Ben Van Dongen
Chad sat at a scarred counter, behind bulletproof glass. The pawn shop was empty and he was on the verge of beating his Joust high score, on his phone. His boss, Mr. T, was in the back office doing the day’s banking, and probably, he thought, some blow.
“Hard-on!” Mr. T’s yell was accompanied by a bang, crash, and swearing.
“I pity the fool who calls me Hard-on.” Chad ignored the continuing swearing that grew louder.
“Cut that shit out.”
Chad put one hand up, the other was furiously tapping his phone screen. “Don’t call me Hard-on and I won’t point out that you go by the name of an 80s icon.”
The owner of the pawn shop was perpetually sweaty. Thick black, sweaty, body hair poked through his t-shirt. Even his voice was greasy.
“Put that damn thing down. You responsible for that coin on my desk?” Mr. T swatted at Chad’s phone, but missed. Spit flew from his mouth and he pointed to his office.
Sad digital music played from the phone as the last ostrich-rider died.
“Come on T, I was going for the high score.”
“This is serious, little shit. The coin, on my desk.” Mr. T wiped his brow with a dirty handkerchief.
Chad pocketed his phone and swiveled to face his boss. “Yeah. Some super old, jacked-up, dude brought it in this morning.”
Mr. T coughed, looked from side to side, and furrowed his drenched brow. He was sweating more than usual. It helped spread his sour smell. “You fucking idiot. How-many-times-do-I-gotta-tell-you-not-to-take-merchandise-without-my-say!” He blew out, flapping his lips like horses do. “Get your ass back here.” He walked back to his office, leaving a trail of perspiration, like a slug’s.
Chad hopped off his stool and tip-toed behind his boss. He was used to the temper and verbal assaults, but they never ended with a trip to the office.
The pair squeezed through a pile of old cassette players that Mr. T swore were going to make a comeback, around a small collection of ancient, mysterious, artifacts that didn’t fit with anything else in the run-down pawn shop, and over the pile of tapes to go with the players. Chad bumped into a tower of ancient magazines, while trying to avoid the small brook his boss was leaving, and had to hold them up with one hand and restack them with the other.
“Where the fuck’d you go, Hard-on?”
“I’m coming. Shit, I mean I’m on my way.” He jumped the lake that was collecting at the low point, in front of the office door, and nearly tripped on an old, ketchup covered, burger wrapper. “What’s the big deal. It’s a cool lookin coin. He practically gave it to me. Shit, I mean, he didn’t want much for it.”
“The big deal, you fuckin dope, is that it isn’t a coin.” Mr. T did a line off his stained, dirty, wood desk – that was, ironically, an old teacher’s desk. He managed to get as much dust and cigarette ash as he did cocaine.
“You’re losing it T. This,” he picked it up, “is a coin. It is a round, flat, metal – thing, with a face, uh creepy face,” he turned it over and brought it close to his eyes, “on one side and, okay, a pentagram on the other. So it’s a pretty fucking creepy coin, but that’s what I call a coin.”
Mr. T came up for air. He wiped his nose, shook his head like a dog, and yelped. “It’s a marker, fucking jerk. That old asshole played you for the idiot you are. He-was-some-cursed-son-of-a-bitch-who-found-a-moron-to-take-a-demon’s-marker.” He leaned back in his chair and belched, then wiped the mess that leaked out of his mouth with the handkerchief.
“Yeah, alright, so it’s a messed up coin, and I shouldn’t have taken it without passing it by you. Lesson learned. Psycho.” Chad flipped the coin at his boss. He had never seen the old, fat, slimy man move so fast.
Mr. T used his lubrication to slid out of his chair and rolled away from the flying marker. “I-ain’t-taking-your-fuckin-curse-shithead.”
“What the hell T? You’re acting like a maniac.”
“Pick up that marker and get the fuck out of my shop. I ain’t workin with no cursed jackass.” He grabbed the chair to get to his feet, but slipped in his own sweat and fell. “Get out of here Hard-on. Go, shew.”
Chad turned and bent his knees, to jump the sweat-lake.
He aborted the jump, but the momentum caused him to slip on a pile of discarded burger-pickles and fall into a beanbag-chair, with no beans in it. “Ow, what the hell T.”
“Don’t use that word Hard-on. Take that fuckin marker with you.”
Chad got to his feet and flipped Mr. T the bird. “Fuck off T. You’re not my boss anymore.”
Mr. T pulled out a musket from behind the desk. “Pick up the marker an take it the fuck with you, fuckin jerk.”
“Where the hell did you get a musket? There is no way that thing works.”
The iron ball flew past Chad as the musket spat fire. He ducked, but it was long gone.
“I said, don’t use that word.” Mr. T was pouring powder into the musket, but it was his bag of cocaine, not gunpowder.
“Yeah, whatever.” Chad picked the marker up, off of his bosses permanently wet chair. “But I’m taking the bust of Charles Bronson as my severance.” He did not mention that he had taken the bust the day it came into the shop.
Mr. T grumbled and swore, but Chad jumped the puddle and was out the back door before he heard any of it.
The night was cool and the street was deserted. The area had a bad reputation, but all the bad people who lived there went to better neighbourhoods to do their bad stuff. Chad flipped the hood up on his hoodie and plugged his headphones into his phone.
