The ‘Friend of a Friend’
[A roleplay with me and Steely ]
Five steps. A woman with brimstone eyes had once told him. Five steps is all it takes. She had given a curled smirk while holding up a hand with ragged nails just as twisted as her horns.
He watches closely, eyes fixed on the bulky metal door. His hands are folded neatly behind his back, head crooked to the side just faintly as he waits. That is step one, after all. Patience. Everyone that lives must inevitably die. Therefore, he has all the time in the world. He has strode beside dying men on the battlefield, waiting for their reapers to finish the other souls. He has enjoyed cigars at funeral ceremonies as he watched a disheartened wife prepare to fire on the crowd, angels and demons alike waiting silently for their claims. He has grazed through the mist of calamities and bombs, watching the stuffed animals of children burn on the pavement. Hastiness was never a definition of his job requirement. As long as he was present, and a reaper was to arrive shortly after, then a human could take all the time in the world.
He watched the metal door slowly swing open, a young school girl running from it, wrists swiping over her eyes as she let out a strangled cry. As he began to prepare to step in closer, the heel of his shoe giving a soft click in the single step, he noticed a single wavering figure nearby.
Out from behind the heavy metal door, a small pure white creature poked its head out, a blinding and bright circle of white crossing just above it's head and faintly dipping into it's pale pink eyes.
A human could take all the time in the world, that is, unless an angel were to make an appearance.
Step two; a clean but passively aggressive step, always make your appearance felt. Not to the human, you may scare the timid creature. He cast a brief glance to the girl before shaking his head softly to himself. Most humans took seeing demons and angels unwell. For such a pathetic thing like her, perhaps revealing himself would make her fling herself off the roof all the more quickly? No, step one. Patience.
The heels of his shoes clicked softly as he took a step, then two steps forwards, finding himself appearing a couple of paces before the angelic creature. He could feel its bright blinded eyes staring directly into his back and, for a moment, he felt a sting of pride and pain from the creature before hearing the metal door click softly shut behind him, the creature striding forwards till they were level. The angel was at least a few heads smaller than him, its wings briefly wavering as if they were made of nothing more than fabric before they folded neatly behind itself, smoothing into its pure white suit.
"Ah, thought I was getting here early, was tempted to try and flag you down while looking for the damned place," The angel said with a grin, briefly turning its head as it gave a bright smile up to the demon. "Decided against it though. Figured that if you didn't find it, then it'd be your loss. How's Lucy?"
He remained silent, finding himself narrowing his eyes slightly as he watched the girl, the angel's blinding eyes directly on him. As the minutes passed, the angel eventually gave a small sigh before directing its attention back to the girl. Together, they watched it closely.
She gave a choked sob, wiping her nose on the sleeve of her olive green jacket. Naberius couldn't help but find himself glancing back to the door, briefly letting his mind wander to whether or not some human would hear the strangled cries. It's such a human trait. No sympathy until the point where it is no longer enough to work. They tease, push, and act so cruelly upon each other -- right up until the moment they know that human's soul will weigh on their conscious for the rest of their lives.
Hearing a gentle flutter, like a butterfly's wings, he cast his glance back forwards, the angel having strode a few paces forwards.
Step three. "You know how they will die, please step away from our property," Naberius bit out sharply, an eyebrow raising to the angelic creature as it stopped quickly in its tracks, about halfway between the girl at the edge of the roof and the demon at the exit.
The angel turned back around, offering another bright smile. "We normally get children, why change tradition now?"
"That's not how it works and you know it."
The angel gave a soft tsk, spinning around on its heels and continuing to smile brightly at the demon. It folded it's hands behind it's back and merely waited, staring at the demon as its wings ticked up faintly like a snake trying to scare off a predator. The angel even let its smile creep up wider as it tilted its head and closed its eyes with the wide grin like a remorseless child told that it couldn't have a cookie.
"How terrifying," Naberius stated with a roll of his eyes, keeping his own palms gently folded behind himself as he passed the angel, striding forwards to the side of the human, looking down the ledge. Step three, always watch your charge.
Step four is a slightly more pleasant one. He remembered the woman all those years ago being faintly excited as she had said it, trying to emphasis the enjoyment that most demons and angels alike derived from recognizing each other from a distance away. Try to recognize some faces.
A purposely vague part, seemingly as useful as the generic rule of 'Have fun!' written on children's birthday invites. But, as the years had passed, he had come to appreciate that rule. Sometimes there were other demons around. Familiar faces from centuries passed. He remembered showing up for a heart attack victim one day and noticing how the grandfather of the victim seemed oddly familiar. With a little investigation, he had the pleasant surprise of recognizing him as the serial murderer from a couple of decades ago that killed about eleven women after losing his wife. He had requested to take the soul of that man directly, just so he could see the look on his face when he was told he would meet the same fate as those girls. Who said he couldn't derive at least a little enjoyment?
Sadly, it did not seem that today would be one of those interesting coincidences. Instead, as he looked out, he only saw a small crowd of humans beginning to gather on the street. Looking closer, however, he did notice one particularly interesting detail. Another of those odd pale creatures, lingering within the crowd, a dainty triangular halo around their head. How peculiar? Perhaps someone in the crowd would die of shock? Or maybe the girl would fall on one of them. That would be amusing. Dying trying to help was not an uncommon passing for humans.
A small strangled final cry from the girl was just enough to bring his sight away from the curiously confused angel below and to the sight beside him as he watched the girl begin to tumble off the roof, body twisting uncomfortably as she tried to grab something last second, her eyes landing directly on him for just a split second as she let out a shriek of horror and began her descent. She hit the ground with a horrible thud that even he could hear from his place at the roof. The wind whistled as it passed through.
