January 29, 2029, Temple Office Building, Jerusalem
Kali unpacks the last box of office supplies sent to her by the U.S. Embassy. She doesn’t understand the entire relationship between the United Nations and the governments of Israel and the United States, but she doesn’t need to. Lucie is going to run the show now.
After putting the last emptied shipping box into the hallway for pickup, she heads for the office’s kitchenette to change her bandages. She’s still nursing the snake bites from Lucie’s attack. They are bruised, swollen, and very painful. She applies surface pain cream and clean bandages. Thankfully, her pants hide the wounds. It would be impossible to explain the number of snake bite marks on her legs, let alone why the sheer volume of venom didn’t kill her.
Lucie didn’t even apologize for her attack, or thank Kali for the rescue. She just said she had to settle a score with someone and sent her back to Jerusalem. Kali has been tuned into the Press for the two days since they parted. When Lucie settles a score, it usually makes the world news. Whatever happened, it hasn’t been revealed yet.
On the bright side, Kali is sure Lucie is going to like her stunning new office space in the West Wing of the recently-opened Jewish Temple. She was given the finest luxury office space on the top floor of the administrative wing. The Executive Assistant to the Pope, Edward Pine, helped her navigate the ordering and shipping systems for the Temple. Edward was the first person she used to test the Golden Apple, which she wears near her wrist. When she greeted him, she shook with her right hand, and used the left one to touch his forearm. He did the same and touched the Golden Apple. Immediately, she saw Edward Pine has a very filthy soul. She can’t know his crimes from the simple touch, but she can get a five second vision of the person’s soul. She knows Lucie will like him, but she will stay clear of him.
The new furnishings and the glossy tile floors make the office shine. She chose decorations and furniture that would meet Lucie’s idea of luxury. A hand-carved Lebanese Cedar standing mirror featured in the office’s reception area is her favorite piece. As she adjusts its angle to move it out of the direct glare of the sun, she catches a glimpse of herself. She certainly looks different in a pantsuit, without a tail. The human look fits her nicely. Some of the men here might even say she’s hot—which is pure irony, given where she has lived for the last few centuries.
She does feel disarmed without her tail. It served as a weapon, as well as a climbing tool. But, if things go as planned, she shouldn’t need to strike anyone or climb a building anytime soon. Her tail was removed and stored at the exit of Hades.
Demons usually come to Earth through possession. When this happens, the entire body stays in Hades, and their soul is transferred through the Fourth Dimension to a human host. Demons can, and do, roam Earth without possessing bodies. It’s the smart thing to do if you want to travel incognito. The one challenge to moving around without inhabiting a possessed body is the repulsive look of the demons. To avoid the screaming and other theatrics of frightened humans, most demons move around in the dark—or in disguise.
When the rebelling angels fell from Heaven, they assumed a hideous look that mirrored the hate held within their souls. They also lost their male features and assumed female ones. They lost their wings but gained tails. As a part of the details of the Great Game, Lucie negotiated physical appeal for herself and the Lead Demons. As usual, the demons were never briefed on the reasons for the changes.
Since Lucie negotiated for her Lead Demons to be attractive, Kali can roam on Earth and fit in with humans without altering or covering her appearance, and there’s no need for people to fear her. Lucie has pretty much stripped her of her demon powers while here. All she has left is the ability to communicate with Lucie through telepathy, and to travel through the Dimension Portals of the universe. Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, she is a female human creature who lacks a soul.
Lucie has a much different set of rules. In keeping with Almighty’s curse, she cannot possess a person or animal to get to Earth’s surface. She also must check her tail at the exit of Hades on her trips to the surface. Almighty’s curse also dictates she must return to Hades as a serpent. Her tail is reattached after she morphs back to her original form at the entry to Hades. Many bodysuits are stored near the gates to replace the ones she must shed on Earth.
Since she negotiated to be the most beautiful female of all time, Lucie is always noticed on Earth. She has the demons of Earth meet her when she arrives to bring her clothes and accessories to ensure she makes an impression. She insists upon the finest designer clothing, shoes, and jewelry. Lucie is the stunning beauty on the city sidewalk who intimidates the average woman and unnerves the common cad. She’s a threat to her self-esteem and his manhood. To both she seems to be a beauty from another, untouchable world. They’re right.
