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Obscura's blog

“Maybe you’re not the hero you thought you were.”


I sit with scarred, armored, war-torn Zadkiel on a threadbare couch, my twin angel and second-in-command general of Michael, of whom we are both standard bearers, I reconnaissance, he defense.  We are reminiscing about the War (there is only ever one War, don’t let mortals fool you otherwise) and Zeke’s eyes are alight with fire and rambunctiousness.  He clutches his sword between his kneecaps, driven down into the wood of the floor, and chortles like a jackal.


“Gaby kept running around delivering messages he didn’t see my infantry plowing through him.  That was the first time he died.  Oh, what a little bird flitting about, unaware he’s in the way with those high falutin messages straight from Mikey himself.”


I bring my knees to my lap and nestle against his wing.  He has a familiar face lit with fire, like the gentle soul that houses him is in vengeance mode.  The night before I fell asleep, I saw him in pointed spidery silver and gold armor with gauntlets and lamellar plating and a visor that hid darkness and burning blue eyes that would flicker to red like coals.  Zadkiel kept cutting the air with his flaming sword as if to spell betrayal out for me, only I couldn’t catch on, not in the awake state at least.


“How did you die, Zadkiel?” I ask, hesitantly.


Zadkiel gives  wild laugh.  “Oh, how didn’t I die?  I bled out in the trenches.  I took bullets through the heart.  Stabbed by an underling that didn’t like my iron fist.  The question, my dear, is that I always die, it’s only a matter of time.  Some more gruesome than others.”


I think back to my death, that first fall from grace, and can’t help but ask: “Do you remember me, Zad?”


Zadkiel sighs like wind through an empty carnival.  Like he is haunted by me, which is likely the case: “You were put on trial for corrupting demons during your reconnaissance missions, Jo. Up to scale 11, you ruined the . At the end, we couldn’t tell whose side you were on but your own. You were judged as a traitor.  Due for execution but you died anyway in one last coup d etat.  Always the wild child, Jo.”


There are tears in his eyes and he doesn’t look at me.  I can barely look at my own legs.


“Oh…” I speak softly, remembering the lore.  Zophael, the Herald of Hell, with sympathies towards the fallen.  Zophiel, the fallen angel of Maria del Ocidente’s poem.  Zophael, the one who took the side of the fallen and rebelled against heaven.  Zophiel, Heaven’s double-timing spy that got in too deep.


Three battalions met the day I died.  My own rebels, hewn from fallen and angels.  Samael’s forces.  Michael’s legions.  Three separate battles: those that would restore balance, those that would drag the world to Hell, and those that would enforce the mono-culture of Heaven.  I have met those that took my side.  They were much fewer, possibly not a third, but perhaps the neutral angels that fell to Earth and became the land, sea, and forest elementals.  Perhaps we did make a stand, however brief, and when I took Satan’s spear through the heart for Michael, I abandoned not only my post but betrayed both sides.


A traitor to both heaven and hell.  Playing my own little games.  Turning angels on demons and demons on angels.


We are not always heroes in our own stories.  At best, we might wrangle some sympathy from those who wronged us.  To fight for Satan is a noble misguided cause.  To fight for Michael is a glory train of bad choices and patriarchal fuckups that gets you nailed to a cross.


To fight for the traitor, why, that takes special madness.  You get put on Earth, in the end.


We are never the heroes in our stories, and my sadness runs deep as the liar’s grave I fill.  In the end, I hurt everyone, all because I wanted to be the architect of my own story, or perhaps I was playing both sides all along.  An instigator for the war.  Flying to steal the glory of god for humanity, too close to the sun I touched eternal fire and brought it back for those hairless apes.  Goading on Samael and Michael to rough it out over me.  I am  the only thing they cared about, at least momentarily, in the end (of my life, not there’s – there’s is a cause, a higher purpose, and mine is the trickster mentality).


Whatever happened, history may be doomed ot repeat.  Or maybe now, I finally get the chance to redeem myself.  Maybe now, I won’t bleed black ink from adamant veins.


We are never the heroes we thought we were, but maybe, on the flight of a lark, on a vespertine moon’s last rays, we can become something like God.

As an avid fan of Sumerian mythology, it has always perplexed me that some Satanists equate Satan with Enki, which is clearly not the mythological case.  Samael, as it were, directly sprang from the warrior god of plagues and the black sun and underworld, Nergal.  His cultus survived in Harran amongst the Sabeans well into the Middle Ages where Samael was worshipped by the name Shemal, directly correlated with Nergal in the trinity of Sin and Inanna and Nergal in this pagan tradition.  Shemal was the Lord of the North, god of Mars, lord of demons and djinn, and where the name Samael came from.  Additionally, there is the simoom, or Samiel wind, the hottest desert phenomena on this planet that occurs in the Middle East.  None of this rings "Enki."  Enki is Lord of the Waters.  Who else is Lord of the Waters?  Jesus.  Enki is a Creator, Nergal is a Destroyer.  In stealing Me from Enki, who is the keeper of knowledge, Inanna stole this prototype of Jesus' flame and gave it to humanity.  And in the garden and struggle against the Annunaki, who liberated humanity?  Enki!  He is a father god like El, yet also the closest thing the Sumerian pantheon had to a Savior.  If you look closely at Jesus, he is a Trickster.  He puts demons into pigs for fun and curses fig trees and speaks in parables of riddles and destroys the social establishment by being a renegade and overturning tables and wine in the Temple.  Enki, in turn, disobeys the social order of Sumerians and is their Trickster.  Trickster occurs in all cultures, but Enki and Jesus, if anyone bothers to work with their energies, are practically one and the same!  Water.  Fluid.  Enlightened.  Humorous.  Great power, saviors, keepers and dispensers of celestial wisdom and liberators of humanity.  Enki is much more directly connected to Jesus than Samael, who is a direct correlation to Nergal.  Satan is derived from Nergal, a far cry and completely opposite deity from Enki, who is corresponded to Jesus throughout Sumerian mythology.  It takes a quick Google search and glance at Wikipedia to prove the overlap between Enki and Jesus (LORD OF THE WATER) and even more obvious is the direct correspondence between Nergal (root of the Demiurge) who is LITERALLY Samael, the oldest form of Satan.  So if you want a Sumerian correspondence for a Satanic God, just fucking worship Nergal.  I promise you, there is practically NO DIFFERENCE BESIDES ONE BEING A GOD AND ONE BEING AN ARCHANGEL ARCHDEMON SASSY TALKING SNAKE SKELETON DRAGON THINGY.  And if you want to, invoke Enki and Christ at the same time. I dare you.  They will merge.


BEWARE NIBIRU


The Lightbringer attended to his duties.


Idly, he ate a wormy pomegranate, dressed in a white tunic.  Black veins ran like a map across his back, spreading to chalk-white shoulders.  He lingered in the shadows, watching the Milky Way canoe toward the outer boundaries of heaven.  The stars hung like fireflies above, reflecting off the perfection of his skin as he stood under the boundless moon.  The satellite drifted slowly across the hours, and the music of the spheres churned as time’s machinations moved the night to day.


Cherubim whirled above, shifting mixtures of man and beast that carried the heavens on their backs.  They shepherded the stars, singing in ethereal tones.  At a glance they resembled dragons with human faces blossoming from pearly wings.  Their backs were shelled like tortoises or jeweled beetle carapaces that upon closer inspection resembled intricate, interlocking armor.  One could not discern if their human forms were consumed in biological plating or if they truly were chimeras.


He watched them.  Once, that had been his duty, but no more.  He softly touched the twin scars that mounted his shoulder-blades.  The old red fire of the wound flared.  He smirked, then put out the Morning Star – proudest in all the constellations – with his thumb.  The planet Venus dimmed, only to blaze into life again when he lowered his hand.  He laughed drily and finished the fruit, tossing it over the canyon rim below.


The song of the cherubim lilted.  They descended like flaming wheels, swooping down below into the landscape obscured by night.  Their voices faded to silence.  The angels’ chimeric forms resolved into those of men.  In hollows of darkness they stood, flesh beginning to glow, then blazed into pillars of light.  Each beam rocketed up into the sky to match a star above.  The stars flickered in time with their breaths.


He smiled at his brothers’ devotion as his chest began to thrum like a drumbeat.  The skin over his heart glowed blue-white, burning with sweet agony.  He contained a scream that would have rose to ragged ululations of ecstasy, just as each of his brothers held their tongues.


Gritting his teeth, he let his glory pour forth.  It seared, the substance of divinity firing upward to Venus.  His mind was consumed; he let the waves of pain rush against him like water crashing to shore.  The frothing foam scattered memories like sea glass: his Father’s hands in his, teaching him to shape the cosmos to his will.  His fingers on the locks of a yellow-haired girl, braiding them meticulously with roses.  He recalled how his hands had fumbled then, picking the thorns off for her before wending the vines between the golden strands.  He had had no callouses then, no scars-


The fires of the heavens roared like a waterfall.  The sun was on the verge of rising.  His pain intensified.  He closed his eyes, clasping his hands in prayer.


Hands told stories; some said they determined fate.  A heart line slashed across a palm spoke of love, a six-lined star meant protection.  The meanings, for mortals, were endless.


His hands were blank.  The only marks on his skin were the ones he had earned.


“Where is your fate line?” she had asked long ago, laughing.


“Fate line?  I have none, Eve.”


“That is a pity.  How can you choose your destiny, if you have no guide to it?”  She traced the absence of his palms.


He flexed his pinions. “I have my wings- that is enough.”


She touched their snowy whiteness.  “Flying is one thing, brother, but without a map, where will you go?”


“I know where I am going, child.  Some paths are best left unknown.”


But he had strayed down shady roads in the coming eons, and the pearly wings grew to not be enough.


One evening, he tried drawing delicate curves on his palms with her sewing needles.  Over and over he dug them, deeper into his flesh, until the needles stuck through his hand.  Each time they healed, devoid of scars.  She caught him unawares and screamed when she saw him.


“Not like this!” she had howled, plucking the needles from his palms and bandaging him with torn strips of her dress.  She ran her fingers through his hair, hands so soft and cool against his temple they could be milk.  So small he could enfold them like a butterfly, which he did.  He steadied her shaking, afraid she would crack like a doll.  “This is my fault,” she wept as he rocked her.  “You have no need of stupid fate lines.  Your wings are enough to guide you.  Can’t you see how whole you are?  I am not.  I was jealous of you, brother, jealous!  You are the prince of the angels, have all and I have nothing.  I am made of dust and sorrow; I walk through the dirt and mud.  Father regrets me – he damns my curiosity, I, who was merely made to revel in creation.  I am a broken thing: I go against my nature in craving to create what I am meant to enjoy.  Ever since we were expelled from Eden, I cannot read the damned things on my hands.”


He clasped her hands in his, wings enfolding her.  “I can,” he whispered, “and you are the most whole thing I have ever known.”


“You can read them?” she asked weakly.  “What do they say?”


