“I’M CALLING A FAMILY meeting immediately. I want your brothers before me within the next five minutes.” God commanded.
“All of them?”
“Yes, all of them.”
“You heard me.”
“As you command, Father.” The Archangel Michael bowed and signaled to blow the trumpet to call forth all the angels of the heavens. Within seconds, the golden throne room filled with the celestial beings and each took his seat according to his place as designated by the Creator.
The Almighty glanced around the room and frowned. “I thought I made myself clear that all my sons were to be summoned. Where’s Lucifer?”
“Back here, Dad.” A disinterested voice with a slight, unrecognizable accent came from the back of the room accompanied by a waving hand. “I hope you know that I was in the middle of enjoying a very warm welcome by four lovely humans when I was so rudely interrupted by Mikey tooting his own horn.”
“Put a plug in it, Brother,” Michael snapped. “How dare you appear here in that hideous human body? Show Father some respect.”
“I rather like this body and so did those four beautiful women that I was playing with. You should thank me that I took a moment to put clothes back on and spare you the jealousy of knowing that you lack the vital accouterments of pleasure. Regarding your suggestion about a plug, I assure you that had I not been disturbed; I would have had the chance to put that plug into one of several interesting places. I was rather looking forward to it, but you spoiled my fun. Like usual.”
“I don’t have time for your bickering today, boys. There’s an important assignment that will require the skill of the strongest, wisest, most intelligent and resourceful among you. It will also necessitate the one who commands the greatest patience,” God said as He sat on the throne and looked across the room at his powerful offspring.
“I volunteer. As the eldest, I will assume any responsibility that You require of me,” Michael proclaimed as he quickly stood, his golden armor glittering in the Light of the Almighty. He was joined by all the others—except, of course, for Lucifer.
“Stupid fools,” the handsome devil said, kicking his feet up on a chair and cradling the back of his head with his hands. “No one with half a brain would volunteer for anything without knowing what was being asked of him. What type of mischief do you have hidden up the sleeve of your robe, Dad? A little war in the Middle East or perhaps the sudden death of bad saxophone players? I’ve got a whole concert hall of deaf sinners just waiting for Kenny G’s arrival in hell.”
“I like Kenny G,” Michael grumbled.
“There! I rest my case!”
“Lucifer…” God said warningly. The devil ignored him and continued his mockery of the family meeting.
“I wouldn’t object if you decided to destroy the harp. I really do loathe that instrument. When you gave me the gift of music, I certainly didn’t expect that you’d want me to play that hideous thing. Singing to it is impossible. I sound like a lamb being chomped on by one of your lions. I do approve of the piano, though. It’s much more sensual and seductive, and women love watching my fingers tickle the ivory. It gives them ideas of what else can be tickled.”
“Watch yourself, little brother! You are wasting our time with your endless chatter,” Michael growled, drawing his sword.
Lucifer remained where he was, lounging quite comfortably and sporting a grin. “Oh, put your toy away. We both know that big ol’ sword is an overcompensation of what you don’t have to play with. I also think you should try chattering now and then. It could help you develop a vocabulary that was a trifle more eloquent than that of a caveman’s—or a politician. Take your pick.”
“Father, I would be honored to take this assignment. If not me, then please choose any of my brothers, as each is just as worthy. Except for that one.” He pointed to Lucifer. “He was condemned to hell because of his pride, arrogance, and irresponsibility. I don’t even understand the purpose of inviting him here.”
Lucifer laughed, his handsome face displaying a set of charming dimples. “I believe one of your requirements was patience, wasn’t it, Dad? I think that just ruled out old Mikey, here. Maybe Ying and Yang would like this assignment and earn themselves some brownie points. They don’t get much in the way of kudos nowadays. Doctors get more praise than Raphael’s gift of healing and, well everyone knows that Azrael, as the grim reaper, isn’t well loved. Incidentally, Michael,” the devil said, his eyes reddening as he glared into the pale blue orbs of the massive Archangel, “I wasn’t condemned to hell. I was sent there for several reasons. The main one was because none of you had the balls to dish out appropriate punishments without puking your guts out. The fact that I was the only one around this place who knew how to have a good time and it pissed off you ass-wipes was just a bonus. That being said, if you don’t need me, Dad, just say the word so I can get back to my playthings and that delicious little butt plug.”
