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The Angle of Death

by Luc Reid

As the ice cream truck slammed to a halt just past my crumpled, flattened body, I was pulled up out of myself by something thin and sharp. I found myself floating just above the ground, looking down at the busted collection of formerly fairly-well-cared-for-organs that was me, and floating next to me were a couple of segments converging into a single being. This being wore a black robe and held a scythe.

"What the hell?" I said.

"I am the Angle of Death," it said. "Please come with me."

"Isn't there supposed to be an angel?"

"Even God makes the occasional typo," the angle said--a little snappishly, if you ask me. "And since 'angle' is a perfectly valid word, the spellchecker missed it completely."

"I'm just surprised, is all."

"Why is it always this conversation?" said the angle. "Why can't it ever be about substantive things? The nature of being, the brevity yet incredible richness of life, the strangeness of a coherent consciousness surviving death when it's entire physical mechanism has ceased to operate ... these would be worthy subjects. Yet instead, everyone chooses to spend the first moments of their own personal postexistential eternity criticizing God's typing!"

"I'm sorry," I said. "So, how does this work?"

"It's very simple," the angle said. "Just follow me." And he began drifting along the ground. I felt tugged after him and surrendered myself to the feeling so that I drifted with him, still trying to get over being greeted in death by a geometrical figure.

The buildings grew blurry and irrelevant, and soon we were crossing a trackless landscape of misty light and shadow. From this rose up a wide open gate. The angle gestured, and I drifted through. Then the angle whipped out a key, slammed the gate shut, and locked me in. A disturbing, sulfury smell began to permeate my nose.

"I bet you thought no one knew about your weapons smuggling, didn't you?" the angle said smugly. "Well, we certainly did! It's Hell for you!" It laughed horribly. My feet began to feel uncomfortably hot. I gripped the bars of the gate, shaking them.

"Curse you, angle of death!" I yelled. And I realized that I had been distracted by the seemingly whimsical error of his nature, probably exactly as intended.

As I was dragged down into flames, I was at least comforted a little that God didn't make mistakes after all.

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