The Companion

The Companion

A Story by Stan Lee

*language warning*



I’m a liar. I’ll tell you that straight up. Does that make a me a truthful liar if I admit to being a liar? It’s a paradox, I guess. Anyhow, I’m telling you that because I’m also a softy and I don’t want you to read all the way to the end of this just to be disappointed when it suddenly dawns on you.

My name’s Helel. I’m typing this on a 2019 model acer laptop, work-issued of course. It arrived today to replace the old one that died. I told my supervisor that it died of old age. Definitely nothing to do with how I managed to empty my coffee cup over the keyboard…

Outside it’s beautiful and sunny. The air is clear and there are baby unicorns frolicking under a sparkling crystal waterfall. You believe me, right?

Outside it’s just typical Sydney weather. Hot and smoggy. Smoke has seeped into the apartment through the cracks in… well, there's cracks in everything really. It's somehow managed to make the place smell even worse than usual. I guess it’s bushfires or burning off but I can’t be sure because I don’t have a TV or a radio. I don’t do technology, it's the root of all evil I say.

Speaking of evil, perhaps I’ll tell you about the story of Rudi because Rudi is dead now.


About a year ago my iPhone bleeped at me. I remember it for a few reasons. A., I almost never get messages and B., the sound startled me, and I dropped my beer. It smashed on the concrete floor by the bed and I managed to cut my foot open when I got up later. The message was from the department. It said I’d been assigned as a companion to Rudi. The department was forever messaging me and assigning me various jobs, but I’d never been a companion before. From what I know a person has to pray pretty damn hard to be assigned a companion, and this poor kid had obviously forgotten to be specific.


I met Rudi outside Pizza Hut that night. He looked like he wanted to run when he saw me, but he didn't.

“Hey Rudi? I heard you were wishing for a friend or angel or something?”

His eyes widened.

“I’m Helel. I’m your companion.”

Lonely kids don't really care about stranger danger. They do stupid reckless things just to feel something. It took very little persuasion until Rudi decided to take a walk with me down to Shipwreck Lookout.

“Do you have weed?” Rudi asked.

“Man, do I look like I have weed?”

“What’s in your backpack then?”


“You have a backpack under your coat, right?”

I laughed at that.

“Yeah Rudi. I have a backpack full of weed.”

Once we got to the lookout we sat down on the grass and talked for a bit. Rudi asked what had happened to my foot. I told him a shark bit it. He seemed like a cool kid, so I took the stash out of my pocket and we ended up smoking weed together while watching the lights paint van Gough on the water.


We ended up going down to the water almost every night and we’d end up just talking about anything and everything. Sometimes sober, often high. I laughed when Rudi told me he was a medic in the army. He told me that he’d read somewhere that soldiers overseas would get high all the time on el cheapo hash from the local dealers. I asked him if he thought it was true and watched as he shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

He had a beautiful laugh. Honestly it was the most beautiful sound I think I’ve ever heard. Rudi was just a beautiful kid all over. He was muscular and his skin was flawless. His hair was cut so short you could see his scalp and that accentuated his amazing facial structure, cheekbones, jawline, lips. I used to get all fluttery inside when he smiled. At the beginning I tried touching his shoulder and hand a few times, but he’d pull away awkwardly, so I stopped.

“You’re a beauty,” I told him one night. “Why are you wasting your life wishing for angels and doing drugs?”

He got to his feet and walked away.


The next time we were down by the water I decided to tell him the truth about the coat-backpack thing.

“I have wings.”

He stared.

“They’re real,” I said, “You can touch them if you like.”

“F**k off, sicko.”

I put my coat back on.

Rudi rubbed his eyes and frowned at the water.

“Why do you wear the coat then?” he asked.

“Pride cometh before a fall. I just don’t go around showing off my wings.”

“Does that mean you can fly?”

“Ever seen an angel that can’t?”

Rudi muttered something about how he’d never seen an angel before he didn’t see why an angel would appear now and not ten years ago when he’d needed one.

“What happened ten years ago?” I asked.

“You should know. You’re an angel.”

I shrugged.

Rudi started picking handfuls of grass and tossing them into the wind.

“My old man,” he said, “that’s what happened. I went to stay at his place when I was a kid. He… did things to me. I told my mum, but my old man is rich. He got the same lawyer as bloody Cardinal George Pell I reckon.”

That night I drowned myself in a bottomless brown bottle and when I regained consciousness the TV was in pieces.


The next six months are probably the best memories of my long and boring life. Incidentally I don’t even know how old I am. My birth certificate was lost or something. At least that’s what the department told me. But I digress. During the next six months I decided to clean up. There was no one thing that made me do it. Maybe it was just finally having something to do with my life and someone to hang out with. Maybe it was because of the one night we found a baby flying fox on the ground. It was moving a little and making small chirping noises, but its wing was badly damaged. We wrapped it up in Rudi’s jumper and he said he was going to take it home and try to nurse it back to health. The next time I saw Rudi his eyes were red, but he hadn’t been smoking.

We didn’t really talk about it. Rudi just said, “I don’t want to die.” And I said, “You won’t die. I’m an angel and I’ll look after you.” I think he knew I was lying but we both stopped smoking then and we started getting pizza to eat by the water instead.

When we were sober, we laughed a lot more than I’d expected. I’d tease him about his big ears and his mismatched socks and his too straight from braces teeth and just about anything else I could think of. He’d tease me endlessly about my taste in music and movies, as well as forever taunting and trying to convince me to fly.

“I reckon you can’t even fly,” he’d say.

“Hell boy, of course I can! But I’m not going to in case people see me,” I’d say, and then I’d hand him more pizza so he’d stop bugging me and eat instead. 

One night Rudi had a coffee in a takeaway cup. He offered me some, but I don’t drink coffee. I remember he told me a joke. Something about it saying in the bible that men should make coffee because Hebrews. We laughed. The joke caused the conversation slide into the origin of our names. Helel and Udi are both Hebrew names. We googled it on my phone and my name means “shining one” and his name means "my torch, burning stick".

“Stick with me my burning stick,” I said to Udi. And we laughed again.


The day Rudi told me he was being deployed to Afghanistan I put my fist through the old laptop. Rudi was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a son. Some guys have sons that don’t die but my Rudi is as mortal as they come. And now he’s in Afghanistan - probably dead. First you assign me a son and then you kill him off just like that? Is that really how the department is supposed to work? Operation Highroad - how ironic.

Rudi asked me, “Why can’t you come with me and keep me safe? Angels can do anything can’t they?”

But I couldn’t go with him. Not into a warzone. The saying goes something like, war begets fear and fear begets prayer and prayer dispels the devil. A lot of people forget that you know. They forget that devil is an angel too.

© 2020 Stan Lee

Author's Note

Stan Lee
please help with any suggestions?

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Angel in devil's shoes, salvation in the blues.
The devil is an angel too.
An interesting use of hashtags instead of headers or side notes.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Stan Lee

3 Years Ago

Thanks for reading Steve :) Hope you're keeping well

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Added on June 2, 2019
Last Updated on March 5, 2020


Stan Lee
Stan Lee

I've turned RRs off for now because I'm really behind. I have 50 to do! Hope to get to them... eventually :) “If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; ho.. more..