This time, Lucie’s visit will be different. She arranged with Almighty decades ago to choose a body to use for her seven-year reign. She chose a soulless body made from the DNA of both Jewish and Islamic “royal lines.” Following Almighty’s storyline, she made sure the baby was born in Bethlehem to a young Jewish virgin. The one deviation from the storyline—placing the baby in a prominent Jewish family—was the tricky part. Lucie wanted to ensure the child was given every possible privilege money could buy to put her on a fast track to relevancy.
Anna’s history of being raised and educated in the United States of America gave her a world-renowned law pedigree and drew the powerful and predominantly-Christian nation into her plan. The details of Anna’s birth were done to mimic and belittle Almighty’s original storyline. Lucie tended to every detail herself to ensure Anna could fulfill written prophecy for both the Jewish and the Islamic faiths. The two religions only expect their savior to be a man because they’ve been conditioned to believe so. After all, no one expects a little baby girl to grow up to save them.
Right now, their anticipated “savior” is pretty much an empty shell without a soul. Anna is not yet fully possessed. Lucie goes in and out of her in spirit when she needs a physical body to use on Earth. Between Lucie’s visits, Anna operates completely without emotion. Over the years, she fulfilled the training and academic requirements orchestrated by Lucie with ease.
Without emotional ties to interfere with her life, Anna made great strides in the profession of law. Arguing cases without sympathy or empathy, she was flawlessly aligned with the harsh laws of the land. She destroyed attorneys in court who tried to win their cases upon an emotional premise. She never made a factual mistake in a brief. Her oral arguments were crass and often unsavory, but they were irrefutable. Judges cringed when her cases were placed on their dockets—especially after her father became the President of the United States.
All in all, Kali finds Lucie’s reprisal of the “unoriginal” plan to be quite clever. The next step is the full possession. Anna and Lucie will need to be in the same room and touching for the transfer of the soul. She isn’t sure how it will happen, but she was told to be in the Temple at midnight with the Golden Apple.
Kali still hopes Lucie intends to send her back to Hades after the possession has occurred. As sad as it sounds, it seems better than standing by and watching Lucie destroy people and animals in the most twisted and cruelest ways possible. Kali closes her eyes and shudders, thinking about what’s to come.
She opens her eyes when she hears a slight signal from the building’s sound system. It’s a request for communication. Kali engages with the system’s voice recognition programming, “Anna Cohen’s office.”
“Hello, Miss Kali. I have Master Anna Cohen in the security check-in area. Since she hasn’t been given her security codes, she cannot enter the building alone. Would you like to meet her here, or should I have security escort her to the office?”
“Please have security escort her here. Thank you.”
Kali rolls her eyes even though no one can see her. Anna Cohen is nothing to her. The possession has not occurred, and she has no desire to humor the empty shell with its massive ego. A few minutes pass and the doorbell rings. The security cam confirms it’s Anna. She had hoped Lucie would arrive first and relieve her from making small talk with the human robot.
“Hello, Anna. Thank you for the escort, Mr. Parker.”
“My pleasure. Burning the midnight oil, I see.”
“Yes, it’s going to be a very long night for all of us.”
The guard nods and closes the door. Kali sizes up Anna. She is even taller and more stunning in person than she appeared to be in the many holograms she had seen. Her blue eyes are piercing, and her brown hair hangs in flawless waves. Kali looks her up and down, knowing this is what the perfect human looks like. She is sure of one thing: Lucie has met her match in the looks department. If she wasn’t going to be taking over Anna’s body, she would probably have her killed just to remove the competition.
“Would you like to have a seat?”
“No. The plane ride was enough sitting for me. I’ll stand until Lucie arrives.”
Before Kali can reply, Lucie steps out from her office. The trail of light mist that follows her tells Kali a new portal has opened inside Anna’s private office. This will certainly help her avoid security and the throngs of fans that linger about the Holy Grounds. “Hello, girls. We have a soon-to-be possessed world leader, a ranking demon from the depths of Hell, and Lucifer herself all standing in the same room. And, not just in any room. Oh no, we are standing in the office area of the fully-restored Temple of Solomon—if that’s what they’re calling it today.”
“I believe they settled on Holy Temple III.” Kali fills her boss in on the information she received a few hours earlier.
“Well, well, I see the United States helped to push through the entire Jewish agenda then. I would imagine there are some riled-up Palestinians unable to sleep in the West Bank tonight. I was kind of hoping they would name it Temple Jer-USA-lem. As obvious as that name would be to future students of history, it doesn’t matter now. I intend to destroy both the Temple and the Rock of the Dome as soon as it’s in my best interest. Since I am among friends, let me be specific: both will be reduced to rubble in exactly forty-two months. Well ladies, let’s get this done. Anna, sit down.”
