The clock read 2 am and a tired form fell into the apartment. Chris didn't remember changing into his undershorts and drinking some of the muddy water from the tap at the kitchen sink. Sleep came quickly, but the sounds of a disturbed city woke him.
'I was waiting for you to wake up. About time.'
'What the hell!' He leapt up, looking around the room for the owner of the voice.
'Calm down Chris.' It was in the corner.
'Who do you think you are?!' Chris tried to focus his eyes on a figure that should be there, but there was only darkness.
Chris got up and stumbled over to switch on the light in an attempt to reveal a face behind the quiet sound.
'Don't do that please.'
Chris's hand paused inches from the switch as he turned towards the voice. Now a figure could be seen. A man sat in the corner near his dresser, his hands resting lightly on his knees.
'What do you want?' Chris looked over at his dresser, angry that the man was seated directly in front of the place where he knew his only protection was. Laying on the dresser was the gun that he didn't have the guts to take with him anywhere.
'Chris, I'm amazed you should ask such a question. I'm here to help you. To make you feel better. To let you be happy.'
Chris looked from the figure to the dresser.
'Look, I'm not into that sort of stuff, I'm strictly hetero-'
The man laughed a hard hearty laugh. Chris edged nearer the doorway to his bathroom, maybe he'd find a weapon of some sort in there.
'Chris, I'm not after your body, I'm here for your soul.'
Chris drew back against the wall. His heart thumped harder in his head.
'You're gonna kill me?!'
'No, no, no. Oh dear, I'm saying all this wrong. I'm simply here to help you, make you better, let you be happy. You remember happiness Chris?' The man cocked his head at Chris, a questioning look.
'Yeah, I mean, I don't know. How are you gonna help me?' Chris could feel his palms getting sweaty and could smell his breath, foul from sleep.
'I have something here that will make you feel better, let you escape the pain and sadness. I know you want that. All you have to do is relax and trust me.'
'How do I know you're not going to hurt me.'
'That's the last thing I was sent here for.'
'You are a little naive, Chris. I'm from God.'
'If you're some kind of religious nut, I don't need your shit. Get outta my room!' Chris pointed angrily at the door.
The man stood and edged towards Chris, arms outstretched. Chris noticed the strange light that surrounded him. He shook his head in wonder.
'No, Chris, you asked for me just yesterday, or don't you recall. I'm your angel of mercy, the help you asked for.' At this the man outstretched his arms, forming a human T, and the wings he had hidden from Chris opened out into the room. Chris fell to the floor, confused.
'An angel? I'm not dreaming?'
The touch on Chris's shoulder was as real as the rough floor he had just crawled across. The angel knelt down and lifted Chris's head.
'Chris, do you want what I have? I think it will make you better. Do you want a little piece of happiness, a little bit of ecstasy?'
'Yes, yes. No. I don't want to go back to drugs.'
The angel produced a small black leather case from its robes. It looked like the kind of thing a bad collection of men's toiletries might come in.
'In here, Chris. In here is the answer to your troubles. It will take away your sadness. Not the drugs you're used to. It is just the simplest way for you to get the happiness'
Chris sat back looking at the case in the angels hands.
'Roll up your sleeve.'
Chris did as asked, still a little unsure. The angel opened up the case, the zipper making a rough sound in the quiet room. Inside was a needle, syringe, a small tarnished teaspoon and a clear glass phial containing a white powder.
'I know what this looks like Chris, but it's not drugs. It is the remedy for your sadness.'
'I trust you. You're an angel.'
The angel smiled, a smile that could have seemed evil if it were on another's face.
'Please call me Ashreal and, yes, I am an angel, aren't I?'
Chris nodded heartily.
'And I have angel dust.' it whispered so Chris could not hear.
Ashreal took the small phial and sprinkled some of the powder into the teaspoon. He let his hand move under the bowl of the spoon and quickly the powder dissolved into a milky-white liquid.
'Hold this, Chris.'
Ashreal proffered the spoon to Chris, who took it eagerly.
'Careful, it may be hot.'
It was, but Chris didn't mind, he was eager for happiness.
'I've helped so many before you, Chris, you have nothing to worry about.' Ashreal took up some of the liquid from the spoon, then poised the now full needle above Chris's arm. 'I will return when you need me.'
Chris smiled and nodded again, speechless.
'Be happy Chris,' whispered Ashreal and plunged the needle into the skin and the vein lying beneath it.
Ashreal appeared once again, a few nights later to check on Chris.
Chris stood up fast and grasped the angel about the throat. He was weak and his skin had taken on a pale colour, eyes sunken into a skinny face.
'I need more,' he stammered.
The angel gently took Chris's hands away from its neck.
'And more you shall have, because I want you to be happy Chris. I think, though, that maybe it should be stronger to last you longer, my dear friend.'
'Yes, yes, that's a good idea.'
'I know. You don't look well Chris, I think perhaps you should have some now.'
'Yes, I've been pretty sick.' At this he coughed, a hacking sound that made the angel grimace.
'That's not very good, Chris. Well you'll soon be happy, so it doesn't matter. Here is some more. I won't return for quite some time, Chris, so be wise with this.' Ashreal handed a phial to the man then faded away. It smiled and waved as it left, but Chris didn't notice, he was already scrabbling to find a lighter.
Chris grew sick. He began throwing up regularly, why he had no idea, although he had his suspicions it might have been from the lack of 'happiness'. Sometimes there was blood, other times a kind a blackish goop. He knew he'd get better if only the angel would return with some more of the drug on which he had grown so dependant.
One night, a cold night for summer, Chris lost his need for dependence and for happiness. The landlord found him the next morning after forcing open the door to inform Chris of his impending loss of residence. Although cruel in life, the landlord did the right thing and called the police and paramedics. It was a quick eviction for Chris, his now useless body taken down the stairs on a covered stretcher. The neighbours all poked their heads around their doors. The police officers in charge closed off the apartment and one neighbour, new to the area, asked what was going on.
'Just another OD, mister.'
The man nodded and shut the door to his own little piece of heaven.
Ashreal returned to the room not long after Chris departed. It was distressed that Chris was not there. The angel waited, but somehow it knew that Chris wouldn't be coming. Sitting on the mattress that Chris had called his bed, it spotted the little black leather case. Ashreal unzipped it and took out the syringe. He took out the new phial of 'happiness' that he had brought for Chris, then layed some of the powder in the now dirty teaspoon and turned it to liquid with a quick wave of his hand.
'Well, Chris, it's hard to be happy my friend. I wonder if it is just this easy.' Ashreal plunged the needle into his arm.