Skip to main content

The Borderline Angel of Death



I would like to thank Burning House Press for featuring this piece!

At the age of thirty, Daniel Lufto lived alone in a single bedroom apartment. In his first thirty years on Earth he had made very few lasting connections, and at this point, his existence had virtually no perceptible impact on anyone else. He was just another recurring face on the bus ride to work, a vaguely remembered customer in the local liquor store.
As a human being, Daniel existed on a strictly interim basis. His home was even on a month to month arrangement. On any day he and his meager belongings could be swept out and with that almost any trace of Daniel's corporeal existence.
Daniel wasn’t so solitary by choice. He and the world around him could never find the proper way to engage each other. Daniel grew up, but he never developed into a fully fleshed out human being. He had no particular interests or hobbies absolutely nothing could captivate him. It was as if he had been deprived an imagination and was incapable of any wonderment.
Daniel was capable of exchanging pleasantries. He could crack a joke or two about the news or the weather but once any interaction went beyond mere small talk the absence of any depth to his character became eerily noticeable.  Even those who found him initially charming were quickly put off by his vacant expression and hollow eyes.
The lonesome man did not lead a sorrowful life. Sorrow, this most grating and persistent of emotions was nowhere to be found on Daniel’s dwarfed emotional spectrum. He was patiently waiting for the approaching internal void to swallow him up, and that’s just what happened.
He awoke in his bed paralyzed under an inky blackness that was consuming the room. Everything disappeared, and he was free falling into nowhere. He waited for the sensation of falling to dull into nothingness but it persisted until Daniel felt like he was going to choke on his stomach.
That’s when a voice thundering from across the expanse of eternity spoke to Daniel.
“You are my newly anointed angel of death. You will unleash a plague,” the omnipotent voice declared.
“You are the womb cultivating and carrying my children of death. Go and cover the city with my children. That is your only purpose, your single reason for being, you are not a man but a phage in man’s clothing!” howled the celestial voice from the spiraling darkness.
Daniel was jolted awake by a spasmatic cough. He hacked and choked for a few agonizing moments before finally catching his breath.
He turned on the bedside lamp and was startled by the droplets of gleaming blood in the saliva he’d coughed onto his hands. Daniel started to panic. “I gotta call 911!”
He picked up his phone, but then the voice from the dream screamed inside his head tearing through his mind with explosive resonance.
“My angel of death the time draws near. It is futile to try and forsake your duties. You are the anointed, a living cataclysm, a cornerstone of Armageddon!” The voice said with triumph.
“Now go! Glory awaits my angel of death!” The hint of encouragement was disarming for Daniel.
“I am the angel of death,” he repeated with growing self-satisfaction.
For the first time in his life this awkward, empty, joyless man experienced the sublime happiness that comes with conviction, a sense of purpose, and unquestioned superiority. Daniel was no longer a man he was a higher being called to action by what he assumed had to be the voice of God.
Despite his steadily deepening fatigue and horrible coughing bouts, Daniel went about fulfilling the wishes of his omnipotent master. He had a paycheck to deposit, so he figured his first stop could be the bank. Walking along with the scurrying morning commuters as Daniel coughed out invisible clouds of a disease more virulent than anything to ravage the human race in past epochs he couldn’t help but feel emerging confidence. Confidence that came with knowing he was the most important person on that street, probably in the world. Any social station was beneath that of the angel of death.
He walked into the commuter bank with his head held high. Everyone he encountered that day would remember it in the sharpest detail. Over time these multiple accounts would blend and obscure, and there would be the legend of The Angel of Death, Patient zero, The man who unleashed a plague that devastated the entire world Daniel Lufto!
He even made it a point to shake hands with the bank teller that day. Daniel was amused by the idea that after everyone knew he was patient zero Alex Banks would look back at that handshake and remember that most crucial chance encounter in his life with the then-obscure Daniel Lufto.
Daniel spent the last week of his life playing hooky from work, strutting around town, coughing death into the air. On the fourth day when he started seeing people all around him having the same coughing fits he had he felt the fantastic euphoria and immense relief of accomplishment.
By the 6th day, Daniel was no longer able to get himself out of bed, so he contented himself with watching his genocide play out on tv. He watched with delight as the cable news networks went into 24-hour loops showing the stacks of black bags filled with rotting human remains that were starting to appear around the city’s hospitals.  A state of emergency was declared, and Daniel raised his arms in triumph and announced,“I did that to you! That was me!”
By the 9th day Daniel was slipping in and out of consciousness. He was counting down his last hours. He knew he wouldn’t live to see the next day’s sunrise. During an increasingly rare moment of clarity, the news cycle on the plague had grown so repetitive even armageddon was becoming tedious, and annoying. Daniel did hear the floating news head make an announcement that breathed new and fleeting life into his body.
“We are going live to Chicago where patient zero has finally been identified!” The anchor shouted through her respirator.
A short Asian woman standing in front of a city hospital appeared on the screen.
“Thank you for joining us today Diane. Now I know our viewers are dying to know the name of patient zero.”
The field reporter nodded. “I have no intention of leaving anyone in suspense as to the identity of patient zero.” The field reporter replied firmly almost with hostility.
“City health officials have just released a name it’s Alexander Banks from a suburb of Chicago who was hospitalized here just three days ago.”
Daniel was quaking. He couldn't speak, a torrent of anger swelled in his stomach and crowded into his throat.
A picture of the grinning idiot bank teller appeared on the screen.
With his last ounce of strength, Daniel threw the remote at the TV. A substantial portion of the picture went black, but the fragmented images persisted.  Frustration burned inside Daniel and tears welled in his eyes.
“I was supposed to be the angel of death,” he sobbed. Daniel went to his lonely death with the burden of a disappointment he had never known before.  His cheeks burned with humiliation. He had a brush with the divine and infamy, but he was the only one who knew, the only one who could remember. Soon there wouldn't even be that.

