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777 from Obscura's blog

Recruitment has begun in my legion.  I am in Beelzebub’s headquarters office, in fighting gear with my flute sheathed at my back and the saber Asmodeus has been training me on at my side, eagerly awaiting my new recruits.  They enter my station and salute me, then introduce themselves and fill out contracts in blood in the lobby, binding themselves to my service.  Mulciber drew up a round seal for me of a looping spread winged canary with my name in Hebrew that the mortals under my service are inking their slit thumbs on.  776.  The seven hundred and seventy seventh enters, the last one on my ledger registered for approval.


777, a Middle Eastern man, with olive skin and scarred eyebrows, lingers at the corner of the mahogany door with a thickly ridged noose’s purple bruise around his throat.  A suicide, then.  The Damned all carry the sins of their pasts manifested as boils, tumors, cancers, and wounds on their bodies as signs of why they are here.  Repent, serve, and work towards redemption, then Heaven awaits, past the Hell’s Gate and up the ladder of angels.  But fall too far from grace, and Hell is an endless cycle of crushed hope like dying lilies, always in the Legion or confined to the pleasure chambers of the Lords to be fucked, tortured, or both.  The worst offenders get put in the Void, and from there, there is no return.


This young recruit, no more than 25, has dark ringlets of black hair to his shoulders and amber eyes with bruised purple bags under them.  There are chains on his ragged acid wash jeans and he wears a torn bomber jacket and an old Morrisey t-shirt. He stubs a cigarette out under his steel-toed boot and his kohl-lined eyes linger on a propaganda poster of good old Uncle Sam(ael) decreeing “Fall on Your Brothers!  Join Today!,” dressed in a Roman toga with his wings spread high, holding the eternal flame of Hell up towards victory.  I always thought Samael spearheading the propaganda campaign was tacky, but it works, if only for the angry, bordering on constipated look on the poster’s face.  It is, after all, the butt of all Hell’s office water cooler jokes, with Uncle Samael plastered across corporate buildings and at intersections as proper Beelzebub propaganda would be.


“And who are you, my friend?” I ask, waiting with my fountain pen to write his name down.


“The Sicarius, Hell’s man of the dagger.  And who are you, I might ask, wife of he who tempted my Lord?”  He smiles a smile that is anything but friendly, then pulls out an ancient dagger, hewn from some long dead forge.  The Damned cling to their possessions with greed – can’t pass through the eye of a needle into Heaven with a camel weighed down by treasure, but you can carry a whole horse-load of fineries into Hell.


“Just another citizen of Dis trying to carry on her business in some way that is sane in an oftentimes insane multiverse.”  I narrow my eyes and examine the blade.  It is curved like a crescent moon, small, able to fit into his back jeans pocket.  It is polished and old.  “And who is this Lord you speak of?  There are many Lords in Hell, and I do not believe I have tempted any, not that temptation is a thing we believe in down here.  Hedonism, moreover, is our religion.”


“There is only one Lord,” the Sicarius says slowly.  “I drank his blood.  I ate his body.  And the silver of my betrayal tasted like a pumping hot heart, and the noose was my lover, and my fallen guts cursed the fields, and I stabbed many heretics and Temple defilers in the back with this sica,” he says, balancing the blade by the hilt.  “Tell me, have you tasted God before, dearest Shaylen?  Have you nursed at the holy blood and water from his side like sweetest Catherine of Siena?”


Fear washes over me.  I stand up and steady myself on the table, daring to meet his eyes.  This man radiates infernal power, a curse so bitter it may well be the Mark of Cain.  The miasma radiating off him makes me feel sick.  I must choose my words wisely now or forever be marked a coward. “I drink the blood of the Morning Star.  That is as close to God as I have come. Tell me, Sicarius, what would you have me make of you?  I have an inkling of who you are, awash in the sins of a kiss.”


“I would have you make of me a monster, one who longs to look in a reflection of the Savior and see redemption.  A penitent beast.  A Wandering Jew.  At the end of the day, dear commander, I am a Scapegoat.  Christ was for God, and I was for Azazel, just as it was on Yom Kippur.”


Judas Iscariot sheathes his blade and comes too close to my desk for comfort.  I draw my sword that Asmodeus has trained me on.  “You know what Christ said at the Last Supper?  You’ve read my Gospel, yes?  Heretical, they say.  An Apocryphal tale.  Gnostic bullshit.  Yet true. All of  it. Yeshua took me up into his arms that night and said after a frightful vision of mine: “You will become the thirteenth, and you will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy generation.”


Cold weeps in my body from deep root taps at the heart of Hell.  I stand ramrod straight and bow.  This is a man worthy of my respect.  “So you are as they say, Hell’s most jaded soldier.  Skilled with the dagger of the assassins of old Jerusalem zealot Sicarios and trying to serve out a sentence thrust upon you by a Savior asking you to shoulder a burden far too great to bear.”


