((Some of my works are actually monologues. Meaning that it is a role playing set where I play all the characters. So when the point of view changes, the character name will be in bold that is telling the story.))
Kyle Sullivan: “Bless me father for I have sinned,” came the whispered words from the dark bowed head. The door slid aside in the confessional. An elderly priest peered through the mesh at the man opposite him.
“Please, tell me your sins so that you may be forgiven,” replied the old priest. He only see the top of the head, it was hung so low between the shoulders and clasped hands that the chin must surely be on his chest.
Send me an angel, right now. Came the multiple voices of the choir practicing. They always began their warm-up with non-hymnal music, but somewhat still appropriate music for the church.
“I have murdered three men this week,” drifted the soft words through the mesh, but still somehow audible over choir. The old priest, a man named Francis, felt a sudden squeeze in his chest and a pain down his arm. He coughed, trying to remove the pressure and tried to dig discreetly in his robes for his pills.
“My son,” Father Francis coughed, “I understand you may think that whatever you say in here is between you, me and our God, but I am obligated to inform such crimes to the local police. Perhaps you’ve dreamed or wanted to kill these men?” He managed the pills from his pocket and popped the top off. The pain was coming greater.
The dark head rose and the clasped hands lowered. Father Francis gave a start at the glowing red eyes, a wisp of smoke or was it heat? Lazily drifted from the corners of them. He couldn’t take his eyes from the man’s.
Don’t know what to do. The choir sang.
“No Father, I did not dream this, and I do not think you’ll live long enough to call the police.”
You’re looking for love calling heaven above.
“You’re going to kill me?” Father Francis was trying to get one of the tiny pills from the bottle into his mouth, in his nervousness he dropped the bottle. Pills fell through the air like confetti.
Send me an angel.
“I don’t have to. Your heart will do it for me,” the man said calmly. He blinked his eyes and the red was gone, replaced by pale blue-green. He reached up and slid the mesh aside. “However. I can save you.”
Send me an angel.
The man reached through the now open window in the confessional and opened his hand, upon his palm was a single small tablet. Father Francis’ eyes darted to it and he quickly snatched it up, placing it under his tongue, waiting for it to dissolve. The man watch him for several minutes as Father Francis’ heart calmed and the pain left his arm. Neither spoke, and Father Francis didn’t like how the man looked at him, almost kindly, like he was worried about the old priest. Had he imagined the red eyes all along?
“What are you?” The old priest asked trembling.
“Who are you?”
Father Francis stumbled from the confessional and immediately pulled back the curtain of the opposite side. It was empty. He whirled and looked around the empty church. A woman was praying the rosary in a pew, another was lighting a candle, an altar boy was polishing the cups for the next mass. The choir were practicing in the balcony. He saw no man leaving the church or hiding anywhere else. He took a deep breath and decided the whole things was his mind playing tricks on him because of the impending heart attack.
The old priest picked up his pill bottle from the floor, and slowly and carefully began to collect the tiny pills that had fallen on his side of the confessional.
“I’m not a figment of your imagination, old man,” stated the soft baritone voice behind him. Father Francis gave a start and turned, but he was on his knees and didn’t quite make the maneuver, he fell onto his behind instead. He looked up. The man was tall, short dark hair, the pale blue-green eyes, dressed in a black jacket, jeans and boots. He had somewhat of a long nose, visible cheekbones, laugh lines, a few crow’s feet, full brows and stubble on his chin. He had an intimidating friendly appearance, if that were possible. Father Francis found himself afraid of the man, but at this moment the man was not threatening him in anyway. He was just standing there, arms loose at his sides.
“Those three men you-“ The man brought his finger to his lips and crouched down next to the priest so that they were eye level.
“Shhhh…” The man shushed.
“What do you want from me?” Father Francis asked warily and trying not to tremble.
“Sanctuary,” the man replied.
“Sanctuary? If you’re Death? What do you have to fear?” The priest was rather surprised at his own words. There was an Angel of Death, but not like this, not like this strange man.
