The Angel of Death struggled to open her eyes. At first, the problem was epistemological. She wasn’t sure where she was, or even who she was.
But then the cloudiness of sleep gave way to a more alert state. She tried opening her eyes, but still, something felt off.
She opened the right eye without too much difficulty. There was a bit of sleep crusted at the corner, but she wiped it away.
The room felt cold. Its ceiling was white, and she realized she didn’t know where she was.
Why wasn’t her left eye opening?
She blinked her left eye a couple times, then heard shuffling. She turned over and saw a woman with the head of a bull. Bullhead was leaned over a worktable. She wore bloodstained jeans, which matched uncomfortably with his bloodstained apron.
“Where am I?” the Angel of Death asked.
Bullhead turned around, smiling when she saw her. “You’re awake.”
“Am I dead?”
“No,” she said, moving closer to her. “Far from it. Or maybe you’re close. I’m not too sure how being an An–”
“Where am I?”
Bullhead looked at her, a white birthmark framing her eyes. It was in the shape of the number eight, or infinity. It looped around one eye, crossed around her nose, then looped around the other one.
“You look wonderful,” she said, moving a hand towards her face.
She smacked Bullhead’s hand away, and Bullhead felt sorry.
“Where. Am. I,” the Angel of Death asked.
“Your friend,” Bullhead said. “The one who can’t speak. He brought you here.”
“And you trusted the toothless man carrying the winged woman?”
“The Kaleidoscopic Angel told me it would go something like this.”
“You know,” she said, “you have an awful habit of not answering this simple fucking question.”
He looked around, confused. “Which is?”
“Where am I?”
“Right. Sorry. You’re in my lab. I was hoping you’d wake up before–”
Bored by Bullhead’s inability to give up any interesting information, the Angel of Death decided to explore her eye further. She placed her hand up to it. Then, she screamed.
“My eye,” she said. “It’s–”
“It’s metal!” she yelled. “What have you–”
“Your eye was permanently unusable, so I replaced it with something better,” Bullhead said, looking rather proud of herself. “I think you’ll like it, but I wanted to make sure you were acclimated to your surroundings before turning it on.”
She raised her hand to flick the Angel of Death, before saying, “May I?”
With a sigh, the Angel of Death said, “Go ahead.”
Bullhead flicked her temple, and suddenly the Angel of Death could see again.
Red light poured out of her. The red light was her eye.
“You came in here bleeding profusely, so you needed a replacement. It’s an improvement, if I don’t say so myself.”
She pressed at the side of her temple. With each tap she saw things differently: infrared, x-ray, normal vision, microscopic vision. It seemed there was nothing she couldn’t see.
“This is… something.”
“We really have to be going.”
“Why?” the Angel of Death asked. “Where do we have to be going?”
“It’s better if you see it,” Bullhead explained, though that really wasn’t much of an explanation at all.
The Angel of Death leaned up from the table, head spinning with all this new information. She’d seen the future, she’d seen a new Angel of Death, she’d had to become a new Angel of Death.
It was all so much to take in, so quickly. But she could do it, of course. For she was the Angel of Death, and she’d seen many a tragedy.
She swung her legs off the table, bare feet hitting the cold tile of Bullhead’s lab. She stood up, unfurling her metal wings.
She did a double take, blinking. Her wings were metal now.
“Right, sorry,” Bullhead said. “I forgot to tell you. Your wings were also permanently damaged.”
A piece of the Angel hated the wings. It felt like she’d been violated. Someone had removed her wings, without her permission. That said, they had been broken, and these looked so nice.
“You do know I can rip out your soul, right?” the Angel of Death asked.
“Removing your wings was a life-saving operation,” Bullhead said. “You were out cold, so I couldn’t ask if you wanted them replaced. But I figured you would want them replaced, and your speechless friend seemed to agree.”
“You could understand Val?” the Angel of Death said, a bit of surprise tinting her voice.
“He punched me when he seemed dissatisfied with what I was doing,” Bullhead said.
“And what were you doing that dissatisfied him?” the Angel of Death asked, willing her metal wing to bend towards her, so that she could touch it with her hand. It was hard, but pliable. Sharp, but beautiful. Truth be told, she loved these wings.
“I was going to paint these wings.”
The Angel of Death couldn’t help but crack a smirk. “That’s my Val. Where is he?”
“It’s all somewhat complicated,” Bullhead explained.
“Where is he?” the Angel of Death asked.
“He’s fine,” Bullhead explained, “at a theater, of his own volition. It’s just complicated to explain because of the technology involved. Would you walk with me?”
The Angel of Death glowered at Bullhead, ready for all sorts of treachery. In this world, they had the sort of weaponry that could kill an Angel of Death. That changed her paradigm — made it so that she needed to be more careful about these things. But still, Bullhead seemed so innocent. The Angel of Death stood up.
“Lead the way,” the Angel of Death said.
Bullhead led the way out of her lab and into a long white hallway, blabbering. “I really am very appreciative about what you and your friends have done, and also what they’re going to do. This whole thing’s my fault, and I feel rather awful about it.”
“Haven’t a clue what you’re talking about,” the Angel of Death said.
“My name’s Lu-Ann,” Bullhead explained. “I’m the scientist who messed up the timeline using a time machine, and I wanted to make up for all the pain I’ve caused you.”
“You’re the one who’s responsible for the apocalypse?”
“Not really,” Lu-Ann said, “though in a sense, I might be responsible for two. I try not to think about it too much, these days.”
“Okay,” the Angel of Death said, annoyed. They finished walking down the hallway and began walking up a flight of stairs.
“Anyway,” Lu-Ann said. “I’m so appreciative of what you, Val, and George did for this world. So I made sure to bring you guys here, where you would be safe.
“You were responsible for the apocalypse?”
“I tried helping the god who fixed everything. I sent a robot back in time, and he did a lot, but he malfunctioned a bit, and… Well, I’m sorry about your son.”
The Angel of Death stopped before the doors, brimming with rage. “Are you the one responsible?”