Silence shrouded the town square like a thick, invisible fog; tangible, but unseen. Night hovered above, stalking the mute quietness of the tranquil village. The quiescence of the city was unnerving—chaotic in fact. The numbing hush of the world brought a continuous boredom and aggravating torture to a lone man strolling quickly through the damp and cold street, if you could even call him a man.
The figure’s face hung low as he strolled. A silent watery wind wisped through his clothes, a chilling sensation usually, but this notable felt nothing. The clacking of his bony feet picked up a steady tempo as he walked, breaking the ritual deafness that encompassed the town. The soft tingle of bells rang with each step; however, their peaceful tune seemed to sound from a distance as if they were trying to escape this boring city. The happy and joyous chiming of the tiny jingle bells was a far off noise, underlining the fact there was no joy in this particular vicinity; the happiness was far off and unreachable. Entertainment was the closest to happiness this settlement would see tonight, but it would be at their expense.
Footsteps and bells weren’t nearly enough noise to satisfy the undead, much less the unliving. The undead were the dead who ceased to die, while the unliving were the living who ceased to live. Unliving was never a true term, but it was the proper description for such a man as this. Made of bones and sorrow, this man was the only unliving. Life snatched away while dead, and death stolen while still alive. He was cursed; forced to live out his life in his never-ending greed and lust for amusement and pleasure. Despite the fool’s efforts, Toofy would never be satisfied in this paradox. A sick and twisted soul he was, lost and desperate for something, anything, whatever he could find that would make his existence worthwhile. Until the world ended, he’d have to find ways to make time fly. He did have one alternative, but that goal was nigh impossible to achieve.
His mission this night was the same as any: Find something that would provide any sort of amusement. When the sun rested, thugs and thieves would awake. Usually even law enforcement was scarce, in this particular city anyway, and as such it was the best time to do anything unlawful. Perhaps by slight chance there would reside someone nearby with the wits to provide a worthy challenge. Lately he’d been having some difficulty locating anyone who was worth battling, but tonight he knew he’d find someone to play with. This night had been the most uneventful one of the year. That was a good thing. Excitement usually struck when things dragged to a halt, when all the amusement was sleeping with the village.
There were three ways to start an adventure: The first was to find it, the second was to wait for it, and the third was to make it. The third choice was the quickest and easiest, but not usually the most entertaining. However, tonight he might have to result to that third choice, and tonight he’d try to make it entertaining.
Would there be blood? Yes. Would there be women? Maybe. Would he be satisfied? No, but he would settle for what he got. Damned to live, he lived for his job. If he were blessed to die, he’d die for his job.
His job was simple, his job was complex; his job was a jester: To amuse and to vex.
Wind coursed through his clothing, rippling the folds of his tunic. Panicked, his fearful dark blue orbs glanced behind him, flitting about, searching for anything that seemed to move. This proved to be a tiresome task as the breeze stirred even the smallest blades of grass, attracting the angel’s attention without measure. His breath came in short spurts, in fact, he may have been easily mistaken for a woman in labor had he been female. Worn from using his wings too much already, the angel could only afford to listlessly flap them every few leaps his feet took. This allowed for a slight burst of height, making him airborne for about five seconds.
His sandals came thudding down upon the ground, stumbling every few moments, but not making him fall. Will couldn’t allow himself to trip up, not now. The wings, though battered and bruised from their previous battle, were able to be used, beneficial, even. A thudding against his back reminded the angel of his previous battle, as if the Rose of Sharon, his weapon, spoke to him. The dry blood of his opponent remained on the sword, no matter how hard Will seemed to scrub. This happened before, and Will found it to be slightly frustrating, as the glossy silvery sheen of his sword slowly shifted to a dark red color, almost burgundy. This, although hidden to the angel’s knowledge, was perfectly normal for a warrior of heaven. It measured the truth, showing the owner how many lives had been taken.
Of course, Will did not kill the crimson warrior he fought not too long ago. He got close, yes, but it seemed the other personality of the opposition returned in the nick of time. Although Will was well-versed in the procedures and rules of war, the angel never discovered a passion for fighting without himself, like many of the others in the heavenly army did. He loved peace, and therefore was an interesting person to battle, to say the least.
The person he battled alongside with, the one that radiated the unique energy from his body; he was the true savior of the battle. Without him, Will would have been killed swiftly and easily. Both of them together fought hard and long in that bloody scene, even through the pain of unconsciousness and insult. It was thanks to the unnamed one that Will lived through it. He forced the crimson one to retreat, or so it seemed. Thanks to that, Will managed to escape with his life. Just before he left his surroundings, he heard the fencer shout some garbled words towards him, something about meeting again.
