"So, will you become an angel? Or a demon?"
The words I had been dreading rang in my ears, dripping like poison from the lips of the old man in front of me. The only old man I had ever seen. What a lucky man he was, not having to choose. Everyone must choose a side eventually. Angels. Demons. A burden forced upon us by the gods. For some the choice is easy. For me, changing into either was nothing short of repulsive.
"Can I not become like you? Remain as I am?"
The man smiled, "I am an exception, my only purpose is to lead others along the path the gods decide. Your humanity cannot last forever and so I ask again, angel or demon?"
I ground my teeth in frustration, having never been able to make a choice, even with twenty years of notice. No matter which side my goals wouldn't change, "let fate decide then. Flip a coin and see what the gods truly want."
"As you wish," the old man produced a shimmering coin from thin air and tossed it above us.
The coin hung for a moment longer than seemed, as though gravity had simply stopped working. Then the spell was broken and it came plummeting to the black and white tiles beneath our feet. It clattered to the ground and rolled to a stop in front of me, a picture of an angel grinning smugly face up.
"Angel." The old man intoned.
My body was instantly wrapped in a glowing, white light. It burned. It burned. It burned. I screwed my eyes shut and screamed as six giant, white wings pushed themselves from my back, tearing me open. All the hair on my body burned away and my skin moulded into a new shape. No longer female. Not male either. Something alien. My skin perfectly smooth, only vaguely humanoid now. And when the change was complete still it burned.
When I was becoming accustomed to the pain I managed to blink open my new eye, a bulbous monstrosity that covered most of my face. I was in a circular white stone chamber, sitting on the ground. Before me, on a raised platform, stood an almost-man. The creature looked human but something was off that I couldn't quite put my finger on. He was hard to look at, my eye constantly sliding away and to the ground before I forced it up again.
"Welcome. The battle is raging outside! Rejoice for soon you will get to join it!"
I stared at him in silent question. I had no mouth anymore. I did not have a way to communicate. I suppose I didn't need to. His orders were probably all that mattered.
"You have an awful lot going on in there- your head I mean. The change is disorienting but you're more conflicted than most. I can see it, you want me dead."
My head snapped up to look at him, fear oozing from me. If he could read my mind there was nothing I could do. No way I would be allowed to live. No way I could escape my crummy fate and make my one wish a reality.
"Angels communicate through their minds, do not be afraid," he cooed, coming down towards me, "I want you to kill me and every last stinking member of my family. I've been waiting so long for someone like you, someone with a deep hatred of the gods. I had to fight for you. The coin flip had me fighting the other gods. Yes, you are something I am willing to take a chance on. Now, take this and kill me."
He had slipped a dagger into my hand. It was long, sharp, and deadly. I looked into his pure white eyes and saw nothing in them. No emotion despite the smile on his lips. I hesitated.
Why?, I thought and he seemed to understand.
"I've lived too long, even gods grow weary of the world and I want to leave it behind. But I cannot entrust my world's safety to my siblings and their children. I wish to die but I need the others to follow. So, kill me and then all the other gods. I need someone like you to do this."