He walked along the sidewalk, towards his apartment building, but decided to walk by the river. He wouldn’t have admitted it to Mr. T, but he was bummed he lost his job. His rent was coming up, and he usually spent all his money at stripclubs, the casino, and the pawn shop where he used to work. More than that, he would miss T’s pawn shop in general. It was a lightning rod for the city’s strange. People and things were drawn to it, the more twisted, the stronger the pull. Chad liked to watch it from the safety of the bulletproof glass. He stood at the periphery like tall reeds at the water’s edge, took what he wanted, and laughed at the rest.
He crossed under a bridge and walked down a grass slope to a path that ran next to the river. The path actually sat a metre or so above the river, but it was as close as anyone would want to get to the dirty, deep, and fast running body of water. Even in the cool autumn night, the river’s edge was usually populated with some people, either running, riding, or up to no good. Chad didn’t see anyone though.
The water lapped at the concrete wall. It was quiet, but Chad heard it. There was nothing else in the area to cover the sound. He came to a small park with a fake flying saucer in the middle of it. An ominous tunnel loomed behind it. In the daytime it would have probably seemed innocuous, but in the dark, with no one else around, it was eerie. Chad stopped at the park and sat on a swing. It was low so if he were to swing, his feet would drag, so he rocked, making patterns in the sand. The stuff worked into his boots, but he lolled, as if in a daze.
He stopped and moved his feet aside. His head tipped, like a dog trying to figure out who the good boy is. Unconsciously, his dragging boots made a pentagram in the sand pit, under the swings, at the playground, by the river, near the tunnel. The coin fell out of his pocket and landed in the centre of the mark. The ground split, and fell away, exposing a red chasm that spit fire at it’s edges. Chad would have been swallowed by it, but the frame of the swings was wider than the pit. He sat, suspended above it, gripping the chains of the swing.
“Ahhhhh! What the fuck?”
The river bubbled and glowed red. The waves jumped over the barrier and steamed in the cool, dark, night. a huge, red, leathery, claw thrust out of the river, followed by another. Wings rose from behind them and reached three meters high. A pointed skeletal head broke the water and the arms dropped. The creature leapt up, spraying the red, slick, water and landed at the edge of the pit. It stood at full height, several metres above the swing set, steam bursting into fire, and screamed.
Heat buffeted Chad and the swing rocked.
The fire went out and the demon looked down at the pit, then up at Chad, dangling “What the fuck.”
The words made Chad’s eyes roll back, he held his head to keep it from splitting apart. He made a noise and a line of drool slipped out of the corner of his mouth.
The pit closed and he fell off the swing, onto the marker. It was hot and made a charred circle on the back of his shirt. “Ow, shit.” Chad rolled, sat up, and tried to pat the soldering spot on his back that he couldn’t reach.
“You should try doing some yoga.” The demon was now only a few feet taller than Chad, about the size of a basketball player.
At the reduced size, the demon’s voice merely caused Chad to wince and clench his teeth. “Don’t eat me man.” He cowered in a ball, folding his arms over his head.
“If I wanted to, that wouldn’t stop me.” The demon kicked a tire swing, lighting it on fire and sending it swinging violently on its chain. “How did I miss getting this pussy’s soul?”
“Hey.” Chad peaked under his armpit.
“You can get up. I can’t hurt you — now.”
Chad slowly relaxed until he was sitting on the sand at the edge of the swing set. He spun in place to face the creature. Looking at it directly caused him to cry hot tears that left red marks down his face. He vomited in his mouth, but swallowed it.
“It gets better.” The demon pulled a red and black lawn chair out of nothing and sat in it. “So, I’m The God Burner. I was going to take your soul, because you have my marker and you’re cursed, but I missed.” It kicked sand that burst into flames then landed as molten glass next to Chad.
A speck hit his arm and he yelped, brushing the solidifying substance away. “Shit. I’m Hard-on, fuck, I mean Chad.”
“Too late, you said Hard-on.” The demon chucked.
Chad was amazed to see that it actually looked slightly less horrifiyng in that moment. “So, uh. Go away?”
The laugh got more raucous and it bent the air around it, either from heat or some unnatural force. “Good one. No. Since I failed to take your soul, I’m stuck with you until I can find a replacement soul. You get a get-out-of-jail-free card. You stay cursed though.”
“You have to take someone’s soul, then you’ll leave?”
The demon nodded.
“Easy, take my boss. Asshole fired me today.” Chad nodded towards the direction of the pawn shop.
“Not that easy, Hard-on. It has to be done willingly now. I doubt anyone would give up their eternal soul for a shit stain like you. ”
Chad sunk. It was bad enough his friends and family, and everyone who knew him, called him Hard-on. A terrifying demon using the name seemed even less cool. He could not think of a single person who would spit on him if he were on fire, let alone go to hell for him.
“So what? God-Burn-dumb.”
The demon stood and grew again, seething.
“Sorry, sorry!” Chad cowered.
“You’re lucky I can’t kill you.”
“Wait, you can’t?” Chad stood up. “Bitch!”
The demon grabbed him and grew to his full height. The pit opened where it had been. The hands around Chad squeezed and burned. The demon held him upside down over the hell chasm, and shook. Some change and his phone jostled free and dropped into the fiery pit.
“Ah, come on.” Chad reached for his phone as it fell, but missed. “Damn it!”
The pit closed and the demon dropped Chad. He landed on his back and his breath was forced out in a huff.
“High-score-shit,” Chad said between choked breaths. He held his chest.
“I can do so much worse.” The demon shrank again. “So, where do you sleep?”
Chad meeped and pointed down the river. The demon helped him up and they walked back under the bridge. Chad’s apartment was in the basement of a house that most people thought was abandoned. No one lived on the main floor, but Chad could’t afford the rent, so he stayed in the basement with the water damage, and a rat he called Herman.
