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The Angel of Death

An Entry for Mackenzie’s Ekphrastic Challenge.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Photo taken by Gerard DiLeo. "Stained glass repair at St. Mary of the Bay Church."

The following story was created for Mackenzie’s Ekphrastic Challenge.

I was assigned the above photo which was taken by Gerard DiLeo, then asked to write a story between 350- 750 words.

Here it is.


The wind howled and rain began to pour on the streets of Warren, Rhode Island.

Trick-or-treaters had long since escaped the cold and were tucked safely in their beds.

At St. Mary of the Bay Church, an old man knelt before the alter, “Forgive me Father for I have sinned-“

The double doors of the entrance burst open with a bang that reverberated off the walls and echoed into the rafters.

The old man rose to his feet on shaking legs, “Who are you?” He called in a startled voice as he squinted through the dim candlelight, at the dark figure that stood in the entryway.

The man was dressed all in black, he wicked away the rain droplets that threatened to soak through his knee-length trench coat. Then tipped the edge of his wide-brimmed hat up and flicked away a few stray drops of rain that impeded his vision.

As he laid eyes on the old man he smiled and his eyes shone with an eery blackness that consumed the entirety of them.

An audible gasp escaped the old man’s lips, “You’re kind is not welcome here.” He expressed with a slight quiver in his voice. “You- can’t enter, th-this is hallow ground.” He added as he braced himself against the altar.

“I’m not like the others, old man.” The man in black muttered with a sinister smile as he slowly lifted a foot and stepped inside.

“My God.” The old man whispered as he leaned even more heavily against the altar.

“He won’t save you.” The man in black stated as he opened the side of his drenched trench coat, to reveal a long double-edged sword in its sheath upon his hip. He grabbed the long black handle and pulled it out deliberately, taking his time to make a show of it as he admired the blade for a moment. Then turned his hungry gaze back to the old man and a menacing chill cut through the air.

But just as he began to walk toward the old man the silence of the church was broken by the shattering of glass from above them as the stained glass window in the steeple burst into millions of pieces. Many colours of glass showered over the man in black, as another man suddenly appeared in the aisle between the old man and him.

He was dressed in a grey well-fitted full-piece suit that clung to his body as he slowly stood up from a kneeling position. “You have no right to be here.” He spoke in a voice so deep it barely sounded like more than a low growl.

“I had a feeling you’d show up.” The man in black mumbled with an excited smirk.

“You aren’t welcome here, leave.” The man in grey commanded, as he raised his chin and fixed his hazy grey gaze upon the man in black.

The man in black chuckled to himself, “You have no power over me.” He commented, “If you want the old man, you’ll have to take him from me.”

“So be it.” The man in grey growled as he revealed a marbled white hilt within his suit jacket. Then slowly drew out the sickle-like weapon as a deep sigh escaped his lips.

Then in the blink of an eye, the two entities had come together. Sparks flew from the clashing of their swords coming together. Clanks and crashes filled the air as the pair of them fought for the upper hand, neither one seemed to have the edge over the other. Until a wet chunk split the air and the two entities were suddenly still, a blade protruded out of the man in black’s back. Then with a squelch it was drawn back through the way it came.

The man in black crumpled to the floor and a stunned silence hung in the air.

“Thank you, sir,” the old man began as he walked towards the man in grey.

But once he was within reach, “I didn’t come to save you,” he began, as he thrust the blade into the old man’s abdomen. “I came to collect.” He explained, then pulled it out abruptly.

The old man crumpled to the floor alongside the man in black and in the blink of an eye, the man in grey was gone.


Author’s Note:

When I was looking for inspiration for this story I found a note from Gerard, saying “stained glass repair at St. Mary of the Bay Church” and I thought this would be a great story to explain why they had to replace the window.

I also did a little research to find out where the church was located and have the actual town name in the story too.

Thank you for reading,

Donna Fox (HKB)

Short StoryHorrorFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for your support and feedback! 💚💙💜

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (16)

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  • Celia in Underlandabout a month ago

    Fantastic response to the prompt and love that you used actual info. So well written and utterly gripping! 🤍

  • Lana V Lynxabout a month ago

    Oh wow, this reminded me of Keanu Reeves’ Constantin. Great story, but I pity the old man who became a part of the collection.

  • Chloe Gilholyabout a month ago

    Lovely take on the prompt and the photo.

  • 😲 Donna, you had me hanging onto every word. Great job building such an intense story in so few words. Well done!

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Oof. I wasn’t expecting the old man to get it! Great story and fab writing.

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    Fantastic, Donna! I love the way you took the photo, and made it supernatural. I read what you said to Dharr and I like the notion of these men fighting over the old man's soul. I would LOVE to know why he's so important to them. Did he do something awful? I got the sense that there had been other "entities" in the town, or at least that the old man had noticed (perhaps no one else had seen them). I'm burning with curiosity! Your story was simultaneously supernatural and wild west in feel. What a cool combination; made for an excellent read. :D

  • Leslie Writes2 months ago

    You have a talent for action scenes! This felt like a scene ina movie! Well done!

  • Ahhhh! Again, soooo many questions!!! I wonder what the old man was about to confess, like what did he do? I wonder who the men in black and grey were. Maybe the grey one was the death, came to collect the old man's soul. I may be completely wrong, lol. I love to be left wondering! Also, I loveeeeee that you wrote this story as a prequel to that photo. Like that's such a unique way to go with this. And I love that you did all these research for your story! Hats off! I freaking loved it so much!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    I liked how you opened with a feeling of mystery and pushed immediately into the suspense of battle ending in a twist. Great job all around!

  • Gerard DiLeo2 months ago

    Very nice treatment of my photo. Nice how it circled around to why the glass needed repair. Thanks for your story, Donna (HKB)!

  • Andrei Z.2 months ago

    Poor old man!

  • Alexander McEvoy2 months ago

    Captivating, Donna!! I have so many questions about lore now!!! Your descriptions of the atmosphere for a rainy Halloween were excellent! And the sense of dread and foreboding from the man in black was exquisite :) loved the sheer power he emanated. My one critique is during the sword fight. “Then in the blink of an eye the two entities had come together, grappling with their weapons” is good, but I’ve never heard of swords grappling. Might I suggest “… had come together, sparks flying from clashing steel” or something similar?

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Great opening scene!!! It felt like the beginning of a villainous superhero movie and paid off! 👏👏👏

  • The man in the grey suit disappeared as his spirit dissolved Nice

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    He was doomed either way. I love the provision of a bank story.

  • JBaz2 months ago

    Action packed, and filled with a tense atmosphere. When the man in grey pulled out the sickle like weapon my mind went, hmmmm. Great story Donna, it goes with the picture perfectly

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