The sun rises. The sun sets. And the Earth still spins in shock on its tilted axis in reaction to the day that darkness was forever catapulted from the Heavens.
The battle was epic and the craters left behind eventually became the oceans. In its sheer violence, the bloody clash created mind-boggling mountain ranges and lush vistas that would eventually leave man breathless with awe. Beauty created in fury and rage was still beauty.
Or was it…
In the beginning there were two Angels bound by blood. One was created to lord over the light and one the dark. However, Fate had a devastatingly destructive sense of humor and had not made the destiny of these divine beings clear.
The irony of this injustice was not lost on the angelic brothers, but they were connected by a love so great no one believed their fierce loyalty could be severed.
They were wrong—very wrong. For only one was meant for goodness and light.
One brother eventually emerged as the victor. He would be revered and adored. Always.
The other would fall from grace in a spectacular tumble from the Heavens that tore a rift between the brothers for eternity.
So one Angel came to rule the light. He was good, kind and righteous. This Angel had wings of gold and was beloved by all.
The other lived in the darkness. His wings were as coal black as his soul and he was feared by every living creature. This particular Angel was thought of as evil personified. However, to know true evil, one must have first experienced grace…
Lucifer had known grace. Lucifer knew evil. But most of all Lucifer knew how to have an outstanding time doing outrageously bad things.
Fate was a bitch, but she usually got it right.
As the orange flames danced and licked at my skin, I let my head fall back on the marble stone in relief. The intensity of the blaze snarled and bit at me, but I was still far stronger than the glorious weapon of destruction because I was destruction.
The weight of the world was indeed heavy. However, the weight of the most immoral, vile and corrupt part of humanity was at times unbearable. For eons the fire had burned away my sins and pain. I watched in fascination as my skin regenerated as quickly as the billowing flames consumed and seared it from my body.
The solace was only temporary. An inferno couldn’t save my soul at this point and I didn’t give a damn. My soul wasn’t in question. I didn’t have one. The bleak future that greeted me daily would never change. And the impending feeling of darkness coming that I couldn’t shake off didn’t concern me much either. There would always be darkness. Fate had decreed it.
Fate was a first-class bitch.
Fire had always given me a respite from the wickedness of my ways, but it was no longer doing the trick. “Going to have to find something new,” I muttered, waving my hand and dousing the flames.
Today was a day like any other. Punishments must be doled out and chaos must be encouraged. A vacation would be lovely, but there was no rest for the weary… or the evil.
Glancing in the mirror at the image of the exquisitely beautiful man staring back at me, I smiled. I was a fucking handsome son of a bitch.
“It’s show time folks.”
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
“You’ve got to fucking be kidding me,” Astrid muttered giving me an impressive eye roll that would normally earn any lesser being an agonizing retribution.
My niece was an incredible pain in my evil and very fine ass, but I secretly adored her—not that I’d offer up that tidbit of information freely—I had a reputation to uphold. As Satan, I wasn’t supposed to love anyone. That was more my brother God’s arena. And since he was a showboating jackass of biblical proportions, I left the touchy feely up to him.
“Hmm, let me think,” I said putting my finger to my lusciously full bottom lip and feigning deep thought. “No. Not fucking kidding at all.”
“This just isn’t going to fly, Dude,” she mumbled, scrolling through the massive manuscript.
Blackmailing Astrid into writing my autobiography served several purposes. It gave me an excuse to be earth side without drawing suspicion… and I was bored. Being the Prince of Darkness had its perks, but the monotony could be trying. Plus, it was vastly entertaining to drive my slightly unbalanced niece crazy and the venue was outstanding. The office of her mate, Prince Ethan, was a veritable smorgasbord of booty. The Vampyre prince had more office supplies than Office Depot, which I found absolutely delightful.
“What’s the problem?” I inquired, tossing my black Armani sport coat on the leather couch and gifting her with an eye roll of my own. Mine was far better. I’d had millions of years of practice.
“You can’t start every freakin’ chapter of your autobiography plagiarizing Snoopy.”
“Why not? And for your information, the original wordsmith who penned the terrible purple prose was Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his novel Paul Clifford—not Snoopy.”
“Mmmkay,” Astrid said, squinting her eyes at me.
I chose to take that as a sign of respect for my prowess with knowledge of obscure writers.
“But still, Uncle Who-shouldn’t-be-writing-an-autobiography-at-all,” Astrid went on. “Why would you choose to start every single chapter of your memoir with, It was a dark and stormy night?”
“Because it was.”
“Can’t argue with that logic,” she muttered and typed it. “Alrighty, so what’s next?”
“Should I discuss the month long orgy with the Elizabethan Court or do you think a play by play of when I served up Nero some of his own medicine—you know a little burning, boiling, stabbing and impaling—you get the drift.”
“This is the worst damn idea ever,” Astrid announced in a grumpy voice, slapping the laptop computer shut that I’d very graciously provided for our new venture.
“You’re attitude is outstanding,” I replied easily.
I so enjoyed my niece and her horrific outlook. She was proof that apples really didn’t fall far from the tree. Astrid could deny her Demon heritage all she wanted. However, she wore it well much to my amusement.
Vampyres were incredibly ungrateful. Demons were worse. As Astrid was a combination of the two, it made for some wonderfully trying times. My darling niece had already banged her attractive head against the apparatus six times and expressed herself in a litany of filthy swear words that warmed my cold dead heart—and we still had a few chapters to go.
