How does an angel send a demon back to hell? That was the question of the day, and Luke had a feeling he was not going to like the answer.
Johnny, the angel of Wisconsin was the only hope for salvation against the demon king, Vega. He was a kind man; a husband and father, but to defeat a demon- “You’re going to take his place,” Luke said with a trembling voice as he held his toddler stepdaughter, Shannon, in his arms.
“I can take his power without becoming him.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it.” Luke had very little choice in the matter. “So where’s Azzy, your wife?”
“Someplace safe,” Johnny replied, touching his hand to his chest. He had been wearing blue hospital scrubs but in the light of the moon-lit window, Luke spotted a metal rosary necklace on Johnny’s neck.
At least he assumed it was metal. “So, how do we find Vega?”
“He’ll find us,” Johnny said as he started to walk away. “We just need to meet him halfway.”
Luke hurried after him, struggling to keep his hold on Shannon. She was fidgety but he was not about to let her walk on her own. He looked around for help but realized he was alone. “Where did Kelsey’s mother go?”
“You heavenly mother-in-law?” Johnny asked with a smirk. “You are one lucky man to have a literal angel watching over you. I mean, as opposed to what most people call their mother-in-law.” He laughed so hard at his own joke that he actually had to stop to catch his breath. “Don’t worry, I imagine she will meet us at the battleground.”
“Which is where?” Luke asked. “Are we headed to the roof?”
“This version of reality is a time-pocket,” Johnny explained. “You probably guessed that.”
Looking around at the empty ward, with wall and ceilings covered with dust and cobwebs- he knew what Johnny meant. This was a time in the future, a reality that would one day exist and since Johnny was the guardian of the hospital he would likely be around to see it. “And the roof?”
“The roof is the backdoor, secret entrance into the casino. Well, what became of the casino in this timeline.”
When they reached the roof the moon appeared to be flashing red, yellow, orange and white. It was definitely the entrance to a casino. Little Shannon was mesmerized by the lights, trying harder than ever to get free of Luke’s grasp.
“Keep a strong hold on your daughter. She tasted the blood of the innocent, it won’t take much for her to fall under Vega’s control.”
“What about my wife?”
“Vega has her? If she looks anything like her mother she should be easy to find.” With a wave of his hand Johnny, Luke and Shannon were pulled through the portal with a magnetic-like force.
“Well, well well – what have we here?” Vega sat upon a golden throne with Leanna and a clearly hypnotized Kelsey by his side. “A pair of heroic fathers- one let me escape and the other ran off with his tail between his legs. Why don’t you make this easy and hand over the child? After all, every little girl needs a mother.” Vega motioned to his scantily clad women.
Johnny chuckled. “That was a mistake.” He tore off the rosary.
Luke gripped Shannon tightly as the room filled with a blinding white light. When the light faded he saw an entire room full of female warrior angels, including Kelsey’s mother.
And the cross pendant from the necklace fell to the floor last, bouncing a few times before revealing its contents- the demon warrior queen Azzy. “Hi, Dad.”
Vega stood up and simply smiled his wide, cat-like, smile. “All I ever wanted was to meet my grandchild.”
“So did Remy’s father,” Azzy said, motioning to a dark corner of the room.
Remy stepped forward, his wrists in chains. But as he blinked his eyes they were red, glowing. He opened his mouth to speak but only a primal, catlike, roar emerged.
“Hello, Papa Jean-Luc,” Azzy said as she kissed his cheek. “I always liked you.”
Luke could hear the man screaming silently, his cries of pain felt like ripples of electricity. With every blast, the demons in the room were frozen in place. It was as if she was controlling a human-sized taser.
Vega stood up easily. “Remy said you were crazy.”
“I am.” Azzy stood strong but Lucas could see she was scanning the room, looking for her little son. Where was Lucas?
Luke felt a soft tug on his pant leg.
It was little Lucas, he was crying. “I wanna go home.”
“Home?” Luke had no idea what to do. Azzy was in a battle with Vega using Remy as an attack dog all while Johnny seemed to be content to watch.
What home could Luke possibly send the innocent little boy to? He needed help, he needed a sign.
Followed by a mechanical grinding noise.
The noise became a roar. Luke assumed this must be what dogs heard when a household vacuum passes by.
He held Shannon close, covering her ears as he rocked her against his chest. He started to focus on his breath, the sound of the blood pumping in his head. Little by little the sounds started to fade, giving way to a moment of pure peace and tranquility.
Suddenly Luke gasped for air as dread filled his mind; he had left Lucas unprotected. He forced his eyes open, desperate to find the little boy but all he saw was a bright light.
“Here she is, the next president of the united states, Eliza ‘Azzy’ Villanueva.”
The sound was echoing all around him, clearly coming from a speaker. As vision started to focus he could see it was a television- a massive, big screen, television. He was no longer in a casino, but rather a penthouse. Through a window, he could see Mt Rainier. Was this Seattle? Portland?
He turned back to the television for Azzy’s speech. “I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without the love and support of my followers, my fans, but most importantly- my family.”
Remy and little Lucas stepped forward. Remy wore a suit, with his long hair pulled back in a ponytail. He looked respectable, like a father.
“Remy Desilva,” Azzy turned to her friend. “You have been the greatest assistant, partner, and friend I could ask for. And I know you will continue to care for my son- our son- throughout my reign.”
Luke walked closer to the screen as if that would offer a better perspective on what he just heard. Did Azzy just admit, on camera, that Lucas was Remy’s son?
But Azzy had more to say. “Remy, it’s because of you, my husband and I…”
Johnny arose from his seat. His hair was shorter, and like Remy, he also wore a suit. But as he stood up to stand at his wife’s side, his wings expanded revealing their full impressive span.
“We will be able to devote our time,” Azzy paused to smile, “our lives, to making this world a better place.”
Little Lucas reached his arms out to his mother.
Azzy noticed and picked him up.
Looking straight into the camera Lucas mouthed, ‘Thank you.’
Luke was so mesmerized he almost tripped over his daughter.
Shannon toddled to the screen, giggling with delight. “Look, Daddy, it’s Lucas!”
“Yeah, it is.”
Kelsey walked in carrying a book bag. “Aww, they look so happy.”
Luke turned off the tv, to gaze upon his beautiful wife. “Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.”
“She ran one hell of a campaign. I mean, getting the minimum presidential age lowered to twenty-five was a miracle in itself. But Azzy took the ball and ran with it, she’s truly an inspiration.” Kelsey picked up Shannon. “I’m going to get dinner started.”
Luke nodded as his wife and daughter left the room. “All’s well that ends well.”
The television turned back on, to a channel of blue static. Vega’s face appeared in shadow form, fading in and out as he laughed. “You’d better hope so.”