I worked in a bakery. It provided me enough money to pay for the rent and I enjoyed working there. It was a nice little place on a street corner, with a dull checkered marble floor and cozy green walls and windows facing the streets outside. It wasn’t an exciting job but I loved the place and would clean it every time after closing. I just wanted to keep it as nice as I remembered it. Daniel always sat on the counter, bored, waiting for me. He said I expected extra money or wanted to let him look bad, he couldn’t explain it any other way. He was a friend, for now. I wouldn’t mind life taking us down different paths.
While I was cleaning one evening some man stepped in. Dan jumped from the counter.
“We’re closed, sorry.” Dan began but the man simply held a hand up to shut him up. He was tall, slender but had a wide chest. His face was chiseled and he would look rather handsome if it weren’t for this dull expression he wore. He said a phrase that sounded repeated even when hearing it for the first time. I forgot his exact words immediately, he wanted to sell us something was all I gleaned. He began to open the suitcase, which I didn’t even notice until then. I told him we won’t buy anything, we were just employees. He stopped and simply walked out like a teenager that got rejected from his first love.
“Weirdo.” Dan said.
We stood there for a moment.
“Are you done?”
For some reason that guy didn’t leave my thoughts. I just put away the broom and got out which was answer enough for Dan.
I found the man’s agency right next to our bakery. Weird how I’ve never took notice of it. It was a dark house. If it weren’t for the little white sign it’d look like just another apartment building. I was curious.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Dan asked as I peeked through the door. It looked like a regular apartment building on the inside too. I opened the door, entering a hallway with doors lining the walls and a set of stairs leading up on the other end.. All the doors inside were wide open and the rooms were pitch black dark. The hallway was only lit by a small window, so it was only slightly brighter. Even without any dust or signs of decay it looked like it had been abandoned for hundreds of years. I approached the stairs and noticed Dan had followed me in.
I didn’t know why but I decided to go up the stairs. Despite feeling old they made no sound. Nothing in here did.
I could see light hitting the walls upstairs, as well as a shadow clearly outlined by it. It looked strange. Like a cocoon. Like… a hanged man.
“Dan, leave this place, right fucking now.”
I turned around… and found myself atop of the stairs. Staring at it. It stared back. I felt it. I looked at it but I couldn’t see it clearly, like it was at the edge of my eye, except it was right in front of me. I ran down the stairs again, through the hall and slammed the door shut behind me.
I tripped and fell on the road bricks. I was alone. Dan wasn’t here. Did he leave? I wouldn’t check inside that house again. I just told myself he ran home.
But nobody at all was on the streets. What was going on? And what was that inside that house? I didn’t feel well in this town anymore. It’s been creeping me out a bit before but… okay I just saw something weird, calm down… it was probably just the guy trying to scare me for entering his house. After all I didn’t really get a good look. Yeah, that’s it, totally normal. It was strange how much I believed myself.
I saw a young man running across the street.
“Where are you going?” I shouted.
“To the Other Place! The Angel will speak!”
I didn’t understand but he was already gone. Maybe Dan was there too. Maybe this Angel knew what was going on. To be honest, I hadn’t lived here for very long. People would talk about this Angel but I never got to ask who that was and it felt like it was embarrassing to not know.
But while I managed to calm myself from the previous shock, this scared me again. I didn’t know why. People always talked good about the Angel. I should finally meet her.
The Other Place was a big place amidst tall houses. It was a round plaza and I heard festivals would often happen here. It was the heart of the town. It was invisible under the masses of people now. They waited, all staring up to a balcony. Nobody was there. I never really knew who the Angel was, not even if it was a he or she. They always complimented their voice, so I presumed they were a singer.
Loud cheers announced the Angel’s arrival. I looked to the balcony.
There was a young girl. She looked young but I was sure she was older than she looked. She had red hair, a childish face with cheeky eyes. She was dressed oddly casual for the kind of event this seems to be. A big simple black hoodie with sleeves cut off at the elbows, reaching down to her thighs with ripped stockings. Her hair was messy as if she just got out of bed. She just stared down on us, hands in her pockets, disapproving stare. The masses screamed. They wanted her to speak.
She kept staring, started to tremble, her lips revealed her teeth and finally she screamed back
The masses fell silent for a second. Then continued.
“I WILL NOT SPEAKCH-” she held her throat. Just the sound of how her voice broke off hurt mine. The masses told her to continue.
“IT CHURTS ME!” her words sounded like a rasp in her throat. They always fell silent when she spoke and shouted when she stopped. Did they even hear what she said?
“You don’t chare… what pain I endure. You just chare for your pleashchure!”
They listened with a stoned expression. What was with these people. She sounded horrible.
I looked up to her. Was there a way I could help. I was about to shout something to her when I saw it.
She changed. She kept shouting at them, screaming all the pain out as the words cut her throat on the way out. Her eyes got darker, the white turned grey. The hands holding her throat grew black claws, with every word of pain released she turned into something demonic. I couldn’t listen anymore, her voice became too painful to listen to. The grotesque sounds ripped her cheeks, dissolved them and revealed the red monstrous fangs, each new word shoved the black tongue out further, looking like an undead tentacle. Tears escaped the black eyes when a desperate scream let her now sickly thin body collapse in agony. She looked like a corpse, thin skin clinging to her bones like wet paper. Claws scraped the ground until their last energy died, the tongue pulsated like it was filled with maggots. Eyes rolled back so far into her head they were barely visible. Skin turned to pale brown, like once white bed sheets stained with the dust of the dead. I was horrified. The masses cheered.
I pushed myself through them, I had to help her, somehow! I reached the first row. Her arm dangled from the balcony. I reached out for it. It looked like it would easily rip off. I just touched her fingers. All this sorrow in her eyes. Suddenly I felt exactly what she felt. The pain, the frustration, loneliness… despair… hopelessness… I wondered how that didn’t absolutely break her.
She pulled her arm back. She took her tongue In both hands and tried to tear it out. Kept ramming her fangs into it… but it wouldn’t even bleed. She took out a knife from her pocket and rammed it into the sick looking thing. But it wouldn’t cut. It couldn’t be harmed. I felt so sorry. I reached out for her again. She gave me her frail arm. Carefully I held her hand.
I could feel it. It wasn’t there before. But every emotion from before… it was devoured by hate. It burned my hand. When I let go she jumped off the balcony, into the masses. Screams and blood filled the air. Disgusting noises accompanied flesh and bones ripping in two.
“YOUR SCREAMS ARE SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL!” her voice screamed. She sounded better... happy. Blood rained on me as claws rained on them. There was Dan, he laid before me. His arms and legs scattered among those of the others. Everybody screamed, lying among their own dead flesh completely immobile. Nobody was killed, so that they could keep screaming.
When all blood hit the floor she stood there, so beautiful. Hoodie soaked in blood, hair dripping. Red fangs smiled with a now dark violet tongue caught between them, now looking alive. Her skin was a blood red, cured by the juice of life. I think I’ve never seen a prettier being. I never realized how much I loved her. I laughed as I jumped over the mutilated choir, singing for us. I understood her, knew her. With a touch she was inside me. I almost forgot I was supposed to sing too. Screams of pain make her beautiful. Those of others more than her own. I could see her from where I fell. I wouldn’t need to move anymore. I could see her. As my blood spilled out of my body, so did the screams. I didn’t think about my eventual death of blood loss. It felt like I would stay here forever, never moving, always screaming. I looked forward to it.