Anna sits on command. Kali realizes she handled the evil stick figure with no soul all wrong. Evidently, she only responds to direct orders. If her parents didn’t happen to be the President and First Lady of the United States, she would have to feel sorry for them.
“Kali, have a seat as well.” Kali sits down on the sofa opposite Anna.
“We are about to perform a Crystalline Inhabitation. My soul will be entering Anna’s body. While my body is not needed, it will not be kept in Hades. I do not trust it will be safe there. I am going to make my body into a miniature Crystalline Lich. It will be kept in our version of a phylactery. Phylacteries are commonly worn on the wrists of Jewish men to remind them to obey the Torah law. They often carry scriptures written on tiny pieces of vellum that they use in their open-air prayers. The phylactery carrying my body will be worn by you.”
Kali looks up to find that Lucie is speaking to her. “What? No!”
A chill runs up Kali’s spine. All hopes she had of escaping this monster have been crushed in a simple act. Lucie begins to pull Kali’s long sandy blond hair into a tight ponytail, slowly twisting and pulling it at the same time. “You might want to reconsider your answer, Kali.”
When the pain becomes unbearable, she answers. “Yes, my Lord. I remain your faithful servant.”
Lucie releases her hair, but not before she fluffs it in front of Kali’s face and uses it to pull them nose to nose. “Nothing can happen to my crystalline. You must be willing to protect it with your life. Are we clear?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Lucie finishes fluffing the demon’s hair and gives her an evil smirk. “Good, then let’s begin. Give me the apple.” Kali has drifted off in despair and missed the request. When she doesn’t respond, Lucie screams in anger. “Give me the Golden Apple! Are you completely incompetent?”
“I apologize. I have it here in my pocket. I brought it just as you asked.”
Lucie forcefully grabs it from her hand. As Kali and Anna look on, Lucie digs her long black fingernails deep into the apple and pops it in half. The core is hollow. “This is where my body will be placed. First it will be wrapped in these vellum writing papers for authenticity.” Lucie shoves the small pieces of dried animal membranes into Kali’s hands. “You might want to fan through those when you have a spare minute, Kali. They are the yet-to-be-released Ten Commandments of Satan. I wrote them myself.” Lucie lets out an evil laugh that chills Kali to the bone.
“I am to be sealed in tightly and worn on your wrist with a leather strap—just as the Jewish men wear their phylactery. It must be secured on the underside of your right wrist so you can hide it by simply putting your hand in your pocket. Never show it on the Sabbath—it’s in keeping with the local tradition. It will be worn low enough on the wrist that when a person touches your hand, their fingertips will touch it and you will be able to see them for the person they truly are—just as I showed you in my chambers in Hades. Do you remember, Kali?”
The horrifying memory of Lucie’s actual appearance comes rushing back. “Yes, I remember.”
“Good. Then, let’s begin.”
“Lucie, when will you return? How will you get out of the crystalline?”
“That information is inconsequential for now, Kali. I will be alive and well within Anna’s body. We will still be conversing as things unfold. Are you ready?”
“We need something to set the Apple upon. Oh, let’s make this fun, shall we? Let’s set it on top of the copy of the Torah on display near the office door. I’ll open it to the book of Genesis. After all, that’s the last good press I had from the Jews.” Lucie places the two halves of the Golden Apple on the opened book. “Ladies, join me here.”
Kali and Anna walk to stand by Lucie. She takes Anna’s hands in hers. She closes her eyes and begins chanting praises to herself. Her volume keeps increasing. Once she stops chanting, Lucie’s body begins to shake. She throws her head back violently and opens her eyes. They are a blinding bright yellow. Anna follows Lucie’s lead and begins to chant out praises to Lucifer.
Kali covers her ears with the palms of her hands to keep the screaming from piercing her eardrums. Lucie’s body slowly evaporates into a foggy figure. It swirls like smoke from a fire, then turns back upon itself and shrinks into a small space before vanishing to the floor. In the place of the smoke, there lies a crystalline figure of her boss’s body shrunken to the size of a toy soldier. Lucie is gone.