The demon had to shrink again to get down the stairs. He touched as little as possible and reluctantly sat on Chad’s bed when he gestured to it. “You would have been better off in hell.”
“What am I supposed to call you?” Chad rushed around the small space, moving piles of filth from one place to another, not really cleaning anything.
“I am The God Burner.” The demon grew and sparked, as if he were going to burst into flames, but his head hit the ceiling and he stopped.
Chad had backed up and fell into a mound of filthy, mouldy, clothes. A scraggly rat with half a tail and most of its fur missing, scurried from the pile.
The demon shrieked and jumped onto the bed. He lashed a finger at the scampering rat. A spot along the wall, where the rat ran, caught fire.
“Hey!” Chad dashed over and poured a can of flat beer on the spot. “Watch it. That was Herman.”
“You named your pests?”
“He’s my pet, sort of.”
The demon made a disgusted expression, drawing out his long, bony face even further.
“Look, I’m tired. I had a long day, getting fired, almost losing my soul, and meeting a demon. I’m going to bed.” Chad walked to the end of the bed and flopped. He felt the bed shift and the demon lie down. “Goodnight.”
By Christian Laforet
–Five Years Later–
“Honey, I’m home.” Chad walked through the front door of his raised ranch house. A gust of snow followed him in, sending a shiver down the back of his neck.
“Where were you?” Sarah, Chad’s wife, came out of the kitchen. “I thought you’d died in a car crash or something.”
Chad knotted his eyebrows. “You know my boss, he always wants the reports on his desk before the end of the day. If you were really that concerned, you could have just called me.”
Sarah rolled her eyes and turned back towards the kitchen. “Well, dinner’s ready. It’s probably cold, but I guess we can microwave it.”
Chad chased behind her while trying to pull off his jacket, drop his briefcase and kick off his shoes. “Sarah, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you worry.” He knew his apology was in vain. If there was one thing he could always count on with Sarah, it was that once she was in a bad mood, nothing could change it.
She had been right, dinner had gone cold. Chad refused to heat it up though, instead insisting to his wife that it was just how he liked it.
After he finished the dishes, Chad headed for the garage to grab a beer.
The garage was cluttered. Boxes from when he and Sarah had moved in two years earlier still sat against the walls. She was always telling him that he needed to clean the space so that they could actually park their car inside it, but he seemed to never get around to it.
“Hey Charlie,” Chad said as he slapped the bronzed Charles Bronson bust on the shoulder. He made his way to the old fridge and gave the handle a yank (it always stuck). He reeled back in surprise when he saw that the fridge was empty.
“God Burner!” He stalked over to the pulldown ladder which led to the attic above the garage. He jumped to reach the string but it was too far above him.
“What’s up, homie?” The demon came walking into the garage from within the house. A beer hat sat on his head, the last two beers sitting snuggly in the holders on either side.
Stunned, Chad stormed past the hellish being, stuck his head into the house, looked both ways, and then gently closed the door.
“Are you fucking nuts? You know you’re not supposed to go into the house.” Spittle flew from Chad’s lips.
The demon took a long pull from the thick straw leading to the beer cans. “Relax big guy, Sasha’s in the shower, she didn’t see me.”
“That’s not the point,” Chad began before stopping abruptly. “Wait, did you just say ‘Sasha’?”
“Uh, yeah, you’re wife? I’m telling you, Hard-On, they’re working you too much at wherever the fuck it is you work.”
Chad shook his head. “Are you fucking kidding? Her name’s Sarah. Shit, GB, you’ve lived in our fucking attic since we moved in here. How do you not know her name?”
“Huh…are you sure her name’s not Sasha?”
“Yes, I’m fucking sure.” Chad grunted as he yanked one of the beers from GB’s hat. “And speaking of my wife, I have to get back in there. It’s date night.”
GB cocked an eyebrow. “What the fuck is a ‘date night’?”
A slick smile split Chad’s face. “You know, ‘date night’.” The smile vanished at the sight of the confusion on the demon’s face. “Sex, man! It’s sex night.”
“You guys have a night scheduled for that?”
“Yep. The second Friday of every month.” Chad humped the air in front of him. “Sarah’s not going to be able to walk tomorrow, if you catch my drift.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re telling me, that the thing you guys do on the second Friday of every month is sex?” GB bent over as a huge belly laugh escaped him.
“Yeah…why did you say that like you’ve seen us do it?” Chad asked hesitantly.
GB wiped an errant tear from his left eye. “I always watch you guys.”
“What? How? You’re a huge fucking demon. How in the fuck could you possible sneak up on us while we’re having sex?”
GB smiled as he pointed a taloned finger towards the trap door which lead to the attic. “I take it you didn’t know there is a panel in your closet that accesses the attic, did you? I sit in your closet and watch the show.”
Chad was furious, he slammed the nearly empty beer can to the garage floor. “You fucking pervert! What, you just sit there and watch us have sex?”
“Calm down, Hard-On. Besides, what you guys do could barely be called sex. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but usually the girl moves around and makes some noise when riding the bologna pony. Sasha just lays there like a dead fish.”
“Her name is Sarah!”
GB scooped up the beer can before the remaining liquid could dribble out. “Listen, man, I don’t care about your sad sex life, I just feel like it’s my duty to inform you that I’ve seen two dead animals on the road have hotter sex than you and your wife.”
“Fuck you, GB!”
The demon shrugged his shoulders. “It would probably be better than that can of cold tuna you got waiting inside.”
