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by on October 2, 2018

If you wanted to set your life on fire, there wasn’t a better combination. You’ve been assigned to Search and Rescue ever since you became an angel, and you’ve been pretty darn good at it. Just last month you saved three puppies and a lizard from a burning building. Your tally of successful saves ranks in the triple digits. Michael himself gave you a terse “Good job” after the puppy rescue, and he never does that. You figured you would be with Search and Rescue forever.

But everything changes. Some scientist lets loose a cloud of radioactive vapor, a mysterious amulet grants a kid magical powers, some guy falls into a vat of toxic waste. Next thing you know, there’s capes running around everywhere. When you have people who can move dump trucks with their mind, Search and Rescue suddenly isn’t so relevant.

That leaves the other assignment. The one you’re on now. The one you specifically requested not to receive when you first won your wings. But there’s a need for it, and so you’ve been assigned. Even in a world with superheroes, people still die. They may die in unique and interesting ways now (you’ll never forget that poor man overwhelmed by the horde of genetically engineered ferrets with laser eyes), but they still die, all the same. When they do, someone’s got to take them on to the afterlife. That’s you.

So, tonight, you have the duty. Your halo blinks, informing you that you have an assignment. You show up on scene, prepared to give the usual “Sorry you’re dead now” speech. This varies only slightly in content, depending on whether your subject is going up or down. Tonight, though, is different. Tonight, to your shock, it’s not one of the civilians that you’re called upon to escort. It’s a cape.

You’re a little surprised, actually. You’d heard that Captain Midnight was nigh-invulnerable. Apparently his invulnerability didn’t extend to the Kaboominator. As you glide down to the expiring Captain’s side, you note that this isn’t the first Kaboominator-related death in the city lately, and wonder if you should ask Michael about it. Maybe you could give a little nudge to the good guys to stop it?

As you approach, Captain Midnight’s soul detaches itself from his body, seamlessly as a square of toilet paper coming off a roll. It looks unusual to you. Usually souls are glowy-bright or inky-black, but this one looks muddled and grey. You sigh, realizing that the Captain’s eternal destination might take a minute to sort out.

“Hi there,” you begin. “I’m Tabitha. I’ll be your angel of death this evening-”

“Hang on,” the Captain’s soul says. “I’m dead?”

“Yes, sir,” you say. This isn’t the first time you’ve had to explain this. People who’ve just died tend to have a little trouble adjusting. “I realize this may be new for you, and I’m happy to provide any assistance necessary-”

“Yeah, no thanks. I’ve been here before,” the soul growls.

“I’m sorry?”

The soul says something you can’t quite make out then; you think maybe it’s Latin. To your astonishment, the soul disappears. Next thing you know, the body on the ground is sitting up, blinking, and wiping the ash off its shoulder. “Right,” Captain Midnight says. “What’d I miss?”

“You’re alive!” you exclaim, rather obviously.

“Yeah,” Captain Midnight says. “It’s kinda my thing. I’ve resurrected, oh, seventeen times now. Kaboominator this time, was it? I’ll have to do something about that.”

“But…but….” you stammer. “You died!”

“Yeah,” says the Captain. “Nice to meet you. Don’t think I’ve met you before. The last death angel I met was a guy. Scott, I think he said his name was.”

“You….you can’t come back once you’ve died!” you manage, still at a loss.

Captain Midnight gives his cape a dramatic flourish. “Can.”

He soars away into the night, leaving you bewildered. You do make a note that you need to have serious words with Scott. If people can resurrect themselves now, a heads-up would’ve been nice.

  1. What a fun story. I loved the imagery (the square of toilet paper, the ash on the shoulder). Nicely done!

  2. Congrats on making your writing goal this week! I enjoyed this. You structured it well around your serial plot, the dialogue is interesting and natural-sounding, and you made me LOL a few times.

  3. Michael! You made it onto the grid! You did such a nice job of incorporating both prompts and injecting your wry sense of humour in naturally.

  4. Such a fun world you’ve created! You handled the world-building well, made your angel of death believable, and I love the surprise at the end.

    • Thanks! I admit, some of my world-building was inspired by Touched by an Angel. It’s a classic show. 🙂

  5. anusrini20 permalink

    As always, your characters and their lines really sparkle!

  6. I really enjoyed this. The idea of a blinking halo for your notifications made me laugh.

  7. Yay! I’m so glad to see another serial back with these prompts. I loved the dialogue, as always, and poor Tabitha’s response to Captain Midnight coming back. I also love that Captain Midnight looks to be doing exactly what she was going to suggest about the Kaboominator. thanks for a good laugh, MIchael. 🙂

  8. The cape flourish and the “Can,” made me laugh out loud — great lead-up, and oh, what a satisfying way to end it!

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