Interlude

The Angel of Death was not enjoying herself. She held a drink of some foul black liquid that did indeed taste as bad as it looked. She had no idea where the stuff came from, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.

She was at a party, or at least it was supposed to be a party. Tasteless strings of skulls lined the walls of obsidian, and candles glittered from chandeliers made from skulls and spines. There was just generally a lot of bone. If something wasn’t actually bone, it was often sculpted to look like bone.

That was the trouble with being aspected with death, you often got the short end of the stick in terms of aesthetics.

All of this meant that the shocking pink table was particularly out of place, somehow the fact that it kept the skull and bone styling made its existence even worse than if it had been a regular shocking pink table. It had been inserted into the Hall of Death by one of the Members of Death as a joke.

The Angel of Death still didn’t think it was funny, neither did anyone else.

As the Angel of Death stared at her murky drink and considered how completely messed up everything had become, the rattling of chains broke the dismal deathly silence. It was the large black double doors which, really were more a collection of chained charred skeletons hanging in the door frame that rolled out of the way to let people in.

Thick billowing mist that periodically had tormented faces arise from it spilled into the room. The Angel of Death warded off some of the Mist of Death with her drink, trying to see who was coming in. First she saw the glowing blood red eyes. The owner of the eyes trotted in. It was a shaggy black dog that seemed particularly ominous. Its fur seemed more like roiling shadow than fur.

The Angel of Death knew that it was fur, she had felt it many times back when she was on friendly terms with the Dog of Death. Before she had full knowledge of his true nature.

When it saw The Angel it gave a monstrously yet far too human toothy grin, like a yawning pit combined by some unholy method with a smirk. Noticeably, there was one fang missing.

“Oh my, what shiny new wings you have!” The Dog yapped.

The Angel of Death glared at the Dog, of course he’d start on that. The Dog of Death was kind of a jerk.

“However did you get them? You surely didn’t bring something that you knew could pretend to be dead near the wall and then got jumped by it, did you?”

The Dog turned less shaggy, more lean and close furred, its face twisted cruelly, smile practically beheading the top half of his head.

“Hahaha, no that’d be silly wouldn’t it? You’d never do anything that silly would you? Not the high and mighty Angel of Death? Please ignore the mad yapping of this lowly mongrel!”

“At least unlike a certain someone I haven’t had any of my teeth stolen by lesser beings” The Angel of Death shot back.

The Dog of Death became ominous and shaggy again, no longer smiling. He silently padded to his place at the table. There was four chairs made from whole skeleton at each side of the table, well four at all but The Dog of Death’s side, but as soon as he sat back on his haunches, the skeleton of a dog larger than himself arose in the form of a chair, the Dog resting within the dog’s open ribcage.

The was a clatter as a metal dog bowl appeared on the table.

“Demeaning as always” The Dog sighed, but still he lapped up the black liquid in his bowl.

The door skeletons clattered out of the way again.

This time, four people came in at once.

One was a hooded robed figure bearing a scythe, he or she only brought the scythe because his/her combine harvester wouldn’t fit in the Hall of Death. No face could be seen within the hood. Old gloves cracked and caked with earth gripped the scythe. The figure was really quite tall.

Next to the Reaper of Death was what looked exactly like a jolly bearded old man holding an oar. He was in a black polo-neck, and pinstipe slacks that seemed a bit too disturbingly tight to be called slacks. Annoyingly he also had a red scarf around his neck in spite of his polo-neck. He wore a straw wide brimmed hat on his head. This was the Ferryman of Death.

Beside these two was a what could only be described as a dark wanderer. His spurred cowboy boots were dark, his covered face was dark, even the way he walked was dark. It was likely that his passing would cause lesser beings to suddenly become myopic poets. In reality however, he was just the Cartman of Death, though he went by the Driver of Death now. He had a dark ride of course, open topped even.

The final one of this set was a dark haired voluptuous woman practically bursting out of what could only be called armour by the generous. Poking out from her ankles were a ridiculous pair of tiny raven wings. She was the Messenger of Death, definitely not any other profession.

These four mostly ignored the Angel and the Dog, though the Messenger did toss an idle sneer at the Angel. Which the Angel had learned to ignore, she never wanted to involved with the messenger’s pettiness again.

They quickly sat down at the table and replaced the feeling of awful party with awful party where people other than yourself are having fun. The Angel of Death did not find it much of an improvement. She might have liked to sit down, but then she wasn’t supposed to yet and the possibility of the Dog or the Messenger trying to talk to her was not one she liked.

The skeletons lazily clattered out of the way once more, they hated this time of the year.

In strolled a sharp man with large curly horns and and serrated tail. He give a winning smile, the award being, sharpest and largest amount of teeth in one mouth. His skin was kind of sickly, though his suit was velvet with the front ripped open, had fur at the cuffs and and an absurdly furry ruff. His hair was done up in a pompadour that would not have stayed in shape if the Devil of Death had not been a supernatural being.

Behind him was an indistinct maiden-like form, pale hair obscuring her face, dressed in a ragged white dress. She was wailing as quietly as she could. She floated above the ground, no feet visible, as was befitting for the Spirit of Death.

The Devil’s supremely pointy shoes clacked on the floor as he closed in on the Angel. He slapped her on the ass, she give him a punch full force into the face, causing him to fall down on his own ass. Then they both laughed, the Angel hugged the Devil as she helped to pull him up.

The Devil broke off and twirled away to his chair.

“Love the new wings darling!” He shot before settling into a game of ‘Who can harass the other the most’ with the Dog.

The Spirit hovered before the Angel.

“Everything’s fucked Angel” She moaned.