Father Francis was having a hard time grasping that this man, this tangible man could be death. He slowly reached up and touched the man’s face, almost unsure as to why. The man did not move away or respond. The old priest had half expected his hand to slide through as if this man was a mirage. The man was rather cool to the touch, rather like… corpse flesh. Father Francis didn’t know how that thought got into his mind. He had to surely still be rattled from the near miss on the heart attack.
“You can’t be,” Father Francis whispered.
“Death? Or afraid of life?” The man replied as Father Francis lowered his hand.
“Either or both,” the old priest stated.
“Let me show you something,” the man stood and held out his hand to help the old priest to his feet. Reluctantly Father Francis took it and suddenly realized how quiet the church was. The choir had stopped singing, they were working on a bad rendition of ‘At Thy Feet, O Christ,’ and had seemed to stop mid-note.
Father Francis went to remove his hand from the man’s but the man gripped tighter, almost enough to break the brittle bones in the old priest’s hand. Father Francis gave a sharp intake of breath, and when it flew back out of his mouth he realized he could see it. The air had suddenly turned extremely chilly. Even under his robes Father Francis’ skin broke out in goosebumps.
“No, don’t let go. Look around,” the man indicated with a finger, his breath also visible.
Any colder in here and there will be icicles from the light fixtures. Father Francis thought, but he did look around, and once again gave another suction of air. It chilled his lungs.
Everyone was still there. The woman was praying the rosary, the altar boy polishing the cups, the woman lighting the memorial candles, the choir in the loft. Only… They were stopped. The reason the choir had halted in mid-note was because they had. Their mouths were all open, formed in perfect O’s for the hymn, the instructor had his arms up in the arm, frozen in place. He looked at the women and the altar boy, none were moving, halted as if they were only wax statues.
“You… You…” Father Francis didn’t have the words, “What have you done?”
“Stopped time,” the man replied, then gave a half smile as if he was humbled by his abilities, “Not really. This is the world I usually walk through. I exist outside of time.” Father Francis tried to let this sink in, this man was Death, and Death had saved his life.
“If you’re Death then what is with the… um…” Father Francis indicated with his free hand, the other was still being held by the man.
“Oh the getup?” The man released Father Francis’ hand to smooth down his coat, and suddenly all the sounds and echoes and smells and… sensations nearly overwhelmed him. The old priest hadn’t realized that he’d not had them when… outside of time, until arriving back into… what? The real world? He could smell the sulfur of the woman striking matches, and everything seemed brighter, more vivid.
Father Francis looked around, the man was gone, and the old priest gave a sigh of relief. He was certainly losing it. Father Francis decided to go back to picking up the pills but noticed that the floor of the confessional was clean. The pills and the bottle were gone. He started to panic, feeling his heart pound in his chest, with the worry of having a heart attack without his pills to save him.
“I picked them up for you,” said the voice behind him, again. Francis whirled, surprised. The man, Death, was holding the pill bottle out to him. Father Francis reluctantly took them with a shaking hand. He had an aversion to touching the flesh of the man again.
“I don’t look like this, I’m only… wearing him,” the man stated.
“You’re possessing someone? Like a demon?” Father Francis caught himself backing away.
“No,” Death began, “He was one of the men I murdered this week.”
Father Francis’ head was spinning, he needed to sit down. This was all too much for him to take in. He found himself sitting in a pew, and Death took a seat in the pew in front of him, bowing like a good Catholic, and crossing himself before sitting down. This man, no something was wrong here. The old priest had to have finally gone looney.
“Why did you do that?” Father Francis asked. He didn’t like the man looking at him directly in the eyes either, he felt… judged, when he did.
“Do what?” He seemed genuinely confused.
“You crossed yourself before you sat down, why would you do that? Don’t you exist outside of religion?” Father Francis suddenly wondered if he could ask… Was there really a God? Would he go to Heaven? These thoughts were odd, Father Francis had faith, he believed in God and he believed he would go to Heaven, but then why would he want proof?
“This body, it is habit, he was a good Catholic. I didn’t choose him because he was a Catholic, but because I chose him, I chose to come here, to seek one near dying, and offer life in exchange.”
“Sanctuary,” The old priest stated.
“Sanctuary,” Death repeated.
“Are you to stop being Death, then? What will happen? People stop dying?” Father Francis asked. The man gave that half smile, a smirk almost.