“We have a deal. The deal is I talk. You type.”
“Nope,” she shot back. “You blackmailed me into writing your autobiography—which is a fucking oxymoron since you should be writing it yourself.”
“Your language appalls me.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Touche,” I said with a chuckle. “Fine. I can’t type.”
“You’re kidding me. You’re the badass of the Underworld. You’re supposed to be able to do everything.”
“I tried, but it’s incredibly boring and not the least bit sexy,” I admitted with a careless shrug and a grin. “I did try an online class, but that horrid computer woman, Mavis Beacon, made me have a fit that caused an avalanche. If she was an actual person, I’d treat her to a day in Hell she’d never forget.”
“I feel you,” Astrid groused. “Mavis Beacon is a total gaping butthole. That finger shit is for the birds. I threw a couple of computers across the room trying to please that hard woman.”
“Too bad she’s not real,” I mused, making myself comfortable on the couch. “I’d like to date someone like that.”
“Speaking of…” Astrid started with a smirk. “How’s the love life going?”
“First of all,” I corrected her. “Love has nothing to do with it. I love no one but myself.”
“Liar, liar, Armani pants on fire,” she said under her breath.
“I’m going to ignore that since I do find your son amusing and making him an orphan isn’t on my agenda today,” I shot back with my perfectly arched brow raised high—a look that worked for me—always. “Secondly, I tried this love you speak of once and it didn’t work out very well. Almost ended in the Apocalypse.”
“You use the brow thing too much,” Astrid informed me ignoring my threat and my admission.
“I said, you raise your brow all the time. It’s losing its terrifying effect.”
Snapping my fingers and conjuring a mirror I examined the evidence. Damn, if I wasn’t a good-looking bastard. However, Astrid had a point. The eyebrow wasn’t quite doing the trick. First the fire—now the eyebrow. Unacceptable.
“Shall I start blowing things up instead? Or how about I go Genghis Kahn on everyone and pour molten silver into their eyes and ears?” I suggested smoothly.
Astrid blanched and I graced her with a tight smile. It was my job to keep them on their toes—keep them guessing at how truly debased I was. I had no intention of filling the orifices of anyone with scalding metal except the bastard Genghis Kahn himself. In fact, I’d treated him to his own medicine too many times over the years to count. Turn about was fair play in my part world. I just happened to enjoy it, which was why I was very good at it. Of course my man Genghis wasn’t as keen on the technique when it was done to him—ahhh the irony.
“Umm, no, the eyebrow will be just fine,” Astrid answered slowly, watching me closely to see how much of what I said was true.
The look of uncertainty on her face gave me pause. Damn it to Hell, was I losing my touch? I wanted to console the ungrateful child.
“Look, this book reads like an erotic journey slash some of the most unbelievably violent shit that I couldn’t even make up slash a bad acid trip. I don’t think it’s gonna sell,” Astrid stated the obvious, while deftly changing the subject.
“Of course it will.” I waved my hand dismissively. “Just put some bullshit happily ever after at the end and we can pawn it off as a romance.”
“You’re serious?” she asked with a horrified expression.
“But, um… you don’t exactly have a happily ever after at the moment,” she reminded me cautiously. “You want me to lie?”
“But of course,” I replied. “Most of what I’ve told you is fabricated.”
“Are you shitting me?” she yelled with her fingers sparking menacingly. “I’ve spent a month of my life that I can’t get back typing utter bullshit that’s been flying from your deceitful lips?”
“I’d have to say that’s fairly accurate,” I replied with a laugh. Her anger always invigorated me. “However, a month is but a blip when you live forever. You shall see. And lies are always more fun that the truth.”
“The sex stuff was a lie?’ Astrid asked with a wince and a veiled expression of relief.
“No. That’s all true.”
And the relief disappeared.
“The violence?” She tried again.
“Then what in the ever loving Hell was made up?” she demanded, running her hands through her wild hair in frustration.
“You’re going to set your hair on fire,” I commented as I watched a few strands sizzle under her sparking fingers.
“Mother fucker in a miniskirt,” she bellowed, slapping at her head. “Do you see what this is doing to me? Are you happy? I almost singed myself bald because you’ve had more sex than the entire male population quadrupled. I do not look good bald.”
“Names,” I replied, ignoring her outburst. “I made up names. Wouldn’t want any lawsuits.”
“Shut the front door. Most of the freaks you talk about in the book are dead already and half of the species mentioned don’t even exist in human’s minds. How can you have lawsuits?”
“You’d be surprised,” I replied, pilfering a few Mont Blanc pens and a calculator. “Just make up a happily ever after and we’ll be done.”
“For real?” she asked with doubt written all over her lovely face.
“Would you lie to me?”
“So we’re not done, Uncle Fucker?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at me.
Cities on fire, I loved her utter disrespect. “I suppose you didn’t read the fine print in the contract,” I informed her, biting back my grin with effort.
“I suppose I didn’t because you didn’t give me a contract,” she snapped.
Pocketing a few more interesting looking gadgets from Ethan’s desk, I clapped my hands and produced a thick folder. “Silly me,” I chided myself sarcastically. “My apologies. Here it is.”
With one last devastating grin at my now swearing and furious niece, I vanished in a cloud of glittering black smoke. Letting her cool down would ensure I didn’t have to punish my favorite relative and would also safeguard her compound. Astrid tended to blow up buildings when she got pissed.
She was such a damned delight.