His eyes turned sharply to the angel beside him, flickering first to its outstretched hand just where she had been, and then its bright innocent smile. "What can you say," It chimed, tucking its hand behind its back before spreading its wings. "Just lending her a helping hand."
It was gone within a moment.
Naberius gave a faint snarl at the angel's tactics before taking a step off the roof, finding himself standing in front of the scene below, the angel already rambling on about something. He glanced around briefly, noticing how the humans had quickly backed away, some shouting or crying or even both. However, one peculiar fact was how the other angel had seeming vanished. He could not see them anywhere. Perhaps they were just being as nosy as ever?
Looking back down to the sight, he saw two outlines of the girl. The first, laying in a bloodied mass on the ground with wide eyes and an agape mouth. He paid little regard to the mortal form and instead flickered his gaze to the faintly transparent, wide-eyed, and dazed form on the ground, staring up to the crouching form of the angel in front of her as it clicked open its briefcase, showing a variety of different halos within.
"-Here we have the social paradise, you will be able to meet back up with your grandmother -- lovely woman I must say -- as well as Rickie. You do miss dear Rickie, right?" The angel rambled on, words fast and excited.
"I-" The girl choked out, still in shock. "I thought daddy said Rickie went to a farm to herd sheep?"
Naberius winced, the angel's eyes widening briefly but still maintaining its sharp and unnatural smile. Suddenly, it gave a quick laugh before moving on. "This one will take you to exactly right here! But nicer, you won't need to deal with any of these horrible people ever again! The pain is only temporary and before you know it, you won't even remember what happened! You'll have the perfect life! Forever!"
"He's lying," Naberius snapped, folding his arms in front of himself as he began to look around for their designated reaper. Of course it would be late. She was clearly brain dead, that was the only reason the damned angel was able to talk with her currently, so there would be no recovery. Maybe the reaper had forgotten? Its not like that would be a first, it would just be messy. Forcing the girl to spend the rest of her days in limbo until her family had to pull the plug. He gave a soft sigh, almost pitying the poor girl. "He can't promise you anything because you do not have a choice in the matter."
The angel glanced back, still smiling.
"What do you mean?" The girl asked.
"You're dead. By suicide, nonetheless. I would say that the most choice you have in the matter is whether or not you want to eventually let go or not." He mentioned, slowly striding forwards until he was right in front of her, then crouching down but still having to crane his head down to look her in the eyes. A shadow reflected across her body from where he leaned. "All for some boy that you wouldn't even remember in a year, really? Something so permanent for something so temporary?" He asked. There's no need to prolong the explanation of her torture. She was going to be reaped soon. It was suicide. She would go to him. The angel had no chance.
"But-" The girl sputtered, new tears forming. "I didn't kill myself.. I was upset.. But I didn't... I didn't want to.."
He furrowed his brow as he looked down at the girl, then glancing to the angel. The angel's grin had widened, nearly splitting its face, thumb running over the smooth leather of the briefcase repeatedly. "No," Naberius hummed, furrowing his brow as the side of his mouth twitched down in distaste.
He stood up sharply, the angel abandoning its briefcase as its wings fluttered and it appeared behind him, trying to catch a glimpse of the papers. "Oh my, oh my," The angel chirped excitedly, shifting again to try and get a look as the demon spun around to hide the papers and continued unfolding them. With hurried hands, part of it tore slightly as he worked at it, snarling briefly at the angel as it flew up lightly to peer over his shoulder, blowing a gust of wind into the faces of the humans nearby who were all the more oblivious.
He finally caught the paper at the edges and tugged it open, skimming over it quickly. The angel shifted again, looking for just a moment before giving a soft snicker of laughter and appearing by the girl again, still standing though, wings completely unfolded. What a burning gaze to add insult to injury.
"There are two addresses here," The demon finally bit out, dumbfounded that someone had made such a simplistic error. "Where the hell is mine then?"
"Ah," The angel began, clearly ecstatic that there had been a mistake. "Well I am pretty sure Lucy had mentioned something about how she had a distracted driver case nearby. Some guy that knocked up a bunch of women and always abandoned them. She was pretty sure that she'd lose that case, but it seems like she's got a better case now that there's nobody there to play devil's advocate?" The angel chirped, stroking its chin briefly before flashing its eyes back down to the dazed girl on the ground. "Ah, but that's not your problem, sweety. He's right though, you shouldn't play by rooftops!" He said, wagging his finger at her before giggling and crouching down, ruffling the hair of the terrified girl. "Not that it matters now. Clouds are so soft, I promise, maybe I'll show you when we get up there! How does that sounds?"
"Bastard," Naberius grit out before taking another step, appearing at the roof once more and abandoning the two below. Looking down, he briefly noticed the angel shake its head with a grin and turn back to the little girl, resuming its sales pitch. With another tsk, he turned his sights around the area and noticed a familiar setting. A truck smashed into a tree, absolutely totaled and crumpled in on itself. He could hardly tell if there was an angel or reaper present yet. Regardless, he needed to find out. He couldn't believe that he had been given the wrong paperwork. During this time, nonetheless! So many recent souls, such a surge in deaths, constant work and he was given the wrong address?
He would be having a strong word with whoever had designated him with two addresses. Two names were easy. He had two hands, after all. Two times were also child's play. Physically, however, he could not be in two places at once.
Step five. Always correct any mistakes.
He appeared at the sight of the car crash and looked around, attempting to spot any sign of the angel and potentially the reaper.