“I shouldn’t lie to you. I’m not the Death. I’m a Death. A reaper,” the man explained. “Death, Azrael, he’s my boss. Or was.”
“The Angel of Death fired you?”
“I quit actually,” the man stated rather indignantly.
“Reapers can just quit? You have free will?” Father Francis figured if he was truly going insane he would indulge this fantasy while he waited to be carted away in a white coat that buttoned up the back.
“Works the same way with the angels,” the man began, “For us it is a lot less traumatizing and anti-climactic than the fall from Heaven. They actually fall, you know.”
“Who?” The man gave him a look that had, Haven’t you been listening? all over it.
“The angels, they fall. I just turn in my sword… and walk away.” Father Francis watched as the blue green eyes of Death lift from his face and look over the old priest, behind him, before settling back down.
“Why would you quit?” Father Francis asked curiously.
“Because of a woman,” Death replied quietly.
“Hey, Sully! We got a DB-“ The man in the rumpled trench coat that was shouting suddenly looked around himself, realizing he’d just shouted in a church. The choir had stopped and everyone was staring at him.
Death looked up from the old priest then back down at him. “This body, he’s Kyle Sullivan. I plan to live his life. I will return.”
Death or Kyle Sullivan, or Sully to his partner, had never worn a body before. He had to wear the body for to take it off he was invisible and intangible to humans. Actually he was intangible to everything except the ability to sever the life force from a dying human. The interesting part was Death had access to all of Kyle’s memories and knowledge. Death was so good at playing Kyle Sullivan that Kyle’s partner, Jerry Lloyd, had yet to suspect that Kyle was not Kyle and was in fact another entity wearing a Kyle suit. Kyle was a homicide detective and according to Kyle’s memories he’d not even on the weirdest cases put two and two together.
Kyle parked the car, a late model gray Ford Crown Victoria, outside of the police tape stretched across an ally. He reached into his pocket just as Jerry did and removed his badge wallet and ID showing them to the uniformed officer outside the tape. Kyle glanced around, already a group of lookie-loos had cropped up.
“You boys are gonna have a time with this one, I’ve been on the force for eight years,” began the officer who was holding the tape up for them to walk under. She was a middle aged black woman, a little wide around the middle, but was still wider in the bra-line. Kyle couldn’t imagine her running down the street after someone. “I’ve never seen something this… weird.”
Kyle nodded to her and continued on into the alley. He and Jerry stopped at the corpse on the ground. A coroner was crouched next to the body or rather the remains of it.
They fall, you know.
Kyle had said that earlier to Father Francis.
The body was charred partially. Part of the face wasn’t, and some of the chest, but the arms and legs, and the entire back were practically ash. The body was upright, mostly, and had seemed to have crashed into the brick of the building, leaving a small crater in the old asphalt of the alley and the building. Some of the bricks behind the corpse were shattered, others were actually melted. Kyle didn’t know bricks could melt. However melted into the bricks looked like the outline of… wings, well like chicken wings, fully outstretched, just the bones, no flesh, no feathers.
“So, what do you have for us, Jenny?” Jerry asked the coroner, she turned to face Kyle and Jerry, and Kyle immediately registered some memories. Death as Kyle didn’t exactly have the time to pick Kyle’s brain, somethings he just let happen on reflex, like the kneeling and crossing himself at the pew. This was Jenny Craig, and yeah, she got teased about her name and how it wasn’t working. Jenny was a little on the heavy side, dressed in khakis and a green oxford shirt over a white blouse. She wore rubber gloves and a blue jacket with CORONER on the back in large white letters, an ID badge dangled from the lapel of her jacket. Jenny’s hair was blonde, or dyed blonde from the darker roots, and was currently held up in a messy bun held with ink pens. She held a clipboard on her knee. Jenny was Kyle’s ex-wife.
“Well boys, just when I think I’ve seen it all, something like this happens. Female, mid-twenties? Hair color, unknown, eye color unknown, cause of death, burning but from the size of the crater, could’ve died from the fall. Most likely died from the fall. I want to say third degree burns over… 90% of the body. Seems the face and some of the chest are completely untouched, not even a first degree on them. I’ve been somewhat reluctant to touch her because I’m almost afraid she’s gonna turn to ash and blow away. I would suspect that if you cremated someone but stopped just before the process was finished, pretty sure it would look like this.” Jenny explained. Jerry had crouched down next to Jenny but Kyle remained standing.
