An Angel’s Day Off

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The sword seemed needlessly heavy. And hot, too. Did it really have to be on fire? Did that actually help anything?

The demon’s sword also burned, but with a black flame. Really, the entire thing seemed incredibly ostentatious.

I’m going to die, Levastiel thought. He was aware that dying wasn’t really that big a problem. Not for him, anyway. But he was fairly certain it would hurt a lot. Also, he had lasted uncountable years1 without dying, and it seemed like a real shame to lose that unblemished record.

1 Literally uncountable. Levastiel had been created before time, and that always made record keeping a little bit fuzzy.

The demon shouted something in a blasphemous tongue – a language that existed solely to insult one’s God – before charging the angel. Levastiel tried to get the flaming sword into some kind of defensive position.

“And this was supposed to be my day off,” he muttered to himself.

Much to the angel’s surprise, the charging demon stopped. His claws dug into the ground, throwing up a spray of gravel (which was rather impressive, since they were standing on what had until recently been a nicely paved sidewalk). Levastiel threw his hands up to shield his face, dropping the sword entirely. When he lowered them, he was face to face with the demon.

The beast opened both jaws and spoke. His voice rumbled like thunder before a storm, and his breath smelled like the remains of a particularly bloody battlefield.

“What did you say?” he asked.

“Oh, um…” Levestiel floundered. “I’m sorry. I suppose it’s bad manners to complain during a fight. I’m afraid my combat manners are a bit rusty.”

“There are no manners in the field of battle,” he said, in a voice like a scythe scraping over a tombstone. “There is only blood and death and pain.” The demon paused, then added, “and occasionally, there is a winner, I suppose. Tell me what you said, angel.”

“I was just… lamenting, is a good word, I suppose. I was lamenting that I was going to die on my day off.”

“Your day off?”

“Well, yes. I usually get Tuesday’s off, you see. I was going to go to the park and read for a bit. And there’s this cute cherubim who paints there, and I always want to talk to her, but I can never get up the nerve. But one of these centuries… Sorry, I’m rambling aren’t I?”

“It’s okay,” the demon said in as comforting a tone as one could muster when one’s voice sounds like a swarm of locusts, devouring the land itself. “You seem nervous. You don’t usually do this, do you?”

“Never,” Levastiel said. “I’m in charge of maintaining the scales. They’re very difficult to keep properly calibrated. Do you know how just how little a feather actually weighs? But Gabriel said something urgent came up today, and asked if I could fill in. He told me that he rarely had to do anything these days, that the hosts of Heaven and Hell just sort of glowered at each other and Earth did as it pleased. Anyway, I’ve never been terribly good at saying no to people, and Gabriel is…” he trailed off, looking for the right word.

“An ass?” the demon suggested, the cries of men and women burned at the stake echoing in his voice.

“Oh, no. I’d never call him that.”

“Of course you wouldn’t, doesn’t mean he’s not one.”

“He’s a good man, really.”

The demon nodded. “By definition. He’s still an ass, though. But we’re getting off topic here. You said you get every Tuesday off?”

“Well, yes. And Sundays, too, of course. Everybody gets Sunday off, naturally.”

“So,” the demon said with the howl of bitter winds across the artic plains, trying to put the pieces together in a way that made sense. “Every Tuesday and Sunday… you don’t have to work? At all? Ever?”

“Not usually, no. I’ve traded shifts with people before from time to time, but always within accounting. This is the first time I’ve had to cover for a seraphim – and the last, if I have any say in it. Why? How often do you get days off?”

“I don’t. I have to work every day.”

“Except Sundays, I’d imagine.”

“Sundays we have to work overtime.”

“How barbaric.”

“Well, it is hell.”

The angel and the demon stood in silence, neither able to think of anything to say.

Finally, echoing the tortured cries of a thousand damned souls, the demon said, “Screw this. I need a drink. You coming?”


Prompt: Working Weekends

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Yeah… if you could write about coming in on Saturday…. that’d be grrreeaat.

Inspired by my last weekend (or lack thereof), this week’s prompt is to write about a character who has to come to work on his day off.

Good luck and good writing!