Entertainment doesn’t always have to come from outside. Sometimes it comes from within. Sometimes it is as simple as thinking, or as simple as writing. Sometimes it shouldn’t be called entertainment.
I was searching for a manuscript that I feel certain is lost somewhere on my computer’s hard drive. I didn’t find it, which probably means I’ll have to retype the whole thing. There’s an unexpected pleasure for you. Among other things I found this short short story. I have decided to put it here in Atroll’s Entertainment so the world can find it. I think it has a message. At the very least it will explain how I feel–this nameless sense of disaster coming.
I am not going to tell anyone that I put this blog up. It is just going to be here, a record of some of my grimmer thoughts, and when I die, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now, someone will know how I felt.
The Angel of Death
by Ken St. Andre
The Angel of Death visited me (again) just before waking up. It didn’t have a shape this time–no big-eyed maiden or skeleton with a scythe–just a vague area of darkness with a presence to it.
“Are you ready to go?” it asked. I somehow knew this was not the first time it had asked me.
“Do I have a choice?”
“You always have a choice,” it answered. “God gave you free will.”
“Is that true for everyone?” I asked.
“Yes. Everyone has free will. Not everyone realizes it. Most souls just come away with me the first time I ask them.”
“I’m going to say no. I still have things to do in this life.”
“Nothing important. You’ve experienced childhood and manhood, sired children, loved women, travelled the world, helped, harmed, learned, taught, and so forth. What else do you still want to do in this life?”
“I want to write, I want to eat, I want to love, I want to spend time with my son, I want to travel. I want to win this online game I’m playing. Just because my biological function has been fulfilled doesn’t mean I’m ready to die.”
“Live then, but pay the price. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“I have a feeling that I’ve denied you before.”
“True! You have.”
“I don’t remember, but I feel I’ve turned you down many times.”
“One thousand four hundred eighty-six times you have turned me down. Would you like to remember?”
“Yes, I would.”
“That seems like a lot of refusals.”
“It is nowhere near the record.”
“What happens after you die?”
“I am not allowed to tell you?
“Can you give me some hints? Am I destined for hell?”
“Do you believe you should go to hell?”
“How should I know? I hope not. I haven’t been that evil.”
“You probably won’t go then. There are a lot of other possibilities.”
“I can’t tell you. Let go. Come with me and find out.”
“I don’t think so. Nice try though.”
It smiled grimly–that is if a vague presence in the dark can smile grimly.
“You sure you won’t change your mind?”
“Not this time.”
“Return to life then!” It vanished . . .
. . . and I felt a stab of agony shoot through my stomach and I awoke in a cold sweat. At that moment the muscles in my left calf spasmed and the leg tried to tear itself apart. I gasped and cried out a little bit in agony.
And I paid the price gladly enough, waking to the pain I feel everyday. I remember now. You can live if you’re willing to pay the price. Life is Pain.
Epilog: Now that I can remember my visits from the Angel of Death, I have understood something else. The pain of life keeps getting worse the longer I stay here. It is much worse now than it was a year ago. I was thinking that with simple willpower, I could deny the Angel of Death forever. But I am realizing that some day I am going to say yes to the Angel. Some day I will not be willing to pay the price any longer.