God tried to disguise a smirk. Lucifer’s sass and the way he challenged his older brother was something that typically amused him, and this incident was no different. “I must say, son, I am impressed with your attitude and self-restraint today. In fact, I’m so impressed that I’m seriously considering giving you this assignment.”
“Father!” Michael shouted. “Lucifer is irresponsible, selfish, and has no respect for You or Your kingdom. He’s called the devil for a reason.”
“Yeah, Dad, listen to him!” Lucifer chimed in, sitting up. “All that’s true. Don’t forget that I’m also a hedonist, narcissistic, the prince of debauchery, the tempter of sin and the life of the party. Come to think of it; maybe we should try one of those plugs on you, Brother, dearest. It might loosen you up a bit. For Heaven’s sake, you might even enjoy it. Thanks for the offer, Dad, but no thanks. I’m not interested.”
The other angels looked at each other, accustomed to the sibling rivalry between the two brothers. Like their Father, they usually found it comical and would join in against Lucifer, but there was something in the air that cautioned them to remain silent. The Almighty cleared his throat.
“Michael, Lucifer doesn’t deny any of these characteristics that you lay at his feet and even adds more to his resume of sinful qualities. Do you believe that because of them, you are more qualified to take this position?”
“Absolutely. I don’t doubt that I will not only excel, but You will be beyond pleased with my performance.”
“You still don’t know which one of your chains Dad is pulling, you wanker,” Lucifer snorted. “Oh, sorry! I keep forgetting that you have nothing down there to play with. Making all these boys without a dick was really a cruel joke, Dad. They might have developed a sense of humor if they knew what they were missing.”
“I don’t question Father’s orders. I would just do whatever was required of me.”
“Minions,” Lucifer grunted. “What will it take before you see that Dad’s schemes always end up with one of you getting caught between Fire and Brimstone and a unicorn shitting cupcakes?”
“That’s enough, boys. Let’s get back to business. I’m glad to hear you say that you’re willing to do whatever I ask without question, Michael. I’m sure all of you are aware that Heaven’s been experiencing a little bit of chaos lately,” God said, crossing his legs and leaning back on the wide, golden throne. “The golden pillars have been removed from the places of worship and stacked into teepees, banquets have erupted into food fights among the souls, graffiti was left on the city’s walls, and St. Peter’s robe was dyed bright pink. I still hear about that incident, and it’s been over a week.”
“We figured that Lucifer had found a way to get up here to cause his typical amount of trouble,” Azrael commented.
“And yet another fool. Dad took my wings, remember? I can’t go anywhere unless His High and Mightiness summons me. Even then, I’m restricted to this lovely, and incredibly boring room. You really should think of doing something to spruce up this place. The color of gold gets rather tedious after a millennium or two.”
“Enough of your back talk, Lucifer,” God scolded. He turned to Azrael. “However, he is correct. Your brother has not been the source of the problems we’ve been having.” He paused and took in a mighty breath. “I have a confession I need to share with you.”
“Want me to give St. Peter a call, Dad? This could be one for the books!”
“Sit your butt down. This situation involves you, and you know it.”
“I was afraid of that. You’re finally going to tell them, aren’t you?” Lucifer sighed, returning to the lounging position in his chair.
“What’s he talking about, Father? How could he know something that the rest of us don’t?” Michael demanded, glaring at the smirking devil.
“I bet that you are going to shit bricks as you discover you weren’t privy to the knowledge that Daddy-dearest has been a very naughty boy. Don’t look so shocked, big brother. It’s my job to know about all the mischief in the world, including what goes on in Heaven and Hell. Go on, Dad. Tell your boys what you’ve been up to. It’s not as exciting as playing with butt plugs, but it has some entertainment value.”
“Lucifer, please! There is no reason to make this any harder for me than it is.”
God sighed. “Everyone’s been told that on the seventh day of creation, I rested. Well, it’s not exactly true.”
“That’s an understatement,” the devil chuckled.
“The truth is that I celebrated…”
“With a lot of sacramental wine,” Lucifer added.
“You’re not helping me here, son.” God frowned.
“I rarely do. That’s why my reputation up here sucks.”
“Nevertheless, what Lucifer says is true. I celebrated on the seventh day and in the process, well…” He took in another deep breath. “Aurora!”
All heads turned to watch a beautiful young woman with curly red hair glide into the throne room. She paused to give Lucifer a ‘high five’ and then sauntered up to God.