Become a Patron!

THE END:
Now, a little note from the author:
About seven years ago two stories I submitted were printed by an Australian based literary magazine called Skive. Just a few months later more of my work was accepted by a publisher in Scotland and another in Kentucky. That’s when I knew the first time hadn’t been just a fluke! From then on I wrote as much as I could and submitted work anywhere I could.
As it stands, my work has been printed in 11 different volumes and has been featured in numerous ebooks as well as distributed on literary-themed websites. I try and be as industrious as possible and strive for at least two short stories a month. Usually, these are about 1,000-3,000 words. I have no plans to commit myself to a novel my style just works best at that length. So take a look at my work. If you donate, you have my undying gratitude! Even if you don’t but at least come back and see what I’ve written from time to time that would be greatly appreciated as well.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

There are no closets in foxholes

Private Stuart Breyers had joined the marine corps during peacetime. The plan was to use his two-year hitch as a transition period into becoming an independent young man. Not six weeks after his 19th birthday the boy’s limited term of existence had been significantly curtailed. He had no more years to look forward to only mere moments.
He walked in a single file line with his comrades under the darting eyes of their Japanese captors. His fingers were laced behind his head, and he didn’t dare move his hands to shield his eyes from the blinding tropical sun or the salty sting of his sweat. Breyers had spent his life in the vast cornfields of Middle America where the grey skies of winter lingered for months on end. The Pacific sun turned his flesh a pulsing red. The Japanese fleet loomed ominously in the still crystal blue waters. The massive steel barrels of their guns had returned to their resting position. Occasionally a grenade blast in the thick jungle rattled the birds out of the tr…

The Bronze Bull

After the Mormon army armies reached the east coast, they set to work salvaging and restarting the long-abandoned foundries scattered across the landscape. The blast furnaces once again were swollen with molten steel, and the towering brick stacks erupted with volcanic ferocity. The forked flames lashed at the clouds and the billowing smoke blackened the sky heralding the ascendancy of the continent's new masters.
Roaming bands of scavengers had been picking at the bones of New York City for decades. THe nibbling quickly turned into a full feeding frenzy. Legions of landless farmers and rootless laborers descended on the ruins. They worked as ceaselessly as termites to hollow out the steel carcass.
John Nelson had traveled a long way to get a look inside the old city. He was a Captain Edler in the Bringham Young regiment an outfit that had spent the better part of a decade fighting across the continent. The spry young Captain was an avid student of history, and even though dead o…

Adolf Hitler: Dating Meister

Sophia Paulson was a fantastic performer. Her body was sculpted and toned by hours spent with physical trainers, her wardrobe was the latest to grace the pages of the fashion industry’s most recognizable trend setting publications. She adorned her near flawless oval face with thin wire frame glasses that added a subtle complimenting component of intellectualism to her sex appeal. She was a young upstart. She had gone to the best schools, had met the right people, and at the relatively young age of 32 had established herself as a respectable practitioner in the field of psychology. There were tumultuous undercurrents of stress running beneath the well crafted facade however. She had been able to hide them most of her life from just about everyone she knew, everyone except her fiance. Her engagement once a countdown to the day she would finally have the final piece of her perfect life had now become an indefinite and agonizing period. In her attempts to expedite the process she had acco…