Arms and legs scattered around like thrown pencils and pens. Torsos ripped apart like books that fell open. Heads severed and crushed like crumpled paper.
I did this.
Rivers of blood flow towards me on the classroom floor, drowning chunks of brains with their final thoughts.
An angel in black walks in through the doorway, holding a long, bloodstained blade—a demon’s tongue made of bloodthirsty steel. Her face is concealed by a skin mask that screams its frozen agony through the wings resting at her sides—wings made of stitched skin.
Sitting on the floor beside me, she rests her weapon on her lap and unmasks herself, giving me hope that underneath this hellish world lies something… beautiful.
“I freed all the loved ones outside. We should be safe in here.”
“Loved ones? Is that what you call the dead?”
“Even though demons now wear their skin as costumes, they all used to be loved ones to people.
“You see, back then, a person’s spirit would leave their body when they died. Now, upon death, the spirit is stopped before they could even walk through the doorway leading out of the body. They’re pushed back by the demon that enters at the exact moment of death.
“Wearing the host’s skin like a costume, the demon locks the spirit in, forcing them to suffer through the experience of having their own body being used as one of the devil’s weapons. The demon is the hand that wields it, tearing through the flesh of the living.
“But the spirit puts up a fight. The loved one fights until the very end. And that’s who we should all acknowledge when we refer to them, despite all the suffering they’ve caused us in their undead form. We should acknowledge the loved one and ignore the demon. We all know everyone hates being ignored.
“You see, each reanimated corpse is a walking battlefield, with an internal war being waged between a demon and a loved one. The demon is armed with pure evil and a hunger for lust. The loved one is armed with memories, emotions, and a hunger for love.
“The fight takes a huge toll on the reanimated corpse, rendering it brainless, leaving nothing but an undying hunger for flesh. Even a single bite is enough to lead to death. A bite allows the demon to get inside you and seduce your mind.
“As you very well know, fatal damage to the head is all it takes to put them down for good, or to prevent someone from returning. But you’re not really killing them. No. You’re freeing them. The demon stays behind, locked forever inside a rotting husk, while the spirit is finally set free. But where do they go after that? Heaven, hell, or do they remain stuck here in the dark space between?
“That’s why I pray for them, so they could find peace away from all the suffering in this world.
“Free them. Pray for them. Move on.”
“How do you know all this?”
“God told me.”
“Are you… really an angel?”
“I’m whatever you need me to be: friend, enemy, or something more. Whatever it takes to make things right. But the one thing I’ll always be, no matter what, is here. I’m always going to be here for you.
“I see you keep staring at my wings and… my mask. You must think I’m crazy, wearing a crazy costume.”
“No. I don’t. Sanity was just a hat most people wore, before this storm blew them all away and washed up the dead.”
“You want to know how I got them, though, yes?”
“Hey, look, if you’d rather not—”
“I had a very controlling boyfriend. I was his prisoner for a long time. Now I’m finally free. His flesh has turned into the wings that have given me freedom. And I hide behind what I’m scared of the most, living or dead, so I wear his face.”