Over the years I have been known by many names and have worn many faces in many cultures: I was Thanatos to the Ancient Greek’s; Mors to the Ancient Roman’s; in Islam I am called Azrael; in Judaism I have been called Michael, Sariel, and Gabriel. You, dear reader, can have the privilege to call me by my real name, Bobby.
Some cultures portray me as a demon; some portray me as cloaked skeletal figure; others portray me as a ravenous blood-soaked beast wearing necklaces of human skulls. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, I am very friendly and about the size of a cherub – think Cupid without the bow and arrows (starts singing to self, “Cupid, draw back your bow, and let your arrow flow . . . .”).
I am the Angel of Death. Some people call me Death, which is slightly inaccurate; kind of like calling an ocean “water”. Death is what happens to you mortals by the command of The Supreme Being. You mortals have called her God, Allah, Jehovah, Osiris, Odin, Zeus and countless other names over the millennia. I’ve known her for nearly five billion years and in all that time she’s never told me her name; what makes you humans think you know her name? You all still think she is a he.
As I said, I am the Angel of Death. My job is to see that your soul makes it to the Gate’s of Heaven safely for The Judging; and for those who are lucky enough to enter Heaven, I will be your guide and help your soul with the transition from what you were, to what you have become. I have no power to cause nor prevent death; a big misconception you humans have of me. Also I am not evil, even though I have been portrayed that way by humanity – I wonder if I can sue someone for defamation of character? Death comes to everyone at some point whether you are a good person, bad person, a priest, a murderer, rich person, poor person, royalty or the absolute scum of the universe. A great man from a place you humans call America said, “The only guarantee in life is death and taxes”. Boy was he ever right.
Death also exists. Her real name is Sally; she’s a bit of a bitch at times, but she’s my sister and I love her, and in spite of her job she’s not evil either. She’s not an angel (you can’t have two Angels of Death you know), she just simply exists – I suppose the closest you humans can come to understand what Sally is, is that she is shadow; but she can take on physical form when needed. The Supreme Being tells her who is to die today, and Sally goes off and sets things in motion. Although the Supreme Being is the only person with power over life and death, once the list has been given to Sally she gets to decide how that person will die. Sometimes, particularly when she’s on her rag, she goes slightly OTT; there was a big earthquake in 1906 in a place called San Francisco (PMS big time); you humans had a space shuttle called Challenger that exploded (those deaths happened that way because I’d put a big sign outside our house saying, “Beware the Sally; she’s on her rag”). When Sally’s happy though, she can be very loving and tender. When your loved one passes away peacefully that’s Sally in a caring mood.
We have both been around since the beginning of time, and we will both be around until The Supreme Being gets fed up, crushes this universe in her hand like an empty beer can, and tosses it in the nearest black hole. I’d say you lot have another five perhaps six billion years left before that happens; from experience, the average lifespan of a universe is about eleven billion years. Some last longer than that, some last for less time. But in the end, there’s only ever Sally, The Supreme Being and myself left to watch the destruction.
Hello, what’s happening? Sally’s just been given a list. The Supreme Being told us we were going to have today off and she’s never lied to us before. You humans have a saying that goes something like “Death never takes a holiday”; well actually Sally and I get one day every twenty-five years off and death literally stops. It’s not like we go on holiday or something, just The Supreme Being likes your planet and thinks you humans deserve a break once in a while. Sally and I use the free-time to play canasta and sometimes a few games of pinochle.
“Sally, what’s up? Why do you have a list? The Supreme Being told us there would be no death today.”
Sally was ashen – I had never seen her so shocked. Although she is not evil in the fullest sense of the word, she does shall we say, enjoy her job a little too much at times. I had never seen any kind of reaction to the list before. It’s not us meaning any offense, but in the grand scheme you humans are as far below Sally and I as a bacteria is below you. You have no qualms taking medicines to kill a bacterial infection; it’s kind of like that for us when it comes to your turn to die. “Bobby, this is big. Look at these names.”
My eyes bulged as Sally handed me the list. There were the names of thirty-five world leaders and numerous other high profile figures; presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, chancellors and MPs, religious leaders and military leaders. Looks like it’s going to be a bad day on the little blue planet.
Perhaps I was wrong; maybe you humans don’t have another five billion years. Looks like those Mayans might have been right after all.
We have the embodiments of ideas around us. We see Death as The Grim Reaper, Justice as a blind woman, the world of dreams is watched over by the Sandman. Take one of these or create one of your own and write a short story from their point of view.