Roughly 158,000 people die in the world
every day. Thousands of Necro angels carry their spirits to Cleansing
Planes to be processed, evaluated, and reincarnated.
as of right now, the total number of Necro angels working on the
earth is about 4,000. That sounds like a lot, but it's less than one
Legion of angels. Each of us has, typically, 30 to 70 spirits to
transport each night, depending on how populated our area of the
Sadly, not all of us get along very well. We're
split into groups, factions, mini-legions... whatever we choose to
call ourselves. We have different beliefs and different ways of doing
our jobs. There are even differences of opinion within my own, small
legion of nine.
But the Seraphim, our Holiest-of-Holy
Higher-Ups, don't seem to care whether or not there are divisions,
squabbles and fights between Necros because they rarely ever
intervene. They hardly ever come up for air from behind their copies of the Holy Writ, or so I'm told.
Nevertheless, my legion, the Necro 9,
met last night concerning my boyfriend's knowledge of my job as a
"When and where are we actually meeting?"
Levi asked as we stared in the dark at my ceiling. I had tried to
explain the specifics to him earlier.
"We usually meet in
the Hollow," I told him. "It's not a place you can find on
a map, exactly." I tried to imagine what it would look like to
Levi. "For us it's a home base where we can relax, but it's also
where we plan out strategies against Revenants. Protecting you from
them is our first priority, obviously."
I decided it
would be quicker to show him than to explain it to him again.
trust me," I said. I felt in the dark for his hand, and we were
off, lifted right out of my room, high above the brown row of roofs,
as if by the hand of a God.
We were carried through the Astral
Plane and into another. Technically, I had just separated Levi's soul
from his body, which now lay dormant, as if asleep, only slightly
colder to the touch. I wasn't about to tell him the specifics; his
spirit was safer here with me, anyway.
We found ourselves in
darkness, only we were able to see each other as clearly as if
lit by the sun at noon.
What little of the room we could
see first appeared to us in raindrops of color and light, streaking
downward and running in rivulets until we were standing together in a
room with bright green walls and white furnishings. We felt a push
from below as we settled onto a relaxing, white settee. I was suddenly
aware of eight more minds in this faux-physical plane. They appeared
around us, some sitting and others standing.
late." The words came from a far corner of the room, where a
young twenty-something man stood, arms crossed. His hair was bright
orange, and he hadn't shaved his beard lately. He wore a bright
yellow tee, blue jeans and a crooked smile.
Salvatrice said. She was sitting on a couch to Chase's right. "It's
a pleasure, Levi."
"Yes, we hope you feel welcome,
Levi," said a young Black woman sitting next to Salvatrice. "My
name is Adilah."
We proceeded to go around the room in
this fashion--everyone except Alma told Levi his or her name: On
the couch to our left sat Lee Bartelt, wearing a loud pink blouse,
jeans and sunglasses that rested above her eyebrows. There was also
Cora Sandell, the newest and youngest Necro. She actually stood up
and shook Levi's hand before she sat down again next to Lee. Isaac
Shao sat alone in a white armchair; he didn't look up when he said
his name. Finally, Emory Garrett, a fair-haired young man, sat on the
same couch as Alma, directly across from us.
begin then," Alma said after everyone was done. "First of
all, Cameron is to be congratulated on his well-fought battle with
Almost immediately, the sound of soft
clapping filled the room. A part of me felt like I was at Senior
Bingo with Levi's grandmother. I had to remind myself that Cora and I
were minorities in that we were the only Necros in the room who were
less than a hundred years old. This evening's meeting felt more like
the meeting of a social club than anything else, really. It was a far
cry from the usual business--Revenant sightings and reports took up
most of our time these days. I was rarely ever invited to meetings in
which the other Planes were discussed. Emory, Alma, and the others often
left the earth to deal with powerful Revenants on Canaan and Gaia,
two other planes, similar to ours, but populated with humans at
different stages of evolution, the others tell me.
"This evening may be unusual
in that we are not preparing strategies against Revenant forces,"
Alma said, "but it concerns a matter that is even more
No one spoke. They were all either beginning to sift through my thoughts or Levi's, I realized. I was upset that even Salvatrice had
not asked permission to read our minds this time.
is not about you, personally, Levi," Salvatrice explained
apologetically. "We're sorry you had to be a witness to the
struggle on the shore. It must have been terribly..."
over and done with," said Alma. "Now we must take it to a
vote. Cameron has known for several years that we discourage close, personal
relationships with lesser mortals...."
She was beginning
to push my buttons and she knew it. I stood.
"May we say
something?" I asked loudly. "On Levi's behalf, can we stop
talking as if he's not here?"
Levi gave me a funny look.
"Thanks," he said sarcastically. "I would like to say,
though," he continued, "I won't tell a soul. You all can read my mind, right? You can
see that it's true, then."
A puzzling look crossed Alma's
face. All of a sudden, I was hearing the others' voices inside my
head, and I didn't like what they were saying....
I heard Salvatrice's voice rise above all the others. Take a
look for yourself! she implored.
I couldn't help
it--for the first time in our relationship, I dug through Levi's mental defenses, seemingly prying into his thoughts--something I had vowed
never to do to Levi.
Yet, even as I tried, I was pushed back
by an indescribable force.
Now, I may not be as developed in
the telepathic department as Alma, Salvatrice, and the others, but I
can usually tell the difference between the minds of humans, angels
and Revenant spirits--primarily by the strength of will it takes for
me to penetrate one's defenses. By far, Levi's defense system
was the strongest I'd seen thus far.
Alma spat out the word as she would a curse. "Get him out of
And with that, the meeting was over
as quickly as it had begun. The bright green room was washed away,
and we were once again flying through space and time toward the
Terran Plane. Even if they had wanted to, I was usnsure whether any
one of my fellow Necros could have changed Levi's memories without
"Levi!" I gasped. We were once again in
"What happened?" he asked.
kicked us out. They had become afraid of
"I could feel them doing something to me,"
he held a hand to his forehead. "It really hurt,
"I'm so sorry..." I was waiting for
one of my felow Necros to appear, sword in hand, above where Levi sat
on my bed. I imagined my Mother opening the bedroom door and finding both of us lying dead in a pool of our blood. "...but we have to
grabbed his arm and hurried with him down the stairs. Eleven o'clock still.
Mom had just gone to bed, probably.
did she call me that, Cameron?" Levi said once I had closed the front door.
"What? You mean, Alma?" I asked.
it she had said? I racked my brain. Whatver it had been, I was not
familiar with the term, much less the language. It had the ring of
Holy Writ about it.
"You heard her," Levi said. "She
called me 'The Beast,' Cameron... What the hell for?"
stand here now. I'm looking at him, hoping he can't read in my
thoughts the same fear I feel emanating from him, powerfully now.
I find myself asking the same thing.