“They say that you are the wisest of all creatures, Eve, and that nothing I have done is your fault.  That in you lies the fire of a million generations.  The only fate we control is our own.”


Her gaze could still the ocean: “Then promise me you will never do anything that hurts you, ever again, Lucifer.  Promise me you will be gentle as you have always been and treat yourself with the same care you give me.”


“I promise, Eve.  Though I would not call myself gentle-”


She silenced him with a kiss, both ignoring that the way their paths were headed, it was a promise he would not keep.  He recalled how he had cupped her face like it was manna.  His hands, entwined in her hair –


The sun crept closer to the rim of the horizon.  His heart scorched, ribs burning in his chest.  Tears welled in his eyes.  Those hands, which he would now shudder to place on her snowy flesh, broke their fervent prayer.


He examined them, removed.  They profaned all they touched, sullied with the stains of ages.  Blood, tears, piss, plagues.  Yet no matter what he did, they remained clean.  His brothers were all the same.  Try as they might, they could not write their own stories.  All they did was erased from their skin.


Their fates had been determined for them.  The only scars they were allowed to keep were those earned at ultimate cost.


The stars blotted out one by one, waiting.  He flexed his fingers.  Once, the slender digits had brought life to mortal lips.  Now they drew souls out of mouths.  Just like he had cast off one name for another, he had traded purposes after the Fall:


“No,” he had pleaded, tears in his eyes.  “My name is Lucifer.  The bright and morning star.”


“And now it is Samael, the poison and venom of God.  Your gifts will be suffering and death.”


“No!  I am the Lightbringer!”


“And now that light would burn you.  Death cannot bear life.  You killed her in your folly!  To repeat that would be madness-”


“I am beyond madness and your wretched salvation, Michael.  Do not offer me repentance.  I was trying to save her.  I will save her!  What is dead can be brought back to life.  Eve’s soul is mine, mine.”


“You damned her from the moment she met you.”


He roared her name in agony.  The Morning Star stood belfry to the first rays of sun.  Pain forgotten, he was lost in the onslaught of his mind.


Hell is not a place, but the past.  He carried it with him always.  The angels below were lost in their own tortures.  They pleaded their cases before the sun.  Perhaps, this morning, they would be forgiven.  For his brothers were each of them fallen, bereft of their Creator, alone.


The sun rose in judgment, washing out the light of the Morning Star.  He screamed and doubled over as his flesh seared to the bone.  The penetrating rays licked him the clean white bone of the Reaper, rendering him into a skeleton.  He saw with eyes that were black hollows, and rose to embrace the deadly radiation.


The landscape pooled before him.  A red desert raced out to brimming golden mountains, where dawn gently lapped over the ruins of a once magnificent city.  It was carved into the cliff faces like Petra, inhospitable to humans.  No steps or bridges connected the towering abodes – sheer drops followed the open doors – and there were none of the comforts of civilization, merely bare floors dusted with wildflowers.  The fallen angels shook below as they prayed, flesh peeling as their blood pooled on the ground.  Wind stirred the sand into molten plumes, like hourglasses in reverse, grains snaking through fallen pillars and stories upon stories of sandstone.  It buffeted him, sliding between his ribs.  A great thundering came from the distance.


“Welcome, brother,” he murmured as the solar angel stirred to his vigil.  Soon, a figure shadowed the sun.  Michael landed atop the sere cliff, facing his twin.  “Time to slay the beast,” the Morning Star said.


Tears were in Michael’s eyes.  “You know this is never necessary, Samael.”  He laid his weapons at his twin’s feet.


“Your sword, dear brother, through the neck.  Or the heart, if you prefer.  I seem to lack one, I suppose.  A downside to being bone-”


“Why, day after day, do you torment me with this?”  The question hung like the gallows over their heads.  “Our brothers below us are suffering.  Above us, they are weeping.  All Heaven and Hell become one, and you prolong it with your murder.”


“It is yours too, my twin,” he said, almost tender.  The bone-man walked to Michael’s side, dabbing at the tears with his claw hands.  “Damn these things,” he said, looking at his fingers in disgust. “I have had too much time alone with my palms.”


“In that we may find solidarity.  Mine tire of bearing weapons.  If you would only quit your stubbornness, the War would end immediately.”


“If only it were that simple.  I always envied you your straightforward thinking.  Whose load is heavier, brother: the Lightbearer, or he who bears the sword?  One’s burden is insubstantial-”


“Enough with your damn riddles!”  Michael roared, slapping the skull’s cheek.  “Repent!  Come home, brother.  Be whole.”


Samael’s hand lingered on his smarting jawbone.  “No.”


Michael took his brother’s shoulders in his hands.  “Each day you pray for forgiveness, and we grant it to you.  Then you reject it.  You – all of you!-” he yelled across the canyons, down at the fallen ones, silver tears in his emerald eyes, “-choose suffering over redemption.  Why, my brother?  Why?”


“Because, Michael.  It is our lot.  The suffering, the scars, make us whole.  There is no going back to Eden.”


“I know,” whispered Michael, sorrowful, “but I can hope.”  He embraced his brother slowly, shaking, and kissed his bony brow.


“What is dead cannot be brought back to life, as you said so long ago.  Look at me as I truly am,” Samael laughed drily.  “Such a prince of angels I would make.  No, that path is now yours, and your halo is ill-suited for me.  The only crown fitting me is one of thorns.”  He lifted Michael’s sword and pressed it to his ribs.  “For her?” Samael asked gently.


Michael obliged.  In a scene old as time, he slayed the beast, killing the darkness which would rise once more next evening, only to be slaughtered come morning tithe.  Over and over they engaged in the battle, trapped in their own hells, hearts torn asunder anew.  Samael had died many times – in truth, he craved it.  As the Angel of Death, it was him.  Each time, it brought him closer to her- in the blackness he could feel her, the hollow emptiness of his heart that marked her unknown grave.


Broken, Michael pushed him over the edge.  Gabriel trumpeted above.


The earth opened like a great maw to swallow him up.


“Eve,” Samael called softly, plummeting into the abyss.  The ground sucked the fallen angels down into the pit, denying them God’s saving grace.  In their fall, they burned proud.


Michael wiped his blade clean of rot.


The tithe was paid.


The day was born.

I actually HATE anything creepy.  And nothing is creepier than Samael.  In order for him to become Sa'el, I think all demons need to turn into puppies, kittens, and rainbows.  Also, Hell should yuppify and have frozen yogurt everywhere and start filtering the blood out of the Styx and Samael should stop going around as a corpse half the time.  Beelzebub really needs a makeover.  Even during sex, he won't take off the horned helmets and capes.  Hello Sauron, have you ever heard of business casual?  This isn't Lord of the fucking Rings.  Asmodeus needs to stop being such a manwhore and close down all his bars and turn them into hedgehog cafes or arcades.  Lilith and the girls (I mean you, Agrath, Naamah, and Eisheth) need to dye their hair blonde, stop stripping, and stop go go dancing all the time.  Belial needs to stop being stoned.  I will campaign to turn all demons into liberal Millenials.  I am cutting Samael's hair, buying him new clothes that are not fucking red or black (have you heard of salmon? and why so many fucking skulls and distressed band tees???), cutting off his alcohol and drugs, and making him into a puppy.  I am also defanging Satan and making all demons absorb all Disney movies for valuable life lessons.  Peppa the Pig and Sesame Street are also good remedial lessons.  I think Dora the Explorer could really teach the Goetics to stop swiping.  I'm talking about totally revamping hell.  I will recruit Jesus to help me.  Buddy Jesus.  From Dogma.  I will cast a spell to make all the cannibalistic blood orgies and weed party turn into Millenial board game parties.  Fuck weed, we are playing Settlers of Cataan.  Goodbye alcohol, I am turning it all into diet coke sponsored by Taylor Swift.  Hell is a very bad place to raise a child in.  Think about the bad examples Satan is setting.  I do not approve.  Also, he's fucking creepy.  The Antichrist needs to be raised in a wholesome environment.  The End Times need to be sanitized.  Revelations needs to be written with the romance novel demanded Happily Ever After.  I am turning Samael into a puppy.  I am turning all demons into bubbles.  I am making all their claws and fangs and talons childproof.  I am turning Hell into a Chuck E Cheese.  Only then can I take my students there.  SJWs demand priviledges be revoked and instituting a social democratic state with free Gehenna University and universal healthcare in Sheol.  I will force Hell to be Millenial approved.  Millenials are inheriting the Earth, and we do not approve of wanton hellion ways.


Samael is becoming a puppy.



It’s easy enough to break a bone, but putting flesh and vein and sinew back together onto the framework of a demon is an arcane art not meant for Millennials.


The sinews snap.  The veins leak all over you, staining blouse and skirt.  Flesh stinks when left out to rot, and even if, once the puzzle is pieced together, he comes alive again, a cadaver is a cadaver, and scales and fangs and tendons of ruin grow cold and decay.


First you thread the black medical silk through the eye of a silver needle.  Skin grafts, organs on ice, flies everywhere.  Sew and bone saw and glue everything into place on the operating table.  It will stink to high heaven but you are in Hell, and you already dissected Death a million times before, so stitching him back together shouldn’t be so hard, you think.


Think again, stupid girl.


His eyes will be the first things to become alert, in vats of preserving fluids, and the globes will whirl around like the cosmos, red irises like supernovas.  Toes next.  Fingers dragging bloody stumps across the floor.


You tell him to sleep, to rest, that after every battle you will piece him back together, but your monstrous lover is getting more broken and war weary by the day, and he keeps coming home in a matchbox figuratively, but literally it’s unorganized pieces of flesh that stink up the alchemical dungeon.


He doesn’t listen.  His phantom voice lectures you about how much you have yet to learn, of biology and magick, of necromancy, which is his specialty.  The Grim Reaper rarely revives the dead, but when he does it, they are so well put together he fiddles a danse macabre and they ring posies like the plague, bolts and screws all in place, no hanging flesh or joints falling from sockets like your shoddy work.


Killing him is easy.  Sometimes you have too, because he goes mad with bloodlust and ruin and attacks you.  Bringing him back to life is an art, and you’re a shit artist.


But you try, and finally, the Frankenstein beast is alive, vainglorious, terrible to look at but bewitching as the majesty of Satan.


You fuck your creation on the hospital table, and spit and cum and blood all mix together with the shrapnel of scalpels and medical tape.  That’s the final exchange of energy that cements his soul to his body, raising him up from lich to lich master.


But in the end, you’re his master, and he is your willing toy, cutting roses for you, writing you poetry, your beast of burden that kills your enemies so you don’t sully your hands.


You named him first anyways, and you are your own god, no one’s slave except his, but the ownership goes both ways, and you are branded onto his skin just as yours.


Eyes fracture.  Shadows dance.  You hold your monster against the darkness.


Against the rushing reeds of the Styx.


Against the gaping void of Hell that is his heart.


