The Devil, Chapter Twenty-One

“I loved a lovely lady there/She opened up my eyes/She ran a dancing school/It was a front, she loved the Lord…”

L.A. was a wreck. Between the storms, the attack of the living dead, and the sudden earthquakes, the city was darkened and chaotic. No one seemed to know what was going on. News channels were off the air but that was due, in part, by the power outages that ravaged the city. Only battery run radios were picking up any signal, but those were spotty at best.

T-Bone had stopped praying to defend his family against the perils they had just been through. He felt a bit guilty for doing so, but he had feared for his family. Especially when he heard the screams of his children.  The sound of shattering glass hadn’t helped ease his mind either.

Would God be mad at him for not keeping his promise to pray no matter what? Would Michael? Exactly how had the events in Appalachia concluded, anyway? Had his mentor succeeded in defeating the enemy?

He shook off the feelings of guilt and took to the streets. Perhaps someone out there needed his help.  Perhaps he could make up for his moment of weakness.

***

Jesus also took to the street. People were in need of his help. He didn’t care if they were Christian or not. he didn’t even care if they were gay or straight. Or trans. None of it mattered now. All had suffered. All had been in peril. All needed help.

He noticed that Ali, his Muslim neighbor had also taken to the street. Hell. Everyone who was able, even the homeless that hadn’t been killed, were pitching in. He smiled sadly. There was a lot to be done.

He joined Ali. “Need a little help?”

“It would be appreciated, yes. Thank you.” Ali smiled. “Seems my Imam is missing and I am trying to find him. No one else even seems interested in helping me.”

“Just a second,” Jesus replied, then turned and whistled, “Hey! Hombres! Need some help over here!”

Jose Ferra approached with seven tough looking Mexicans. “Si, Amigo?”

“Ali needs help finding the Imam,” Jesus replied, “we need to help him. Once we help him, we’ll come back and help others.”

Jose nodded and turned to his companions. He rattled off the translation of what Jesus had said to them and they nodded. One of them spoke, and Jose turned back to Jesus. “Alright. We’ll do it.

***

Lucifer sat on the spire of The Dome on the Rock. He’d been bested and he knew it. He should have cursed that whole family. No, scratch that. He didn’t want to have to face that girl again. She had found a way to deflect his best attacks. She had been far stronger than he had estimated.

And that damned Irishman! Of course, Irish really wasn’t Irish. He was…he was actually on of the original Christians, a Greek. But Irish had long since shed his original Greek appearance. He had become Irish.

Irish had watched as he, Lucifer, continued to twist the precepts that had been of pure love.  And the oaf had done nothing to stop him. Lucifer smirked. He had been powerless to stop him.

Correction. He had been powerless only when it came to stopping the perversion of the “faith”.  When it came to saving souls, Irish had been more than capable. He had saved millions over the millennia. But it wasn’t the saving that modern Christians thought of when they heard the phrase ‘saving souls’. No, Irish was well versed in protecting those Lucifer wanted as his own.

Irish had played shield from that very first moment they met in battle. Even as a nasty little Corinthian, Irish had been a thorn in his side. But then, Thracians and Ionians had always been nasty, free spirited, and free thinking. They had found solace in Christianity. they had been the original designers of Democracy, that form of government that modern Christians seemed to believe was created by Christ. The fools. Christianity had nothing to do with Democracy. It had nothing to do with America’s beginnings either.

Sure, the first colonies had come across in search of a place where they could observe their own way. But they had also been tools for the empire that had allowed them to explore. Still, Christianity had nothing to do with the formation of the colonies. The colonists had left a “Christian” kingdom. Europe had all been “Christian” at the time of the colonies.

No, Christianity’d had no part in the colonies. It had always been freedom. Freedom to believe as they wished, observe their belief in safety, Among their own, without having to fear for their lives. But that freedom did not have the belief of others in mind and Lucifer had been able to expose their hypocrisy through the convenient events of the witch hunts that had swept the colonies. His plan had went without a hitch. It had been perfect.

What was ironic was that the descendants of those who had been guilty of shedding innocent blood in the name of religion had learned absolutely nothing from their past. In fact, they refused to learn. They were content in their ignorance, not realizing that they were headed for the same fall that their forefathers had been headed for.

They had grown arrogant in their ignorance. Well, a growing minority of them were. And they wanted to destroy their country and build a monument to him. He smiled. Maybe Irish had failed after all. Maybe his enemy had failed to save all the souls after all.

“Still thinking yourself as being smarter than everyone, Lucifer?” A voice made him snap out of his thoughts and almost made him fall off the pinnacle. He turned to find Azrael standing behind him.

“How’d you find me?” He demanded.

“Not hard,” heaven’s avenger smiled, “Since this was the scene of the first crime against man’s salvation.”

“So you here  to take me in?” He demanded.

“Nope,” Azrael shook his head, “Not my mission. I only bring a message.”

“Which is what?” He continued to demand.

“Your time grows short, Prince of Darkness,” Azrael replied, brushing off Lucifer’s rudeness, “The end draws near and, soon, Abaddon will return for you and you will not escape.”

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