53 Insurance

With the sounds of cheering fading into the background behind her, Lucie heads to the Dimension Portal. She sheds her itchy gown and cape to reveal a black bodysuit, the proper attire for meeting with Almighty. She loosens her hair from the tight bun and runs her fingers across her scalp and down her long waves. Her hair color changes from satiny black to white blonde in response to the touch of her fingertips. She closes her eyes tightly and feels the irises of her eyes changing from emerald to heavenly blue.

“Hello, Gabriel. I bet you’re dreading today. What will keep you occupied as I have my way with the world? Do you have an angel retreat planned?”

Gabriel stares directly ahead. Though the two were old friends, Gabriel has refused to look at Lucie since the revolt. “We will be preparing for war.”

“Well, that will be an exercise in futility. There isn’t going to be anything—or anyone—left to fight. Which reminds me, I need to burn some bridges so my demons don’t turn back in a moment of weakness.” Lucie pulls a remote from her pocket. She points it to the sound transmitter, presses a button, and waits for the signal. In less than two minutes she hears blood-curdling screams coming from the dark distance below.

“Now that you’re no longer privy to my intentions and cannot intervene to stop me, I’ll tell you what I just did with the remote. I opened the gates to the depths of Hell. The most evil and vile of men and demons have just been unleashed upon the upper levels. I figure they’ll head across the Lake of Fire first to rape and pillage the pathetic humans banished there for refusing to join my reserve army. Then, they will claim one Level of Hades at a time. It will be a bloodbath.

“Ha, the suspense is killing me. Some think I put Abaddon in charge because I favor her. Actually, I detest her. They will capture her and torture her for information. Guess what? She doesn’t have any. Since you can’t ask, I’ll tell you. This is to force the demons and doomed humans upward until they flood the very Level in which we stand. Once they’re here, their only choice is to cross over to Earth and join me in my final stand against Almighty. The gate will stay locked until I free it in three and one-half years. Quite clever, wouldn’t you agree?”

“What good are dead warriors?”

“The battle that I am planning won’t require massive amounts of loser humans and sub-standard demons. They’ll only get in my way. The coming war will not be a war of the sword, Gabriel. It will be a war of the mind. I will use swarms of drones, a little artificial intelligence, and a whole bunch of real intelligence to reduce the surplus population to a manageable few.”

Gabriel quotes from Scripture, “’Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.’”

“Yeah, yeah, I heard you the last time you mumbled scripture at me. I know the Bible backwards and forwards, Gabriel. Would you like my favorite verse? It’s also the shortest: ‘Jesus wept.’ Isn’t that just sad?” Lucie snickers.

“I have nothing more to say to you, Lucifer. Stand still as we transport.”

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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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