“You called me, Father?”
The only noise in the room was Lucifer’s chortling at the stunned silence.
“Father? Did you produce a female angel? How?” Michael choked.
“I wasn’t exactly in control of all my senses. I didn’t just create a female angel; I created a female Archangel who is more powerful than all of you put together and perfectly made in My image. She is not only gifted with all of your abilities, but she can influence any being with a simple smile.”
“Like Lucifer can urge the truth out of any human?” Michael stuttered, looking around the room at his brothers. Fear filled each face.
God pulled the beautiful creature on his lap and stroked her hair. “Sadly, yes. I also created her without a conscience, or an inherent sense of right and wrong, so, therefore, she’s not limited by the burden of emotion. The only one who has had any time with her has been Lucifer because the little imp decided to take a couple of trips to hell to visit her favorite brother.”
“In all fairness, I’m the only brother that she was aware of. I’ll also add that the brat made hell, well, hell,” Lucifer commented. “The demons were begging me to send her back from whence she had come after she decided to add bubbles to the pits of fire.”
“They were pretty,” Aurora said with a sweet smile. “You also laughed when you saw it.”
“Yes, but it defeated the purpose of torturing the wicked. I still don’t understand why you would hand out sunglasses to the damned.” Lucifer shook his head as the other angels whispered among themselves.
“The glare bothered my eyes so I figured it would bother theirs, too.”
“Now you understand the problems that we’ve been experiencing up here. Aurora has been experimenting with her powers and apparently responds to others based on her own needs and preferences. Unfortunately, she’s also been tutored in mischief by the crown prince of trouble.”
“Aw, thanks, Dad! It’s been a long time since you’ve complimented me.”
A groan echoed through the room.
God continued. “I need one of you to take Aurora as your ward and teach her how to behave properly. I don’t have the time to devote to turning this precious little devil into a perfect little angel. Now that you know what I ‘have hidden up the sleeve of my robe,’ which of you wishes to take the responsibility of being her guardian and teaching her some manners?”
This time, there were no volunteers. God shook his head and kissed the side of his beautiful daughter’s head. “It seems that all your big brothers aren’t interested in spending time with you, sweetheart. I’m sorry.”
“Luci likes having me around even though he grumbles about it. Let me go with him. Please? He and I will have so much fun together,” she asked, twirling her finger in his beard. Her golden eyes twinkled in the glow of His presence.
“No, no, no,” Lucifer said, standing up and marching towards the throne. “I am not going to be a babysitter to a spoiled, little brat. I already told you that she turned hell upside down and the demons are still trying to put things back in place. Do you want to talk about incessant whining? The torturers of sinners are torturing me with their never-ending complaints.”
Aurora slipped off her father’s lap and stood before the angelic assembly. She opened her wings and rays of glistening, iridescent light radiated from them. One by one, the angels instinctively fell to the floor on their knees, awestruck by her beauty and power, but they clearly weren’t the ones who she was interested in controlling.
“You can’t refuse me, Luci. I want to go with you.”
“When hell freezes over!”
“I can arrange that, my boy. However, hell is no place for an angel, even a little one that doesn’t know how to follow the rules,” God said. “You may keep her on earth with you, Son. She can stay with you at your nightclub and learn what she needs to know with the help of you and your human friends.”
“I said no! As for being unable to refuse you, little sister, don’t forget that since I have the same gift, you can’t use it against me.” He flicked her nose. “And don’t call me Luci. Dad, you need to think twice about this. I’m a terrible influence; the absolute worse in existence. What kind of role model would I be? Besides, hasn’t sending me to hell, assigning me the position of the Punisher, and taking my wings been enough?”
“Do this for me, and I’ll consider giving you back your wings,” God bribed.
“Father! You can’t bargain with him! He’s evil!”
“That’s stepping over the line, Mikey. Enjoying various uses of hand-cuffs, dildos, and other such decadent instruments doesn’t make me a bad sort. Besides, look at my face. It’s irresistible.” He flashed a dimpled grin.
The Archangel snorted. “If he’s given his wings, he will have access to come back here and cause problems all over again. We can’t allow that to happen. Please reconsider, Father.”
“Last time I checked, I was in charge here. That means that I have the authority to determine what will and will not happen. I also don’t hear you volunteering for the assignment.” God reminded his eldest.
