Knocked against the ground, I lay still, the taste of salt slowly filling my mouth as darkness fluttered in my sight, obscuring the cloudy sky. I gulped short breaths of air, praying that the pang of pain in my side would soon fade away and that I'd recover upon my feet… I resented ever doing it. I didn't know what would be waiting on the other side, yet I go ahead and "find relief" and "escape". I weakly clutched my stomach and gazed up at the sky, the misery of the ordeal overcoming as my rasps of air began to slowly fade away like that of the bright blue of the sky which would melt away with the rays of sunlight in one last farewell. The light of the world began to drain away like the soul within the vessel I called my body, and my eyelids grew heavier with each passing second until sheer blackness greeted me.
It seemed as if I remained laying in blackness for only a few moments before my eyelids involuntarily opened to the sight of a blindingly white ceiling. I realized that the ache I had passed out with had disappeared along with the cold that had washed over my face, and I had regained enough energy to be able to lift myself off the ground to view my surroundings. Shifting my balance between my feet, I glanced around the narrow hallway, the same color of the ceiling, with doors appearing to line each side. All I could recall was the blue sky that I left behind before blacking out—I was sure I wasn't here before, and the place looked unfamiliar. With no exit in sight, I apprehensively walked up to the first door on my left, a trance-like state immediately ensuing. I nonchalantly placed my hand upon the handle, though it seemed as if another presence was commanding the movement of my limbs, and began to turn it, growing more curious of what the door held back. With that interest grew unexplainable—but nonetheless familiar—feelings of desolation and misery, such heartache that made the world seem empty and hateful. A muffled screeching began to rise from behind the door, as well as the whimpers of what seemed to be a distressed child. They grew into pleas. "Please… please, help him! Save him! Please, don't leave me here!" My eyes widened. The voice was my own.
Without hesitation, I shoved the door open, revealing a horrific sight. The source of the screeching was proven to be that of ambulances that were tearing down the street, which then halted in front of the scene of a car crash. The memory then flooded back to me as I watched my twelve-year-old self sprawled on the road, crimson blood slowly trickling down my forehead as paramedics hastily emerged from the ambulances and attended to me as if I was a fallen, hurt young bird. I stood in the doorway, watching my father writhe underneath the dashboard of the car, immobilised, his blood seeping out of wounds on his arms, legs, and stomach, his eyelids sliding slowly down over his eyes. My yelps that demanded help be given to my father sounded over the murmurs of the paramedics and the bumping of the stretcher's wheels over the uneven road. I turned my attention back towards the sight of my father and I was compelled to run into the scene so that I may hold his hand and tell him that I loved him; so that I could feel as if I'd been with him when he drew in his last breath, like I never had the chance to do. Tears began dripping down my face when the door suddenly slammed. I walked away, down the hallway which seemed endless, only to feel an urge to open yet another door. I walked up to one, turned the handle, and gently pushed it open. My grandmother lay on a bed, eyes shut. I was on my knees, her hand clasped around mine as I slowly cried into the covers, muttering incoherently. I wanted to forget the day she died of the heart attack. How much harder that desire had become to fulfill. I no longer wished to open any doors. I shut it and proceeded walking down the hallway, passing doors after doors. I was convinced there was no end, until a dark shape came into view, and I realized it was yet another door. Upon arrival, I opened it, and walked into a dimly lit room. A coffee table stood in the middle, a chair on each opposite end, with an ashtray in its middle. Within the ashtray lay a lit cigar. I stood in the room for a few moments before the only other door in the room creaked open, and a being began to emerge from the darkness. I was taken aback by the sight of an entity cloaked in a robe of an ethereal white; it was winged with magnificent, feathered appendages that seemed to emit an eerie but alluring glow.
Its face was partially concealed by the robe's hood, and upon further examination, the shadowed face appeared to be a skull, jaw firmly shut, eyes gaping holes of nothingness. It gripped a scythe, the blade curving inward, swooped over his shoulder. I was entranced by the sight of the being and remained unmoving until it ushered me over to take a seat at the coffee table. It followed along.
It took a seat and placed the lit cigar in his mouth, drew in a breath, and released a puff of smoke into the air, speaking in a commanding yet gentle voice: "Let me clear things up for you. Known as the archangel of death, the one who reaps souls, I am Azrael, here to direct you to either eternal life in heaven, hellfire, or simply to purgatory." I was shocked at what he was saying, so I asked, "What am I doing here, then? I… I don't ever remember dying, or even doing anything fatal before ending up here." He took another puff of his cigar, than replied with "You did, in fact, die, though you may be ashamed to know of your cause of death." I awaited for the answer. "Your attempt at suicide was successful. You decided that if you had to die, it should be immediate so that you'd not have to suffer. This didn't work out in your favor, and you ended up bleeding to death." Images of the occurrence flooded back, and a sense of embarrassment kicked. He rose from his seat, smothered out the light of the cigar against the ashtray, and motioned me towards him. Without hesitation, bearing an ashamed look, I slowly stepped up towards him, staring into his gaping eyes. He lifted his bony hand, palm exposed. I gently cupped my hand into his and, upon touch, flares of light began growing from beneath our feet into a massive glare that enveloped us, and though unaware of what was occurring, I wasn't fearful. It felt as if I was being saved.
A few seconds passed until the light began to diminish, leaving us before golden gates that loomed several feet above my head. I stared up in awe and immediately knew that I had been granted life into heaven. "Eternal life," he spoke, staring down at me without budging from his statue-like position. "I guess my choice was a good one…So much relief from what must've been that painful life." As paradise greeted me from behind the opening gates, I turned to Azrael, overcome with euphoria, and gladly told him, "My grandmother, my father… They're there now, I can be reunited." Just before luminous swirls consumed his body, he muttered in an a low, apologetic tone:
"Those residing in heaven remain in heaven. I'm sorry, but visitation of hell is prohibited."
Concept of Avenging Angel's. Written by HiddenSpirit.