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Never Leave Your Halo

by on February 13, 2019

It was the five-hundredth day since the apocalypse, and Constance had resolved upon a way to celebrate. “I’m going to get my hair done!” she announced to her friend the rock. She had christened the rock Maria a week before, but had not yet decided to imbue it with life. Accordingly, Maria said nothing, as usual.

Constance’s new resolution brought with it certain questions. The first was who on Earth she could see for a makeover, since there was no one left on Earth anymore besides herself. Passing over that, the second question was what she should do with her halo. Constance decided to tackle that question first. She removed the halo and looked around. She had wandered away from the green meadow she had been hanging out in, and now found herself in much sparser territory, brown and dry, dotted only with the occasional forlorn cactus plant. Constance picked the nearest one and hung her halo neatly upon it. “Not the hat rack I would’ve picked,” she remarked to Maria, “But needs must.”

Maria said nothing. Constance ignored the rock and decided that, on reflection, she could probably arrange her hair on her own; she only needed a decent mirror and a hairbrush. Fortunately, she had flown past the ruins of a city a few days ago, and she was certain she could scavenge something from the rubble. She flew away from the deserted flatland, forgetting one of the very important rules of an angel: never leave your halo unattended.

A few moments later, a shadow fell across the cactus. The air temperature dropped perceptibly. A new figure approached the cactus, then scowled. He didn’t really see the point of all the theatrics anymore. With no humans around, who was there to terrify? The cactus didn’t seem exactly overawed. It just stood there, quietly, with a golden halo dangling from one arm.

The figure noticed the halo. For the first time in a long, long while, Ben, formerly the Antichrist, smiled. “Looks like my ex-girlfriend left a souvenir. How thoughtful.”  Then the smile faded. He remembered when Constance had earned that halo. It had been shortly after he had joined the other side. He had been attempting to convince his target to swipe a Snickers candy bar from a gas station. It was a very minor thing, he knew, not one of the great crimes of history, but it was a start. First a Snickers, next grand larceny, then who knew? Arson? War, maybe. The possibilities could have been endless.

Could have been, because Constance had intervened. She had made some very convincing arguments to the target, one of which had been that the guy had a girlfriend who would be very disappointed, not to mention embarrassed, if he were arrested for something as low-level as a Snickers bar. Practical, if not exactly appealing to the heights of morality, but it did the trick. She earned her halo. The target decided to go home and rethink his life, eventually joined a seminary, and wrote a popular devotional that hit the bestseller lists of all the papers.

As for the would-be tempter, well, here he was now, reminiscing next to a cactus bearing his ex-girlfriend’s halo. “At least I destroyed the world,” he remarked to the cactus. “Her guy got blown up in the first missile salvo. Guess there’s a devotional that won’t have a sequel.”

It was small comfort, he knew, but at least it was something. And now he had her halo, too. With that, he could get past the Pearly Gates, maybe crash the Angel Choir. There were rumors they needed a countertenor. Ben smiled again. All of a sudden, he wasn’t bored anymore.

10 Comments
  1. The title of this story is excellent advice. And I would think it would have been featured prominently in the Angel Handbook, possibly with an italicized addendum, “Especially when the antichrist is lurking nearby!” But then, Constance never got past the first page of the handbook, did she? Ah right, of course not. 😉

  2. I’m never going to leaven my halo unattended. Not even to get my hair done. 🙂

  3. “But needs must” — I love little dialogue touches like this. The omniscient narration took me snack for a moment, but didn’t take away from the enjoyment if the absurdity. The low level, dizzy angel and the d list fallen angel looking to make it big. Guess that halo is scratched and tarnished.

    • I do tend to rely on omniscient narration a lot; I may try and experiment with other forms of narration instead, just so’s I don’t fall into a rut with that. 🙂

  4. MM Schreier permalink

    I sort of like how you stood us on our heads in the first 2 paragraphs. I was all set to consider C an unreliable narrator, only to find our she was otherworldly!

    There’s also something truly horrifying about innocuously naming the Antichrist “Ben.”

    Very creative. Makes me curious about what’s going to transpire when Ben gets up to haven!

  5. I started smiling when you introduced Maria and didn’t stop. This was really fun and, yeah, basically what everyone else has said so far. 🙂

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