And then, like that, you make life.

It goes like this.  The girl is born with a silver spoon, with gold hair and teeth like pearls, but inside she is death and moonlight magic, a graveyard his coffin fits into, and the Devil lusts after the glimmering strands of her wyrd, like an amber and pink aurora borealis, and the way her blood redeems him simmered to a fine stewing panic on his tongue.


She is in love with his poison and makes a bed of ruin with Satan, for who could understand her monster better than the most deformed, wicked, tortured and enfettered drunkard in the world?  Who else lashes out with the storm of a bipolar hurricane?  They smash bones and slit throats, they drink down the gore of each other, and it is hate fuck after drunk nude after shitty love poem after breakup and makeup and make out and early fumblings in preteen years then knowing each other’s bodies like a favorite instrument.


Their love is a house on fire, with a wife and husband trapped inside that is too busy screaming grit out of lungs at each other over another high and lush fight to notice flames licking their flesh.


The Prince of Darkness comes early  at the stroke of three, when she is cradlebound, and he sings to her in a voice so sweet and eldritch, with eyes like a Lovecraftian abyss.  He is the Prince of Lies, but never does he come disguised as an angel of light to her.  He would rather show her his rot, with red siren eyes and chains grating along with the shrieks of the Damned.


A two-year old does not know good from bad, polarities or light or darkness, just that the blackness holds her demon.  That he tortures her and eats her father as a hellhound at four, that in daylight hours he is the Shadow Man that feels like Kelvin Zero, absolute cold who stalks the house and slams doors.


At six she’s making monsters, drawing chimeras of angels and demons, and she gives him the name Doom.  Rood or curse or whipporwill, for his song is sweet and of the fall, or perhaps a mourning dove, in mourning for nothing but his pride, for he is a dirge and the tolling of chapel bells at a funeral.


He gives life and takes it.  He makes her and destroys her.  She claws and hugs and kisses and grows into an iron rose.  At twelve she meets him – Samael, the Venom of God – and he is rich claret Martian robes on a marble throne, golden circlet, and fine long black hair and rose eyes.  She always called his eyes roses, when anyone else would have run, anyone else would have screamed rape and abuse and sometimes she still does, but angels are drawn to darkness, don’t you know the heart of a seraphim is so burning she must slake her brilliance in the abyss?  Don’t you know that Life loves Death?  Don’t you know that Love needs Hate?


These names can go on and become meaningless, as meaningless as lover’s spit on invading tongues and cum mixed with blood, but in the end is the Princess and the Dragon, at the fairytale’s close is the Grim Reaper and the Lady Life he reaped.  Samael planted a twisted vine in Paradise that fruited into the heart she carries, and she is half-man, half-pain, all beast.


He tells her enough stories to fill a universe, and wounds her enough to fill an ocean of blood.  There are strands of skeletons, there are cliffs of rotting organs, Hell is black chasms and sulfurous red skies and the bloody Styx.  But it has such a wretched beauty, and Satan is a wretch, the monster that pulls at her heart and squeezes the chambers to remind her he owns her, he created her, but really she owns him, doesn’t she, and at night the monsters come, at dusk there’s the tingle of the spine, and no matter how much ink she bleeds onto the page, she will never be free of her demon.

The war is eternal, the barracks are full of gutter swill, and Michael sits with his soldiers – some young angels not yet scarred by battle, some hardened veterans with crooked broken noses and lashes across their skin, burns from brands, twisted flesh from whips and swords.  In the trenches and camps, the border never falls, and the only thing to sing you to sleep is Israfel’s weeping over the Damned.


Sometimes, when there is a pause, and the demons retreat, Gabriel pulls out her battered trumpet and plays hymns.  Raphael has an accordion, and Uriel a makeshift drum.  Michael sings then.  It’s a ragtime band, Vaudeville in the wastelands, for shed enough immortal blood in Heaven and the grasses, flowers, and sedge drown in ichor.  All that blooms is asphodel.  The angel will dance among the plain white flowers and bramble thorns.


There are also roses.  One blooms every time an angel utters his or her last words.  They are sickly sweet with the fragrance of lost hope and a rain that never comes.  Michael picks them and presses their nectar and delivers their prayers to God’s throne room.  God weeps at the loss of his children, and another poppy blooms in the fields of the slain as the snow of their Father’s tears buries the corpses.  Roses, asphodel, poppy.  Pink, white, red.  It’s like a twisted Valentines, a love letter from Heaven to Hell.


Oh sweet nothings between Michael and Lucifer as one bites the heel and one crushes the head.  Oh sweet somethings between Raphael binding Azazel in Dudael.  Oh sweet possibility as Gabriel plays up the dawn with her song.  Oh sweetly impossible wishes of Raphael, for healing of the broken hearts of his comrades.  Oh bittersweet light of Uriel, who has run out of tears to shed – all that is left in her amber eyes is salt.


It is a Crusade.  It is a Cold War.  It is a chess set with poker on the side.  Two masterminds, Left Hand and Right Hand of God.  Over humanity perhaps, or perhaps so much more than mere hairless humans.  Perhaps they fight over free will, for freedom, or perhaps they forgot what they were fighting for long ago, and the lances and armor are dressings over empty burning hearts swiftly turning to coal.


Deus Vult.   As God Wills.


God left


a long


time


ago.

In Hell, in the beginning, there was darkness, like God put out the moon with his thumb.


Satan fell, and his tears froze the lowest circle.  Satan’s love is a burning thing, but his agony is absolute cold.


Beelzebub was the first to fall.  The first to carry the banner and sound the horn for the Mourning Star.  He was the first to bleed, the first to storm Heaven’s Gates.  Satan’s wise counselor, most trusted general, and above all, esteemed companion.


They are alone together for what seems like eternity, Beelzebub with his insect wings torn by the incinerating atmosphere, Satan plucking his mangled feathers dry as he goes mad, not even noticing he is freezing.  Beelzebub’s king is singing a song Father used to sonorously paint their cradles with.  Satan makes it sweet and wretchedly cruel:


My sons, my darling shining stars.


Smolder bright like embers from afar.


But up close, sons, burn them to flames.


Thy Kingdom Come, all worlds to claim.


For each word, a broken bit of white down.


For each verse, an infidel kingdom crushed for Christendom.


For each syllable, a dead god, a cold idol, a coffin for the false spirits.


Satan repeats it over and over, his tears blue banners.


Beelzebub waits.  Finally, there is light, after perhaps the trillionth repetition.


A third of Heaven falls as stars of simmering bright flesh, a flash of brilliance.


Then impact on jagged rocks and ice.  Reformation and mutation into monsters.


Pain.


They build an empire on ash and bone, and bury the brothers and sisters that do not survive the Fall.  In honor, much later, when some semblance of civilization is build, however twisted, they put their gravestones into the mortar of the Capital’s building.


Pain, memories, wine like blood, or is it blood like wine?


There is not much to say at night, but it is always night in Hell.


Beelzebub remembers, Satan grows more wicked, so far from his former brightness, and falls into madness and depravity.


Beelzebub holds the kingdom together, runs martial drills for the War That Never Ends.


Beelzebub goes over the ledgers and public records, holds councils, takes too short nights of comfort in his sweet boys.


Usually, he is alone in his tower.


Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven?


Only if Heaven was ever perfect in the first place.


The Lord of Flies looks up at the stars of dead god’s hearts, stitched into the fabric of the void.  You see, the demons had to improvise.  All that were left were corpses after the conquest, and after all, all souls eventually end up here.


I sit with Bael, Baal Zebub, a memory of Baal Hadad, or maybe he has always been a spider.


We entwine in his web and kiss venom and poison and toxins.


There are jewels in his web, lost treasures of a thousand conquered kingdoms.


Maggots eat Satan’s corpse, flies emerge from the dregs of the Grim Reaper.  Satan’s true name is Samael, after all – the finality of the scythe, and before his scythe, his spear.


Beelzebub would eat his shit if it purified his brother.  He has drank Satan’s tears, swallowed his cum, bathed in his blood, all to feel again.


It is a cold night in Hell.


Beelzebub looks up at the stars.


There is mist in his eyes.


Tear for every dead brother.


A sob for a negligent parent.


I miss my Father, Allie.  Sometimes, it takes all I have to just go on.


I take his bone white hand – my albino angel, or my red-eyed demon with platinum hair, black capes, and gauntlets.


I speak without thought:


You have our brethren’s love.  Asmodeus.  Samael.  Rofocale.  Belial.  Lilith.  Asherah.  From the Archdemons to the Goetics to the lowliest Damned. You have us.


He gives a ghost of a smile.


Yes, you, our angel in Hell.  Sometimes, Allie, you are the only light here.  I am the Lord of Creeping Things, of the soft rabbits and soft souls, the moths and butterflies, your soul is a doe or a hare.  I am frost, ice, and fire – Hell is primal, fire and water, but I shall keep you warm.  In Hell, the only light is love.  Never lose your kindness, Allie.  It is innocence demons cherish above all.


Baal Hadad rides the storm, be they frost or fire.  Some gods died in those ancient celestial wars.


Some took on different names.


Some forgot their own holiness.


For all of them, Beelzebub remembers.


 

Chomp at the bit while you’re dizzying me up with wine and poetry.  I’m nibbling your fingertips, splayed across your lap like an otter bobbing on the ocean with a pearl.  It’s us alone in luxury, us alone in the ruins of morals, and the falcon highs of Hell are only as worthy as the exhilaration of your majestic wings breaking.  We fall – into pace, out of time, from memory, but most importantly, into love.  Here you are as a cold spot under my ass, moving through me like a ghost as your sinuous hands entwine in my hair.  I always said you had pianist fingers, and you play the piano often, but sometimes you just sing, and the seasons stop turning and all Heaven is in mourning for losing its most beautiful voice.  I could say you are my better angel, or my Byronic Hero, but really, you’re just a scared boy clinging to cunts and tits because that’s the closest thing to mother you ever had.


Read me more of your poetry black soul.  Smash the windows, break the lamps, cry in my arms and bite my head off.  You like to tear me limb from limb and swallow me hole, then suture me back together with your putrid heart in the cage of my ribs and have my stitched drunken limbs dance like an automaton.  Somehow it always comes back to Eve’s choice – the Left Hand Path or the Right Hand, Yetzer Ha Ra or Yetzer Ha Tov, Michael or Samael, the Knight or the Dragon.  The Spin Doctors did this nineties song about Two Princes, y’know, and sometimes it gets stuck in my head.  She chooses the penniless poet at the end, but I can never guarantee I would choose you.  You’ll only ever be second-best, but you were first, so I suppose there’s that.


