Fungal Halo

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A False Angel's Hunger

“I am not an angel.”

Her claim is hard to accept. Her snowy wings, delicate complexion, and shining halo make such a denial an absurdity.

Even if the look in her eyes is not at all the flat certainty of an angel acting in accordance with her Purpose.

Not that an angel wouldn’t kill a man if the impulse came upon her, but she wouldn’t just gut him like that.

They usually screech about righteousness and sin, too, in exactly the way she does not. This is not divine fury she radiates with her hands bloody and teeth bared.

Crowds always part to make space for an angel at work, but their fear is usually mixed with awe, and there is nothing awe-inspiring about the way she uses the body while it bleeds out.

Horror and disgust drive most to leave—or at least look away. Few watch what comes next.

The halo’s light dims. Its radiance extinguishes itself. All that is left is a ring of inert metal she lifts away from her head in a way no angel can.

She plunges the circle into the dead man’s spilled viscera.

An angel’s halo does not… drink… a person like that.

When she stands and slides the not-halo back into its place above her head, it flares back to life with a light that seems hungrier than anyone in the crowd noticed before, when they thought they knew what she is.

The blood—now dried on her wings, her body, and her face—flakes off and drifts lazily upward like the inverted falling of snow. As if tugged by invisible thread, the blood flakes find their way pulled into the ring of the not-halo, where they vanish seamlessly in its mouth.

The thing that is definitely not an angel arranges her garments on herself as though a performance of modesty might mean anything after what she just did.

The floor isn’t even stained when she leaves.