The challenge was simple – come up with a life form that contained neither bones nor flesh. What was on the earth already was all very well – trees, birds, mammals, fish – and the angels had applauded and congratulated both god and Lucifer on their achievements – though no-one seemed entirely certain about 'wasp' and 'tsetse fly' seemed to have no purpose at all but to annoy the warm-blooded creatures. In the spirit of friendly competition then, Gabriel had suggested the competition.
Both God and the Adversary spent several seconds locked in their respective studies while the other angels talked among themselves and speculated upon why some of the mammals had been designed with pointed teeth which seemed utterly unsuitable to their diet of grass and berries. The lions, for example, were getting impossibly thin.
Finally they emerged! Lucifer set to work with the clay and created something part-way between a man and an angel. "I call it 'soul' he said, "and it will live inside man but free to travel the five planes of existence for eternity."
The angels clapped politely, though several wondered at the pointlessness of making a creature that lived inside another.
"That's nothing," said God, opening his hands to reveal... nothing.
"What is it?" asked the angels.
"It is Death," said God. "It has neither flesh nor bone nor sinew nor life of its own, but it will seem to be a living entity, striking down all in its path." He looked out over the world and released the creature he had made.
And the lions roared.
Image: Starting Time: A True Account of the Origins of Creation, Sex, Death, and Golf