Kali turns towards Anna. She is standing as if she’s frozen solid. Her eyes are open wide and staring at the ceiling. She takes in a big gasp of air with a chilling moan and falls to the floor. After two heavy breathes, she lifts her head to face Kali. Her yellow eyes can be seen between the strands of hair hanging in front of her face. Anna rises from the floor. She pushes her hair back and smooths her dress. Her eyes return to their icy blue shade.
“Why do you look surprised, Kali? You knew this was the plan.” Lucie’s words are coming out of Anna’s mouth. It may be Anna’s voice, but there is no question as to who is speaking. “Pick up the crystalline, wrap it in the vellum strips, seal it in the Golden Apple, and bring it to me.”
Kali picks up the crystalline with shaking hands, wraps it into the vellum, and places it into the core of the Apple. She pushes the sides together until they snap in place.
Once she has the Apple in her hand, Anna reaches into her purse and pulls out the item she was told to bring to the meeting: a leather strap made to cradle the Apple, much like a slingshot cradles a stone. The Apple is forced in through a small slit and tightened with leather braids. Kali offers up her right wrist and Lucie slides the buckles through the notches until they dig deeply into the underside of her forearm. “It’s too tight. It hurts.” Anna ignores Kali’s pleas to lessen the pain.
Once she finishes the adjustments, Anna addresses her. “You will get used to it being tight. You are never to remove it. Do you understand me?” Kali nods.
Anna throws back her head and laughs an evil laugh. “Do you think I would just trust you with my life? Have you not learned anything from serving at my side?” Anna grabs Kali’s wrist and turns it over. “See this tiny tube with the liquid inside? If you try to unbuckle the straps, they will drive the snake venom in the tube through the tiny needle deep into your arterial vein. You’ll die in less than ten minutes. The world will see you turn to dust, and your friends in Hades will laugh as you reconstruct in the deepest level of Hell. Do we understand each other?”
Kali drops her wrist to her side and her chin to her chest. She has been defeated again. Lucie has sought her out for more torture. It seems as if it will never end.
Anna ignores Kali’s deflated demeanor. She prances across the floor in her stilettos and opens the cooler unit that was built into the wall. She pulls out a bottle of champagne. “This is a day to celebrate, Kali. Do you know why?”
Kali shakes her head “no” as she continues to stare down at the floor. “Look up, Kali. You’re no worse off today then you were yesterday—and you get to walk around on the surface. You can rest on silk pillows and feel the sun on your face again. I say we toast the day with this fine bottle of wine the Embassy sent.” Anna fills two glasses and hands one to her demon assistant.
“Cheers, I have finally desecrated Almighty’s Holy Temple.”
Just as Anna taps her glass to Kali’s, the floor begins to give out and the lights dim to emergency level. A voice comes over the building speakers. “Find a safe place. We’re experiencing an earthquake.”
Anna looks at Kali. “There’s a big conference table just down the hall.” The two hurry past the multiple chandeliers that are jerking and threatening to fall just over their heads. The emergency lighting system is flickering in sequence to point the path to emergency exits. They decide there’s not enough time to clear the building, so Kali leads the way to safety by climbing under the room-sized sturdy table. Anna follows. The shaking keeps the chairs bumping around for another three minutes, and then the room goes still.
When the women arrive back to Anna’s office, they find multiple security officers looking for them. Ranking officer, Darryl Friedman, hugs them both. “Thank God Almighty you’re alright! We were worried. You were the only two people left inside the building.”
Anna doesn’t thank the officers. Instead, she goes digging for the facts. “What happened?”
“We’re not exactly sure. Whatever happened only affected the Temple Mount. Everything seems to be structurally sound. There’s been no damage to the Temple or the Dome of the Rock. It’s always worrisome when the ground shakes on the Temple Mount. The whole area is built upon the ruins of civilizations—several of them in fact. Ruins tend to leave open spaces when objects crumble on top of each other. Soil settles into these open spaces and in time can create dangerous sinkholes.”
“You don’t think it was an EMP, do you? The Palestinian’s have been threatening to detonate one over Jerusalem.”
Kali jerks her head towards Anna in disbelief. They both know this was not an earthquake or a bomb. It was Almighty raining down his anger at the desecration of the Temple.
“Lucie, I don’t think that’s what happened,” says Kali. “We still have power.”
Lucie rushes to do damage control. She pulls Kali tightly into her arms. “My dear Kali, I know you’re shaken, but my name is Anna, not Lucie. A lack of a power outage in this building doesn’t rule out an EMP. There is a ‘safe zone’ unaffected by an EMP’s pulses. This safe zone sits directly below the blast—thanks to the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s possible an EMP exploded directly over our heads and did not affect our power.” She returns her focus to the officers.
