by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|“I’m your replacement.” The second angel offered his hand. “Michael. Talk about a mess.”
“Hey, Mike. Yeah, I need a breather. Too much death. Get’s to you when they are so useless. No meaning to them. Guess you know my name. Peter.”
The two stared around them, half in this world, half in the next. Shift changes the day after Christmas were standard. Peter had been waiting for his relief. One eye on making sure the stacked up bodies waiting for mass burial kept their souls intact and asleep waiting for the second coming. Things had to be kept right.
“Want me to stay and show you around? Help you get acclimated to the scene?”
The year had been stirred up into more horror than usual. The trickster and his hoard of dark angels were busy trying to harvest wayward souls. In place of world war, pandemic and mass migration were being used to pull the rug out from under honest souls. Saint Rapheal’s Catholic Center was a microcosm of the sick and misplaced results. “I got the basics. Nice of you to offer to help settle me in. Sure, why not. Who’s that?”
A single aide stood guard at the drug treatment door. She manhandled a bed with a dead body in it, slid a body bag over its head and shoulders, humming off key, waiting. Outside a coroner’s rig backed up to the door. What looked like a large white plastic sheet with matching boots and gloves got out and waved to the aide.
“Harry Thomas, was an army nurse. Got AIDS, infected by a prostitute while overseas. Hooked on drugs during treatment. Kicked out of the veterans hospital, ended up here.” Michael checked off a line on his Apple tablet, only the best record keeping equipment was used by his branch of celestial service.
“Spirit’s restless,” Peter noted. “Doesn’t want to stay asleep. He a special case?”
The two angels watched as the corpse was shoved feet first at the center’s main door. The lock clicked open. Feet were grabbed to yank the dead body onto a waiting gurney with a second body bag ready and open. The moon suited figure cursed.
“Gotta get used to not having sensitive ears, Mike. There are so many dead they get treated like stacks of cordwood for mass graves. Hear poor Harry Thomas’ bones crack? Can’t jerk a dead person like that. Bones get soft and brittle after death.”
“Meant to tell you. Got an overload of special cases waiting in a line at Heaven’s gate. We got to put any new one’s on hold and leave them in Limbo. Don’t matter how restless they are or what emergency message they think they got.” Mike stirred from one foot to another, nervous about forcing free will.
“May take both of us to convince this spirit that’s a fact. All right let him up.”
The dead body groaned, releasing pent up gases, rose, pulled up into a sitting position by the jiggling of its limbs. Michael and Peter watched The spirit struggle to flee its corruption. It was like watching a butterfly extract itself from its cocoon. “Ready?” Peter asked.
“Or not, here he comes,” Michael replied. They felt the opening between heaven and earth turn on like a beam of a flashlight. They were the light at the end of the tunnel, two white robed figures waiting to receive Harry Thomas’ soul.
“Oh, oh. Trouble,” Peter said as the light went out. “Devil’s own come to snatch him if they can. Time to roll the dice.” Chance was the only weapon allowed to angels where free will came into play. Miracles depended on it.
A feeling of ravenous hunger hunting for prey grew in the darkness. A high pitched ringing scream gave birth to the fact that Harry Thomas’ soul had been ripped from its flesh. “Where am I?”
The tug and pull of light against dark revealed shadowy figures wrestling with each other in the gray growing twilight. Shards of lightning flashed against black billowing clouds. One figure struck a pose in the melee. A rainbow pattern rippled across the spirit’s uncertain surface. “Which way?”
The aura coalesced into a humble and bent praying form. The cares of the world bit and chewed at the huddled manifestation. The sick sweet promise of sin offered immediate comfort and escape. The scent curled in snake like tendrils caressing the rainbow hues into a uniform dullness.
“We’re losing him,” Peter felt the pull.
Michael pulled back. ”Remember.”
The dimness vibrated and quivered. They watched the spirit of Harry Thomas relive his entire life in the next split second, weighing the good and the bad. The rainbow turned to stark black and white, torturing itself, trying to become one or the other, remaining both. A silent scream broke the moment, then was gone.
“Did he make it?” Peter brushed patches of spiderwebbed gloom from his white robe.
Michael swept aside the curtain between life and death to view Limbo. The place was crawling with unease and fading hope waiting for judgment. “Nope. Dare we look? What was the guy’s message? Could you tell anything about it? I’ll pass it on when I can.”
Hell was no place for angels. All either could do was follow the pattern of the lost spirit’s fading aura. A small explosion of light rewarded their view. “Didn’t belong there. At least Harry Thomas went out with a bang.”
The small shock wave from hell sent shivers through Peter. Michael didn’t look any better. It made it hard to retain their true form. “It is all yours, pal. Good luck,” and Peter was gone.
“What a mess,” Michael sighed, hunting something worth hanging onto while he took up his post. There was meager spiritual food being offered on earth these days.
In a random moment lost in time, Harry Thomas' tortured message floated in a rainbow, waiting to be found.