“You know what? I’ve got a sexy lady waiting for me, I don’t got time for your bullshit.” Chad brushed past the demon.
“Wait,” GB grabbed the human. “I think it’s time I moved on. I used to like making your life hell, but ever since you got married, well shit, I can’t compete with your wife. I need to find another loser to curse.”
Chad turned to look at GB. “C’mon, man, we’ve been over this so many times already. Nobody will take that damn coin…we’re stuck together.”
GB chewed his bottom lip as he spoke. “Yeah, well I made some calls.”
Chad shook his head. “You made some calls? What’s that mean? You’re from Hell!”
“Yeah, your phone bill is gonna be a big one. But that’s neither-here-nor-there, the important thing is, I found a way out of this. It turns out that we can have the curse canceled if we do something for the high-ups in Hell.”
“Okay…” Chad leaned on the Bronson bust as he listened.
“I’ve told you before how Hell harvests souls to fill their army for the eventual second war with Heaven, right?” Chad nodded. “Well, as you’d imagine, the more evil the soul, the more sought after by Hell it is,” GB continued, “and there is one soul that is wanted above all others.”
“Oh my god, is it Mel Gibson?” Chad blurted.
“No dummy,” GB flicked Chad’s forehead. “This guy is even worse, if you can believe that.”
“Okay, so what are we supposed to do?” Chad rubbed the spot on his head gingerly.
A smile spread across GB’s face. “That’s what I love about you, Hard-On, it never takes much to persuade you. All we have to do is find this guy, touch him with the coin, and bang, curse is over we go our separate ways.”
“Sounds good to me, let’s do it.” Chad walked over to a calendar of dogs in yoga positions which hung next to the garage door. “Where are we going and when do we leave?”
“Quebec City and we leave tonight.”
Chad shook his head. “Tonight? You’re crazy, I can’t leave tonight. And did you say Quebec City? Can you speak French, because I sure as shit can’t!”
“Sorry, Hard-On, but the offer is time sensitive. This guy we’re looking for only comes out of hiding a few days a year. We go now or it’s another year of watching you and Sasha have the most unappealing sex ever.”
Chad shook his head. “But…what am I supposed to tell Sasha—fuck, Sarah, you got me doing it now!”
GB slapped Chad on the shoulder. “Don’t worry about her, Hard-On, I left her a note.”
Vatican City, Rome
Cardinal Molson ran down the marble-tiled hallway. Lightning flashed outside sending stain-glassed mosaics across his path. His heart demanded that he slow down, but he had been summoned by the most holy and that meant that haste was warranted. Gasping for breath, he approached the intricately carved door at the end of the hall. Two Pontifical Swiss Guards stood in their flamboyant attire before the entrance.
One of the guards directed the business end of his staff towards the Cardinal. “This room is off limits.”
Cardinal Molson pushed the weapon to the side. “Deus mingentem inimicorum nostrorum.” The words had the desired effect as both of the garish guards moved aside.
As he entered the room, Cardinal Molson reflected on the fact that only a select few people in the entire world knew of this room’s existence. Fewer still of who resided within it.
The woman sat in an antique chair—passed down for nearly two thousand years—and smoked a thin cigarette. The Cardinal dropped to his knees before her and kissed the ring on her finger when she presented it to him. The woman was the most important person in the entire Catholic Church.
People think that St. Peter was the first pope, but the truth was, Mary Magdalene was the real first pope. In fact, every pope since then has been nothing more than a puppet for the true female pope controlling things from behind the scenes.
“Popess Neveah, I am yours to command.”
The woman looked down at the man before allowing him to rise. “Cardinal Molson, you’ve been a true servant of the church ever since you quashed the Rainbow Rebellion of San Francisco in nineteen ninety-eight.”
“Thank you your Holimiss.” The Cardinal still struggled to catch his breath.
“Please, Cardinal, take a drink.” The Popess motioned towards a pitcher of water on a nearby table. “I bet you’re wondering why I’ve summoned you.”
Molson coughed as he hurried to swallow the water in his mouth. “I am curious.”
The Popess smiled. “The Church has a very important mission for you.”
The woman snapped her finger. Across the room, a door which had been cleverly designed to match the wall on both sides, swung open. A trio of Swiss Guard marched out dragging a man with a bag on his head behind them.
Cardinal Molson crinkled his nose. The man was sweating profusely. The shirt he wore was nearly transparent thanks to the greasy excretion.
“You dumb fucks is gonna be sorry!” The bagged man yelled.
Popess Neveah flicked her cigarette, a clump of ash tumbled to the floor. “Cardinal Molson, meet Mr. T.”
At saying his name, one of the guards yanked the bag from his head.
“What da fuck kinda treatment is this?” Mr. T shouted. “I got rights!”
“You have no rights in here, sir.” The Popess circled the man as she talked. “Now why don’t you tell the Cardinal exactly what you told me?”
Mr. T looked at the three guards surrounding him and decided that it would be in his best interest to comply. “Alright,” he cleared his throat, “well, about five years ago I used to own a pawn shop in southern Ontario. This pawn shop was the best! Whatever you needed, I had it. So anyways, I had this little dick-pimple named Hard-On that was working for me.”
Mr. T recounted the events which transpired the night he fired Hard-On. He said he followed him to the river and was going to demand that Hard-On return the bronze Charles Bronson bust he’d stolen, when all of a sudden the earth opened up and a demon emerged. Mr. T had hid in the bushes. The whole thing, along with the twelve tacos he’s eaten well tailing his ex-employee had caused him to blackout. In the morning he had convinced himself it was all a dream. Only recently when he realized that he might be able to make some money off the story, had he brought it to the church.
