WB Johnson here. Now that I’ve become a member of the GONG family, I’ll be placing some of my stories both here and on my own blog (which has yet to be fully constructed). Now, this story is a fantasy story, as it features angels and ghosts. HOWEVER, this story might upset some people as the setting is the Iraqi War.
Now, just as a disclaimer: I don’t thing that all military people are like this. In my opinion there are 3 things that service men/women protect that make them heroes: Their Country and it’s people, their family, and their own freedom (which is part of the reason that our main character is so damn disgusting).
In a small Iraqi village, an American soldier stands in front of the freshly slain corpse of an Iraqi man.
“Bitch,” the soldier snorts, “Never mess with the U.S. of A.” The man’s wife and son stand near the body, horrified at what has just happened. The son, with hatred filled tears, picks up a small stone and slings it at the soldier, screaming at him. The soldier turns to the boy and shots him in the head.
“Back off you terrorist sonnava’ bitch.” The soldier snorts. The woman grabs her son’s dead body and pulls it to her chest. She turns to the soldier and screams at him in anger and grief. The soldier puts a bullet through her head. As her body slumps over the soldier hears a burst of raucous laughter coming from behind him. The soldier whips himself and his gun around, only to be met by the grin of a pale skinned young man. He is dressed in a ruffled white button-up shirt and dirty brown jeans. He is bare-foot and has messy grayish-black hair. Protruding out of his back are two dusty gray wings.
“Oh, that was just classic!” the mysterious man laughs, “ I knew it was a good idea to teach you dumb apes how to off each other!” The soldier is very confused. Is he some gag-journalist from back home? The soldier eyes the man very carefully, keeping a distance.
“Who are you?” the soldier asks, “What’s your name and where are you from?” The man’s laughter dies down and he stares back at the soldier, with his piercing black eyes.
“Well, the Hebrews referred to me as the Scapegoat; I was a Grigori, or a Watcher, in your tongue,” the man says, “I slept with the Daughters of Man and fathered some of your mythology’s greatest heroes. I was physically bound by Raphael, but I can still send my spirit to and fro. I am neither a part of the Court of Heaven nor the Legions of Hell. My name means ‘The Strong One of God’, but the closest you can pronounce it is ‘Azazel’.” The soldier stares blankly at the man. The man sighs and flaps the wings on his back a few times.
“I’m an angel,” the man says, “Well, in reality, I’m a fallen angel.” The soldier drops his gun in disbelief. Azazel disappears and reappears near the corpses.
“I was the one who taught mankind how to use weapons on each other, and I taught womankind to use cosmetics.” Azazel says, as he pokes at the woman. “Women use my gifts much better.” The soldier just sits down, very confused. “I love all of these senseless wars that you stupid humans start for no reason. You give the Big Guy Upstairs so much grief! It’s so great!” Once again Azazel bursts into raucous laughter; chilling the soldier to his bones. “Well,” Azazel giggles, “I’ll see you later, Soldier Man. Do your ‘duty’ and kill up some more innocent people for me with that gun of yours!” In an instant, the Grigori disappears, chuckling to himself. Gathering himself and his gun, the soldier walks away from the three corpses.
“‘Innocent People’?” the soldier murmurs to himself, “These aren’t innocent people, they’re nothing but damn terrorists and they all need to be killed.” After a few drinks, the soldier picks up a young Iraqi woman and takes her to a hotel. As he prepares to have sex with her, she pleads to be on top, that way, she can see all of him. As the soldier lays back so she can mount him, he woman pulls a knife out of her pile of clothing. The soldier panics, but he is unable to get the handgun he has hidden in a dresser drawer nearby.
“How could you do such a thing?!” she screams, “How could you kill my family?!” The soldier smiles smugly at the young woman.
“You hafta’ be more specific,” he snorts, “I’ve killed a load of you dirty sand niggers!” The woman shrieks at the top of her lungs, holding the knife high over her head with the blade pointed towards his chest.
“You killed my parents and brother! Father, he tell you that gun attract trouble; that you can’t walk with a gun in daylight outside. He tell you to put gun away, but you shoot him! YOU KILLED THEM AND I’LL KILL YOU, TOO!!” She thrusts the knife down, but she stops inches away from his skin. Then, in her native tongue, she cries. “Oh, Allah, please have mercy. I was clouded with anger and nearly took the life of another. Please forgive me.” As tears roll down her face, the soldier pulls the gun out of the dresser drawer and shoots the woman in her head and heart. She buckles over, but then falls backwards off of the bed. The soldier raises, triumphantly grinning as he sees her body lying on the ground.