“It really is.” The Angel answered.

“I think I might be happy Angel” She whispered.

“Well, that confirms it, everything is fucked. Rejoice while you can Spirit!”

“Yay” Spirit said in monotone, going to float partly in her chair.

The skeletons begrudgingly rolled away again, a few of them clacking their jaws in discontent.

The Angel could not believe who she saw come through the Mists of Death.

“Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” She asked the new guest.

The Goddess of Death put a skeletal finger to her full lips.

“Shhhhhh”

Then she sat down next to the Devil as if nothing had happened. She stared incredulously at the Goddess. The Devil, thinking she was looking at him waved and blew a raspberry, it didn’t fly very far tumbling onto the floor near the table. The Goddess picked it up and tossed it in the Dog’s dish, who barked in displeasure at this action.

The skeletons clattered out of the way so fast that one of them fell from its place. Grumbling, it climbed back up and chained itself back in with the help of its fellows.

A dark blur shot in and hid itself behind the Angel’s wings.

It was quickly followed by a mass of extremely angry bees. The Bees of Death.

“Where is he?” They buzzed.

“I think you just missed him, What’d he do this time?” Angel asked.

“Tried to eat some of us again” The Bees hummed with rage.

“Oh come on, you’ve a lot of bodies, you can spare a few!” The Crow of Death cawed.

The Angel threatened the bees with the drink as they tried to get behind her.

“No, go …er, sit!”

The bees thought about it for a moment, but relented.

“Next time, we won’t be merciful”

Once they were in their place beside the Dog, a chair made of dead bees came up. It was a bit pointless.

The Crow of Death hopped up onto the Angel’s shoulder.

“Thanks for that Sis, we winged deathfolk gotta stick together eh?” The Crow cackled.

“Just hurry up and sit down, Crow”

“Oooh, testy, well alright, alright. I know when I’m not wanted”

The Crow’s chair was the skeleton of a quite oversized bird. He perched on the beak of it.

The skeletons moved aside yet again, though this time they got caught hand had to untangle themselves to get fully out of the way.

There was the jingle of bells.

The Angel of Death groaned. This member was the most universally hated of the Members of Death.

A Jester in mismatched black and white bits of clothing cartwheeled out of the Mist on boots and gloves of different length. It wore a death’s head mask with a shiny red nose stuffed into the nose hole.

It stopped in handstand position before the Angel of death. The Joke of Death.

“What is funnier than a dead baby?”

The Angel of Death did not reply.

The silence spread onwards, oppressing the chatter coming from the table and the disgruntled door skeletons.

“I don’t know Joke, tell me?” The Joke of Death cast its voice from The Angel of Death.

“Why, a dead baby in a clown suit!”

The Joke laughed, and slapped its arm with a foot, crumpling into a head in the process.

The Angel of Death sighed.

“Ok, now go sit”

“Spoilsport” The Joke shot, prancing to its seat.

The door skeletons managed to open without a hitch this time, one gave the other a high five.

The two figures that walked in were pretty different.

One was a massive goliath of bone with a skull made up of skulls, a necklace of skulls, its body hidden by many skeletal arms and it walked upon a multitude of fleshless legs, a coattail of spines trailing behind it.

“Yo” The Death of Death said, waving to the Angel.

“What?, What was that?”

The other looked just like a regular person, a middle-aged unremarkable woman in a grey suit. Nobody was quite sure what the Deaf of Death actually did.

The Death of Death signed quickly to the Deaf and with a nod they passed the Angel.

There was only one member left to come.

The Angel of Death waited patiently for her to come.

The door skeletons reverently rolled away for the last time.

There was clopping from beyond the Mist of Death.

Then, she came, sleek, black, powerful, fluid, naked, with long flowing locks of hair and perfect curves, pointed ears and large eyes set under long eyelashes on a long face. She was as always, on all fours.

Yes, she was of course the Horse of Death.

The Angel of Death had to resist squeeing like a little girl. She could not however resist throwing herself at the Horse, hugging her neck.

“Yes, I’m here now, relax, everything is going to be fine”

After the Angel had soaked in the Horse’s comforting presence long enough for the Horse to get uncomfortable, they both went to sit down. A skeletal horsechair formed around the Horse.

Every member was present. There was still an empty chair, but that was fine, because that was the Chair of Death.

Glowing red spots of light appeared in the Chair of Death’s eye sockets.

“Finally everyone is here, we can begin, the first matter of order is concerning the current state of things.” The Chair said.

“Everything’s Fucked” The Spirit happily supplied.

“Yes, quite, in light of this, we’ve decided to undergo a rebranding, to focus on what really matters as everything ends”

“Oh, what’d that be?” The Dog questioned.

“Drugs, from now on, you are the Dog of Drugs for example. We are going to give up the death business and focus on drugs, we are going to crack down on them, we shall greet the end with a drugless world!”

Beckett awoke screaming from her bizarre dream.

— — —

APRIL FOOLS!

The crazy, zany, and completely NOT CANON! interlude you’ve just read is part of the Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap, 2015 Edition. The mindblowing gag post you’ve just read was written by SnowyMystic, who normally writes Flash Fiction, found at http://www.elconic.com/index-of-stories/ .

Billy Higgins,  who normally writes this story, today has created their own piece of tomfoolery for Stoneburners found at http://stoneburners.wordpress.com/ .

For a full list of all our April Fool’s Swappers and their stories, as well as dozens of other serial novels that will tickle your fancy, check out The Web Fiction Guide at

http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/2015-april-fools-master-list

Thanks for reading and remember, the best way to support your favorite serial novelist is to tell all your friends about them.

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