He found Satan on his throne in the cavern of lava, reading a large-print edition of Wheatley's The Satanist. 'It's a rum way to warn people off from worshiping me, ' Satan commented, indicating the book. 'It seems to be lots of fun, according to this. Still, I bet they all die horribly at the end. Oh well. Who wants to live forever?
Jonathan L. Howard
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Not entirely fair?" His voice became that of the inferno: a rushing, booming howl of icy evil that flew around the great cavern, as swift and cold as the Wendigo on skates. "I am Satan, also called Lucifer the Light Bearer... " Cabal winced. What was it about devils that they always had to give you their whole family history? "I was cast down from the presence of God himself into this dark, sulfurous pit and condemned to spend eternity here-" "Have you tried saying sorry?" interrupted Cabal. "No, I haven't! I was sent down for a sin of pride. It rather undermines my position if I say 'sorry'!
Jonathan L. Howard
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Horst passed him a bottle he had picked up in his rapid trip from there to here. Remarkably, it's contents had survived the transit. "Drink this, " he said, unmoved by Cabal's anger. "You need to save your voice for your next session." Cabal took the bottle testily and swigged from it. there was a moments pause, just long enough for Cabal's expression to change from testy to horrified revulsion. He spat the liquid violently onto the grass like a man who has got absent-minded with the concentrated nitric acid and a mouth pipette. He glared at Horst as he took off his spectacles and wiped his suddenly weeping eyes "Disinfectant? You give me disinfectant to drink?" Horst's surprise was replaced with mild amusement. "It's root beer, Johannes. Have you never had root beer?" Cabal looked suspiciously at him, then at the bottle "People drink this?" "Yes." "For non-medical reasons?" "That's right." Cabal shook his head in open disbelief. "They must be insane.
Jonathan L. Howard
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Lo!" cried the demon. "I am here! What dost thou seek of me? Why dost thou disturb my repose? Smite me no more with that dread rod!" He looked at Cabal. "Where's your dread rod?" "I left it at home, " replied Cabal. "Didn't think I really needed it." "You can't summon me without a dread rod!" said Lucifuge, appalled. "You're here, aren't you?" "Well, yes, but under false pretences. You haven't got a goatskin or two vervain crowns or two candles of virgin wax made by a virgin girl and duly blessed. Have you got the stone called Ematille?" "I don't even know what Ematille is." Neither did the demon. He dropped the subject and moved on. "Four nails from the coffin of a dead child?" "Don't be fatuous." "Half a bottle of brandy?" "I don't drink brandy." "It's not for you." "I have a hip flask, " said Cabal, and threw it to him. The demon caught it and took a dram. "Cheers, " said Lucifuge, and threw it back. They regarded each other for a long moment. "This really is a shambles, " the demon added finally. "What did you summon me for, anyway?
Jonathan L. Howard
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