TITLE: THE SCORPION & THE EAGLE
GENRE: Sci-Fi Fantasy
The torrential downpour I’d created by blowing up my ship in the atmosphere turns my father, and the legion of demons writhing below our feet, to ash.
I spread my arms and tilt my face to Jupiter, the gas giant forever painting Callisto’s sky, like I’d done countless times as a child during a mid-summer rainstorm, and wait my turn to die. Nothing happens.
Well, not nothing. The water against my newly formed demon skin burns like a son of a bitch. More like, granddaughter of Lucifer. But I’m more than just a demon. I’m also human. Or, I was. Apparently, a soul is a hard thing to kill.
As the mound below me dissolves, absorbed by the massive size of the lake underneath, I realize that my plan to save what’s left of my father’s tarnished human-turned-demon soul isn’t going to be as easy as I think.
I wade to the shore as smoke and sulfur billow up my nose from the frothy mess and stink of demon death. If I thought standing in the rain sucked, taking an early evening swim sucked more. A lot more.
At least it’s summer when the water is warm, even at night. Thank God for small miracles, if God even listens to me anymore. Maybe He never did.
I finally reach the water’s edge and dig clawed feet into sandstone the color of coagulated blood flecked green with shards of shale. But the relief is fleeting. Though I’m free from the excruciating caress of water, I’m now touching land. My body tenses as I wait for wave after wave of more demons to descend on the valley from whatever circle of Hell Ashmedai claims. Or claimed, before my mother killed him.
I wait…and wait. Again, nothing. This time, I’m grateful for the lack. It seems that ending my human life—the one thing preventing me from turning demon—shut the gateway created when I was born, linking Hell to the Valhalla River Basin here on Callisto. That, or there aren’t any demons left in the Prince of Hell’s army.
The rain relents its brutal assault on my skin. I wet my lips and search the surrounding hills for signs of movement. If by some miracle a demon survived, I’m ready to whistle the enchanting tune my father taught me as a child. The song leads demons to their death. But I’m exhausted by the strain of killing an army. I’d rather lie in the grass and sleep forever. Or die.
That would be better. That’s what I had intended. The rain was supposed to be my one-way ticket into Gehenna, the place where demons with souls go when they die. It’s a realm controlled by the Fallen One himself, my grandfather, Lucifer. Maybe he’ll let me in if I ask nicely. We’re family after all.