“Pleasure to meet you,” he said casually, as if they were normal people meeting for the first time on the street.
Rayne was too shocked to reply. He raised his eyebrow at her as if he expected her to just say Hi, how are you? I’m dead and you’re an angel, that’s not weird at all.
The wings on his back were black – each feather a different shade – they shimmered with a purplish hue. They were mesmerising.
“What are you?” she blurted.
He smirked. “Oh, of course. It’s always the same: what are you? Who are you? What do you want from me? Don’t you humans have anything better to say?”
Rayne was speechless.
“No? okay. To answer your question – well, I am an Angel of Death.”
She burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it; the situation was just so absurd. An Angel of Death? Since when did they exist outside of books and movies? First, her best friend died, then she turned into a ghost, and now an Angel of Death was standing before her. Now she knew she was dreaming.
He frowned at her, looking a bit startled. He obviously wasn’t expecting that to happen. “What is so amusing, mortal?”
His strange language, as if he were from the olden days, made her laugh harder.
“Stop it. Stop laughing. Right now. I command you to stop laughing!” Her outburst had clearly unnerved him. Perhaps he thought that I should be on my ghostly knees, begging for mercy, or something? she thought.
Her laughter slowly died down. “I’m sorry, what…are you again?” she tried to not laugh.
He looked as if he had eaten something sour. He did not like her laughing at him, or the fact that it took her all she had not to start laughing again.
“This is about your friend, Lily Collins.”
Rayne immediately stopped laughing. Pain ripped through her chest, but she tried to keep her cool. “What about her?”
“Last night at 1:43 in the morning, her house was broken into. Three men, their names Dylan Maclean, Gregory Burke and Andrew Murphy, attacked her family after they were caught by Phillip Collins who had woken up to get a drink of water. A struggle ensued, and Phillip was shot by a revolver by Andrew. The resulting bang was stifled due to it being held against his chest.
“There was a muffled sound, however, and this woke up Clementine, Daisy and Lily Collins. Clementine was the first to rush out to help her husband, but was defeated rather easily and raped by Dylan. Daisy and Lily crept out next and Daisy told Lily to stay where she was and was caught and raped by Gregory.
“Lily crept silently into the kitchen where she picked up a rather large knife. Andrew happened to walk into the kitchen at that moment and caught Lily. He shot her in the chest and she stabbed him in the neck. They both bled out in minutes. Dylan and Gregory escaped and left their friend there bleeding out on the floor.”
Rayne stared at him, her mouth open. “I’m sorry. What? How do you know all that?”
“I am the Angel of Death that was assigned to your friend’s case.” Case, he said it like it was some kind of job. That infuriated Rayne.
“If you know all that, then why don’t you go to police or something?”
“It’s none of my business, I just handle the death.”
“Don’t you even care?” The look on his face told her no. Rayne felt herself about to cry – if she could. “If you don’t care then why are here? Am I about to die?”
He stepped closer to her. The shadows around him seemed to waver and move. “Not right now, no. You see, there is no one Angel of Death, I am one of the thousands of angels.”
“Okay?” She had no idea was he was telling her this.
“We all serve one of the Nine Judges. The judges decide who goes where. I serve the Seventh Judge, and of all the Judges, he is the cruellest. He enjoys toying with human lives, and so, every once in while he will choose a human and give them a choice.”
“What kind of choice?” Rayne’s heart was beating nervously in her chest; she did not like what he was saying.
He smiled devilishly. “Rayne Adams, you have been given a choice. You are destined to die. In one weeks’ time, there will be a fire in this wing of the hospital due to an unfortunate water spillage and some faulty electrical equipment. The wing will be evacuated but there will be a dozen patients who cannot be saved, you will be none of them. That will happen if you refuse my offer.
“Or you could journey to the depths of Hell where your friend is being kept, find her and bring her back. If you succeed, you wake from your coma and avoid the fire, and the two of you will live happy lives together. However, if you were to fail, then Lily will burn for eternity, and instead of going into the afterlife you will remain the way you are forever.
“So, what will it be? You have until the sun goes down to make your choice.” And with that, he vanished back into the shadows.