“Have you made contact outside of Jerusalem? An EMP can have its effect as far away as seven hundred miles. I believe it would reflect well on you to show some concern for citizens outside of Jerusalem—even though they aren’t Israeli citizens. It might help to sooth things given the harsh times here lately.”
Officer Friedman looks a bit puzzled by the suggestion. Kali knows Anna planted the idea in his mind in hopes of getting him out of her office. The plan works. The security officers head off to pursue their false lead. They say their goodbyes and head towards the elevator.
Anna shakes off the incident and places her hands on her hips to address Kali.
“First, Anna at all times. Another slip like that, and you could disrupt this whole operation. Second, grab a drink and meet me in my office in ten minutes. And, third, don’t you dare ever doubt what I say again. I know you’re looking at a different body, but I am the same hate-filled person you serve. Got it?”
“Did you say, ‘Yes?’”
“I mean, yes, Master.”
“Better. Hurry along. We have six hours until the Temple area comes alive with thousands of worshipers and staff. I want to use this quiet time to prepare the Intended Outcome of the Thirteen Mandates for the backers. They insist they see it before I present it at the United Nations on February 6.”
“Who are the backers?”
“They call themselves the Billionaire Elite Club, or some closely-related nonsense name. There are nine of them, and they pretty much run the world. Their members run in the same circle as the Rothschild, Albert, and Walton families. Many members are merging their assets and banking dynasties with the One World Bank next week. This will bring the wealthiest billionaires of the planet into a united vision. We’re about to see the world’s first trillionaires. I am being appointed to their Board of Directors. The announcement will be made at the Economic Summit next week. It’s quite the honor.”
“Why would they appoint you? You’re not in any of the families.”
“Do you even understand the people on this planet, Kali? Everything here is about power. The families know I have a massive amount of power through my followers and their combined wealth. Money is now the most envied power of all. It ranks higher than romantic love, religion, children, and even physical well being. Trust me. I have studied men long enough to know how they think. All wars on this pathetic planet are started for the purpose of manipulating wealth. The richest of the rich invest in both sides of wars—fanning the fire and ensuring a good financial outcome for themselves. Once the bets are placed, the investors personally light the match to launch the wars. After the first shot is fired, the billionaires go to the Press and purposely cite religious extremists as the cause of the war.
“They do this to activate the passions of who they call the ‘little people.’ Once they’re told they’re fighting for religious freedom, soldiers feel powerful, patriotic, and rightfully-motivated to strap on a uniform and stand in front of bullets. Outsiders watch and begin to detest religion. It’s the perfect storm. I know what you’re thinking—why did Almighty let it get this bad—and why hasn’t He come to save His followers? I guess you’ll have to ask Him yourself. I no longer care what He thinks.”
Kali challenges Anna. “That’s not true. We do know what He thinks. We were with Him as He pondered the Creation of Man. He wants man to have free will and use it to choose to serve Him. All these struggles are the direct result of you inserting sin into the Garden of Eden. He warned us man would be blinded to the truth and would pursue wealth to fill the void he can’t seem to fill otherwise. You did this. Not Almighty.”
Anna turns slowly towards Kali with eyes turning yellow. “Don’t ever quote Almighty to me again. I don’t need to be reminded of His pointless dribble.”
Kali remembers her place but continues the push. “How can you be sure you are going to be welcomed in by the nine members of this Billionaire Elite Club? Why would they take you under their wings? Being able to deliver compelling speeches and harness the power of the Millennials hardly seem to be enough for granting you inclusion.”
Anna’s eyes return to their normal blue. “Let’s just say I have nine urns filled with imprisoned souls on a closet shelf in my chamber in Hades. These nine were willing to sell their souls in exchange for control of ninety percent of the world’s wealth. They may burn in Hell for all eternity, but what a ride they’ve had—and will have, until I have their bodies hung in the streets in seven years. It was worth every penny—for me and for them!”
Anna laughs with the same evil laugh as Lucie, and chills run up her spine. “Ah, Kali, I do enjoy conversing with you. I feel so alive! My plan is coming together perfectly. I am about to rule this beautiful mess. Hurry along for that drink. We have lots of work to do.”
As she observed Kali leaving her office without an ounce of enthusiasm, Anna is troubled. Kali seems to lack any fear of her power. She decides she will need to tighten the ropes on her very soon.