The Devil, Chapter Fifteen

“And the devil he’s in trouble

I can see it in his eyes

If you don’t give him shelter

He’ll have no place to hide”

He closed his eyes to focus. He had to find the source of the other pesky prayers that were distracting him and weakening his attack. In some ways, his turning Christianity into a religion founded on rituals had been a mistake. True, real believers would pray to the Father. But they wouldn’t pray for selfish ideals or selfish gain. They wouldn’t damn others with words intended for heaven. They wouldn’t burden God with their pettiness.

He had only himself to blame for that little piece of work he hadn’t fully thought through. Perhaps he should have put more thought into the idea he had communicated to man. Sure prayer had been a nuisance before, but now it was just meaningless requests for physical events, things, and assurances. Even well meaning prayer had become less than what it should have been.

It was a nuisance and needed to be put to an end. He had to find the sources of the prayer and silence it. He needed peace and quiet. He needed to be able to focus if he was to defeat the angel and his human allies.

He reached out with his mind in search of another voice. Slowly, he reached out until…then he found another source. He smiled. Mentally, he contacted Abaddona and directed him to attack. He would hunt his antagonists down one by one and send Abaddona to take care of them. It was the only way.

It was too bad that the souls wouldn’t go to him. He could use a few more. It would fill a few more spots in hell. Still, just silencing the voices would be enough for now.

***

Screams from the sanctuary brought parishioners running to find out what was happening. By the time they got there, the parson was already crucified and suspended above the gallery. Blood was everywhere. It was still dripping from the wounds of their dead parson.

It appeared as if he had never seen his killers. His eyes were still closed as if in prayer. His death had been swift and nearly painless. At least that was how it appeared.

And yet, no one had exited the sanctuary. No one  had run past them as they ran to see what had happened. If the parson hadn’t screamed, who had? And where was his wife?

They didn’t have to look far to find her. Like her husband, she had been crucified to one of the church’s crucifixes. While the parson had been crucified to the one that had always been suspended from the ceiling, his wife was crucified to one that sat in a corner that had nearly been forgotten until now. Unlike the parson, her dead eyes told of horror and all the pain she had went through. At seventy, the pain had been too much for her to endure.

But who had done all this? None of them had seen any one enter or leave the church. It was as if the culprit had simply vanished. But that was impossible…wasn’t it?

***

The devil searched for another voice. the last deaths had caused a massive drop in noise. Maybe one or two more would put the noise level at a bearable level. He smiled. Just two more. then he would be able to pull off the heist of the millennia.

Hell. He couldn’t figure out why this girl was so damned important to heaven. He had more use for her than God could ever dream up. But God had sent Abaddon to guide these filthy mortals against him. Heaven had even emptied of its hosts in order to defeat his armies and push them back through the gate.

Well, most of his armies, anyway. He still had his army of undead, soulless puppets. They were keeping at least a portion of the angels busy. He had to smile.

Man would be too scared to fight the undead army. There had been too many movies about undead caused by horrible diseases that man feared a zombie apocalypse. Served him right. Always looking for entertainment in the form of a good scare.

Perhaps he could use a portion of his undead army to terrorize men. That would be fun. It would be cool to make some more of the dead rise and roam the towns and cities, just to make mankind cower indoors. His smile turned to an evil grin.

He began shrinking the storm. slowly, it abated over deserts and plains. Soon, the rain had ended everywhere but where it had begun. He would keep the rain beyond the door of the shack. He would keep the rain in the mountains. It kept his target captive. It kept her here in the shack with him.

Cities and small towns began to find themselves overrun with dead rising from their graves. Priests and holy men alike wondered if the end had come. Much of the praying had ceased replaced by an emptiness as men began to investigate news of dead rising from their graves.

It didn’t take long to realize that those rising were not rising at the call of Christ or any prophet. They were rising for more sinister purposes.Purposes men had no control over. There were still those who wanted to blame it all on gays, blacks, Mexicans, or transgender people. If they weren’t blaming these, they were blaming the poor or the homeless. Many accusers stood and barred those they blamed from places they felt were safe zones.

But the devil had a surprise for them. Their churches weren’t as safe as they believed. He’d always sat among them in their precious churches, whispering hateful thoughts to them. He was the rich old man who preyed upon young girls. He was the banker who preyed upon the poor who were struggling to make ends meet. He was the philandering husband, feeling up every young woman he saw with his eyes. He was every impure and hateful thought that entered the human mind.

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