“There’s a reason for that, Father. I have no idea how to raise a child, let alone one that can manipulate as this wicked little creature can.”
“Wicked? Why would he call me that? He doesn’t even know me and isn’t even trying to be nice. I’m starting not to like him.”
God raised his eyebrow. “No, he isn’t nice at all, and it’s interesting that you are experiencing feelings based on what he’s saying about you. That proves that you can be taught.”
“What about the things that Lucifer’s said?” The Archangel’s face turned bright red.
“Luci has taken the time to know me and has taught me things. He’s even played along. His judgments of me are based on truth, not assumptions.”
“How can she be aware of the truth and yet still sin, Father? None of this makes sense.”
“I’ll answer that,” Lucifer offered. “Truth is based on the perception of the one seeing it. She raised a ruckus in hell and knew that what she did was, indeed, the truth. Therefore, talking about it doesn’t bother her. You, however, are judging her character based on your assumptions. That conflicts with the truth. You really should study up on the manual Dad put out a while back. I don’t agree with what a lot of the stuff He tossed in for reader’s entertainment, but there are a few tidbits you could walk away with.”
“I know His declarations to the letter, and none of them condone the behavior of this creature.”
“Knowing is not the same as perceiving and interpreting.” Lucifer stretched to his full height and coldly locked eyes with his brother. “Aurora is also our sister, not a creature. She’s here to be cared for and loved, not discarded. Dad apparently forgot to gift you with compassion for those different than you, and you use that prejudice to judge. Too bad He won’t send you to hell for a while. Maybe after a little suffering, you would learn a few things about how to treat people, particularly your family.”
“Father! You would allow him to reprimand me like this?” Michael was appalled.
“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” Lucifer chided. “See? You’re learning already.”
“Aurora, child? What would you like to do? We’ve talked about it. I can’t allow you to stay here until you’ve learned all that you need to know.”
“I would rather stay with the one who stands up and protects me. After seeing how my other brothers behave, I would feel safer and more loved under the care of the devil, himself.”
“That’s a very true, but shameful statement to the rest of you. Okay, this is how things are going to go. Lucifer? Aurora will be your ward. She will live with you on earth, and you will be responsible for teaching her the traits that she’s missing and help her understand and choose between good and evil. If she learns enough that she may return to me without concern for her burning down the Pearly Gates, then you shall have your wings.”
“But, Dad! I have a life down there that doesn’t include watching over a baby angel. She’s going to mess with my mojo. How do you suggest that I explain her presence? I don’t lie.”
“You’ll figure it out. Michael? Since you and the other Archangels are so concerned about Lucifer’s lack of qualifications, you may pick two of your brothers to assist you in the responsibility for keeping my little girl safe.”
“Safe? You said she was more powerful than the rest of us.” Michael argued.
“While she is on earth, I will limit her powers to be the same as Lucifer’s so that he can guide her. She will be treated as a human, but will not be permitted to be permanently injured or killed.”
“Will she still be able to influence us?”
“Not any more than Lucifer is able. It’s for the best, baby,” God said, opening his arms again to his daughter. “This will be a challenge for you, but I have faith that you will succeed.”
“As long as I get to stay with Luci, I’ll be content. I know that he’ll take good care of me.”
Lucifer banged his head against the wall as God continued his speech. “It is done. Aurora will be Lucifer’s responsibility. Michael and the two he selects will help Lucifer in any way he requests. You will not go against what rules or boundaries that he has set for her, nor will any of you lay either a hand or,” God looked directly at Michael, “a sword upon her. If she’s not returned to me unscathed, then all of you will feel my wrath and will wish that you were in Lucifer’s shoes. I find it pathetic that he is the only one I can trust with my daughter. All of you need some serious penance for your attitudes.”
“I’ll be more than happy to dish that out if you want. Hey, don’t look at me like that, gentlemen. This is all because Dad couldn’t keep it in his robes. Be pissed at Him,” Lucifer shrugged, leaning against the wall in defeat. “Are you saying that I have your leave to teach her anything I want?”
“Yes, as long as her lessons line up with the goal of bringing her back to me. Just remember that she’s your baby sister. If she doesn’t turn out to be heaven-worthy, she’ll be spending eternity with you and partying in your special nightclub. If getting your wings back isn’t an incentive, then perhaps having this sweet little devil of an angel as a shadow for the remainder of the time will be something to think about,” God said slyly.