These streets are what I call home, I have no fixed abode, no family, no front door. All I have are the places that I wander. The cold dark and dirty streets that are the city I find myself in tonight. I am here for a purpose as I am most nights, I would struggle with my conscience Im sure if I had one at all. What I see doesn't disturb me now Im used to it the weakness of man knows no boundaries.
I see the hookers standing on the corners in their mini skirts and fish net tights. Their tops open but covering enough to make themselves just about decent. I watch as the cars come and go every few minutes, some stop and the hooker will lean in before the door opens and they disappear once again. Some make it back but others never return, a statistic on a crime sheet that will never be solved. I laugh to myself when I think of the outrage people show when they realise their is a killer amongst them. It doesnt matter then that these are girls from the streets, the mad man needs to be stopped. They never look at the issue before something happens. I don't mind this makes my job so much easier when people don't care.
The streets are lined with buildings that reach high up into the night sky. Windows are open as people try to cool down forgetting that it makes it easier for the prey of the night to collect what they are after. The neon lights of the store fronts reflect onto the pavements I walk upon. Men and women stumble in out of them all looking for something different but truly all looking for the same thing. They clutch brown bags in their hands hoping what they hold will give them what they seek, redemption.
I wander into a bar, its dark and dingy, the smell of sweat and stale beer hang in the air. I sit beside a man who is resting his head on the bar, he's too far gone for tonight, a shame he would have made a nice challenge for me. I watch the people around me, there in the corner is the sports fan who has bet his wages on the outcome of a college game of football. I watch the despair in his face as he realises hes lost it all and I smile to myself, it makes me happy. He will inflict more pain and misery on his family tonight than I ever could. I look at the barman standing there a towel in one hand and a glass in another a vacant look across his face.
I recognise his face. He doesn't know it but we've met before. His secret is eating away at his insides. He try's to control the urges but he is fighting a losing battle, a couple of more incidents like the one the other night and I will be back to collect form him. He doesn't know it yet but when I return he will thank me for being there for him only to realise too late that I am the last person he wants to see.
I leave the bar and head out into the night once again, the warmth of the night doesn't affect me I don't feel it like others. There are no stars tonight, the moon doesn't shine, the sky is cloudy and thick, where shadows would appear there are none. I wander down an alley way the gap narrow and the walls of the buildings high. The perfect place for me to hide away for a while and watch and wait until its time.
I hear the beep of horns and the shouts of frustrated citizens echo through the night. Some of them wish for a better life, of being able to achieve great things for themselves and their families. If they are strong enough they will evade me and what I have to offer them. Most of them are not though, most of them are weak and stupid and unable to see anything other than the greed that is in front of their eyes. These are the ones that will learn more about me than perhaps they ever wanted to.
I watch as the man walks towards me, he's young in his mid 20's, but he has the look of desperation in his face and I realise its time once again for me to help him. I walk slowly behind him as he staggers from one side of the alley to the other. Bouncing of the brick walls as he does so. When he finally reaches into his pocket and pulls out the needle filled with the brown liquid which will take away his pain if only for a little while. He stops for a moment and considers whether to place it into his arm, into the veins that have been injected a hundred times before. He is wavering now, wondering if it is all worth the pain and illness it will bring him when the hit wears off.
I make my move and brush past him slowly, for a second I think he sees me but not this time he wont Im too fast for him. He sits down his back against the cold damp brickwork and gets himself ready to take away his pain. I leave him to his will, I have no need to see what he does my work is done and I move on once again. I shall return in a few hours to collect what has now become mine.
I head to the graveyard where so many of my friends now lay. Some of them I still see every day but others I don't, they chose a different path from me. There are no hard feelings it was their choice after all, some are stronger than others as Ive said before, its the weak ones I hunger for, they are the ones that keep me going.