“I’m sorry, your Holimiss,” the Cardinal turned to the Popess after Mr. T finished his story, “but why am I here again?”
With another flick of her cigarette, the Popess smiled and said, “I want you to take Mr. T and go to southern Ontario, find this Hard-On and his pet demon and destroy them.”
“But, but, I’m the last person that should be dealing with it…I’m nearly eighty years old!” The Cardinal stuttered.
The woman laughed. “Don’t sell yourself short, Cardinal, you are the perfect man for the job. Like I said earlier, your devotion to the cause in unquestionable. And besides that, you’ll have a special advantage.” She let her eyes drift towards the pitcher of water as she spoke.
A strange sensation began swirling around the Cardinal’s stomach. “What? What did you give me?”
“Angel semen,” she said bluntly. “For the next week or so, you’ll possess extraordinary powers. Now enough talk. Find that demon.” The Popess dismissed the Cardinal with a flick of her wrist.
Chad sat behind the wheel of his car. GB, wrapped in a blanket to hide his appearance from passing motorists, fiddled with the radio in the passenger seat.
“So, you never told me who this guy that we’re supposed to find is,” Chad said as he merged onto to 401 heading east. The plan was to make it to Cornwall, near the Ontario, Quebec border, get a hotel room and then continue on towards Quebec City in the morning.
“The name he goes by now is something like Bortam…Bonhiem…Bonnemy? Shit, I forget.” GB laughed.
“C’mon, man, how are we supposed to find this guy if you can’t even remember his name?” Chad let out a frustrated sigh.
The demon began fumbling with something underneath the blanket “Relax, ass. I got this picture I found online.” He revealed a crumbled scrap of paper and handed it to Chad.
Chad nearly lost control of the car when he looked at the image. “Holy fucking shit, GB! That’s Bonhomme de neige!”
“Oh great, you know him, this should be easy then.”
By Edele Winnie
The long flight to Quebec City was torturous. Cardinal Molson, nearly eighty years old and fortified by a glass of angel semen in water, was a constant attraction on the aircraft. Women hovered around him like flies on dead meat. Three of the male flight attendants offered to give him a tour of the private areas of the aircraft- or maybe it was their private areas in the aircraft? It required a lot of forgiving, but Molson was up to it. It also helped distract him from his travelling companion. They were flying first class so Mr. T was already over-filled on complimentary beer and little packages of crackers. He was sweating profusely- the skanky smell of beer cold filtered through a human body with a bushy layer of greasy black body hair. The cardinal was named Molson but Mr. T was Molson inside and out. He was so drunk he was eating the crackers without taking the plastic wrappers off.
When he heard the commotion near the back of the plane the cardinal suspected the flight attendants were scrapping over him. Angel semen seemed to be some kind of crazy aphrodisiac. But this time he was wrong.
“In the name of Allah!” a bearded man shouted. “American Imperialists and crusaders will pay the price!” He had some kind of button thing in his hand, with his thumb poised ready to press.
People were screaming and swooning. Cardinal Molson heard some praying to a Christian God and that snapped him out of his reverie. He raised his right hand- he wasn’t sure why at the time- and a bolt of white light came out and zoomed towards the bomber. And then the light was gone and so was the man. People blinked and rubbed at their eyes. The trouble maker had vanished. Cardinal Molson wiped the tingly palm of his hand on his black pant leg. Angel semen indeed.
Far below a man with a beard hit the metal roof of a snowy barn and slid off, bones smashed after a freefall from thirteen thousand feet. Fourteen year old farm girl Ashley Bloomfield looked up just in time to be crushed by the falling pulverized body, killing her instantly. One virgin, anyway.
Chad fell asleep at the wheel and the car drifted into the other lane. Angry blaring horns slapped him awake, yet again. God Burner the demon laughed so hard scalding red tears splashed out from his eyes. One landed on the car’s dash and sizzled as it burnt a whole in the plastic.
“I told you we needed two beds!” Chad whined.
They’d spent the night in a cheap hotel in Cornwall, sharing a double mattress. GB had slept fine but Chad had been too hot all night long- no wonder sleeping next to a smoking demon. And then around 4AM when Chad was finally slipping into dream land his demon buddy hot whispered “oh Sasha baby” and made Chad angry. GB had been laughing all morning about that. And Chad had been yawning uncontrollably ever since.
“Her name is Sarah!” Chad insisted for the upteenth time. “I don’t know why you insist on making fun of her.”
“Because she’s dead in bed?” The demon said mockingly. “Because a sock is more interested is sex than she is? Because she’d rather be porked by a cactus then your little dinky?” The demon continued mockingly. “Because-“
“Enough already!” Chad roared and swerved the car into the stones and snow at the side of the TransCanada highway at speed.
The vehicle twisted sideways, tires ploughing stones and it almost flipped over before it stopped. Chad slammed the door on his way out and nearly slipped on some ice as he marched over to the passenger seat and ripped the door open. He grabbed the demon’s hot shoulder and angrily tugged him out of the car. The demon stood up and stopped when he grew to nine feet and grinned down at Chad.
“I feed on this you know. You’re pathetic anger is like a greasy spring roll.” He laughed. “And I’m hungry for more!”
Chad backed off and screamed ‘fuck’ at a snow pile eleven times. Then he stalked off into the scrubby woods by the side of the road. He’d had enough. He was at the breaking point. It was always the same. He lost at everything he ever tried.
