Jude was trying her damnedest to stay strong in spite of her circumstances. Coming to terms with her surroundings had been difficult enough, but ever since the angel's arrival at Briarcliff, she had seriously begun to question her resolve. Being but a hair's breadth away from freedom, the last thing she needed was the threat of Death further weighing down her shoulders.
It was the night of Jude's first encounter with the angelic doppelgänger. The ex-nun was walking back to her room, accompanied by one of the orderlies of whom she'd grown fond.
"I'll say a prayer for your mother's speedy recovery, Jorge," she told him. "Yeah. But you should pray too."
"Thanks, Betty, I'll do that," said Jorge, using her new name. He unlocked the door for her. "Lights out in 10 minutes."
That's when Jude saw the last creature in Heaven or Hell she had expected to see.
"Hello, gorgeous," greeted the angel, sitting up in her bunk. "I'm on top."
Jude couldn't believe her eyes.
"What's she doing here?" she asked, panicked.
"She's your new roommate. Everyone doubles up, Betty." And like that, Jorge was gone. And she was trapped.
"No!" she yelled at the door. She turned her attention back to the angel. "No. I don't know what song was playing in your head, but I don't want you here. I'm not ready."
She searched under her mattress for her smokes, anything to calm her nerves.
"You lose somethin', honey?" the angel asked, voice dripping with mockery.
"Yeah, my cigarettes," said Jude. "You took them."
"Everything in this cell belongs to me," explained the angel. "That includes you."
Jude looked at her in disbelief.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked. "Why now? I'm so close to getting out."
"What are you talkin' about?" said the angel, getting down from the top bunk. "Everyone knows there's only one way outta Briarcliff, and it ain't the front door."
Why was the angel treating her this way? This wasn't the same benevolent entity who had sat across from her in that seedy diner as she recounted all of her sins and woes. This angel, this woman, whatever she was, was different. Coarse. And dreadfully cruel.
"You're toying with me," said Jude.
"Babycakes, I'm only just startin' to toy with you." The angel dropped her cigarette on the floor and put it out with her bedroom slipper. "When I get goin', you'll be beggin' for more. You'll be moanin' and shakin'."
The angel backed Jude into a corner and placed a hand on her cheek. "Whaddya say, huh? I bet you haven't had any action in a while. Me, I make sure I'm never outta practice." She ran her tongue over her upper lip to emphasize her point.
Jude pointed a warning finger at her. "Oh, I don't think so, missy. I don't know what kind of crazy stunt you're trying to pull here, but I won't go with it. It's not my time to leave this world."
"Not your time yet, huh?" asked the angel. "Listen, I don't wanna kill you. I just wanna have a little fun. And if you don't feel the same way, then maybe I'll just have to use my powers of persuasion."
"I will submit to no such behavior," spat Jude. "It is a sin."
"Yeah, I heard you used to be a nun here. Real high up on the totem pole, too. So tell me, sister- how come you still worship a god who abandoned you and had you locked up with the crazies you used to cane?"
"I shouldn't have to explain my faith to a godless dyke."
"Hey." The angel closed the short distance between them. "I don't normally let that word get to me, but I really don't like your tone." She slid a hand up Jude's dress. "I know just the thing that'll sweeten your disposition."
Jude tried to push her way past the angel, but she was stronger than she looked. She suspected death angels and their impostors probably possessed that trait.
"I'm warning you," Jude growled. "You take your hands off o' me, and you may still be able to leave this room alive."
"You see, that's the thing," said the angel, the Massachusetts accent no longer present in her voice. "I don't quite fit into the confines of 'dead' and 'alive'." She slipped a few fingers into the waistband of Jude's underwear and explored the other woman's nether region. "I am Death."
Jude gasped when she felt a finger brush against her clit. In an instant, memories of lovers past flooded her mind and caused her body to react despite herself. She had been with a few women, but she had been smashed out of her mind and could scarcely remember any of the details of the encounters. Jude closed her eyes as the angel rubbed circles around her engorged nub.
"You don't have to do this, Shachath," she said, voice barely above a whisper.
The angel smiled. "You know your scripture well. I'm not surprised. You were always so studious, Jude. Brilliant in everything you ever did. To see you in here, it does sadden the heart."
Jude panted. A dextrous finger found its way inside her sex. Then another.
"Then why am I still alive, huh?" she asked. "Why can't you just take me away from all of this… this bedlam?"
Shachath smiled kindly. "I could do it, if it's what you want. But you won't be locked away here forever. You still have a purpose in this world."
Jude could feel herself nearing climax. She had never been with anyone who could get her off so quickly. As ridiculous as the notion was, she felt as if she could have levitated right then and there.
"What is my purpose, then?"
Shachath leaned up close to her ear and whispered, "In time, you will see." She kissed Jude on the cheek and the other woman threw her head back and let out a cry.
When Jude opened her eyes, the angel was gone. A disgusted roommate watched as she pulled her fingers out of herself and wiped them on her dress.
"I get that this is a nuthouse," said the roommate. "But I swear, if I have to watch you diddle yourself one more time, I'm askin' Dr. Crump for a transfer."
"I'm… I'm sorry," stammered Jude. "I didn't know you were… there."
Her roommate rolled her eyes. "Of course you didn't. I'm hittin' the hay. So either you keep your hands outta your panties for the rest o' the night, or make sure not to wake me up.
Jude crawled into her bed. She had just fantasized about being taken advantage of, by the Angel of Death, no less. She shut her eyes and curled up in her blankets, fashioning a sort of cocoon to protect her from herself. She knew she should have felt ashamed, repulsed, but in fact, she felt alive.
Maybe she really did belong in Briarcliff, after all.