Every now and then I like to set myself a challenge, to aim higher up the food chain than the ones that are the easiest to catch. The thrill of the chase is what drives me on. When money is the key then power will follow. Most of them will do anything they can to achieve both of these in their misguided thoughts that it will make them better and more happier people. Its only when they reach the top, the place I allow them to reach that we finally meet face to face and I take what is rightfully mine. They beg and plead for forgiveness and promise to turn the other cheek but he never answers their prayers. He knows as well as I do that their chance will come when we meet to share our spoils.
I reach our usaul meeting place the bag now heavy on my sholuders. We meet every night, whatever the weather or time of year. We have been doing this for so long now that it takes minutes to complete what we come here for. The choice of venue was his, at first I was a little unsure but its grown on me, the sense of irony only adds to what we come here to do. The metal gates at the front of the graveyard are closed once again but I pass through them without any effort.
I walk past the freshly dug graves, the flowers still laid beside them. The families mourn the bodies but we have the souls. Its what we do, night after night, day after day. I reach the tombstone that he favours, Im unsure why it has to be this one but I have never asked why. It is a large headstone with an angel at the top, the name in scripted on it reads of a child who lost his life at a young age. I don't recognise the name I didn't harvest this ones soul. Perhaps I wonder was he too late collecting this one and it now floats lost forever in eternity that exists between his world and mine.
If a soul isn't collected within 24hrs of the body passing then it will forever float between the two worlds. It cannot be collected by either of us, it will remain there for a thousand years until it will finally fade away. I collect my souls with a plan inside of me, I harvest for the future. Him? He collects with his heart and this is why he is disappointed by so many. The head will always rule the heart if you let it.
It make me laugh when humans say he was one of a kind, sometimes thats true but mostly it isn't, the soul is placed into another human as and when we see fit. It all depends on what devilment I wish too create as to when I pass on only the best souls I collect. As for him? I don't know why he does what he does and I have no reason to care. We walk these lands for different reasons, always have and always will do. It cannot be changed it has to be this way.
I sit and wait for him to arrive and wonder how tonight will end. I listen intently for a sound that will give away the fact that he is here and at first I hear nothing. The rustle of the leaves in the tree breaks the stillness of the night. He is here I can feel his presence around me, I turn my head and wait to see him appear through the darkness. He doesn't disappoint me. We eye each other wearily. He looks no different from every other time Ive seen him. Tall and athletic his wings fold neatly behind his back, he is the one who is sent to barter with me, to try and save some of the souls I have collected.
He stands before me and nods, we never shake hands as for us to touch would bring down the world as the humans know it. We are different but the same. Once we stood side by side, in the early days when we looked over this world together, now we are opposites driven by our own needs and the weak willed nature of the humans we watch over.
He moves closer towards me and places a bag on the floor in front of him. It is a brown sack tied at the top by a golden rope that shimmers with light in the darkness of the graveyard. I watch as it moves slightly, there are hands trying to rip open the bag but they are not strong enough they never are. He brings them here for me, as part of the deal I lay my own bag in front of me, the same type of bag, the same golden rope around it yet the contents couldn't be more different.
His bag is filled with the souls of the humans that cannot be saved, they committed crimes so heinous that they will never make it upstairs to the place they all aim for. They are for me to carry back with me and condemn them to a life full of hell and damnation. My bag contains souls that he believes he can save, the drug addicts, the hookers, the alcoholics. He believes with the right encouragement they will repent their sins Me? I know that 75% of them will one day end up in a bag that he has in front of him now.
He has to carry that hope with him, the belief that one day they will repent and see the light in their hearts and accept him and allow him to carry them forth. I know the truth and accept it greedily. The human spirit is weak, it always has been. I single touch from me and they allow temptation to ride them into oblivion. I watch them closely then when the time is right I will pass through them and collect the souls deep within their bodies. I will cherish only the darkest of souls the ones that have a glint of light I will trade with him for the ones he has collected. We are both the same but oh so different. I live for my work, he sees his as a burden.
When you dance with me under the deep blue sea you leave any hope of the Angel of Mercy rescuing you.