Somewhere between dying and death he appears. A phantom of unbelievable horror disguised as a man cloaked in shadows; shrouded in blackened wings granted by God himself, yet tainted by the sins of angels and man. A brittle balance forged long ago by one of just many like him. Rather by swarm or single entity, their appearance means one last judgment; one final journey. They hold a right of choice to decide whether you toil in listless abandon until saved by the living or perish as though nothing more than dirt. Your grandiose opulence is worth as much as the poor man’s empty hands when he comes for you. Kings, heroes, villains, and even the innocent babe have been carved by his wicked blade and cord of judgment. Pray that you are ripped from the world of the living and given one final chance at redemption; pray that you are loved enough to be prayed for. If not, you shall simply cease to be at the end of iron or rope. And it is a moment in which he finds himself once more; another in infinite.
“Others are suffering more than you. Your pain is not that bad.” he says as he is yet to fully appear before a dying man; a haunting voice emanating from a dark fog forming in the man’s vision.
“Who…wha….are you?” croaks the man through the blood now building in his throat and lungs. The world he was once in now vanishing before him.
“Pray for deliverance with your final breath and you shall soon know. Or do not. This is your final choice before I make my own.” said the voice once again, now much more defined.
“I’m…I’m afraid….I don’t want to die!”
“It’s much too late for that now. Make your amends, accept it, or not. As I said, the choice is still your own for now.”
But the scene was clear to him now as the man came closer to death. There would be no true chance at redemption from a man who lived a life of reckless aberrance. Every choice the dying man made was a step closer to this moment without him ever realizing it. He lived by pushing the boundaries for the simple intoxication of adrenaline. And now he would die for it due to a terrible motorcycle accident on a dusty highway; in the place he was no longer completely a part of.
“Are you…are you a demon?” asked the dying man.
“No. I’m an angel.” the Memitim said, now fully materialized in his near-human form, twisted black wings on full display behind his back.
“An…angel? You’re here to…save me?”
The Memitim let out an exaggerated audible sigh while placing his hands behind his back.
“I’ve already given you that chance, my friend. But you’re running out of time.”
One hand held the hilt of his blade, hidden away; the other brilliantly corded twines of rope. He had yet to decide which would be used. One meant an existence erased forever and the other one final chance in a plain of empty sadness.
“You must hurry now. I’m not the only one who comes for you.”
“Who…who else will come? Can they…save me?” the man’s eyes lit up in an almost unnoticeable manner at this revelation had the Memitim not seen it a countless number of times before.
“We do not save and neither do they. What is your choice?”
“Fuck you, devil.” said the man.
So the sword had been chosen for him, which made no difference to the Memitim. The defiance of the man is what doomed him to the obscurity of no longer existing. His tongue gave up the chance at reaching paradise. The arm that held the blade was now firmly above his head, ready to strike down and enact judgement on the dying man. But before the blow could be delivered, a haunting and familiar sound of daunting drums became apparent somewhere further out in the landscape of fog now fully surrounding them.
“I tried to warn you; to give you a chance at an easy way out. But now look what you’ve done. Do you honestly think you’re worth it to me to fight for your soul?” the Memitim said while looking deep into the dying man’s now glossy eyes. “You better hope they take you before I do.”
Through the sounds of ancient drumming came the thunderous rumbling of horses, perhaps dozens of them. The Memitim transformed himself from the image of a man with an angel’s wings to something much more sinister; his true image that was reserved solely for battle with other soul reavers. The depraved visage of a human skull replaced his unremarkable face, while his body became a tangled mess of flesh, muscle, and dark fabric flowing like a doomed whirlpool. He grew in size, as well, to something much more daunting and prepared to do battle with multiple relentless enemies. His wings, too, grew to much more impressive size and he used them to float now above the dying man’s body in a defensive posture as he awaited the wretched horsemen.
Be gone, psychopomp! This wayward soul is ours to return to life anew! If not, you too shall perish here!
“You do not frighten me, minions of Yama. Come now and let us fight for it.”
The massive form of a dozen warhorse now trotted out of the darkness into the opening created between the worlds of the living and the lost; the battlefield of death. The Memitim was no stranger to this band of Yamadutas, Yama’s agents, and knew of their relentless determination. For a moment upon seeing their forms before him, just below, he yearned for his own kind to be beside him. But they were not and he was alone in this skirmish. A fight now would spell only trouble for him and he knew it. Another choice would have to be made; and soon.
You fool! You are alone and we are immense. Is this simple life worth your own?
“There is no life here. There is only choice. He made his and I am to make my own. You will not stop me from doing so any further.”
The Memitim, knowing that he could not survive such a conflict alone, spun his sword in his hand and flung it towards the dying man’s body; striking him in the chest and piercing through his very being. The man’s body instantaneously evaporated into the very fog that surrounded them all.
No! You’ll pay for that mistake with your own cursed blood!
“I think not, horsemen.”
He simply allowed himself to be engulfed into the clouds, as well, as the Yamadutas began their angry charge towards him. Though they threw spears and shot arrows towards his evaporating form, none of them would do damage now as he was lost in the mist. There was no shame in avoiding such a fight, as he had accomplished what he had been tasked to do. A judgement had to be made and he did so. It did not matter whether or not any of the Others would be angered. Yama was strong, but ultimately unremarkable in the grand story of this endless narrative. It was only logical to avoid another battle of the faiths when the prize meant so little to any of them. There would always be another soul to fight over; that truth is a constant.