Bang You're Dead
By Stuart Warren
A city of the celestial virtues, burning in the golden hue of the heavenly display of glory; six soldiers enter a forgery. Two leave, stained with guilt. A high priest enters a castle of iron and stone and makes a deal with the devil. Gas veins spew toxins into the azure sky tainted with coal and darkness.
Father Gara, bespectacled, enters his car. The driver Deftus holds the door obediently. Gara pauses, his eyes lingering on the stream of sentience flowing up and down stream. They are alone, he thinks.
That's when the bomb blows up.
A shrill, piercing typhoon assaults his senses, throwing him to the curb. Gauze envelops him, numbness tingling in his extremities. A large man passes over him, black, pure. He holds a revolver to Father Gara's temple and whispers something severe. Slowly the sounds return to him, but not quickly enough. The man is gone.
Father Gara wakes up in a hospital bed. His body is aflame, his skin marred with bandages. Deftus sits in the corner, fast asleep. An endearing sigh escapes him. The lad turns over in his sleep. Lost in his mind, Father Gara wonders who did this to him, why? He recalls a recent conversation, one where he pledged to leave the Commission. So soon have the wraiths come for him. His opportunity to recant in before him. To take it would mean the end. His autonomy would never be the same. Better to die than not be a man.
Always better to die.
The Commission is famous for it's death clause, even more so for the creativity by which they are carried out. He thinks, wonders to himself what a car had to do with it. It was a nice car, but not his favorite. It did not belong to anyone either. As a man who ferries the souls of the damned to hell, a car seems appropriate. Death Warden, Father Gara was know for in his day, when he was fit, young.
So who was it? How long did he have? Father Gara lay in his bed and thought about this.