Creature, Dale Langford
Have you ever had one of those moments? You know what I’m talking about, when the car comes around the corner just a little too fast, when the campfire burns just a little too hot. When you start to smell propane. When you’re swimming and you can’t seem to hold your breath long enough to get to shore. When you’re lying on the sidewalk and your bike is lying in the middle of some poor bastard’s fender.
Death is around us everyday. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink. It’s in the blade of the knife that always seems just a little bit too sharp and it’s in the heart of that neighbour who always seems just a little bit too quiet. Yes, near death experiences aren’t anything to write home about. They happen every day, on the way to the coffee shop, at your desk, in your house. They’re facts of life, like cereal at breakfast or church on Sundays. With death always so close and human life so fragile it must seem, to those who are less informed, that people are the luckiest beings on this planet. Those who know the truth, on the other hand, just thank their noggles.
A noggle is something like a guardian angel, but not quite the same. A guardian angel, according to those who believe in such things, protects its charge from all harm, while a noggle simply guards against death. And, while an angel acts out of selflessness and a love for humanity, a noggle is much more pragmatic. When its charge dies, a noggle dies as well. You see, while an angel might stop a steel beam from falling on your head, a noggle would just hold your split skull together until an ambulance arrives. It does not care if you end up paralyzed or disabled. In fact, as far as your noggle is concerned, you were pretty stupid to go walking through that construction yard in the first place and you probably deserved what you got. Noggles can be fickle like that.
Noggles are, of course, incredibly powerful creatures. They’re strong enough to lift mountains and fast enough to race a bullet. They can fly, move objects with their minds, and start fires with a thought. There is almost nothing imaginable that noggles cannot do. They are limited by one thing: their personalities. Many noggles are dumb, so dumb that they couldn’t count past ten without glancing down at their cloven hooves. Ask them to count past fourteen and the little creature would simply call you rude and fly away. This is why people die. God forbid noggles work together and put forth a concerted effort to protect mankind. Nope, they’d rather bicker about fashion and cane length than really help their charges.
I’m certain that this must sound insane to you. It must sound like something out of a bad fantasy story, something found in the sacred text of some bizarre celebrity religion. You’re thinking that people cannot actually believe this nonsense. Well, I would ask you to examine what you believe before you pass judgment on my beliefs. Do you believe in something called God, an all-knowing, all-loving being who whimsically kills his creations? Creations that, should they transgress against His laws, will burn forever in hellfire, despite his love for them? Or do you believe in something called Fate? Do you believe that anyone who has died had to die because of some grand cosmic scheme? A scheme that you have never, can never and will never see proof of. Friend, your beliefs seem much stranger than mine. What can you do when tragedy strikes? What would you do if your lover were flung from a car, while you survived? Curse the being you believe is perfect? Try to change some sort of infallible divine plan? No, friend, there is nothing you can do. Me, on the other hand, I can at least take solace in knowing that the little, arrogant beast that was responsible for her death is dead too.