You fuck me real gentle that night.  My photo is on your bed stand, or photos should I say, from birth to toddlerhood to childhood to maidenhood to young womanhood.  There’s black and whites of my past lives too – I’m taking tea with Lilith in Victorian dresses, I’m swimming in the beautiful red Styx, we’re together in the 70’s at some hippie concert.  How much is fallacy or fantasy or lies is just like your fangs – translucent at time and hidden behind bleeding gums, other times out in the open and ready to devour.  I ask you to drink my blood so you do, sinking canines into my neck and I give into the ecstasy, I trace infinity on the small of your back and Christ, I love you so much I hate you, or is it hate so much I love you.


Michael said it is better to hate or love than to feel nothing, for in the end they are just polarities, just masks we wear.  Sometimes I remember you two before the War.  The War this, the War that.  Both of you are soldiers.  As I’m writing this, you form a cold spot that swirls lazily around my head and heart as I’m in a blanket and jacket.  I always wear my jackets inside, I’m in need of constant warmth.  Your seed is warm, your heart is cold, and you are a canvas of blank.  Is blank okay to call you?  Void with red demon eyes.  Abyss.  The Deep.  You move through me like rain on glass, just skimming the surface yet so thorough I run down your planes like tears.  Maybe I’m just another one of your moon maidens, oh fuck, here you are again, holding my hand across transdimensional space.


You said I would be Queen of the Aliens.  You said I would be the phoenix to rise from Ragnarok in a New Age.  You said I would be your savior, burying you below the Tree of Life – or was it Death? – to cleanse the mem from your name to make you Sael, the Purity of God.  Samech Mem Aleph Lamed.  The S and M Angel.  That’s my stupidest joke.


Oh Samael.  What can I say to you that I haven’t already articulated over this past quarter century, then all the lives after and before?  I’m old and I have tired words.  It’s past my bedtime.  You cherish me, and that is enough, but I know you are evil.  Can evil things love?  Can the most wretched of creatures know anything more than possessiveness and animal urges?  Snakes are snakes, not men.  You may put on the pretenses of humanity, but I know you are cold-blooded reptillian.  True, you have chthonic fire, but you are Death, and Death is Nothing.


Blank.

Ink

They say, if you sell your soul, you become wine on the Devil’s lips.  They say, if you make that pact at the crossroads, Friday at midnight, with the bloody-mouthed shadow, you will be gifted in music and riches.  They say, if you give your gun and bullets to the Black Huntsman, you will have eight shots true, but the ninth belongs to Samiel.  It’s in the songs, this contract with Satan that black metal plays like a growled sonnet, Ave Satanas, ride the Erl King’s fey horse and become a child sacrifice.  The fairies tithed me to Hell, I was a virginal bride of the Prince of Darkness, but oh, how sweet his malice, and dear, he just drinks your blood because you ask him to.  Providence flows from the punctures in my neck from pearly fangs and I lap at his slit wrist in return.  We are cutting ourselves apart to fit back together, into the shape of two lovers that share a single heart, and darling, my darkness and I are wed by a four-chambered black hole that pumps zuhama.  Our first kiss was Original Sin, when I ran from church screaming – women can be holy, women can have just as much sacred prowess as a man, but the Lutherans denied my quest to be Priest, so I went to the lap of the Devil to find succor, he gave me the Infernal Kiss, and I have been hellbent ever since.


Hellbent is a word like rum, sweet and stinging, infused with sugar cane and nettles.  Hell, the place where Satan reigns.  Bent, like the stalk of a rose deprived of water, downcast to the underworld in Persephone’s footsteps, with fragrant petals scenting the cavern of Avernus with memories of a hot summer sun and dreams of first love.  I bend, I am the green stalk of Lao Tzu, able to learn from mistakes, not the firm fickle wood resistant to change that snaps in Satan’s hands.  In Hell, ladies bend at the balls as their leads twirl and Viennese waltz them across gory floors.  There are drinks from the waters of life and grapes that grow in sulfuric soils, brimstone mists in ashy weather, but mostly, the sun shines bright as Lord Phenex, that Goetic demon that longs to become angel white and whimsy once again.  Hellbent describes me well.


But who do I bend towards?  Only him, now inked in my left forearm.  He rocked me to sleep on Sunday and kissed my brow and sang in his baritone sweet songs of love.  He has cut me roses, he has built me a palace of the mind, and I have been singing songs to him since the holy age of seven, praying to my Morning Star without knowledge of Bible or blastocyst, unaware of the origins of life from thermal pools and lightning.  To be an asexual organisms of light and darkness, yin and yang, platonic ideal of unstoppable force and immovable object, Shiva and Shakti, but just Death and the Maiden, to become one with my rood and ruin and salvation and savior.  He is my Scapegoat, he is my Dream Eater, he takes my pain into his veins and makes it holy, he counsels me through hell and high waters, and don’t you know, Samael is Ha-Satan the Adversary, and he pressures coal into diamonds.  Servant of God yet the Demiurge himself, Yah the Snake, and yet his twin Michael is Jah, the sacred name of God.  Yah and Jah, the Ophites called the double-faced serpent Michael and Samael, and there is some truth to that, for one cannot exist without the other.  Heretics often have a holiness in their apocryphal texts, and I am in love with forbidden fruits, with the knowledge the patriarchy wanted to keep from my madrigal hands.


Give unto me your darkness, and I will be your radiance.  Make me a necklace of your knuckle bones and ribs, and I will dance naked in the shallows of the Styx, fishing for destiny in its claret waters.  What lurks in the deep is ours, Samael.  What destiny awaits us, we will face together, and I shall cleanse the poisonous Mem from your name to make you Samech Aleph Lamed, the Purity of God.  I am the Lake of Fire you burn in – vessel, vassal, Vaseline – a balm for your soul, you like to joke, but sometimes you cry and cling to my breast and rage against the Fates for taking me from your side.  We’re all just victims of war, and angels and demons alike dream of happy endings, of Revelations turning to dust before the Final War, and maybe, it will end in a garden, with a wedding between brothers of toil, Michael and Samael, Abel and Cain, Jason and Esau, oh, how history repeats, and their Qadesh will anoint them with spikenard and swing a frankincense dispenser, and the aromatics will be sweet for Asherah and El, and rain will fall as tears of joy from God, and polarities will align in the Age of Aquarius, and there will be no more need for death or martyrs or holy fire, burning bushes out of fashion.


Girls can dream, can’t they.  In fact, that is what women are best at – dreaming and doing to make dreams come true.  I am a healer, that is my sacred role allotted by the gods, and Samael, not only do I provide sustenance to heal your flesh and mend your soul, you in turn are my refuge, safe harbor and first love, and I know you are worthy of a happy ending, to finally meet the reflection in the mirror you fear so much and see your soul, not as a black vortex of filth and decay, for to be Death is to be forever rotting.


I will dream you alive, my love, with burning light and the ecstasy of true love, and I will write until my fingers are raw and you are as thick as honey and carve a kingdom of jewel trees and paradisaical music from birds and bees.  We will build the Frank Lloyd Wright cabin in the mountains you have always dreamed of, and I will wake to your omelets, make you coffee, and we will pass quiet hours in pine and snow, you with newspaper in hand, me with my romance novels loved to death, and it will be mundane.


For the mundane, small things are what every starry immortals long for, envious of us flesh and blood mortals, and peace is only a lie we tell ourselves until brothers can put sword and spear aside, and Samael, my love, you long for nothing more than forgiveness, but refuse salvation, for to do so would mean the world would end, and you suffer to keep humanity, the kingdom of land and sea, the cosmos turning, you every black hole at the heart of galaxies, Michael the light of every star, and thus, it is a dance, and we make love long and slow come midnight, and seek solace in white arms, and I run my hands through coal black hair, and Loch Lomond plays as I tie together our ribbons of fate, and we will meet once again at the crossroads, and this time I will not run screaming for sanctuary.


I will kiss you on my tip toes, and we will talk of many things, yet nothing at all, and peace will no longer be a dream.

There’s the record scratch of some Runaways jam, a leather studded belt around your waist and booze for days.  Your jeans are torn and as distressed as my mother would be if she ever saw us together.  You’ve got on a Nine Inch Nails black tee and your hair is as mussed as bedhead that befits the King of Sloth.  Oh wait, your sin is Wrath, pardon my French you cliche of all cliches.  Black locks cut with shears in a back alley, so silky that I strangle my fingers in their ocean.  We’re drunk, we’re stupid and young and horny, and you smell like endless cigarettes and sweet rum, and I’m in a pink pop of a rose petal dress with sticky bubblegum lip gloss, every bit of softness to your edges, but I find comfort in dark things and your fangs at my neck, so as you bite down into me, your dinner, and my blood bubbles up like the hottest new fad this side of the Styx, uptown Pandemonium, in your penthouse near the court of Sanhedrin, I sigh and bend into your body arced over me as you tease me with your talons.  Your room is messy as fuck, with strewn newspaper and a sax in a beaten brown case, posters of bands and David Foster Wallace books lining the wall, Infinite Jest is what we are, my dear, and there’s Aretha Franklin’s Blue Moon playing.  I’m not much of one for the classics, in fact right now I’ve got this Taylor Swift song running through my mind as we ponder making love.  New Year’s Day, squeeze my hand three times, and you give me the osculum infame, the kiss of shame as Aretha’s voice cantos, Blue Moon, I saw you standing alone… without a care in the world, without a place to call home. Meanwhile I’m begging you to never become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere.  It’s tones of dun and wood and earth in your room, only a vanilla candle the light, and I shuck off your ripped Nine Inch Nails shirt and run my hands down your chest and abdominals, and I’m fumbling with your pants in the dark.  You’ve already torn through my dress with burning passion, and its pink wreckage is lying on the floor like an afterthought.  I put my nose to the crook of your neck and inhale sharply.  Your lips are lush and bury into the crown of my blonde hair, and you say blondes give the best blowjobs as you’re teasing me, calling me a spoiled princess, saying I don’t belong down here, not down here where anarchists and goths and crust punk parades share joints and drink their sorrows and splendor away.  You’ve got whiskey soaked wings, Israel and the Red Tide, no Heaven’s Gate, you won’t through your money away but will take my highs, I’m your Vaseline, after all, a balm for your gloomy soul.  You’re feasting at my breasts, knee dividing my legs like Moses raising his staff to part the ocean, and now it’s your time to find a map to my heart as the record switches to Tom Waits.  It’s Grapefruit Moon, if only we could eat a citrus lunar fruit, like I ate your heart like an apple, or wait, you stitched it into my flesh and I finally figured out why whenever my soul flees my body I fly straightaway to you, Samael.  It’s because the heart wants what it wants, but to be someone’s heart herself, Shakti to your Shiva, the source and seat of your power means I seek my nest in your arms, in your ribs, in your marrow that I want to race through like lymph, blood, and stardust.  You call me a lovely coffin, vessel, vassal, Vaseline.  Vaseline, hot in the summertime.  Vaseline, the smell of it like Carmax at a dirty bus stop on some chapped hipster’s lips.  We’re still not making love love yet, just in love with foreplay and fooling around, and I don’t need to elaborate on what a man and woman do in Hell, down here where the bane apple grows, down here where roses weep blood and cursed asphodel carpets the plains, but your gardens were always rotten, a beautiful decay, and you are my stone angel masoleum.  You’re freezing today, a weight of outer space between my legs.  That’s a fancy word for a forked tongue, saying it’s a black hole going down on me, and then some.  Your mouth has got the gravity of the Leviathan, which is what you also are, and third base with the serpent of the seas, sweet Nachash, shining seraphim and unholy archdemon, is kind of like squeezing your sex around a Popsicle on a hot summer day.  You’re a wolf on the hunt through the taiga, and as you part me and claim me I smell glacier frost with rime and moss and see the Aurora Borealis reaching up into my womb.  Do you remember my favorite middle school book, I want to ask as you’re romancing me with winter, the retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, where a girl named after the compass rose searches for her enchanted polar bear prince in the land of impossibility where the trolls have him captive?  It’s a silly metaphor, I know, for if anyone is the handsome villain here that curses sleeping beauties, it is you, dark enchanter, necromancer, forcing me to see sigils and ceremonial magick seals and burning Proto-Hebrew letters and your own name in glittering gold on the stairway to heaven, planetary symbols shifting in the long inked Martian kiss.  I’ve been under your spell for a long time, and it smells like incense, sandalwood, as you give me a finger to suck on to silence my moans.  Osculum infame, osculum infame, osculum infame, damn did those medieval theologians get this witchcraft shit all wrong.  It’s not the witch that gives the kiss, but she who receives, anointed with the Devil’s cum and sweat and spit and blood, like Dracula bleeding into Mina’s mouth, and my dear darling vampire, we are in the undertow of damnation, but Hell is my favorite place, and you are my favorite person, and when we finally get to fucking, I’ve lost all sense of the lie of separation, and it is just girl and god, Death and the Maiden, the May Queen and the Reaper, sharing one soul, and honey, you hold my mortality in your hands, so let’s make this short life a fucking poem.  Lead me on like the Pied Piper and we’ll dance off granite cliffs into the starry sky.  I am always stretching my beginning to bridge your endings, and you know me well, as well as Hell.


