MEASURE TWICE: MAKING ANGELS
"Det gick sju dödens änglar
runt människornas hus
Och sex av dem var mörka,
men den sjunde han var ljus"
"Seven angels of death
walk the house of man at night.
And six of them are dark,
but the seventh, he is bright"
The number of people she has killed in the line of duty is two hundred and fifty-five. She walks the maternity wards of the STRIKE facilities at night, list and pencil in her hand. The room numbers are all the information she has, all she needs.
It is mercy. The barely begun lives are flickering already; they'll die anyway. The end she brings them is painless, leaves no mark on their small bodies.
It it practical. It frees up resources and beds. STRIKE is bleeding money and resources these days. More practical would be to have the vamps do it, but even hardened STRIKE officials cannot stomach that.
She is supposed to stay out in the hallway and she does if someone else is in the room. If not, she has been known to enter anyway. She slips her hands into the sterile gloves on the side of the container and reaches inside.
Rarely do they open their eyes at her touch. It is doubtful if they feel it. She does what she does to comfort herself. Sometimes her lips move, shaping the words to an old nursery rhyme or a half-forgotten lullaby.
More often than not, the slightest of nudges is enough to send them spiralling into the darkness. She wants to say she sends them home, but that isn't what she sees. She sees a void to swallow them up, she hears the wind roar, drowning out their cries. Anything else is wishful thinking.
When it's done, she puts the little body back into the container. She crosses out another number on the list and checks where she is to go next.
Lately, the list has been getting longer. Numbers are added at the bottom and sides in a dozen different hands. Drifting through the hallways in the gray light preceding dawn, she almost believes the list is endless.
And once she dies and goes to Hell, it will be.