“Hard on! Hard on!” GB called into the woods. Considering that it might not be the best thing to be shouting at the side of the TransCanada highway when appearing as a demon, GB stepped into the tree line, leaving sizzling footprints in his wake. He didn’t have to make them sizzle, but he liked it.
The great horned demon found Chad sitting on a rock, but before he could torment even a little bit they heard the explosion.
“Christ that was close by!” Chad said.
“He’s not here.” GB answered. “And yes it was close by.”
They followed the demon’s sizzling step trail back to what was left of the car. The explosion had lifted the car up off the ground and smashed it down again and then transformed it into a blazing fireball, melting the snow all around.
One more piece of shit cake in my life, Chad thought.
“Cool.” Said GB.
Sarah- or Sasha Veselovsky waited until the clock in the kitchen hit 10AM before smashing it with a hammer. 10 AM was significant. It was the exact time her loser husband would be blown up when the car bomb went off. It was part one of her plan. Glass and bits of thin metal flew as she clocked the clock. It was the last time the clock would ever see- hammer time. She ripped the hands off and threw them onto the floor. The hammer pounded its way around the kitchen, zapping the microwave, cold snapping the fridge and blasting the oven. Stupid kitchen. Horrible house. She’d given two years of her existence to this fake cover life while carefully laying plans for her mission. Finally she poured cooking oil all over the floor and lit it on fire. There would be no evidence, just some ash to kick around.
As the flames licked at the grotesque wall paper she ran for her car. It was all she needed. In the trunk were a twenty pack of diapers, three hundred Snickers bars and an AK47 with RPG mods.
It was an incredible feeling to be free again after being chained to her loser husband for so long. The marriage had helped legitimize her and provided her with a cover. But now she felt like a young woman again, alive and free like before her training in Russia. She’d been chosen because she had incredible self control and an incredible ass. Putin himself had slapped it. She turned on the GPS and said it a loud Russian accent.
“Quebec City, mother fucker.”
As her tires squealed down the quiet, now smoke filled street she just had one nagging question. Why had her loser husband been going to Quebec City too?
Emile Berube yawned and rubbed his arm. He’d just injected something or other- couldn’t quite remember- he hadn’t really paid attention when he’d lifted it from his junkie friend Etienne. Poor Etienne would be breaking through the thin walls of his cheap apartment right about now, approaching madness without his fix. Emile smiled. What did it matter? All of us are doomed anyway.
His Bonhomme de Neige costume was sitting out on the couch, getting some air time after being choked in a box with moth balls for a year. Emile ditched his pants and unders and put on a pair of white boxers. It would not do for the great Bonhomme to have dark underwear. It was an annoying gig but he honestly didn’t mind it. So many women wanted pictures with Bonhomme and they just laughed when he pawed their breasts and tweaked their asses. It was a license to grope. Add in some alcohol and the winter Carnival was guaranteed to be a fun couple of days. Still Emile fretted over the transition. He didn’t work normally. He collected welfare under three different names and also got the baby bonus under two others. He didn’t need the Bonhomme job but it was worth handfuls.
The phone rang. He didn’t move towards it. The answering machine kicked in and the annoying voice of his aged mother pleaded a message. Emile didn’t pay attention. The old coot always wanted something. He just wanted her to die. He was certain she had some kind of insurance.
He took a stiff brush to the Bonhomme costume, to fluff it a bit and get the wrinkles out. It was not something he normally did, but today was different. Today he was bonhomming in front of the president of the United States. He should have gotten the costume dry-cleaned. If there were sniffer dogs they’d likely note the cocaine residue. Oh well, Emile thought and laughed out loud. Maybe he wouldn’t be seeing Obama Mama after all.
“Pretty good if I say so myself.” GB commented, ripping the well done meat from the bone with his pointed teeth. Then he crunched up the bone and swallowed it.
They were still in the snowy woods by the TransCanada Highway. Chad had freaked out when his car exploded- even though GB had warned him about using a higher octane gas. Chad thought someone was trying to kill him. GB had shot fire at a passing deer and voila, instant forest flambé. He’d also started a campfire and now they were sitting and snacking.
“You should eat Hard On.” The demon urged. “We have a long walk ahead of us and no time.”
They’d tried hitchhiking but no one would pick up a man and a demon. GB had pulled his robe over his head so it hid everything but no one would pick up a man and a jedi either.
“I want to call Sarah.” Chad whined. “I want to hear her voice.”
GB opened his mouth and did a perfect imitation of Sarah/Sasha. “Oh Chad, why don’t you take out the trash and clean the garage?”
Chad nodded sadly. Yup. That was his wife’s voice all right. He looked up at the demon sitting across the fire from him. A little bit of hell, Chad thought. And yet this stupid demon has stuck with me longer than anyone else. It was an odd realization.
“I can read your mind you know.” GB said quietly.
“Fuck you.” Chad answered.
“Fuck you too.”
Cardinal Molson was at the airport, waiting at the baggage-go-round. The old man was actually hovering a few inches off the ground. The angel semen was amazing stuff. Mr. T was sweating on a chair nearby, leaning on a garbage can. He’d been alternating swearing and puking for the last half hour. He was actually puking up crackers still in the plastic wrapper. That hurt coming up. He kept looking at the old priest for sympathy but there was none there. Old prick.
