Prologue

If Robbie Hodge could write a letter in his last moments, it would happen twice.

The first letter would have been an apology. It would have been filled with agony as he begged and begged for forgiveness. He had been afraid of death, of what he was about to face. It wasn’t a fear of the unknown, but of what he did know. When you died, one of three things could happen: you could receive an offer to become an Angel, an offer to become a demon, or you could receive no offer at all.

 

Robbie had been possessed by a demon. In those last moments, he knew everything that was happening, everything his body was doing. He knew the bitterness that had led to his vulnerability, and he knew he didn’t deserve forgiveness.

He would have written a love letter, something to express that yes, he understood now. He was dying, but he had figured out why a demon had targeted him, and he had conquered it. When he died, he knew he was fading without a chance for last words. There were so many regrets, so many events that led to his possession and death. However, he did not regret the end, and he would have done it over again.

When it came time for the offer, he prepared himself to refuse the demon. He didn’t die for nothing. He lived with too many demons for him to spend death as one.

No demon came. Instead, there was a light, a figure that was terrifying enough to make him cower. He didn’t know who was behind the mask, but he knew the Angel had once been human. He wished there were words to describe it, to send home. He wished he could send out invitations for the celebration: Robbie Hodge’s Acceptance of the Angel Offer.

At first, being an Angel seemed like what he thought Heaven was: freedom. There were far fewer Angels than demons, but demons required a human Host to be on Earth, while Angels just had to make sure nobody knew who or what they were, but were otherwise allowed to roam. Robbie learned so many things, including how it took more to receive an Angel offer than a demon’s—it was a lot easier to live your life easily than properly.

There wasn’t a way for him to send a letter. He wasn’t allowed to contact his loved ones. He had a job to do.

The second letter wouldn’t have been too different from the first, minus three points.

The first would be a warning.

In Robbie’s last moments as an Angel, he had been building a house when he witnessed a bloodied, rotten, dying Host take the side of the demon who had possessed them. He was doing his duty, trying to help save the Host while unable to harm it, as human hands clamped down on his wrist. There was panic and desperation, emotions he thought had disappeared with his humanity.

He was dying, despite being an Angel, and he had to sound the alarm.

The second difference came after a wash of calm. It was the same thought but a different tone: He was dying, despite being an Angel. It was a fact and there wasn’t a way to add that warning. There wasn’t anything he could do, and that took the urgency away. He wouldn’t talk about the demons that had swarmed around the Host and himself that evening, where the bones of the house had become sharp shadows of cages. He wouldn’t describe his soul being ripped apart. He would have written how there was much less regret when you have done everything you could, even after death. He felt that his debt had been paid.

The third difference was his signature. While before he would have simply signed his name, now it would end with “Love, Robbie.” It was significant, if only to him, because it was the sign of one thing: He was still human. Yes, he had become an Angel, but he could still feel as he did before. He was done being an Angel and he was relieved. Now, someone else could take over, and he could finally, finally, rest.