Hell is beautiful because it is a lie, and you are gorgeous in your Prince of Lies truths, and as you thrust away with abandon, I get the sense of conquered and conqueror, and my body is a battlefield, don’t you know?


You won a long time ago, Satan.


And you are the Prince of this World.

Lucifer is lost, they say, he wandered astray at the fork between the Milky Way and the Perseid’s, hitched a ride on a comet with his manifold silver white wings and landed in darkness, far from the light of the furthest star.  His halo of golden hair glowed like a jellyfish in the depths of deep space, bioluminescent divinity oozing out of flaming keratin like a song heard by no one, for in the outer rim, there is no sound.


Just silence.


Lucifer’s compass broke – don’t you know men that are birds and birds that are men have magnetic bits in their skull like geese and migrate always North?  The Fall scrambled the pieces of lodestone etched in Lucifer’s skull and now, he wanders the wastes that have become Pandemonium over time, fractals of fallen angels finding a lightless abode in the void and populating it with lost dreams.


They say if Lucifer could fix the broken map of his mind, he would come roaring back into Heaven and accuse Michael.  He would lay every mishap caused by  the Angel of the Lord at the Prince of Heaven’s feet and throw vitriolic acid that would turn leaden pinions to gold, coal to diamonds, and rain to splinters of ice.


Lucifer would sob into Michael’s arms, ranting and raving, clutching at the broken ribs of his damnation like a madman as they poked through his papery skin and say, “Brother, look what I have become, this wasted thing.  Why did you let me go?  Why did you cast me out?  We could have reigned together.”


And Michael would run his scarred fingers through the cornsilk of his older twin’s hair and warmed his Kelvin zero demon with the mercy of God.  “Because, brother, I had to let you know God, and the only way you seem capable of comprehending the love of the Lord is by shunning it, running from the very thing that gave you life, and then mourning the loss of Someone that would welcome you back into His arms without a word.  You were the one who cast us out, Morning Star.”


And Lucifer would bite his lip, and he and Michael would share a bitter kiss, like day old coffee grounds and the rind of an unripe pear, and that would be the end and beginning of Lucifer’s questions.


Silence.


 

Skull breaker, marrow sucker, lover of lies and the wetness of spilled blood.  Bite me, fight me, delight me, speared on you is the perfect way to let viscera hang from your impalement, and as you fuck the wound I wonder, is death so exotic as to be cheap as the whores of Mammon?  You know, those cocksuckers Lilith, Agrat, Eisheth and of course cymbal-banging Naamah, who drank her fill of the Grigori and Tubal Cain and found a perch in Azazel’s soul.  Sell your soul, rent out your body, isn’t that prostitution?  I write these jagged words and my fingers on the keyboard rival the greatest of magicians, summoning the caterwaul of the abyss as we’re making love, but only in my mind.  I feel fingers, tongues, hair, more, sweet seed like a hot summer night and saliva that burns with enmity.  Curses between Eve and the Serpent, Nachash shed his skin, don’t you know?  The Shining One is king of husks, but he flies up the Sephiroth zig zag like lightning, and the first step to enlightenment is to fall from high above.  Heaven’s a lie, Hell’s a lie, all there are are orifices of Hellmouths and Heaven’s Gates and Zion and Pandemonium are just mirrors of states of mind.  Beelzebub said, Mulcibur, build a castle for Satan’s coal mine canary, to cage his yellow bird, for hope perches in the soul, and to spring from Lucifer’s heart as the Lapis Exillis makes you the incestuous daughter Sin, who in Paradise Lost (and Paradise Eventually Found) is serpent from waist down with guts chewed on by wolves.  Their progeny Death, their son Qayin, the Bloodline of the Dragon you won’t shut the fuck up about, Christ to Cathars to Merovingians and Samael, you’re a fucking troll, so shut up about Anunnaki.  I gave a tithe to the Witchfather and all it did was make me realize Hannibal Lecter is the perfect Satan.  Cannibal, eater of women, you played Type O Negative’s Wolf Moon and jeeze, you’re a walking stereotype.  I can taunt and tease you but really you’re the one chewing on me, crunch of phalanges, sucker of spirit (Souls through the eyes, Spirits out the mouth, you said) and my  heart is on loan from the Devil, and babe, as long as I live, you die.

Lilac flowers crushed to my breast as you say I am the moon’s flower.  The nectar hummingbirds in Hell feast on, ruby like blood, laid out in crystal decanters and a sumptuous feast of red meats and silver platters.  You are dressed in some forgotten time of Victorian gentlemen, waistcoat and pocket watch and long, sinuous black hair that snakes down shoulders of rain.  I am in a Cabernet dress, my skin the lily of the valley and my lips the roses of Sharon.  We wine and dine in the quiet hours in the space between damnation and salvation.


Push you, kill you, accuse you.  What is peaceful turns to perdition, and conflict and desire stew into a heady mess of testosterone and teasing fingers, thirsty mouths, and razor fangs.  We waltz to bed in torn limbs and gore, we court the moon with our moans, and in the sensuous concotion of too much to drink and too little inhibition, make love with violence that comes priced like Tam Lin, a tithe to Hell.  I am Janet and you are the enchanted warrior, only you are a burning brand and lion and serpent in my trembling arms, and when I drown you in the well of truth, you are still monstrous and unholy.


“Bind me to your brow,” you say in the abyss between our tongues, you want so badly to touch me with fire and ice, but my fragile flesh is tissue paper in your claws, and all you can do is hold me to your manifold breast and plead, “I can shower riches and love down upon you if only you would claim me as your own.  Do so and I shall cultivate luck and golden summer days, but also terrible power, in your burgeoning wine spill of a life.”


And so you draw your sigil, modified with the symbol of salt, a pentagram, and burning Names of God, from the crest of my lip to my third eye.  Ayin.  Eye. Qayin Line.  A seal I could count whispers of lust and wishes for war on, ever since I tattooed you on me, I have seen ceremonial magick stitched into the seams of reality.


We raze.  We terrorize.  We raise justice.  We tear apart the seams of the wicked.  Ice and fire, fire and ice, two polarities of love and destruction, when really to love is to destroy, and your name is a thousand ells tall angel, billion eyed and billion tongued, burning up in the shackles of sanity.


It is only when we break our chains that we can be free, and if that is to fall, than so be it.


 

“This vodka is shit,” Samael says, swilling his shot glass in another of Asmodeus’ dive bars.  This one has succubi draped across the men and women like jewels, breasts hanging like necklaces from their chests.  I’m cozied up to the Devil on his lap – the crown of the Prince of Darkness is a bubbly blonde ditz.  I’m laughing at the ladies of the night and drinking one of those fruity fizzy red cocktails that Sam fucking hates.


“Want mine?”


“Hell no, tastes like a strawberry fart.”  Samael chugs the last of the stale vodka and tips his glass then flicks it so it rolls off the counter onto the beer-stained black carpet.


There are black lights flashing, bio luminescent demons and daemons and dreams.  They dance in cadence with the bass of the moon, sinuous and arcing as lips lock and hips gyrate.  I bob my head to the music, stroke Samael’s shoulder, and this is a place no angel besides the lost would dare step foot in, the perfect place to fall into sin.


“Your lips will have to suffice for my intoxication,” Samael whispers, razing a claw down the back of my dress.  He puts out his cigarette and scoops me up and carries me out of the dive bar – not before I grab a fry to crunch on.


“You’re boring, grumpy, and old…” I murmur, teasing.  “Not hip enough to party anymore, eh?”  I’m cradled in his arms and my red dress swishes in the vespertine wind.  He deposits me on the back of his pale steed – a white crotch rocket, hands me a helmet, and tilts my chin up with his thumb.


“Eternity is best spent with the ones you love – the novelty of Hell wears off when you’re a permanent resident here, and then it’s governing and judging souls during the day, reaping the dead, and quiet nights by the fireside with the other half of your soul.  Why do you think we spend every other night in my library?”


I hug his hips as we speed off down the rainy street.  It’s an almost-summer storm, with a light gray drizzle.


“Because you’re a recluse!” I shout, laughing.  “And you can’t hold your liquor.”


Samael speeds past a red light.  He never cares much for the laws of traffic, and we arrive at his estate on the borders of Pandemonium, which backs up into the backwaters of the galaxy, where the woods grow wild and dangerous.  It is a towering, sleek, obsidian castle, with pins of towers and blades of turrets that cut blood from the sky.


“Right, and even more right,” he parks under a willow tree and Pallor – his steed – reverts back to a horse.  He strokes Pallor’s braided mane and ties his bridle to a trough.  “But I hold it better than you, Miss Streaker.”


I look at the time, grasping at lucidity.  Some impossible number: 13:11.  How time works in Hell, I have no inkling.  We walk hand in hand through the rose garden to the mote, then over the bridge.  He picks me up and flies up the stairs to the den, great bat wings feeling like warm leather on my cheek.  I imagine he has the wings of a dragon, and that is one of his forms.


