Timothy is a Christian who enjoys creating visual art and writing. He has a B.S. in psychology.
Fed looked up at the blazing orb in the sky. It was a beautiful day to be taking a hike. He sighed. It was going to be his last one. He just hoped he had enough energy to make it to the top of the mountain. People tried to talk him out of his hike saying things like, “You’re gonna die up there.” and ”Nobody’s gonna find you.” To which Fed always replied, “Well then I’ll be like Moses dead and buried with nobody knowing my final resting place...just someplace in the forest.”
Fed laughed, “Buried like Moses.” He had God take him to his final place.” Maybe he was doing the same for him now. Fed sighed and thought about this being the place where he took his last breath. He smiled again as he looked around at all the beautiful trees. There’d be worse places to come to your timely end.
All the animal sounds brought him back to the here and now. He took a deep breath. His nostrils were filled with all the familiar smells of the forest. The mustiness combined with tell, tell aroma of pine. He loved the forest. He continued his hike up the trail. The backpack pulled at his shoulders. His breathing increased as his lungs gasped for air. His muscles aches it had been a while since he’d walked any distance. He thought about turning back but...no, he was going to see this through.
He looked up the trail. The sunlight filtered down through the canopy of the trees illuminating the path before him. Up ahead a deer cleared the trees, glanced his way and jumped back into the forest. He continued his hike up the old fire road and after a short distance came to a clearing. In front of him was what he had come here for a pristine view of Hawk’s Nest Lake. Here’s where he would spend the night. He looked up and down the shore of the lake. No one ever came up here anymore. Except for now.
Fed looked down the shore line. A few feet down sat a man on a little stool with a fishing pole. The odd thing was he looked like he was fishing but he had no line in the water. The man turned and looked at Fed, smiled and went back to what he was doing.
Fed shrugged his shoulders and went to work setting up his campsite. He set up his one person tent. When he was done he walked over to the woods and picked up as many dry branches as he could. He carried them back and placed them inside a circle of rocks he’d created.
He looked back down the bank. The other man was gone.
“I guess he gave up on his fishing.” Fed said to no one in particular.
He went back to setting up his campground. After he was done he opened a chair and sat down to look across the water. He reached into his backpack and grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water. He glanced to his right. The fisherman was back. He sat there on his stool with his fishing pole but again no line in the water. Fed couldn’t take it any longer.
“You know to catch a fish you need to put the line in the water.” Fed called out.
“I’m not here to catch any fish.” The man called back.
Fed felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. There was something odd about the man. Fed just couldn’t figure out what.
“Then why do you have a fishing pole with you?”
The man looked at the pole. “Oh this, it’s just for show.” The man threw the pole into the air amd it disappeared. Fed just stood there with his mouth hanging open.
“Wow, cool trick. You a magician or something.”
“Or something...the name I go by today is George. I’m an Angel sent here by God to retrieve your soul when your time comes.”
Fed looked at the man. ” Wait, what....an Angel sent to retrieve my soul.”
”It is what I said. And you do not believe I am who I say I am.”
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Fed took two steps back.
“I don’t but He does.” Death known for now as George pointed skyward. “Then the message is given to me.”
Fed still didn’t believe the man. He figured him for some kind of weirdo magician. He decided to call his bluff. “So if you’re truly an Angel, prove it to me.”
“Oh bother, you humans are troublesome at times. Not believing until the time comes then you wished you’d believed before but then it is too late. No matter I will show you
“You’re the Angel of death. Have you come to take me home now?”
Death waived his staff, what was once the fishing rod. Now rematerialized. They popped back up in the town down at the bottom of the hill. Fed looked around,
“Hey how’s we get here so quickly? Wait, the town looks so different. Almost like it did twenty years go.”
“It is because it is twenty years ago. Long before your illness. See over there, you, your wife and children getting ready to take your first hike as a family.”
Fed teared up. He’d been young and healthy then. Around 30 years old. Long before the cancer took over. It wasn’t fair he was only in his early fifties. He should have many more years to go.
Death looked at Fed. He felt sympathy for the human. “Okay enough on to the next stop.”
“Wait.” said Fed. “What was that all about?”
Death looked at Fed. “It is protocol to show one their previous life before they move on to the current life. I think it is even the basis for one of your human Christmas stories. Now once again let us move on to the next location.”
He lifted his staff again. They appeared in the current time in Fed’s home. The scene there was chaotic.
Fed’s wife Caroline was talking frantically into a phone while his two sons Jake and Eli were standing next to her.
“No,officer he hasn’t been missing for 24 hours but I know he hiked up into the mountains. No, I don’t know which trail he took. You don’t understand he’s sick and on chemo…”
“Mom, tell them they need to organize a search party.” Said Eli.
“No officer, he doesn’t have his cell phone.”
“Dear, I’m right here.” Said Fed, as he got close to his wife. “Look right here. You don’t need to call the cops. There's nothing wrong.”
“She can’t hear you. Technically you’re not physically here. You’re body is still up in the woods”
“Do not fret, you body is protected from all predators.”
“Why am I here?”
Death shook his head. “I brought you here to show you how much you are still loved by your family and how much they need you. It is why you must fight instead of giving up on life. Did you not go up to the lake to spend you final moments? Maybe to spare them the pain of watching you pass on to the next life.”
Fed looked at death. “Maybe, but how did you know…wait? He looked at Death. He suddenly realized something. “You’re the Angel of death. Have you come to take me home now?”
Suddenly they were back at the lake.
“Yes, I’m Death the deliverer of souls to the afterlife.” Death bowed then looked at Fed. “I am not here for you for it is not yet your time. I’m here to help you see how much you are wanted and needed by your family. Your departure time is not yet set in the Creator’s Book of Life. There are times when I’m called on to do special tasks like this one. So I encourage you to fight on amd spend quality time with your family. So for now I must depart.” Death faded out.
Fed set about packing up everything and set off back down the trail. He hurried to his car, got in and headed home. As he walked up the sidewalk his wife and children opened the door and came out greet him.
Across the street Death stood with another Angel of death named Gwen. She looked at him.
“Do you always take it upon yourself not to take a soul when it is time?”
He smiled, “Only when I am offered special dispensation by the Creator.”
Gwen smiled, “So He decided to heal the human”
“Yes,” Death said as they faded out of sight
© 2021 Timothy Whitt