It’s Gonna Be a Long Night
“Alright, single file,” Ray said to the mass of humanity as he ushered them from their erstwhile prison onto the street.
The humans looked around wide-eyed at the quaint buildings and regal towers, twisting, asymmetrical and ornate, like rococo by way of psilocybin.
“No time for gawking, you lot,” Stovall shouted, getting their attention, “We have a demon to fight.”
“Cool your rockets,” Ray said, “These people aren’t fighting anybody. They’ve been kept in cages for who knows how long. They’re in no kind of shape to…”
“I’ll murder every last one of ‘em,” a bearded man screamed grabbing an umbrella out of a barrel.
The crowd of humans roared in approval.
“Point me at ‘em, I’ll bite their faces off,” another with an eye patch slavered, bearing his teeth and making a sound akin to barking.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Ray said, “Do you even know which ones you're mad at?”
“Dem monsters what look like you,” an old woman shouted.
“But which ones?”
“Dat bird wiff the ax.”
The humans roared and thrust the umbrellas they ran around gathering into the air.
“Okay, slow down,” Ray raised his hands, “You’re going to get yourself killed if you just run in there waving umbrellas around.”
“They ain’t seen the likes a’ me,” a man said and cheered, shaking an umbrella.
The crowd cheered along with him.
“Brothers and sisters,” Stovall said, “A moment please…”
“Ain’t you the bloke what broke out and left us all in there?” a young woman asked.
“I went to get help, which as you can see I did...successfully.”
“Look, people. You’re not fighting anybody. You’d be completely outmatched,” Ray said.
“I fink he’s on their side,” the eye-patched man said.
The crowd agreed.
“As much as I’d like to see you ‘biting their faces off’ my species is stronger than you and possess weapons and powers that you can’t imagine.”
“Like what, then?” the young woman asked.
Ray twirled his finger in the air and a wind funnel formed. He thrust his finger toward the ground and the funnel touched down and spun, whipping the air and staggering the humans. He swept his hand across himself and the funnel whirled toward the building that held their prisons. The tornado tore through the front and kick debris into the air. It cut a path straight through the other side. Ray waved his hand and it dissipated.
“Oh,” the young woman said, “You can all do that, then?”
“Kind of,” Ray said.
“That tears it, I reckon.”
“Well, what do we do?” Catherine asked.
“You are not going to do anything,” Ray addressed the crowd, “I’m getting you to a safe location and you’ll stay there. Not biting faces.”
Ray led the gaggle to the Great Hall of Parthus, but when they arrived he saw Lucifer locked in a makeshift set of stocks. A large gathering of Adriel’s loyalists were throwing rotten food at him and whipping him in the back of the thighs with lashes. Ray signaled the group to halt.
“Is that one of yours in the stocks?” Catherine asked.
“Yeah. If the circumstances were better,” Ray said, “I’d be enjoying this.”
“What his name?”
“Luc…” Ray considered what he was about to say for a moment, “...ian. Lucian. Looks like our safe spot isn’t so safe anymore.”
“You have a plan?”
“Give me a second. You, Eyepatch Guy? Are you still keen to bite off a few faces?”
“Aye, sir, I hungers for ‘em,” Eyepatch replied.
“What am I doing,” Ray muttered to himself, “At least there’s a manageable number of them. Okay, people, you see that group throwing stuff at the guy in the stocks? They’re with the Axe Lady who kidnapped you. We just want to drive them off. I don’t want you to…”
The crowd screamed out a cacophonous battle cry and stampeded toward Adriel’s fanatics. The mob was too involved in their revelries to notice the humans closing in on them. Between the hurled vegetables Lucifer could see the humans approaching. He smiled.
“What are you smiling at?” one of the fanatics asked him.
Lucifer tilted his head toward the humans. The fanatic turned around and was smacked on the face with an umbrella. The humans descended on Adriel’s followers and swarmed them, pushing them to the ground, stomping and beating them with umbrellas. Ray approached the stocks.
“Where are you going?” he barked at Ray.
Ray kept his pace as he drew his pistol and shot the fanatic in the thigh. He yelped and dropped to one knee. Ray bludgeoned him with his pistol as he passed. He aimed at the lock on the stocks and fired. It blew off and he opened the pillory.
“And what if you had missed?” Lucifer asked, rubbing his neck.
“Then I would finally know joy,” Ray replied.
Lucifer surveyed the chaos as hundreds of humans beat Adriel’s adherents with free umbrellas.
“I have a mountain of paperwork I’m more than happy to drop on your desk,” Lucifer said.
“Your welcome,” Ray replied picking refuse out of Lucifer’s hair, “What the hell happened here?”
