Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Original Dragonslayer

Once upon a time, in a little village named Antioch, Margaret was born to a pagan priest who thought the Christians were crazy.(1)

Feeling rebellious upon her thirteenth birthday, Margaret renounced her father's pagan beliefs and told anyone who would listen that she planned to get on the Christianity bandwagon and ride it to the promised land. He banned her to the countryside, where she tended to sheep and did well to stay out of trouble.

Unfortunately, while walking through fields of gold, her ginger hair caught the eye of a local governor who proposed marriage to her.(2) He said he'd protect her and her sheep and all she had to do was give up her Christian beliefs. Margaret, having decided that this particular member of the male species was just this side of evil, decided to keep her faith and turned him down. The good governor was infuriated with Margaret and so subjected her to a series of cruel tortures.

The worst of these was the arrival of the Devil, disguised as a dragon, who, having missed lunch earlier in the day, gobbled Margaret up whole.

At which point, God rained down miracles upon Her most favorite of Antioch virgins - best of which was the sword Margaret found in the dragon's stomach. She rationalized, while she stared at the sword in the dragon's belly, that swinging a sword could be no more difficult than swinging an ax and so she hefted the broadsword and cut her way out.

This display of ingenuity did not, however, save Margaret from an unpleasant beheading at the hands of her scorned governor. She's quoted as saying on the morning of her imminent demise, "I should have just stayed in the damned dragon. At least I would have kept my head."


"So he ate you whole?" Claire asks.

"Yup. Swallowed me like a jagged little pill."

"And you found a sword in his belly?"

St. Margaret nods. "Nice and tidy, sitting there waiting for me. I always wondered if God knew what was in store and made sure he ate that swordsman earlier in the day."

"And then you cut your way out of him?"

She uses her butter knife to demonstrate. "Slit a nice big hole in him and strutted out like Kate Moss taking the runway."

"What did he do?"

"Pulled himself together and ambled off to eat someone else. I kept the sword."

"What did the governor do?"

"Had me beheaded, the prick." She takes a sip of tea, nods her approval.

"Seems a little extreme, even for a governor."

"Well, he always was a tad over dramatic, much like the Devil."

"And what about the Devil?"

"What about him?"

"Do you ever sit down and have coffee with him? Cup of tea?"

Margaret shakes her head. "I avoid him like the plague he is." She takes a cookie from the plate between them, uses it to point at Claire. "And I'm not terribly impressed by reptiles, either."


(1) Margaret now admits that her Father may have had a point...
(2) Actually, he called her Ginger Witch...and then proposed marriage to her as an apology when she knocked him off his horse with her shepherd's staff.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Welcome Home, Claire

I'd thought that WordPress would be a pretty good change of pace for Claire...and then life got chaotic and it turned out I left Claire and her friends there to rust.

When God started to complain about being put in a corner, I couldn't take it anymore and, well, here we are. Back where we started. It honestly feels like reuniting with a lost loved one, an estranged best friend, or maybe the tiny version of me I keep forgetting about.

Whatever it may feel like to you, dear reader, I can promise that we're all here to stay. Welcome back to the Pearly Gates.

Oh, and welcome home, Claire. It's so good to see you again.


Remember that Time the Demons Went on Strike?

If it hadn't been for inflation, the Devil could have bribed them.

“The little buggers know too much,” Lucifer says as he slides into the chair next to Hades at the bar. Hooves, the only establishment open during the day in the Lower Levels, is nearly empty. Not surprising, considering it’s Halloween on Earth.

“Of course they do – that’s one of the reasons you pay them so poorly,” Hades says, ordering a whiskey sour for the Devil. The zombie behind the bar, a pleasant fellow named Greg, nods slowly and shuffles over to the line of liquor bottles along the back of the bar.

“I don’t pay them to blackmail me, Hades.”

Hades chuckles under his breath, shakes his head. “Perhaps if you paid them a real wage, instead of a handful of souls every few weeks, you wouldn’t be in this position.”

“Greg, focus!” The zombie looks up from the arm he’s just ripped off a paying customer, his rotting teeth halfway to the flesh of its forearm. He nods, sets the arm down on the bar, and sets about pouring Lucifer’s drink.

“They couldn’t have picked a worse time,” Lucifer says. “It’s Halloween – I need them downstairs, wreaking havoc and scaring small children all over the globe.” He feels a tapping on the back of his hand, looks down to see the recently detached arm calling for his attention. He turns to the woman who lost it a few moments ago. “Madame, if you’d be so kind…” She retrieves it, settles it back into her shoulder socket, and goes back to her conversation.

Greg drops the whiskey sour in front of him and frowns, mumbles something unintelligible, then shuffles away.

“What do the boys want?” Hades asks.

Lucifer pulls a folded piece of paper from the pocket of his jacket, slides it over to his business partner. “It’s a list of their demands,” he says at Hades’ questioning look. “Make sure you take a look at the signature on the bottom.”

Hades opens the sheet, reads it over. His head pops up when he’s finished, his eyes wide. “She didn’t.”

“She did.”


“Two thousand years running and those jerks have been perfectly happy getting souls every week. Never asked for another thing. Now I get a list of demands and a strike notice within twenty-four hours of their first HR meeting with Hers truly.” He slings the whiskey sour back in one gulp, throws the glass at Greg, who catches it simply by turning to the side and allowing it to land in his hollowed out rib cage.

“You’ve always said the two of you can’t get along…”

“She stole my demons on Halloween, Hades. This requires retribution.”

Hades sighs, rests his chin in the palm of his hand. “I’m going to regret asking you this, but what kind of retribution were you thinking?”

Lucifer turns a terrifying, toothy grin on his business partner. His irises have gone a violent shade of magenta and there’s smoke rising from his pointy ears. “Vengeful retribution.”

“That’s mildly redundant…” Hades starts, but he’s unable to finish.

Lucifer jumps up from his chair and throws his arms up in the air, startling Greg in the process. The zombie topples to the floor as Lucifer’s body swells to a size twice as large and far more purple than before.

“Vengeance will be mine!”

He sprints off, away from the bar, and Hades shakes his head as he watches him disappear through the door. He leans over the bar to check on Greg.

“You okay, buddy?” he asks.

“Urghdmanadamam,” Greg mutters and Hades nods.

“Ridiculous, I know.” He sit down, finishes his sea breeze. “Two thousand years of being the Goddamn Devil and he’s still just as big a drama queen as he was the day I met him.”