Well shit. This is gonna be hard to explain. Especially when that angel opens her eyes and takes a breath.
“Well how do you burn someone after they hit the ground but only burn the back of them?” Jerry asked her. She shrugged.
“Hell if I know, an alternative scenario is she was on fire before she hit the ground,” Jenny mused.
“What do you make of these?” Jerry pointed indicating the outlines of the charred wing bones melted into the wall.
“They look like bone, but I seriously don’t have an explanation for you. Maybe if I can get her back to the morgue in one piece I can give you boys something more to go on.”
“What is your take on all this?” Jerry asked his partner who had slowly circled the body, but hadn’t gotten any closer to it.
“Looks like wings.”
Now for the boring part. Kyle and Jerry went door to door on both sides of both blocks. The dead woman being in an alley between them.
“I don’t get it. Nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything,” Jerry complained and Kyle mostly tuned him out. They were back at the mouth of the alley, the dead woman was gone, Jenny having gotten her into a body bag, sans wings, they’d actually crumbled to ash and blew away when touched.
“Look at the area, Jerry,” Kyle indicated with his arms. “These people are afraid to talk to us because of the G’s.” Kyle wasn’t talking about money. The G’s were a street gang, not Kyle and Jerry’s department, except when they killed someone, but they held a grip on a several block radius of the city. It was almost like organized crime, prostitution, gambling, protection rings, drugs, you name, the G’s had their fat little fingers in it. The G’s territory was easily marked by the green $ painted on buildings and sometimes derelict cars.
“Heh, surprised they aren’t driving down the street taking a pot shot at us,” Jerry mused and Kyle gave him a look.
“Oh they’re driving down the street alright, but I doubt they’re that dumb to shoot at us. Too many of us standing here.” Kyle stated.
Death as Kyle… He wasn’t really Death, he was a Reaper as Kyle, he was Farren as Kyle, Farren being his real name. However he’d told the old priest he was Death, because it held a hell of a lot more shock value than, ‘Hi, I’m Farren, I’m the Grim Reaper.’
Anyway, Farren as Kyle had to get the angel out of the morgue before anyone else found her. Normally angels fall in more sparsely populated areas. They didn’t drop into the middle of cities. He pushed open the double doors into the city morgue. It contained an outer office and then the morgue proper. A man sat behind a desk in the outer office eating a sandwich that he immediately put down and wiped his hands on his white scrubs leaving a smear of mayo.
Kyle had a strong stomach but how you could eat in here? It smelled of disinfectant, and he sniffed, not unusual, death. The walls were plain gray cinder block, behind another desk, Jenny’s desk, which was unoccupied but heaped with paperwork, were Jenny’s degrees and other papers of her achievements.
“Detective Sullivan,” greeted the man and Kyle remembered he was Henry Gordon, Jenny’s assistant.
“Henry,” Kyle greeted.
“I’ll get Dr. Craig,” Henry jumped up and practically jogged through the door in the rear of the office. Kyle sighed, what had he been thinking? That he could get through into the morgue as if no one was there? While he waited he casually walked behind Jenny’s desk and was surprised to see a photo on it. Kyle and Jenny had not had children. She had a dog, and Kyle had a cat… Well that would be interesting. Kyle was going to have to remember to feed the cat.
The photo was of Jenny and Kyle together, his arms around her, both were smiling hugely and even though Farren as Kyle really didn’t feel Kyle’s emotions acutely but through him understood that in that photo Kyle and Jenny looked deeply in love, happily in love. Farren rummaged through Kyle’s memories for Jenny, what had broke them apart?
Ah. Kyle had nearly died, and she couldn’t handle the fact that every day Kyle left for work might be his last. So she left him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Snapped Jenny’s voice and the photo clattered from a startled Kyle’s hand.
“Sorry,” Kyle apologized. “I was hoping to see about the dead girl? Did you do an autopsy yet?” Kyle was hoping she hadn’t, cause then she’d have killed the angel.