“A coup, it would seem. They’ve taken Wensleydale to Adriel.”
“That’s my next stop.”
“Where did all these humans come from?” his mouth was agape and eyes wide.
“Adriel brought them here. She was keeping them in cages and trotting a few out every now and then to drum up anxiety.”
“I never thought such a dark day would come where I would have to utter the words, ‘Good work, Director Raphael.’”
“If you really want to thank me, you’ll bust me back down to agent.”
“Not a chance,” Lucifer’s eyes shined as he watched the melee.
“I assume you want me to call them off?”
Lucifer was silent, then after a deep breath said, “Let them get it out of their systems,” he turned and headed up the steps of the Great Hall, “We’ll make accommodations for them when they're done.”
“Look at you looking the other way,” Ray laughed.
“I want that paperwork completed by the morning, Director,” he disappeared into the hall.
Abby and the Watchers walked among the charred remains of vendor’s stalls in the square. Among the remains were writhing, groaning Seraphim. Abby watched over his shoulder as Michael crouched to speak to one of the defeated.
“What were you trying to accomplish here?” Michael asked.
“To take those filthy beasts to Adriel,” he spat at Abby.
Abby raised her fist engulfed in flame.
“Abigayle,” Gabriel said placing his hand on her shoulder.
She put the fire out and lowered her hand. Gabriel approached the fallen Seraph fanatic and looked down at with pity.
“We should get in contact with Lucifer,” he said, “Let him know what happened.”
“If all went according to plan,” the seraph gasped, “Lucifer has no power here anymore. Metatron will have been deposed and Adriel seated in his place.”
“And for your part? Did it go according to plan?” Gabriel asked.
The seraph let his head drop and he winced in pain.
“We should get back to the Hall,” Gabriel said, “See what’s going on.”
Lucifer entered the Hall and found the towering Metatron walking toward him dragging two unconscious seraphim by their necks, one in each hand. He stopped before Lucifer and dropped them.
“Processes these, would you,” Metatron’s voice rumbled through the marble assembly chamber.
A screaming seraph ran into the chamber swinging a sword in each hand in an elaborate display of being able to swing swords around. Metatron’s mouth opened wide and let out a low, sonorous drone. The seraph became transfixed and gazed at Metatron with an expression of great pain. He clamped his hands to his head and stumbled to his knees. Metatron throttled him on the head and tossed him with the other fanatics.
“Him as well,” he said and left the chamber.
“Good to see you're well,” Lucifer called after him, “I’m fine.”
Cletus was dragged through Adriel’s audience chamber and was pushed to the ground at her feet. She leaned forward in her throne and down at him from the dais.
“Alchemist,” she said, “Glad you’re here. That means Lucifer and Metatron should be swinging from the ends of ropes by now. Your granddaughter, the little thief and the strong man should be joining us soon, then we can start having some fun.”
“Raphael is still out there,” Cletus said.
“I heard he was unemployed. Not that he’s a problem anymore. He and the Watchers are on the wrong side of the law now,” she raised her voice to her gathered followers, “Now that we’re in charge.”
“Put him in a box or something,” she pointed to Cletus, “It’s sad to look at him. It’s like a really old dog. Disgusting, but you still feel bad for it. Blind, limping and pissing itself.”
“I didn’t piss…” Cletus protested.
“Get it out, get it out,” Adriel waved a guard over, “It’s making weird noises.”
“You’re going to be making weird noises in a minute,” Ray called from the entrance of her audience chamber, flanked by Stovall and Catherine.
“Was that supposed to make sense?” Adriel asked.
“It did a moment before I said it.”
“Agent Raphael...or ex-agent Raphael. Is that right?”
“Director actually. I got a promotion as a form of sadism.”
“That was a short-lived promotion. Lucifer and Metatron are likely doing the gallows jig right about now.”
“No, they’re fine. We were just there.”
“Liar,” Adriel hissed.
“We were. I had to rescue Lucifer and I’m going to make you pay for that.”
“How is this possible?”
“With a little help…” Ray began.
“Adriel,” Michael howled, “Your goons were dispatched and now it’s your turn.”
The Watchers, Abby, Pietro, and Bart entered Adriel’s chamber.
“Mike,” Ray yelled, “You screwed up my big line.”
“It’s good to see you, Director,” Mike grabbed his hand and shook it.
“I was going to give the line and they would come running in.”
“Now,” Ray shouted and streams of hundreds of humans ran in screaming and swinging umbrellas.
“What is all this?” Mike watched as the humans flooded the chamber.
“Pissed off humans. You know what they’re like.”