Satan intrudes in the dream of a young child. Standing before the child, Satan whispers words which begin his assault on humanity and thus, Heaven.
The death of Jonathan’s son, Tim, a year to the day after his wife’s suicide has lead to a drunken, misbegotten existence. Unaware of Satan’s constant intrusions, Jonathan does not understand the disturbing dreams he has of Catherine’s suicide and Tim’s death. When the realization sweeps over him that he ‘mourns for himself and not those who he loved’, Jonathan cries out to God in agony. Drinking in a bar ‘where sorrow dwells’, Jonathan meets Amanda, a demon with the ability to take human form. Their night together brings the first attempt from Tim to warn his father and it is not until the next morning when Jonathan finds Catherine’s Rosary in a pool of blood that Jonathan suspect’s reality is slipping away. What Jonathan does not know, is that Amanda is now pregnant with the abomination. Tired of ‘gray skies and death’, Jonathan seeks out a priest for comfort and instead, Satan intervenes in an unexpected fashion. Finding safety and solace in a jail cell, doubting his sanity, Jonathan is literally ‘yanked’ into Hell where Satan explains to him, that his soul will always belong to Hell “even when under the guise of comfort and well being”.
Called to a ledge jutting out over an ocean of fire, the young Steven is commanded to jump. Afterward, Satan issues a clear warning, that suffering is inconsequential and Steven is thrust into the world of humanity.
Adopted by Cyn and Ken, Cyn refuses to see the darkness in her son’s soul. Ken however, has a growing fear and that fear is evident in the McConnell murders one summer night when he swears he caught a glimpse of Steven in the house across the street.
Even when ken dies under mysterious circumstances and there’s an element of strangeness at her husband’s funeral, Cyn stands by her son, refusing the obvious.
Growing into a young man, Steven follows Satan’s plan but there is a growing discontent to never have been born. Commanded to burn a small, simple church, Steven realizes the true course is not one of rule and domination, but rather one of chaos and destruction. Walking into a Sunday mass, Steven presents himself as a Savior and than diverts from Satan’s plan by calling forth a portion of Hell. Heaven attempts to intervene and Tim is lost to the sea of souls.
Jonathan is visited by Heaven and told of Tim’s capture and condemnation to Hell. Heaven too, reveals Jonathans part in the creation of Steven and Jonathan and is told that he alone must deal with Steven to free Tim. Traveling to Champion, John remembers the day when Tim came to him with Heavens simple command, ‘to heal those who are ill of heart and sick in soul’. It was amid confusion and shame that he had walked to the front of the church service and healed Larry McConnell.
Sending an elder to return Jonathan to Hell results in a pitched battle. Jonathan overcomes only to be murdered by an assailant sent by Steven and finds himself striking a bargain with Satan. Jonathan will bring Steven before Satan but only upon Tim’s release. Finding Steven setting on a throne of human flesh, Jonathan knows he cannot win without Heavens help. On the verge of victory, Jonathan and Tim cast their eyes upward to see a multitude of demons descending upon humanity. Given a command to take Elizabeth who was pulled from the flesh of Steven’s throne and to run, to hide, Jonathan can only wonder about his role in unleashing Hell upon all of Humanity.
Charlie and his grandfather, Edgar are fishing from a bridge. Reeling a fish in, they both notice a strong, Clorox smell from the scavenger. Throwing the fish back, Edgar is overcome by the smell and collapses. Charlie notices the ol’ Mississippi is frothing and turning red as he looks the length of the pavement for help. Off in the distance, there’s a man and women approaching.
Rosa awakens concerned with a slight rash of pustules but isn’t overly worried as she starts her day. Charlie and his mother are standing on their porch and Aggie wonders about the eclipse, never having seen one before, when Charlie points out a growing mass off on the horizon. With power out, Aggie decides to walk to the next farmhouse for help. Left alone with Edgar who is bedridden and his younger brother, Charlie is scared when his grandfather calls out to him with a warning, just before he dies.
Walking through the field of dead demons, humans and angels that make up the battlefield where Jonathan and Steven fought, Satan is pleased at Heavens defeat but disturbed that neither Steven or Jonathan are among the dead. Jonathan has ran with Elizabeth, seeking refuge in a cave, where she has given birth to Michael. Jonathan questions what he has done and Heavens inability to prevent Satan from entering into the world of humanity.
Major Marcia Salk is in command of a small group of guards assigned to a command post on the outskirts of Champion. Watching a woman that was found wandering and is now unconsciousness, Marcia wonders what she suffered through and what she knows.
Rosa is growing much more concerned that her sores are getting worse but her attention is diverted to the darkness outside and a growing mass in the skies.
Marcia is unaware of the dreams that Cyn is having, unaware that the abomination Steven is calling out to her when she is called to the roof of the building.
Peter Valfort has been dispatched by the Pope to his hometown of Sauk Point. Suddenly, the lear jet is assaulted by a dark mass of demons and the plane crashes. A man who is setting eating breakfast hears the loud sound of a tornado, only to look up and see a demon perched as a fly, on his large bay windows. Marcia and the small group under her command are set upon as they attempt to flee from the roof. Charlie, who has taken Davy and fled the house are caught on the road as the sky darkens with Satan’s demons. Running into the thick forest, they hid under cover of foliage.
Elizabeth dreams of a dark, foreboding meadow and relates the story to John who understands the meadow once represented Heaven, but wonders what it stands for now. Charlie and Davy have made their way to the nearest farmhouse. Charlie is wondering what to do and decides to make for the city.
Satan gives Gol a single command, to search out Steven and Jonathan and then turns to wonder why Heaven has not yet intervened. Both Marcia and Rosa find themselves condemned to a pit of human despair and suffrage. Halfway to the city, Charlie and Davy climb an old fire station and are able to see the city of Sauk Point is under assault. Tired and hungry, Charlie decides go home. Peter has survived the plane crash, and is wandering through the thick forest.
Elizabeth’s child, Michael is awash in varying dreams while Jonathan returns to the meadow and is shown a vision of his future. Rosa offers the badly injured Marcia a strip of human flesh which Marcia eats. Rosa finds she herself, cannot. Cyn has awakened and is guided by Steven along a road where humans have been crucified, to an end she is unaware of. Peter comes across a river, follows it to a bridge and ends up stumbling into Charlie and Davies front yard.
Satan sets on his throne in Hell, wondering what events have been placed in motion, yet pleased in his domination over humanity in that he knows Heaven will not allow that domination to continue, forcing the final confrontation. Steven too, hidden far from Hell’s demons and Heaven’s angels, gloats as well.
Marcia awakes in a clean bed, fresh linen with no idea how she got there. Rosa has been possessed by Gol, the elder, to search out Jonathan in human form. Jonathan, understanding his own future decides to leave Elizabeth and Michael, alone in the cave.
The novel ends with a narrative of humans who had banded together despite their differences and of humanities great armies lying devastated across the plains to set the stage for the next novel, ‘Humanity Found’.
If you like short stories, check out my Amazon Kindle Authors page. You can’t go wrong for 99 cents.
or ‘I told you so!’
or ‘I f*cking told you So’.
This page to a friend.
Read the first 50 pages free, right here.
Social Commentary and Satire, the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere.
rspaxton.com will be transitioning to www.robpaxton.me over the next few months.