Finally luggage began to appear on the conveyer belt. Neat little suitcases slowly grumbled past. The Cardinal awaited an old leather valise that he’d had for years. When it appeared he hovered over to it, and then sank to the floor in disgust. Someone had slashed it up and defecated in it. Why would they do that? He was a Vatican emissary. They would have to stop somewhere so he could purchase some clean underwear. He turned to Mr. T to tell him to get up because they were leaving but the sweat machine of a man was vomiting into the garbage can again. Molson caught sight of some pointed ears in the vomity refuse receptacle- and then a little face peaked out. He should have known. A little imp demon. A quick glance around the baggage pick up area showed a dozen of the little trouble makers playing hide and peek. Likely it was one of them that had toilet tantrumed his valise. The cardinal lifted several inches off the floor again and raised his right hand. He unleashed heaven.
Great arcing zaps of bright energy smashed at the imps. They squealed and screamed when hit, like puppies in pain. The cardinal was surprised to hear himself laughing. Emergency sirens began to sound- they must have thought it was some kind of a terrorist attack.
Cardinal Molson motioned to Mr. T but the slimy man was no longer sitting. An errant ecclesiastical energy burst had taken off half his body and deep fried the rest. Mr. T was a smoking oozing puddle of ruin. The cardinal shrugged. He felt no remorse. He was discovering a new reality- in the bible God had sometimes smote, destroyed and purged. Molson understood it now because he was living it. He appreciated the practice too, because he knew he had a large demon to face. He just hoped the angel semen effect wouldn’t wear off before he found the creature.
The forest at night is full of sounds. Even snow falling from branches makes noise. Chad and GB had begun their trek, staying close to the highway but no one had offered them a ride. It had begun to snow again. When Chad could go no further they had retired into the trees. GB had coughed up a fire. Chad was cold and wet and exhausted. GB sat beside him to keep him warm. Faced with the toasty heat Chad had quickly fallen asleep and the great demon was left holding the puny human in his arms. Carefully, he laid Chad down and then curled up beside him, the snow melting around them due to the steady hot. For a few moments no one moved. Then Chad reached a tentative arm around the demon. GB reciprocated. They began dry humping at each other. The forest at night is full of sounds, sometimes, howling.
By Ben Van Dongen
Chad struggled to wake up. His dream, something about a hot Quebecois redhead with a Charles Bronson moustache, kept tugging him back to sleep. Yawning, his jaw cracked, and water slipped into his open mouth. The half of his face he wasn’t sleeping on was wet and cold. The sensation, along with a burning desire to take a piss, roused him.
Burning. The word repeated in his head. Burning. It was distasteful, making him frown and fidget. Burn. He smelled smoke, or char. Burner. The word made him sneer.
“Ah!” He jumped up, running in a circle, kicking up snow, screaming and clutching his bottom.
The grumbled, deep voice of the snoozing demon joined the yells. “Shut the fuck up Hard-On, I’m still fucking sleeping.” The words, accompanied by small fires, caught dry branches and grass in the patch on the ground, melted by the demons heat.
“My asshole is on fire! My asshole, it burns!”
“What did you expect to happen? Seduce a demon, get an ass full of demon seed.” A low chuckle grew to a roaring laugh, shaking God Burner, waking him fully and causing him to grow.
Chad found a pile of snow and dropped into it like a recliner. Steam surrounded him, but the pain lessened. “You did this to me!” He pointed at the demon.
“You asked for it lover boy.” GB caught a glimpse of Chad’s face and his laughing fit started all over again.
Rolling out of the puddle, Chad hopped and shimmied to another pile of snow. “You took advantage of me!”
“You look—” The demon wiped away molten tears through the laughing fit, flinging them at nearby woodland creatures. “You look like you got a full load in your diaper!”
“This isn’t funny. Think about what you did.”
GB shook off the laughter and shrunk down. “It really is. You should think about what you did champ. Think long,” he let out a snicker, “long and hard.”
Chad stood, a handful of dripping snow in his hand. He stuffed it down the back of his pants and trudged towards the highway.
Sasha reached to the back seat and grabbed another snickers. She ripped open the package with her teeth and consumed the chocolate bar in two bites, her cheeks puffed out with caramel and peanuts like a chipmunk before hibernation.
The cruise control was set to 150kph, her fuel gage showed she had less than a quarter tank of gas, and her supply of snickers was dangerously low.
The chocolate bar was the one capitalist vice she had acquired during her time undercover. Blue Jeans and cassette tapes didn’t register with her, but a real snickers bar, not the Russian Snickovia knockoff, made her weak in the knees. Every time she had to engage in carnal relations with her feeble, pathetic, disgusting cover husband, she would load up on the candy first, making her acting performance more realistic.
A distributer in Quebec had crates full, ready for her departure when her mission was complete. She had to fake permits, since Putin denied her request to bring them back with her, but the risk was worth it. Besides. She was going to be the agent who killed the Capitalist Pig Leader. She was owed the small indulgence.
Thinking about Chad made her skin crawl. Just having to be in the same room with him took all the mastery of her elite Soviet training. After dealing with him, she felt capable of handling any mission. Obama was going to be a cakewalk.
She grabbed another Snickers and crammed it into her mouth, barely taking the time to remove the wrapper. The smooth nougat and slightly salty peanuts relaxed her enough to use the diaper she was wearing, the third of the trip.
The fuel gage warning light came on at the same time, as if the bodily function was related. Passing a sign for a rest stop, she swerved, cutting off a transport truck and a mid sized sedan, and took the off ramp among a fanfare of angry horns.
Cardinal Molson was having a hard time keeping a low profile. He hid in a dressing room inside a small clothing shop, a pile of merchandise next to him on a bench and a clerk and customer pawing at the door.