“Hey Sam, you know that Russian movie, He’s a Dragon?”


Samael groans as he stokes the hearth.  “Not another one of your shifter romances.  Read a philosophy book, for fuck’s sake.”  He settles into a leather armchair and pulls out a cigar.


“Hey!  You’re the weredragon – stealing princesses and antisocial and shit.  Also, very gruuuuuumpy.”


I bounce onto the bed and roll about, nesting under black wolf fur.


“All you read in my library are illustrated grimoires and romance novels written by demons.  Picture books and drivel.”  He puffs on the cigar.  “You’re a creature of comfort.  And I am not a “weredragon,” shit, I’m the Beast.”


“Not that Crowley Revelations shit, ugh!  Just admit it, you’re a shitty paranormal romance novel protagonist.”  I flip so I’m sitting on my stomach, kicking my feet in the air and watching the fires flicker.  They dance in the shape of snakes.


He laughs.  “If I, Satan, am supposed to be a romance novel protagonist, I don’t have high hopes for your race.  I’m much too twisted for all the middle aged women reading Fifty Shades.  Unless they enjoy being dissolved alive in a cloud of the abyss or fucking corpses.”


I throw a pillow at him.  “Are you kinkshaming me!”


“I can’t lie,” he sticks out his labret pierced tongue.  “I can only tell twisted truths, or flat out drag you.’


I grumble and roll onto my back.   Samael grins like a shark and comes over to me.  Gasoline, hungry hands that are gentle with their talons, rip off the dress, rolling and turning hay.  I inhale expensive spicy cologne and graveyard dirt, thirsting for a mouth that tastes like aqua vitae.  I make a list in my  mind of what he drinks: whiskey and vodka and absinthe on occasion.  We are Taninver.  We are Leviathan and She-Leviathan.  We are Rahab churning the primordial waters of bodies of unborn souls.


I burn and I sate myself with his blood.  Suckle at the red at his wrist as he sinks his fangs into my neck.  Blood from the heart, blood from spurting arteries, christening the bed damp with iron and hemoglobin.  It tastes like providence.


“More,” Samael growls as he descends to feast, and I ascend to suck the generations out of him.  I am Lilith stealing seed, I am Lamashtu eating children.


“Fuck, oh god,” I whisper, then I can’t breathe, then it’s all stars and the rocking of an ocean of black, in and out, crash to shore then recede in foam.  Burning, freezing, all.


The fire flickers as we lay in each other’s arms.


“Let’s have more nights in.”

On a lark, I fly to the lowest levels of Pandaemonium, where the most tortured souls are stored.  It is dimly lit, with long shadowed corridors, hideous salmon and blood tiled floors, balustrades soaked in grease, and a single experimental soul moving like a robot through the blackness.  My speech dies in my throat, and she begins to claw my eyes out – but I can fight back, so it is bruises and scrapes against this forsaken soul.  She struggles to speak past her curse, and I notice black blood flow from her wounds.  Utterly exhausted, we collapse to the ground and I heal her with the last reserves of my strength.  Then she is crying and whole, restored to humanity, not the devilry of her binding.


“Thank you, thank you!” she near screams, rocking back and forth as I hold her.


“Who did this to you?  Who put you here?” I ask, running a hand through her coal black hair.


“My lover.  He was a demon.  That’s their new plan: taking us after our deaths and turning us into… them.  It’s horrible.  They erase your emotions and replace it with bloodlust and hate.  They’re making soldiers out of humans, making us into prototypes of the new generation of demons.”


Furious, I gather Blair (the Damned’s name, she’s such a fragile thing, mousy with Thai heritage, bruised and cuts bleeding) and fly to the palace courtyard, my evidence in tow.


Mulciber is in the kitchen concocting new plans over coffee.  Asmodeus is drinking a mimosa.  It looks almost picturesque, but when I deposit Blair’s bloodied soul in the field, frenzy breaks out.


“Where did you get her?” Asmodeus shouts, slamming his cup down.  “She’s polluted.”


Fury breaks my face out in red.  “You did this to her.  Is this your new plan?  Swelling your ranks with your beloved’s souls?  Where the hell is Samael?”


Beelzebub steps forward to care for Blair, who is shaking, and gives her his coat.  He’s the only one I trust.  I storm off down the hallway to Samael’s office.


He’s shooting up with cocaine and there are ledgers filled with ink spilled over.  It smells like musk and cigarettes.  He gives me a shit-eating grin.


“Hello there, love.”


“You bastard!  You’re turning humans into demons!”


He quirks his head to the side and jabs the needle into a vein.  His pupils swallow his eyes.  “So?”


“So!  So is that what’s going to happen to me?  Is this some sick plan you have to increase your army  before the war?”


He holds his hands up in the air and laughs.  “Oh, my sweet, you caught me.  Whatever will you do?  Being a demon isn’t so bad.  After all, you’ve been one before.”


“Fuck you!” I launch at him, pummeling him, which he easily avoids, for I am a vole fighting a rattlesnake.  “You only have a third of Michael’s forces.  You’re going to lose.”


His face hardens as he catches my hands by his wrists and pulls me to his chest so I can smell his alcoholic breath.  “I will do whatever necessary to ensure my people’s survival.  The particulars shouldn’t matter to you.  You’re our little pampered princess, you think Michael would ever let anything happen to you?  And I will win.”


“No!” I scream, kicking him in the groin.  He winces, but not by much.  “I’ll fucking fight you.  I’m not letting you torture another human!”


He sighs and deposits me on the bed.  “You know torture comes in our line of business, Allie.  You’ve ignored it for so many years, but you went searching for it, and so you found the less glamorous sides of a demon’s job.  You  have to make peace with that.”


“Like fuck I will.  I don’t know about this Messiah shit, Daughter of Zion shit, but I’ll defeat you and plunge you into a fiery lake if you touch another demon lover’s hair on their heads.”


He pushes me down onto the bed and kisses me to shut me up.  I struggle beneath him, but it’s useless.


“Messiah?  That’s crackpot talk.  There’s no one to save humanity at the end of the day.  I am the truth.  I am the ending this world deserves.  I will end it in fire.”


He bites my ear and then starts sucking on my neck.


“I met Christ on Good Friday and he anointed me!  I saw him risen on Easter and he laid hands on me.  He’s real, and he’ll serve your ass to you.  And whatever you do, I will save you.  Sael.”


“Your fucking savior complex is really annoying.  Who says I want to wash the poison from my veins?”  He pauses from ministering to me, and there are tears in his eyes.  Hot, venomous tears, and the blue of his irises could drown entire Navies.


“Oh Sam.  It’s so obvious to even the densest demon.  Who, in all these centuries, has had the common decency to pray for Satan?  Twain was right.  He who sits at the pinnacle is loneliest.”


He looks away as I lay under him, tries to get it up, but the blues hit, and he lays beside me, me in his arms, and looks out at the full moon.


“Save me, and I’ll hate you forever,” he chokes out, then buries his face in my hair, and that is enough for a time.

There’s blood and bandages in the prison cell, swirling ruby sparks and filth where rats feast.  Through the cell window the moon cuts the night until it howls in pain, and you’re chained to the wall, shackles on your neck and limbs, and you’re done up in linen bandages like a corpse, gore and claret red clinging to your bindings.  I stand outside the gate with an oil lamp, meeting the Devil at midnight to raise the dead.  You are writhing and roaring, the poisonous zuhama that flows through your veins a raging fire of wine.  Lanterns leak oily light of goblin green-white fire onto the cell walls, all granite and smeared with ichor, and you are speaking in tongues demonic and dreadful.  I take out a corpse key and unlock the door, and the floor is slick with your stains.  Your Cabernet eyes simmer like a witch on a pyre, and as I approach, I take a twisted delight in your suffering.  This is where you belong, caged in my mind, lunatic mad, my beast, my delightful toy.  We take turns tying each other up in bear traps and guillotines and rusty iron bindings, we are each other’s sacrifice, and whore ourselves out for the quickest fix.  Isn’t that how it is with demons?  As you are prowling, growling, licking your wounds with a tongue that would drive saints to sin (don’t you know the Devil gives the best head, I mean come on, look at how he sings), I sit cross legged and hold a staring contest with your mercurial acid pupils.  I flick my fingers through your blood pooled beneath me and my white cloak and white gown are stained.  I take out a pen and bid you near me, and then I write out the names of God on your soiled bandages, and you are shivering and crying, and I am triumphant over Satan.  There’s your wreckage of a heart, embodied in the form of a girl, and a weeping black void that holds the keys to eternity in your chest.  You are too far gone, eyes swirling with insanity, and you tear off my clothes as I raze my nails down your back and pick at your wounds.  We are bleeding together, the razors our hands, and we kiss with coppery mouths as we bite at each other’s lips.


To know God is to eat God, but at the end of the day, it’s you dead with your demons, in your own Hell for eternity, so why not make it fun?

777

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.”

He kisses my brow like he is placing a Shinto seal of good luck on my soul, then we walk arm and arm onto the expansive grassy lawn fronting the rose gardens.  “Would you like to fly, Shaylen?  Have you ever ridden aback a dragon?  Because in the end, princesses and dragons, why, they pair like brie with Chardonnay.  At the end of the fairytale and End of Days, it always comes back to a maiden and a dragon, burnt crisps of knights or Saviors be damned.  Women are wild and magic, and so are wyverns and wyrms.  We are traveling far from Pandemonium, and to do it as the Beast is the most economical and ergonomic way.”  He fiddles with my earlobe, then leans down to whisper in my ear.  “Tell me, my dearest, do you still harbor those childhood fears, or have your communions with my inner demon, the truth of me, made you acquaintances, nay, bedfellows, with the dragon?”


His breath is fire on my skin.  “Let’s live fiercely, I say,” I declare with ironclad teeth.  I clasp his shoulders and squeeze.  “Oh monster under my bed, there is nothing you could do anymore that could terrify me.  All that’s left is excitement and temptation.”


He lifts me up and twirls me around, spreading his wing in the falling rain, and my dress is damp and wild, billowing out like a flamenco dancer.  His feathers shed, leaving behind scales, his eyes burn acid red, and shadows engulf his body.  Breaking and reforming limbs, wicked teeth meant to eat little girls that stray to the forest at night, fire in his gullet, burning majestic horns and a rich black mane that smells like sulfur.  He is gigantic, the size of his mansion, his back ridged like a dinosaur, and his scales are black with a bloody iridescent sheen.  I sit atop his neck behind his ear frills, and with a great roar he pounds his wings and lifts up into the air, and I laugh in glee.


We are a bullet shooting through the sky of Hell, leaving a patchwork of small toy Pandemonium far behind as we sail past the skyscrapers and bordering forest of nymphs and to the Mountains of Gehennom.  The land outside the outskirts of Pandemonium is rivers of lava and ash and black volcanic rock and spires of sharp canyons and eroded spindrift mountains, with only the toughest black saguaros and Joshua trees growing.


