Mohammad Yasir is a published author who likes to write about sciences, social issues, and various other topics relevant in today's world.
I was dead!
I had personally felt the chill of the specter on my toenails, and then looked down on the hospital bed on which my body lay. How I got to the hospital is a story for another day. This is not a tragic story, and this is not a ghost story either. This is a tale that will sound impossible and ludicrous, but it is one that deserves telling, and tell I shall, so here goes:
When my spirit reached above the clouds, it stopped in a large expanse of nothingness illuminated by an ethereal source of light. All around me, there was nothing except for space dust. Before I could make sense of what was going on…
“Welcome to the after-life Martin!” a looming and benevolent voice reached my ears.
“Is that God?” I called out, utterly shocked at hearing a voice when I could see nothing.
“Yes, Martin. And I have some upsetting news for you.” A comfortable sofa appeared behind me, “I think you should sit down.”
“Am I going to hell?” I was trembling at the thought as I lowered myself. Though looking back, why would I get a sofa to sit on before going to hell?
“No, nothing that severe.” The voice was much softer this time and I heaved a sigh of relief.
“God, what is going on? Is this where my fate will be decided?” I asked.
“No Martin. I have brought you here because you have work to do.”
“Work to do? What do you mean?” Didn’t He have angels for His work?
“Most people don’t know this, but all humans are assigned a guardian angel at birth. You were assigned one too, but he turned out to be very lazy. He was supposed to protect you today, but instead, he fell asleep. Now, I have called you here to decide his fate, and I will send you back after that.”
“You mean… you mean I get to go back? I get a second chance?” Well, that was lucky. I hoped I wasn’t being played with because let’s be honest, who in this world has ever done something heaven worthy. I really would have liked to go back.
“Yes, Martin. But whether your guardian gets one or not is entirely up to you.” At that moment, the mist in front of me dissipated and revealed a raggedy looking angel who was constrained to a chair with fine silken thread.
I felt rather annoyed with him for letting me die. However, before I decided on his punishment, something inside me decided to enquire about his side of the story. I asked him what he had to say for himself.
“I am really sorry, Martin!” he replied, “I was really tired. I didn’t get a moment’s sleep last night.”
“Why did you stay up so late?” I asked, rolling my eyes.
“Why did you?” he replied.
I was infuriated at him for putting the blame on me when he was responsible for my death. But looking back, I realized that I really had stayed up rather late last night for a party. The poor guy had been forced to do so as well and now, we both were paying the price. Since we were equally responsible, I decided the sensible thing would be to forgive and forget. I called out,
“God! I know what he deserves.”
“Say it, and it shall be!”
“I want him to be forgiven.” I announced my sentence.
“You mean you’re totally letting his mistake slide? I can send him down to hell if you like!” A perplexed voice came back.
“No.” I said firmly, “His fault isn’t that dire! Let him resume his job of protecting me.”
“Very well! Let that be!” With that, I found myself falling down and woke up back on my hospital bed. I was very much alive just like I had been promised. Had it all been a dream? But I could have sworn that there was a fiery gust of wind above me when I woke up. However, it blew away immediately.
Two weeks later, there was a knock on my door at around midnight. I groggily got up and opened the door to greet a seven-foot-tall creature covered head to toe in fire! I tried to scream but could find no voice, save for a gasp as I staggered backwards. The creature entered my house and I fell in sheer horror as it approached. Then, the flames slowly dissipated to reveal the same guardian whom I had forgiven not long ago. Only he was no angel! I had let the mistake of a demon slide and it was now visiting me!
I was sure that this was the end, but then, he smiled at me! And it was not the evil curl of a villain’s lips. No, this was a kind and friendly smile as he told me he was incredibly grateful for what I had done. He told me he had run away from hell when he was just three hundred years old and was now trying to live a better life. He hadn’t been sleeping the day I died. Instead, he had been trying to stay hidden from his master in hell. We got to talking and stayed up late once again, exchanging stories over sandwiches. He left some time before three O’ clock.
The next day, I got the promotion I had been after for a long time. Not only that, but a few subtle changes have also come into my life from then on. I get a boost of confidence when most required, and a bad feeling when the milk is about to boil. Every weekend, I am visited by my guardian demon, and we share sandwiches and coffee. I ask him how his life is going, and he asks me the same. Now, I am looking out for him, as much as he is looking out for me.
The Sleeping Angle was first published in an anthology about a couple of years back. The story is significant in my journey since it is the first ever of my works to get published in print.
As one might expect, a few obvious errors escaped my attention during the first print but now, I have published it here with a few subtle modifications. Let me know what you think.
© 2022 Mohammad Yasir