News of Death

An essay by Edgar, as provided by Nick Nafpliotis
Art by Luke Spooner

I am eternal.

For millions of years, my kind has roamed this earth in both the light of day and the black of night. Through countless wars, droughts, and famine, we continue to flourish and thrive, secretly holding dominion over all that we survey.

Our long reign over this planet, though not always realized or acknowledged, should not come as a surprise. Unlike the many other weak and fragile species that have surrounded us through the ages, we are built to survive. The weaknesses born of biological need are enemies against which we have no equal.

I am life.

Blistering heat and bitter cold cannot harm me. I do not require a constant or gluttonous supply of food and water; months can pass before the desire for sustenance has any chance of slowing my progress.

Even the need for oxygen can be forestalled. The most powerful of beings in this world can be brought to their knees after a few seconds devoid of their precious air, but I can comfortably go without it for nearly an hour.

I am death.

For centuries, my kind has been bringers of the end. I carry the many harbingers of an epidemic, spreading disease and filth with indiscriminant efficiency.

I am fear.

Although my preferred dwelling is the shadows, I can easily lay claim the lighted lands around me. The mightiest of this planet’s rulers recoil and scream at my slightest touch. My mere presence can cause the occupants of a single room … even or an entire kingdom … to flee.

I am legion.

For every one of us you see, there are billions more that you never will. I am powerful on my own, but together, we are unstoppable. Other creatures may believe that they rule this planet, but its various empires and apex predators are mere footnotes in the saga of our eternal reign.

So what could I, a perfectly constructed, winged angel of death, possibly be scared of? What meager defense does this world have to offer that would find me on the other side of fear?

News of Death

So what could I, a perfectly constructed, winged angel of death, possibly be scared of? What meager defense does this world have to offer that would find me on the other side of fear?
A rolled up newspaper.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2015 collection.

Edgar is a cockroach of the Periplaneta americana species. He hatched approximately eight months ago and expects to live another four at the most. During his short life span, he has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about the Blattodea order of insects, mankind’s history on earth, and where the human owner of his residence, Arthur L. Berkowitz, is most likely to drop Cheeto and Dorito crumbs. He has an unusually high opinion of himself and is terrified of flashlights.

Nick Nafpliotis is a music teacher and writer from Charleston, South Carolina. During the day, he instructs students from the ages of 11-14 on how to play band instruments. At night, he writes about weird crime, bizarre history, pop culture, and humorous classroom experiences on his blog, He is also a television, novel, and comic book reviewer for You can follow Nick on Twitter, where he brings shame to his family on a daily basis.

Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at

This story originally appeared in Voluted Tales #14.

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