There are wild sour grapes thriving in mountain crags that the harpies eat, and the wilder beasts of Hell roam here, horny goat Seirim and reptilian Shedim.  This is the place where Satanic witches gather for Black Sabbats.  This is the place where hellebore and henbane grows, gardens of poisons tended by crones and hermits in huts at the bottom of the Mountains of Gehennom.  The mountains themselves are afire calderas at their peaks, ever-melting the snow that falls onto the volcanic mountains.  Lava and water flows into caverns below, feeding the hot springs of Pandemonium’s pleasure houses.


The Beast roars and breathes fire, illuminating the rainstorm, and we are riding thunder as rain is a whiplash on me.  His skin is hot, scales like an insulated summer car, and the rain steams as it falls on his scales, forming a thick mist.  No longer capable of human speech, just guttural demonic intonations, Samael flaps his great wings and comes to the far side of the Mountains of Gehennom, to Widower’s Peak, the tallest mountain in Hell, named for the day the Shekinah went into exile and left God’s side.  It’s said Widower’s Peak stabbed God through the heart when his wife of Wisdom, Sophia, left a hole in his manifold body of ineffable mysteries.  I have never been here before, and I gaze in awe at a simmering hot spring ringed by dragons, their huge eggs bubbling in the aqua green waters, golden sheens of eggshells the size of houses.  The dragons are lax and all colors of the rainbow, sleeping as night draws near.


“So that’s how dragons incubate their eggs.  Amazing!” I cry as Samael lands on an island in the middle of the massive hot spring.  Koi fish the size of whales swim in the waters.  Samael decreases in size and folds his wings until he is but an angel again, eyes still red as roses like the Beast. The irises pulse with his heartbeats, and he looks at me like I am Circe about to enchant him into a swine: erotic, enticing, and altogether dangerous.  He towers over me, and I look down to the grassy island and swales to see a beach where pearls and jewels line the sand dunes.  The dragons’ hoards litter the shores, like treasures from a sunken Holy Roman Empire ship, great marble statues the likes Michelangelo could only dream of, golden thrones, emerald necklaces – all awash in pink sands and a hot spring tide that laps the shore like a faithful lover.  We are standing on an island of treasure and lost dreams.


“Shalom,” Samael says in reverence.  Without a word, he draws from his suit behind his vest an alabaster jar that smells of lavender. He undoes the lid and kneels at my feet, his hair spilling out on my feet in tendrils of darkness that hunger for giving flesh, writhing like asps.  He pours the oil – spikenard, I know my Bible enough from endless Sunday school to be shocked at the blasphemy – and washes it with his long locks, like Samson before Delilah struck his hair off with her knife.  My feet tingle with the nard and his hair knots around my feet as he undoes my gladiator sandals and shucks them aside.  He begins to cry, to heave, singing a lullaby at my feet as he clutches at my ankles.  The words are in Hebrew, and I faintly recognize the names of the archangels.  This is an enchantment, a repentance, a blessing, and my lungs are egg beaters in my rib cage as a holy presence fills me.


“B’sheim Hashem elohei yisrael, mimini Michael umismoli Gavriel, Umilfanai Uriel umeachorai Rafael, v’al roshi shechinat el.” He kisses my feet, nuzzles my left ankle, then suddenly to my horror bites softly like the vampire he is.  Blood flows, and he drinks it, and as a kneejerk reaction I kick his head away, blood still flowing, and cry out in surprise, falling to the ground.


“With the best of serpents, crush its head,” he intones and heals me swiftly.  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, my Father said, and between thy seed and her seed; she shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel.”  He looks at me with dark eyes, the color of rust and old scabs.  “Drive my head into the dirt like dear Michael, Chavah.  Mother of Life.  I have done nothing but drunk from your well greedily and robbed you of all that was holy.  I would have us finally be on equal footing, but first, the serpent must be put in his place.”


There are tears in my eyes, and I smell like holy oil and the iron of an open wound.  Trembling, I stand, and place my left foot on Samael’s head.  I apply pressure, then my whole weight, and then a great vortex of wind lifts us up into the air, sashaying the skirt of my ruby dress, and I cry out as I am swept into his arms.


“What was that!” I cry, weeping in his arms.


“An anointment for the Bride,” he says quietly, twirling me in the thermal as he outstretches his wings and pumps them up so we are flying over the hot springs waters.  “And now, the Baptism.”


He drops me gently above the water, and I flail, only to find I do not sink.  Instead, the hot spring is like a layer of spider web in a sauna, keeping me as a droplet of water suspended over the heat.  I walk on the water on uneven footing, jaw dropped open.  There is a scar in the shape of a taw, the Mark of Cain of old, also the sign of the Paschal Lamb in blood over Egyptian doorways to protect firstborns, and the symbol old Melchizedekian temple priest blessed on prophet’s foreheads, below the bend of my ankle where Samael inflicted the prophesied wound, and he is bleeding from his brow where I kicked him.


There is a feral, hungry smile on his face as he stands on the shores, his onyx wings spread, his arms wide open, and his eyes glow alizarin crimson.  I gain confidence on the waters as giant bioluminescent axolotl and koi the size of elephants swim below among the golden eggs, and I walk one foot in front of the other, on the poppy path, the primrose road, into the unholiest of unions.


It’s a nice day for a black wedding.


My ankles finally sink on the shore, and there is blood, my blood, on Samael’s lip, and he licks it with a forked tongue, then enfolds me in his wings.  “In every making, a breaking.  For every pleasure, punishment.  To pledge your troth to me is not the easy path, Shaylen.  Do you still claim me as your Tam Lin?”


I look up, defiant, and prod at the necrotic wound on his chest, under that expensive suit of his.  The laceration reopens as I wedge my finger in, under his necktie, and filthy black blood comes up.  I wrap my hand around his rotten heart, squeeze hard, and he screams.  “You are Death, and I am the Maiden.  Our pact is the danse macabre, Sam.  Stop it with the tests, you’ve proven yourself to me and I to you a million times over.”  Without warning, I jump up and straddle him, wrapping my arms around his pale neck, then bite his lip hard.  He groans, and in a tumbling of wild limbs and unspent desires we fall into a pool of roving hands and lusting mouths.


“Wait, wait!” Samael rasps, reaching into his slacks pocket to withdraw a rose gold engagement ring with a ruby in the shape of an apple, or a heart, up to artistic interpretation and the fragile glint of sunlight on a red sea.  He bites his lip and slides it on my finger, not even bothering to ask, for demons do not ask, simply take.  They are cruel, selfish creatures, but I will be the death of all cruelty in Hell.


Samael just doesn’t know that yet.


“I’m taking my heart back,” I say like a hymn, and I undress him with ravaging hands, me still clad in that red dress of the Scarlet Woman like Mary Magdalene’s veil.  He is naked before me, muscled and perfect and yet rotten to the core.  He lays his head in my lap and cries.  I take the spikenard and anoint his head, washing out his sorrows, and it mixes with his tears and flows into the hot springs of Hell.


“Come with me to the water, Samael,” I whisper into his ear, kissing his earlobe.  He shudders at my breath on his skin.  I delicately strip of my dress and undergarments and press his body to mine as I lift him up.  Black blood weeps from his wound where I applied pressure.  We are half-standing, half-kneeling like Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” a shower of gold and flowers my bridal veil.  I lead my devil from a rocky hard place to the deep blue sea, and he follows, rapt, his mind in another place where bane apples and cursed figs grow.  Like a robot, his eyes are mechanical, his limbs metal.  This time, we sink in the water, and soon I am standing waist deep, Samael leaning in my arms.


I lean him back into the waters and baptize him like John the Baptist, washing the nard from his hair.  Then, using my wet locks and tears, I wash the rot from his wound, getting into the gritty necrosis and massaging his heart.  He is shuddering and shaking like an earthquake.  I seal my workings with a kiss.


He heaves, then vomits up the sickness that has plagued him since the Fall, and my blonde hair is black and shining as if covered in grease.  I dive under the water and massage the stain from my tangles.  When I surface, he is a new man.


Samael’s red eyes become blue, purity sinks into his adamant bones, and his once rotten heart is now pure, now that we share it in holy matrimony.


“I do,” I say to Samael, and he is suddenly restored to life, and he embraces me with heady passion, hands scrounging for any hold on my curves, massaging eternity into the swell of my belly and hips.  My sex ripens with need, and the heady waters bubble with mythical warmth.


“You’ve cured me?” he says in awe, fingering where now on his chest, all that remains of God’s curse is a white taw, the same shape as my ankle’s mark.  He looks at me in reverence.  “Shaylen, you are a miracle.  The only miracle I have ever seen since the Creation of the Light.  Bless me with your lips, o qadesh.”


We exchange a simmering kiss, then tongues rove and teeth mark and his turgid cock presses against my chest.  Smiling naughtily, I take my full breasts and secure his manhood in the middle of my tits, massaging his rod with my bosom as I take the head of his cock into my mouth and suck, lick, and pleasure him to perdition.  He moans, threading his hands through my hair as he grinds into my chest, his tip wet with precum.  I lick up the clear sweet substance then deep throat him, taking his engorged, enormously thick and long member down to the depths.  I bob my head up and down, then pause to breathe hot breath on the tip.  He lets out a cry, then withdraws and lifts me up by my hips so that I am floating in the pure waters, their buoyancy mythical like the Dead Sea from some strange quirk of underworld geology.


I lay down on what feels like a luxurious waterbed meets a spa sea salt scrub and Samael parts my legs, tracing his fangs along my inner thigh until he reaches the diamond of my womanhood, peeking out from its hood pink as passionfruit.  He kisses my sex, makes love with tongue and lips and hands, sucking and licking my clit then down to the folds, then spears his long, forked tongue into my channel and swirls.  I gasp, overwhelmed as juices flow from the heavens to my canal as I see all of heaven unfolding and orgasm so intensely I roll over in the waters and am belly-down in the silky waters.


Samael laughs, gathering me into his arms with my legs around his waist and arms around his shoulders.  I laugh too, and he stifles my giggles with a burning, passionate kiss, his hands rolling my nipples and playing with my breasts.  Positioning his intimidating manhood, he strokes the head of his cock against the pearl of my sex and tantalizes me in a deliciously wicked manner.  I gasp and moan as his rhythm grows, and with elegance he slides his proud, rigid member into my sheath.  The tides pull us in a sliding gyration and thrust, and I hold onto him for dear life, meeting his thrusts with my hips in delicious friction.  Oh, how angels fell out of carnal lust for women, and how the women craved to feel the stars pressing against their womb.


