Azrael.”
Okay. “No to Azrael.” I took a moment pretending to move pencils, pens, and whatnot around my desk giving myself enough time to collect my thoughts taking slow, steady breaths. Last time I spoke to Death was in my dreams and he wanted me to find a lost reaper. I’m not really sure how much that retainer was worth, or legit it was a dream, but maybe he thought I was on the payroll now. Maybe I was? “Where was the last place you saw your brothers?”
“Last seen? Purgatory. However, they are no longer there. They are now somewhere on the planet earth.”
“How do you know this?”
“I shared my apple with them, unfortunately linking their fates to mine.”
I waited for a heartbeat.
“What so special about your apple?” I almost snickered, but I kept a neutral face.
“It was plucked from the tree of life.”
That made me blink. Angels. Demons. Heaven and Hell and the tree of life? Surreal and a little too real, all at the same time. “I’m still not following. Why does this matter?”
“Fruit from the tree of life is ambrosia to angel kind; knowledge and mortal death to humans; and as it turns out to the fallen or other, it makes us human.”
“What do you mean human?”
“Human, like you. Flesh and blood. Gravity-bound. Less aware of the ethers and energy around us, more primal, influenced more by desires, emotions, and instinct. We need to breathe oxygen.”
“So you are not Death anymore?”
“I have always been and will always be Death. It is the reason of my creation.” He leaned forward pulling his shirt open showing me his chest.
My heart skipped about ten beats; my breath hitched, and my palms felt sweaty. Maybe I should sit on my hands. “What are you doing?” Yeah, that was my voice squeaking.
“I am human; still I carry the seal intact.”
My eyes finally fell on the symbol over his heart. My eyes traced the mêlée weapon that curved like an archery bow with two C-shapes attached, one to the back curve of the bow with an “infinity cross” housed in its center, the second at the top curve of the bow giving the appearance of a scythe with a pincher. It had been burned into the flesh and then inked with gold, silver & black.
“Proof my fate has not changed, except I am human with limitations and vulnerabilities.”
“Wow, that could be problematic. Death is death, but lost his whammy.”
Azrael frowned at me. “That is not funny.”
I could feel my mouth twitching. “No, I suppose not. Sorry.”
“You are not sorry.”
“Well, no. Life’s ironic that way for the living. Rather laugh than cry.” Death didn’t say anything. He just stared at me. I waited. I took a deep breath. I squirmed, but he didn’t say anything. “What? You want me to lie?”
“No. Never lie to me.”
“This might get rough if you don’t find your funny bone. Humans like to laugh, you know? I like to laugh.”
“Where do I find this funny bone?”
I opened my mouth to retort and then closed it. He was laughing at me. I saw it on his face. “Ha. Ha. So, are you saying you can die?”
“I have not tested the theory.” He shrugged. “I have all the aches and pains. I am less. I feel it. My powers do not function the same way in this mortal body. It would be wise to assume that yes I can now die.”
“You still have powers?”
“It is unclear. I feel muted, blind in a sense. I am still me, but I am not.”
“How are we supposed to find your brothers if they can be anywhere on earth, and you have no powers? That’s like shooting ghosts in the dark. “
“That makes no sense.”
“Exactly.” I made a face. He didn’t smile.
“I have an idea.”
“If you have an idea, why do you need me?”
“You are the writer. You need me.”
“Like a headache.”
I am working on a series project of flash fiction Apocalypse, Signed, Sealed & Delivered. This is one of the stories. Hell’s Play, appearing in July 2017 Storytime Blog Hop.