Collab between myself and Nerathul
The last thing I remember was the sound of the lorry's horn, loud and ear-deafeningly so close. Then pain, bone crushing; organ failing; skin splitting pain. Then it all ebbed away and I knew I'd succeeded. I didn't awake to the sound of bleeping hospital machines. There was no doctor or nurse, no bed or gown. Just darkness. It was a little unnerving to be honest.
“Hello?” I called, the sound echoing back to me for multiply seconds. I glanced at my feet, for some reason I still had my trainers and the clothes I'd worn. A pair of scruffy jeans, a plain t-shirt and hoodie. I hadn't exactly dressed up for my death. I knew when I approached the motorway there was no way of avoiding it. No parents walking in on me, no tablets failing to kill all but my liver.
I took a careful step forward and shut my eyes, expecting something to happen, because dying surely wasn't just this? A black expanse of emptiness seemed like a big let down to me. I would've preferred the scientists way of things, that our brains just stop and we think no more.
“Okay let's see.” I spun at the sound of the voice and saw a guy glancing through a book, the thing looked pretty ancient, curling at the edges. He had dark hair that framed his angular face and eyes that were an intense shade of green.
“Hi,” I said when he kept looking at his book. He glanced up, piercing me with a stare before looking down again. I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow, he was ignoring me?
“Where am I?” I asked. He snapped the book shut and looked at me like I was an idiot.
“Well, seeing you committed suicide, I'd like to think you would know,” he replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Clearly he needed a day off with that grump.
“Well, I don't. Funnily enough, I'm atheist,” I replied, matching his tone and throwing my arms in the air either side of me.
“It says that too,” he replied, his voice clipped. When it was clear he wouldn't say anything else I re-crossed my arms again.
“So where am I? Hell or something? You can't tell me god is real,” I said with a laugh. It became harder to make it genuine as he continued to study me in that calculated way.
“There isn't a “God”. But there is a higher power to govern things. And “Hell” is a lot worse than this place. You're in what humans commonly call “purgatory”,” he explained. I blinked multiple times as he spoke, trying to take it all in.
“This is crazy,” I muttered, glancing down at my curled fists in frustration.
“I died so I could stop living. But I'm still thinking and now I'm stuck in Purgatory? What kind of crap is this?” I yelled, aware my eyes were watering. He raised an eyebrow at me. God forbid – mind the pun – I think there was actual curiosity in them. Whether that equated for compassion with this guy I didn't know.
“You're at the edges of the realm. If you keep moving forward you'll reach the core. Where a mirror of the human world exists. There you can watch those you knew who still live, but have no doubts. They cannot see you,” He said. I darkened my glare at him.
“That's it? I committed suicide, so now I have to watch my family forever?” I asked, my anger clear in the tightness. His lip quirked up in a smile, though he was far too cold for it to hold any semblance of humour.
“Not forever, just until the forces determine you're time has been paid. Your sentence depends on the life you led. This is the only option where you get to rest in peace, eventually,” he added the last part with a cold grin.
“I'm glad you're enjoying this dick,” I muttered. He laughed again, the sound throatier.
“What the hell are you then? The fucking grim reaper?” I asked, the laugh went, replaced by that looking-down-his-nose smile. I'd only known the guy for a few minutes and I knew the few looks he had, it was rather disturbing actually.
“We prefer the term dark angel. That would be your other option. To choose to live forever and work for a higher power,” he said. I laughed, it started off a normal thing but erupted into something estranged, bordering on insanity in it's strength. I wiped at the tear that had escaped my eyes and stood up from where I'd curled against my knees.
“So, there's no god, but there are angels? That's a bit dumb,” I said as my breathing returned to normal, strange I had breathing here.
“It's easier to use terms humans know,” he said with a shrug. I frowned, a dark angel? Someone who carted souls to hell or heaven? Or whatever it is they're actually called.
“Just to clarify, you wouldn't start as a dark angel. You'd start at the bottom of the ranks,” He said, seeing my contemplative look. I frowned, so I'd spend a year cleaning toilets? Doing something sounded a lot better than nothing, even if nothing did end.
Then again I wanted it to end, this other options. Becoming an angel, I'd have no escape. Least not one I doubt ends pleasantly for me.
“So what would I have to do?” I asked calmly. I wanted to know what I was potentially letting myself in for. He studied me and glanced at the book again.
“With your age of death, I think I have the perfect job for you. But unlike most roles where you hide. You will unfortunately have to join the living world,” he said. I groaned and buried my face in my hands. He had to kidding with me, there was no way I wanted anything more to do with that hellhole.
“Choose. It's this empty place for an uncertain length of centuries, or back to the living with a mission, a purpose to the living. There's a girl in need of protection out there.” I got the feeling the last sentence was an accident. I chewed on my lower lip and walked in circles a few times. I could hear him impatiently tapping a foot behind me.
“Fine!” I decided, throwing my arms up in the air uselessly.
“I'll live again,” I said. The guy seemed very pleased by the choice.
“Good. My name is Darius, I shall ensure you meet the target and send instructions. Do not mess this up. I will also arrange combat training in person. That will take some time though. It's harder for a fully-fledged angel to cross over,” he said.
“So I won't be fully-fledged?” I asked, confused, just how was this returning to the living thing going to work?
“No, you will gain abilities over time. It's the only way to ensure you're physical body will cope,” he explained. He opened the book, the ground started to glow and pulse at his feet, ebbing until the floor under me was casting light as well.
“Just, what are you going to do?” I asked. I didn't hear a response.