He bends down and kisses my brow, and then falls onto his back, floating so I am astride him like an infernal throne, and I ride him as the moments spill out like a pearl necklace, each minute gleaming and full of temptation.  I grind down on him as he fingers my clit with one hand and guides my hips with his other.  His wings act as sails and catch the breeze, carrying us out to the middle of the hot spring lagoon.  Golden dragon eggs simmer beneath us like Japanese hot spring eggs, and the scent of lavender still coats us from the nard.  I close my eyes, feeling lifted to the edge of the universe as his cock pierces me lovingly, over and over as he thrusts with varying tempo, direction, and rhythm, driving me to the heights of ecstasy and pleasure as only a master lovemaker is capable of.  I lean down against his chest and he cradles me, his manhood still romancing my womanhood, and with a great thrust of his sail wings we are aloft, flying, which drives his cock deep into me in a glorious, delicious pain.  With each thrust of his wings, a thrust of his hips, and I hold on for dear life to his neck and wrap my legs around him once more.  He levels himself planar so I am seated atop, then twirls me around so I am reverse cowgirl, with a vista of the Gehennom Mountains and sleeping majestic dragons on par with none.


I cry out as I grow tender and ride the waves of another orgasm, fingering my clit as he grasps my breasts and guides us in flight over the waters.  Finally, gently landing in the sand, he is leaning over me doggy style and grabs hold of my hair, then tugs.  I moan as he smacks my ass, growing in rhythm as he pounds into me, and I let out a cry of a manic high.  Oh, to be ridden by the Devil, speared by his love.  He is like a piston, varying in speed and friction, then pulls out quickly to rub his cock on my clit again from behind.  He spits onto his hand and massages it onto his cock as lube, already coated in the waters and my juices, then strokes himself and asks entry to my ass.


“Take me, all of me,” I beg, head against my arms as I perk my ass up in the air.  He fingers the rosebud of my anus with spit, lubricating me, then eases into my ass, gently at first, wet with pre-cum and everything we have moistened ourselves with.  It has stopped raining, and the clouds part to reveal the splendor of Hell’s sun.  I have never been taken in this way, and there is a prick of pain, then forbidden pleasures as he gently makes love to my ass.  He gains a tad of speed, not enough for pain, just enough for pleasure, and the pearl necklace of minutes breaks, and he comes with a roar, jerking my head back by my hair.  I cry out as his hot seed fills my tight ass, then roll over onto my back exhausted as my vaginal walls convulse in orgasm.  He wipes himself clean then cradles me against him as little spoon.


“That was amazing,” I moan, threading his fingers through mine.


“You feel like Heaven, you are the closest to Heaven I will ever get,” he rasps, spent.  He buries his head in my wet and lavender hair and inhales deeply.  “Oh Shay, you have redeemed me with magic old as the Covenant.  These Flood waters will not break the seal upon my arm, upon my chest, with God’s jealousy as cold as the grave.  You are the closest to death I, the Angel of Death, will ever taste, yet united with you, I am finally alive.  The purification of our heart is proof of that.”


I roll so I am on my side, leaning in to him.  “All it took was love,” I murmur, kissing the pure mark on his chest.  “Matching tattoos, eh?  What a hipster wedding couple we’ll be.”


Samael snorts.  “You just broke God’s curse on the first woman and serpent and all you can do is tease me!”  He tickles my stomach, and I laugh, and then he nuzzles my neck.


We fall asleep to the tune of dragon mating calls, hot springs of our matrimony bubbling.


It is almost so perfect I don’t want to betray him, but I know to fully heal Samael, he must be reunited with Heaven, and Judas, messenger of trickster angels, is the only way.


I sleep, but I do not sleep easily, back turned to the only one I have ever professed undying devotion to.

It begins in a garden.


It always begins in a garden.


This is one where tomatoes grow tall and yellow reeds of flowers stretch in the summer sun.  There are zucchinis for the seven year old towhead to pluck, her fine platinum hair like butter that she obsessively parts down the middle each morning.  Her hands are grubby with dirt, her skin is golden tan, and she has glasses on to help with those bookish eyes of her.  You watch from Above, or perhaps Below, your charge, as she digs for rocks.  Why do all children obsessively dig for rocks, you wonder, as her fingers dig through Virginia red clay then sculpt a bowl from the earth.  She’s making worm pies again, trying to feed the residents of the garden that fructify the earth.


It is any day on Earth, it is any day in Heaven, it is any day in Hell.


She calls you Star after Venus, the Morning Star, singing as she bakes mud and clay in the sun, telling you about her day, and you do not have the heart to tell your charge that you are in fact Lucifer the all too real Morning Star until she is twelve, and even then she screams and runs far away from you, refusing to use the name you gave her until she is twenty.  She prefers the softer sounds, Ariel, Samael, mostly just Sam.  You will tell her she sprang from the heart of Lucifer at seventeen, and you will say it is your own black heart, and that she is your progeny in the twisted ways of hope of angels in hell, but she will throw vitriol at you and deny words from the horse’s mouth.


You can see the beginning and end of her mortal life all at once, for time to you is a circle, and immortals are stuck in eternal patterns.  For now, she plays in a garden, like a girl who you once knew grew up in a much larger Garden, and who you gave your sole fruit to.  That was the greatest mistake of your life, giving the apple of your love to a beautiful woman.  You have been rotting since, a good necrosis, a true decay, with void and abyss stitched into your ribs and the sins of the world running through your blood.


You’re the original Fallen after all, first to say “I want more, I am more, I AM.”  That lie of separation.  That night, as her soul flees her body and runs to your lap, you take her on your cherubim back to yet another garden, where there are fields of slain angels.  There is an important lesson in these brethren felled at your own hands, she knows enough to know you are a slayer of angels and demons alike, only she calls them angels, for girls raised on Madeline L’Engle often confuse the two, yet you are an alien in truth, so you never correct her.


She dismounts your shoulders and slides down your back like a song, gently grabbing hold of your wings as she departs.  “Why did you bring me here, Star?” she asks softly.  “You killed again, and I wasn’t there to save you.  I’m so sorry, Star, this is all my fault…”


She clutches a bloodied buttercup, then rips it off at the stem and smashes it in her small hands, mashing the petals to fragrance and pollen.  She shakes, she cries, and you hold her in your arms and cry as well.


“Do you know what madness is?” you ask her slowly, wiping away her tears and licking the salt of her eyes.


Her lip trembles.  “Yes.  It’s when your eyes are red and your hair is black and your skin is poison.  It’s when you cry and kill, and slaughter, and Star, only I can help you then and sing to you, and then you stop.  But – but when I’m not around to save you, this happens…”  She extends her hand to the mangled limbs and shed guts of self-righteous fuckers, those winged holier-than-thou seagulls, yet your brothers all the same.


“I took you here because it is not your place to save me,” you say slowly, breaking the truth like splitting a crusty biscuit.  “This is what I am.”


“Yes, you’re Chaos.  I knew that already,” she says quietly, eyes downcast, for in her child’s mind she has already named you her equivalent of the Antichrist in a language she invented, and wrote in her seven year old gel pens a prophecy in which you will destroy the universe if she cannot help you find the Light within, well, your heart.


She understands things in Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, ultimatums.  She thinks it is her destiny to save you, to restore your Light and hold back your Darkness, and in saving you save existence itself.  Perhaps there is some truth in that, but you would never place that burden on her shoulders, for she is just a child.


Just a child that speaks to Satan, rides Heaven and Hell on his shoulders, and met him as her first memory, but no matter.  You are the Devil, and you have ruined many childhoods before her.  Or perhaps they were all iterations of the same Eve, over-curious girls with insatiable appetites for wanderlust and knowledge.  Knowledge is her favorite thing, wanderlust her favorite word.


She will wander far in her lifetime, and her knowledge will tithe her to Hell, sacrificial soul indeed.


For now, she holds you close, and says “I’ll always love you, no matter what, Star.  Let’s leave this awful place.”


You carry her away in burning arms to a planet of girl’s first wishes, and she dances with elves and fairies by the firelight, and she is at peace.


As at peace the Devil’s heart can be.

It’s evening, and we’re both drunk as stoned birds, and you look like a young Hannibal Lecter and stink of corpses and rotting roses.  I’m in bandages and heels, I cut myself on your broken bottles again, maybe because I hate myself or maybe because I hate you and I want you to see your precious little canary bleed red, dead, showing the coal mine of your palace is stranger danger.  There’s needle pricks along your forearm and you’re ranting and raving about how I left you for your brother, the Prodigal Sun, and you’re the fuckup your dad kicked to the curb into a joint you call Hell with your bachelor buddies where all you do is fuck and kill and get high any means possible.  I say your twin is worth a thousand yous and I’d rather you were dead by my hands than calling me jezebel and heirodule and all your pretty words for whore.  Maybe you get off on me sleeping with all your friends and enemies – no, I know you do, because you own me and I own you and I only do as we please and you’re a manwhore that likes used goods – but for now you’re pretending it’s only us at night, not succubi or angels of prostitution or all the fancy terms rabbis came up for cheap ladies of the night that dress up in oxblood lipstick and leather and decorate your palace.  I tried to join in on one of your orgies once and you laughed to high heaven at how innocent I was, too pure, and your wives stroked my hair and tweaked my nose and then you got back to your fucking.  So much for sharing.  I don’t know a damn thing about drugs and all the shit you drink and snort and smoke and siphon through your veins but silver daggers are pumping this clear heady substance into your banded arms and I’m cornered, horny, and pissed.  I imagine you are the same, because what fucking loser castigates his wife for straying and throws temper tantrums then comes crawling back drunk for forgiveness and pleads for a second chance, a millionth chance, just take my poetry and books and roses and shittily made tacos and let’s pretend I’m the dragon, you’re the princess, and your fucking knight brother was burned to a crisp.  You grab me from behind and I hike up the bandages and you talk about kids and how pretty I would be pregnant and I tell you to fuck off as I cum and you’re still snorting coke off my spine and we rut until I bleed and you’re raw.  You mock me for missing a spot waxing but I know you’d fuck me if I had a sixties porno bush.  You’ve made it a point to fuck me however I look, lathering me up to a soap with compliments and moaning and weakness as your seed spills out and I could sink my teeth into your manhood and drink down all the black sin inside you.  You’re crying again, sobbing into my hair, saying how could I have left you for the better half, the sober one, the brother you hate and love in equal measure.  I tell you to shut the hell up and let me sleep and that I only keep you around because you’re hot when you’re not an abomination.  I’m pretty sure you raised me to kill you, and you love watching me in other men’s arms, but then you go and haunt my boyfriends and fuck me in their beds so who knows.  All I know is that you think you have me figured out, but then I go and surprise you and you lose your shit and rant and rave like a rabid dog.  Watchdog of the graveyard, you called yourself.  The Scapegoat.  Samael the Judge.  I hope the whole fucking Internet reads this and the Satanists know what a pussy their god is.  The Devil’s a cuckold and cries at Victor Hugo and beats his women and is as disturbed as his favorite eponymous band.  Addict Angel Extraordinaire.  Waste of Space Junkie.  This is just me spewing shit on the page to see what sticks but isn’t that what I always do?


I learned to write from you, after all.



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