“And the devil/He’s in trouble
You can see it in his eyes/If you don’t give him shelter
He’ll have no place to hide…”*
Once again, the devil stood in the presence of the only two mortals ever to defeat him. It had been centuries since he’d seen Patrick and his special shillelagh. The Irishman had not changed one whit. He was still tall and dark…and strong.
But this new man. This stranger. This priest. Who was he and why was he so strong?
And who were these other strangers with Harkiss and David? The devil didn’t recognize them…except Philip and James. He had seen them in the mountains and the valley from time to time. And he had messed with Philip’s mind for a while, making him believe that he had caused the Gate to open.
But the two women. One looked familiar, but he couldn’t place her. The Iraqi was new to him. And the man looked a bit familiar as well. but the fifth man was a total stranger. But they were all strong. Their abilities were strong.
Separately, they might accidentally defeat him. Together, they would definitely defeat him…especially if they united with his quarry. He couldn’t let that happen. Not now. He had gone too far to be thwarted this time. her soul was his.
And to have Heaven’s Jailor at their head. That was the ultimate insult. Almost as if Heaven was sure of their victory. He had to win this time, just to show Heaven that he could.
“Bringing strangers in to win this, Abaddon?” His contempt was evident.
“No, no strangers here, Satan. Just people you thought were out of the picture. And allies willing to die a Saint’s death.”
“Always willing to sacrifice, aren’t you?”
“Not sacrifice. Being selfless. Something you don’t know anything about being.”
“Same difference. You give something up.”
Patrick stepped in. “I would willingly give up my life in order to save one soul. I tire of this life. Five centuries is too long for a man to live. i cannae see how Noah or Abraham could stand to live eight.”
“Perhaps I will indulge you, Irish. I never liked your kind. nor your Gaelic brothers. Too stubborn and impossible. all of your brothers in Hell make my abode a place I can’t stand to be. They’re always trying to find loopholes in their contracts with me. Soon, they will have bought Hell from me.”
“They’re not just my brothers, Oh devil, but yours too. But I don’t see you ever thinking that way. For as long as Man has been on earth, you have been jealous of him. Isn’t that the reason you beguiled Eve, then mad man believe that woman was at fault for his fall?” The challenge had been put out there.
Suddenly, the devil wasn’t so happy. “Tell me, oh Jailor, who are your other warriors?”
“Do you not recognize the exiles you sent out of these hills? Surely you do, Satan. men and women don’t change that much over time. And Skinner. He faced you once before, after he took out your fools.”
“But there is a Muslim in their midst.”
“No Muslims here, just Christians. You have mistakenly believed that all Middle Eastern people are Muslim. Not so. But she, too, is now a part of the circle.”
“No.” There was ice in his voice.
“And there are billions now praying in support of those here. Can you not feel it stealing your strength?”
Of course he could. That was why he had been so desperate to finish his mission here in the first place. He was at his weakest when the world prayed. He glared at his foes.
“You will not win this. You are already too late.”
“So you keep claiming every time we meet.” Patrick had heard this all before. “But it is never too late, Not to save a soul that you have tricked or hidden.”
“But she is mine!!!” His scream could be heard over the wind and thunder outside.
“She is not.” Abaddon remained calm. Almost too calm.
The Archangels guarded the gate well. Their opponents were still bickering inside and had not resumed the battle to regain their ground beyond the gate. Not a single one wanted to take responsibility for the mess they had made of things. Nor could they make up their minds how to do anything.
It was complete pandemonium within. there was no cohesive attempt at anything. Just a lot of arguing and brawling as the demons battled each other for command. Even their minions were joining the fray.
Gabriel shook his head. How did they ever get anything done? He already knew the answer. They didn’t.
This war was, for all intents and purposes, over. the demons just didn’t realize it. And so, the angels watched their fallen brothers do battle against each other in an attempt to gain control.
The devil threw his all into an open attack against Abaddon.
“Don’t you remember, Satan? You cannot harm me.”
He turned his attention to Patrick, but the Irishman was still as agile and keen as he had always been. So he aimed his next at Michael. Michael merely held his Bible high and recited a prayer of protection. The attacks deflected off harmlessly.
He aimed at David and Harkiss. No use. he couldn’t hurt the brothers. Then, Sara. But he missed her. He was unsure of the Iraqi woman’s strength, so he didn’t attack her. But Thomas, he did attack. But even Thomas was too strong for him.
They seemed unified against him. But he still controlled Tori…for now. And he was determined to keep control of her. No one was going to take her from him. Ever.
“The Devil” By Hoyt Axton. Used With Permission.