“I’ll tell you what I told your daddy, you stupid whore!” he snorts, “Bitch, never mess with the U.S. of…” However, as he gloats, the soldier trips on the bed sheets that were hanging off of the bed and falls on top of the woman’s dead body. A sharp pain shoots out to every inch of his body, starting in his heart and racing into each and every cell of his being. He looks down at his chest and sees the knife the woman had, jutting out of his ribcage. It was still clenched in her hands, now stricken with sudden rigor mortis. He feels all of his life seeping out of his body and being replaced with a deep, dark coldness. As the world around him loses it’s color and turns to darkness, he hears Azazel’s voice:
“Ha! I told you that women use my gifts better than you men!” The soldier stretches out his arm, more out of anger than desperation, but Azazel’s giggling voice begins to fade away. “Well, I gotta run before they get here and think that I had something to do with this tragedy.” Then, the world goes completely black. After what seemed like an eternity, the soldier wakes up. He sees two angels sitting next to the woman, who is now sitting up.
“You have shown great faith to the Almighty Allah, therefore, you may enter His Kingdom,” the two angels sing. The woman sheds tears of joy as she thanks them.
“Do not think Nakir and Munkar,” a mysterious voice sings out. “It was your own faith in Allah that saved your soul.” The voice belongs to a third angel who walks forward from behind the woman. The angel is female and is strikingly beautiful, yet has a deeply unsettling aura of fear around her. Her wings are black as night, and seem to be dripping blood.
“Who are you people?” the soldier abruptly asks, haven risen to his feet. “Are you all Grigori Angels, like Azazel?” The female angel shoots a fierce look at the soldier; so fierce that it knocks him down onto the floor.
“I am Azriel, Angel of Death,” she fumes, “To be considered as one of those trouble making fallen ones makes my soul fill with deep and bitter rage; rage like you’ve never seen, nor a rage that has ever be seen within these times.” The angel turns her attention back to the woman and tends to her needs.
“Wait a second,” the soldier shouts, “Why aren’t you talkin’ to me, too? I mean, are the Angel of Death.” Trying to keep her patience, Azriel turns back towards the soldier.
“I am an Angel of Death,” she replies, “There is no single Angel of Death. Such a being would be near omnipotent. If you were Muslim, I would be tending to you as well, but your Angel of Death is right behind you.” Shocked, the soldier turns around and comes face to face with the only visage that he has ever feared. Standing before him is a cloaked, skeletal figure, clothed in black and grasping a huge scythe. It is the Grim Reaper, except that he has the wings that Azriel possesses jutting from his back, unfurled and running with blood.
“Your time upon this plane of existence has come to a close,” the Reaper announces, darkly, “It is time that you be addressed of your life and your final destiny.” As the Reaper slides closer to the soldier, he notices Azriel and the woman. The two Angels of Death’s dispositions saddened.
“Hello, Reaper.” Azriel sighs, “We shouldn’t be meeting like this.”
“I agree,” the Reaper says, “This pointless battle is sending those with promising destinies to dismal fates.” As the angels discuss the sad current state of affairs in the human world, the soldier struts over to the woman, who is still sitting on the ground,
“Well, well, well.” The soldier spits, boastfully, “Looks like you’re going to Hell, you soulless animal. Only us Christians get into Heaven; seeing as we’re the only people who worship the real God.” Before she could part her lips to answer, Azriel appears in front of her.
“You foolish, spiteful man!” Azriel shouts, “Your ‘God’ and ‘Allah’ are two names of the same Being!” The soldier was shocked.
“But, we don’t call Him Allah, so He can’t be the same!” he shouts.
The Reaper appears in front of the soldier with his empty sockets, now, glowing with flaming rage. “All three of the Holy Texts: The Bible, the Koran, and the Torah obviously state this, yet you are so clouded in dogma and self-service, that your heart can not see that The Almighty is not just threefold as The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, but also Yahweh, Jehovah, and Allah.” The soldier stares back and utters ‘Bullshit, total bullshit.” The Reaper shifts to the soldier’s back and places the blade of the scythe around this neck and after proclaiming the soldier’s true, full name, addresses him thusly:
“Your manifold sins upon this plane of existence have been many and sinister. You have never begged The Almighty for any forgiveness in your life, and when you did pray, it was for selfish ‘needs’. You killed innocent people under the name of a mere flag, claiming what you believed to be justice in its name. Your greatest sin was horrifically committed on this day when you killed, no, SLAUGHTERED a man, his wife, and their only son, all innocent. Then, when the daughter of this family sought revenge, and then, showed you mercy, after all you had done, you murdered her. For this alone, you shall be greatly punished; but in addition to it, you will suffer for all of your deep sins. Thus, I send thee to the abode of the Damned, by this act and your actions, I now reap your soul.”
The Reaper slashes the soldier, who erupts into flames, screaming and begging to the Name of God to forgive him, before he fades away. The Reaper then turns to Azriel and the woman.
“Luckily for you, your path has lead you to the Almighty’s Kingdom. Now, I must bid you farewell.” The Reapers flaps his wigs and flies toward the west. Azriel takes the hand of the woman and leads her to her great and final reward.