Even so, Will doubted they would. Not because he found himself with cold feet or anything. No, when it came to his cherished ones, Will never backed down. Selene, as far as he was concerned, belonged to him, or so she last said. Originally, Will planned to see her as soon as the battle ended. How he regretted saying those words to her now. He knew how disappointed she would be, most likely crushed. Yes, Will imagined Selene would never hear of him again, unless fate dealt them both an incredible hand. He knew it wouldn’t be hard to just end it now, but Will never considered suicide. He thought it to be useless, a method that would solve nothing. Enough of the reminiscing here, though, Will had to find a place to think things over instead of letting his mind wander aimlessly in the open.
His eyes shot behind him once more, just to watch. How would he know? They could be anywhere. No, Will assured himself he wasn’t crazy. Mind-wiping was a very serious matter in heaven. When an angel needed to be sentenced and ran from his or her punishment, the search was on. Will replayed the situation over and over again in his mind, even though it caused his stomach to twist. There would be the room, stark white, albeit there sat the chair, beckoning to the next victim in the direct middle. Almost unknowingly, Will rubbed his wrists, already feeling the rough material cutting into his skin as the straps snapped shut. Then his wings, to be pulled mercilessly through the back of the two crudely cut holes in the chair, slammed on the stainless steel table on the back.
The worst part of this, he would be in perfect health before it was performed. Torture always seemed to work better on the ones that weren’t weakened before it began. He stiffened automatically as his mind raced on. Then the piercing pain shot up his ebony wings, the saw-toothed butchering tools handled by the “doctors” slicing through the skin. Then they reached the bone, grizzly and tough. Each sound of crunching, even imaginary, caused the angel to subconsciously cry out. The edges of the devices, sharp and curved, then reached the wing’s main nerves, the main blood vessels. No, despite how much an angel that went through this punishment wished, he or she would not die of blood loss.
They may reach the edge of death, close enough to taste the sweet embrace, but they would not touch it. The sometimes plucked appendages being snapped in the menacing vice would twitch, thrash, even. The crimson stream would spill over the table, soaking the metal surfaces. Closer and closer, the bone would be removed, piece by piece, until it reached the source, just between the twin shoulder blades. There, the chair adjusted, leaving the patient unable to struggle, as the blades came down. By now, if God Himself were merciful upon them, the angel would be unconscious. The stubs left over from the bone jutting out would be filed, smoothed down to nigh nothing, mere shadows of their once magnificent grace. Then, too weak to protest, the victim found exploitation, humiliation, and degradation. He or she was no longer considered an angel. Rather, one of the few that displeased the king enough to go through this inhuman suffering.
Then, after the wings were removed completely and the skin stitched up enough to remove any evidence of them ever existing, the mind-wipe came. The person’s arm, usually the left, received the needle of the dangerous substance. The liquid seeped into the bloodstream, seeking out every inch of the body. Once the mixture found the main target, the brain, it was all over. Every memory, every recollection of anything pertaining to heaven, was erased.
Why should any of this worry him? Well, Will messed up the last chance given to him. He dared not return to that room, already assured of what the annoying secretary would tell him. He knew she would find him guilty, sentence him to that treatment, and then how would he find Selene? For now, Will formulated a lackluster plan in his mind. First, he needed a place to hide out, just until the big rush of the hunt passed, the starting point. Everyone would be searching for him then, but once the pistol was shot and this had been going on for a while, the natural tendency to grow tired would wear upon them. This did not mean they would give up, no, Will nodded to himself. They always continued looking, until they found their subject. Once an angel with knowledge escaped heaven’s judgment, it was considered danger to any and all, whether on earth or not.
Suddenly, a dim background caught the angel’s eye, making him screech to a halt among the patches of dying grass. A town lay in the distance of the blanket of night, smothered by the deep breath of the darkness. He hardly knew it was there, only because of the way it stood against the background. Although normally Will would have kept running without a second thought, something specific about the town appealed to him. Silence. No matter how hard Will tried to search out any of the normal noises associated with a living space, nothing pierced the empty sky.
This hit Will as perfect. Without attraction, the town played a much-needed role for a hiding spot. He approached the town, entering as still as a shadow. Each step he took echoed out as if hollow among the streets. Then, his hearing picked up a strange sound. A jingling, almost as if from a sprightly ice cream truck, reached his ears. It got louder, it seemed, although it was difficult to tell since Will did not like the ominous feel of the town. Just as he decided to leave this settlement, since it no longer appealed to him, there came a silhouette, approaching slowly, almost as if sleepwalking. Little did Will know that both of them would be satisfied this night, the figure with his amusement, and the angel with his hiding place.