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“Mmmnnnuuuh, ‘nother ten minutes…”

He batted his hand lazily towards his mother, and was about to go back to sleep when he realised something.

The figure standing over him was not his mother.

He opened his eyes and sat up with a start.

“Hurry up, or you’ll be late.”

He blinked. It was definitely not his mother. Whether male or female, he couldn’t quite tell – the features seemed to shift somehow – but his mother definitely did not have soft feathered white wings, or a light shining from behind her head.

The stern expression, however, that was familiar.

“What- who- where?”

The angel sighed. “Look, I know you died in your sleep, but this is faintly ridiculous. I could have woken half the cemetery in just the time it’s taken to rouse you. If you don’t get going now, you’ll miss your appointment and then you’ll have to take a number and wait.”

He became aware that his mouth was hanging open like a slack-jawed yokel and closed it. “Um, appointment for what?”

The angel rolled his/her eyes and tapped a pen upon a clipboard. “Judgement Day, of course. What did you expect to be raised from your grave for?”

He looked down and realised that he was sitting up in a slightly rotten coffin, not the bed he had thought he was in. A thought occurred to him. “Isn’t there supposed to be, um, a great big trumpet or something”

The angel gestured impatiently for him to get moving and he climbed out of his coffin and followed.

“The original design was to wake everybody up with a ‘great big trumpet’, yes,” said the angel. “But after centuries of observation we realised that you lot simply don’t behave well under those circumstances. We don’t want millions of you all trying to get your judgement at once. It would be pure chaos.”

He looked over the angel’s shoulder at the clipboard, trying to see his name on the list.

“So instead you made appointments for everybody who ever died? Won’t that take a really long time?”

The angel smiled for the first time as they reached a large waiting room that seemed to appear out of nowhere. It was a thin smile that didn’t reach anywhere near those androgynous eyes. “This is an end of the world situation. We have all the time we want. Take a seat.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: I just had to step away from the strict interpretation of the card or its imagery for this one. This idea amused me too much not to write!)

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