Gather Man

After those loyal in the afterlife had been assembled, it was time for those still loyal in living life to take up arms. After explaining again why those in Hell and in Heaven are fighting side by side, Sara and Steve surveyed the recruits.
“This is amazing,” Sara marveled, “All walks of life, all faiths, all genders…everything!”
“Well, Armageddon will do that for you,” Steve answered as one of the troops broke formation to turn away from him. Steve stopped in his tracks and regarded the young soldier.
“Something wrong, sir?”
“I do not want to look on you,” the young man replied with an edge of disrespect.
“And why is that?” Steve smiled and crossed his thin arms, eagerly awaiting the reply.
“You are the ruler of Hell… it is not right for one of the righteous to look upon you.”
Steve scoffed at this.
“And I suppose you disapprove of the demonic army’s presence here as well?”
“I do.”
The new Devil’s eyes flared as he grabbed the man’s face and pulled it forward, forcing him face to face.
“You see this? Are you burning? Of course not. I’m not evil, I’m just doing my job, you got that? The evil ones are out there, across that burning plain, waiting for us. Focus on them instead of your own satisfaction, because I can guarantee that they’ll do a lot more than just make you uncomfortable. And when one of those ‘unrighteous’ demons saves your pompous ass, I hope you’ll realize that we’re all fighting on the same side. Got it?”
He tossed the man’s face away with a grunt.
“Idiots. The world’s about to end and all they can think about is their exclusivity.”
Steve and Sara continued their inspection, noting anything missing, or anything needing to be reinforced. This would be no battle of tanks and bombs, but of flaming swords and lances; planes would instead be angels and flying minions of Lucifer, and guns would do no good against Heavenly or Satanic armors. Each threw their all into the allegiance of their camp, and prayed that their faith and devotion, to either side, would see them through.
Steve stopped an inspection to address a nervous looking young recruit.
“Yes, soldier?”
“You are the ruler of Hell, correct?”
“More or less.”
“You have certain…powers?”
“Yeah?” Steve was growing impatient.
“That’s very good to hear,” the young man continued, “But…what of the others?”
“I heard of others joining in our fight, those who would bring their celestial power and those who would only fight for the most holy of circumstances.”
“Ah,” Steve nodded, “The Big Boys. Don’t worry, they’re on their way.”
“Is the Lord with them?” the recruit turned his frightened face to Steve.
“Metaphorically or literally?”
The young man gave a nervous laugh.
“Literally, if possible?”
“Sorry, Charlie,” Steve clapped him on the back, “That’s not how the Almighty works these days. Remember what happened when he got directly involved? Yeah, thought so. The thing is…God is God, he doesn’t understand us and we don’t understand him. It’d be like teaching trigonometry to a toddler: neither one is particularly wrong because neither one can understand the other, know what I mean?”
“I…think so…”
“So God isn’t here. To be frank, he hasn’t been here for almost 2,000 years. He’s been up there keeping an eye on everything, vowing never to interfere again, instead sending the best representatives he can think of: his Son, and all the prophets, near and far.”
Steve smiled and tousled the kid’s hair.
“Now, does that sound as bad as you thought?”
The recruit snapped to attention.
“No, sir!”
Steve and Sara kept walking, Sara diligently calling out every soldier’s name and waiting for a reply. Part of her thrilled at the charges she was given, but other parts of her were terrified, because she knew that soon, the battle for all creation would begin.

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