Judas bows in return.  “I take the shape of light as it falls, dear Shaylen.  I am what a star is like that has burnt up and turned to a black hole.”


I extend my hand, and he shakes it firmly.  “I would be honored to have you in my service.”


Judas crooks his lips.  “And training begins when?”


“Tomorrow, at dawn.”


He lights another cigarette and takes a drag.  “You know, Christ’s last word to me?  When I kissed him on the cheek in that Roman plaza?”  Judas closes the distance between us and the yellow in his honey eyes is shining like fallen stars.  He puts the cigarette between his middle and forefinger then tucks a stray lock behind my ear, and leans down to whisper.


“Emet.”  His voice is jade and juniper sap, sticky and sweet from high altitudes.


I shudder.  “How dare you.”


Judas snakes around me.  “You see, in my day, men and women like Simon Magus and King Solomon and the Witch of Endor would make golems, living men of clay, and they would write aleph mem tav, Truth, or Emet, on the golem’s forehead, and the golem would do their bidding.  Erase the aleph, and you were left with mem tav, Death, and the golem ceased to be.  “The only truth is death,” Christ said, and then he kissed me back, on the forehead during my betrayal, and finished, “That is the gift of our mother Eve. Aleph, mem, and tav.””


I draw my sword and raise its edge to Judas’ throat.  “How do you know who I am?  Who sent the messenger?”


Judas laughs, leaning into the blade so it pierces his throat then comes out the back of his neck.  He kneels before me praying and gagging as the blade slides through his neck, penitent.  Horrified, my grip tightens, and he chokes up blood and hosannas.  “I wonder if you are dead or alive,” he says ragged, “just a girl of clay and ribs and crushed dreams, dear Shaylen.  And many birds fly between Heaven and Hell.  This certain one happened to be Raziel.  I am still a disciple, despite my curse, and I still break bread with angels in the dark corners where no demon can say or see.  Raziel says you looked lovely at the Founder’s Ball, dear Mother of Life.”  Judas is bleeding out onto my heels.  I withdraw the sword.


“So you’ve been consorting with the enemy.  What is Raziel plotting?”


“Oh, my dear, Raziel is just a messenger.  Like Samael, he is, at the end of the day, a servant of God.  Only humans like you and I have free will, none of these immortal beings.  That makes us mightier than them all, even God Himself.  You think God has free will?  No, He has never made a choice in his eternal life.  Just the choice to die so that the universe could be made, always sacrificing Himself to Himself in the most sacred of rites everlasting.”


There is a bouquet of roses at Judas’ mouth.  Roses of gore.  He stands and the wound instantly closes, leaving only the scarred purple bruise of his noose.  Clearing his throat, Judas straightens out his bomber jacket and resumes smoking his cigarette.  “Michael wants Samael back.  That was Raziel’s message – one I was to deliver to you and one Samael turns a blind eye too, though he has the puzzle pieces.  He cannot see God, you know – his name means either Poison or Blindness of God, depending on how you view it.  But this is what Michael wants.  The union of Heaven and Hell, forgiveness for the sins of the fallen.  It is something I have longed for since my death, and I know you see it in him, in them all – Asmodeus, Naamah, Beelzebub, Astaroth, and your future husband.  That craving for Father God.  That unspoken desire for repentance, like the Magdalene clothed in her own hair in a cave in the desert, fed manna by angels each morning in her good news studies.  I want you to lead us home, Shay.”


I come crashing into my seat, sword clattering to the ground.  “How can I change the mind of the Satans, oh Judas?  How can there ever be a reunification?”


“Love answers the prayers of the damned, Shaylen.  I am sick to death of pining away over my Lord.  I want to touch his glorious white raiment again, to sit at his feet and listen to his parables.  At the heart of every demon –“


“Is a lonely child calling out for his Father,” I whisper.  “You’re right, Samael wants to go home.  But how do I convince him?”


“Marry him.  Lead your legion into battle, lose purposely, and deliver yourself to the angels.  I will be your guide, there is no need to fear, angels are righteous but gentle with innocent souls.  Michael will take care of the rest.  There is nothing Satan himself loves more than his heart.  You.”


I pick up my blade contemplatively, stained with his blood, then slit my hand.  “Swear it on our blood, on the Styx, lest we boil, that we will see this through and you will not betray me,” I say adamantly.


Judas takes his sica and slices his palm open, joining mine in a promise.  “Prove you are more than Adamah.  Earth is only clay until you give it the name of God.  Then, spirit is breathed into Her, and she becomes All.”


There are tears in my eyes.  “I am more than my maker, Judas.  And I will save him from himself.”


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By Obscura
Added Sep 2 '18

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