“How could he have done it?”
Sara and Steve were busy inspecting a regiment of loyal demons for the upcoming conflict. Each horn was polished to a gleaming luster, each fang was sharpened to a deadly point. The troops stood stiff at attention in straight lines, very much in order and very perplexing to the new Satan.
“I was never much of a military man,” he confessed to Sara as they walked through, “Got almost no idea what I’m doing here. Do they look good?”
“They look good,” Sara muttered distractedly, but something weighed on her mind, “Steve, how did he get out?”
“Well, sources are saying,” Steve pulled out the official Heavenly memo and scrutinized it, “That it is believed to be a group job. Somehow, Satan got in touch with his counterparts of the other major religions, the baddest of the bad guys, so to speak, and between all of them they managed to spring him. Now, they’ve got a tenuous alliance on the promise of a world split between them after the fall.”
“Counterparts? You mean the Devil has peers?”
“For every one good in a religion, there exists a bad,” he said, nodding to a sergeant. Soldiers of the regiment began mobilizing at rapid speed as another came in for inspection, “All from the same cloth, drinking from the same cup. but selfish and petty bullies through and through. It was the Christian Evil, Lucifer, that managed to convince them all that by working together they could rule over this world.”
“And that’s how American Idol started,” Sara said with a groan.
“Here’s the kicker, though,” Steve said with a little laugh, “All of the Evil weren’t expecting all of the Good to put aside their differences and ally themselves. In typical fashion, the Evil are spiteful and hateful of the good, and think very little of them. Though I have to admit, even I’m impressed that all these guys are working together. If only the mortals could realize…”
“That there’s always a chance for peace, even with religion?”
“Religion is the problem, Sara,” Steve began looking the demons over, “Religion is what kills, what tortures, what decides right and wrong away from deities or universal truths. Religion is a creation of man, but faith is a creation of a God. Faith is what you feel, right inside, in the bottom of your heart, that warm feeling of knowing you did what is right instead of the cold and icy pit you feel when you do something wrong. It’s faith that has demons fighting on the side of the saved, and it’s for reasons of faith I argued that forgiveness should come to those in Hell when their souls are clean and their faith is true.”
“Innocent until proven guilty, eh Steve?”
“There’s only been a few in the History of Man that have been truly guilty,” Steve said, his jaw setting and his eyes turning like stone, “Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS and mass murderer. H.H. Holmes, founder of Chicago’s Death Hotel. Vlad III, known as the Impaler. Some people are simply beyond reproach, and they burn for it. But never, ever is the Good lost from you if you can see the difference.”
“And that’s why they fight,” Sara said softly, as a revelation, “That’s why these demons fight. They know the difference, they know good and evil, and they know that there is still hope for them, despite all they’ve done?”
Steve looked down at her with eyes that were no longer stone, eyes that were alive.
“There’s always hope, Sara.”
“How could he have done it?”