He had made it to Quebec City without incident—other than the event at the airport with the demon imps and Mr. T and the commotion on the plane with the bomber. He was able to use the power of the Angel semen to make those problems go away though. The infatuation people felt for him made it easy to convince them to let the events slide. The problem was that everyone, no matter where he went, was clamouring to get close to him.
Husbands pushed wives aside to be near him. Children squirmed free from their parents to cling to him, the parents distracted with him in the first place. A fight broke out on a sidewalk when a police officer shoved a man out of the way to stand next to him. One poor man was so overcome he began fondling himself at the sight of the glowing Cardinal.
Molson cleared his throat as he tried on another pair of black pants. He would be lying if he didn’t admit he was flattered by the veneration, but he had a lot of souls to pray for when his task was over. Besides, why shouldn’t the people revere him? He was a high-ranking member of the Church, steadfast in his ideals and eloquent in speech. Too many sinful people had been led astray in the world.
Puffing out his chest, Molson looked at himself in the mirror. Perhaps it was his destiny to use his new power to change the minds of the non-believers. When his mission was over, he could simply take the remaining Angel semen. No one could stop him. There was enough there to ensure his Heavenly Blessing remain for years. He would be a good leader, a fair leader. That liberal young Pope was turning the institution to a mockery. Something had to be done.
But first he would have to take care of that pesky demon.
With a flex of his bicep, the power of the Angels collected in his hand, a visible light able to smite the wicked. God wanted him to do it. Destroy the demon and then take his place at the head of the Church. It was an easy task.
The pawing at the door had escalated to banging. The women on the other side wailed with agony at being so close to the Cardinal but forced to be separate.
Molson collected the clothing, pushed past them, and headed out the back door. Carnaval was starting and he had a demon to slay.
Emile eyed the group of young girls near the beaver tail stall. They were the exact type of target he looked for, maybe a little young, but he didn’t care. Getting’ some was gettin’ some.
He bounded over to them, the felt smile on the costume head mirroring the nasty grin he had snarled on his face. Waving, he stood in front of them and bounced back and forth in his best animated antics. Like lambs to the slaughter, they fell for it, posing around him for a selfie. He groped away, grabbing wherever he could and chuckled as they walked away, exclaiming to each other what had happened.
With his task complete he looked for a new group of girls to target. He had hours before his meet with the Prez, plenty of time to get his grope on. He wasn’t sure what it was he lifted from his buddy, but it was doing the trick. Except every once in a while he thought he was seeing things.
“I don’t want to talk about it!” Chad trudged through the snow with an awkward waddle, occasionally stuffing more down his pants. “I just want to get to Montreal and be done with you.”
GB walked a few steps behind, laughing and chewing on the bone of another forest critter he’d blown up. “Quebec.”
“Yeah, Montreal is in Quebec. That’s where they have the carnival.” Chad looked back, smiling with all the smugness he could muster.
“Carnaval is in Quebec City Hard On. Damn, no wonder Sasha didn’t respect you. You’re dumb as a stump.”
“Shut up. Her name is Sarah, and why do you keep using the past tense. She DOES respect me. I’m her husband.” Not looking where he was going, Chad tripped on a sapling and tumbled into the snow, the young tree smacking his ass on its back swing. “Fuck!”
The laughter became the roar that had taunted Chad for years. “Keep telling yourself that!”
Getting to his feet, Chad brushed snow off his coat. Through the trees, less than a kilometre away, he saw the brick wall of a building. “Finally.”
He ran, kicking up snow. GB grew and easily passed him, melting the snow so Chad had to splash through a stream, bits of flame catching on his coat.
GB was waiting for him in a smaller size when he finally got to the wall.
“What took you?” He grabbed his belly as he laughed.
Chad pushed past to the front of the building. They were at a rest stop with cars lined up at gas pumps and people lining up at a Tim’s.
Chad looked back at GB. “Great. Maybe we can get a ride here. Put on your cloak and stand back.”
He walked to the first car he saw, a baby blue Jaguar. It was the same kind of car his wife had. He loved the car, but was never allowed to drive it. More than once she made him sit in the back, just because. The memory, and knowledge that his walking curse could read his mind, made him angry. Waving, he said hello to the driver, who was watching the pump, her back to him.
“Leave me alone, I have no time for hand outs,” came in a thick Russian accent. She turned and dropped the handle, causing it to dislodge from the gas tank, pouring gasoline onto the ground.
Chad felt his bowels rumble. The charred deer was making a fast exit and he had to clench to prevent an accident. It was his wife, talking in an accent, filling her car somewhere near the border to Quebec.
She yelled and jumped into the car, Chad yelled and shit his pants. GB laughed, sending bits of flame to the pavement.
Sarah jumped out of the car, a machine gun pointed at Chad.
“I don’t know how you survived, but I’m going to enjoy finishing you in person!”
With his pants already full, Chad just stared at her.
Before his wife could pull the trigger, one of GB’s flames ignited the spilled gas, lighting the car, the pump, and Sarah on fire.
She screamed and Chad went to run to her, though in his head he didn’t know why, likely instinct, but two large, red arms grabbed hold of his shoulders and threw him into the bushes on the other side of the building.
The impact hurt, and liquid shit oozed out of his pants, but he was spared the explosion that sent fire, debris, and a shockwave of heat, over and around the building.
GB came around the corner, his cloak burning. “Your wife’s a cunt.”
The wheel wobbled and the windshield was shattered, but the car GB hotwired was moving at a good speed. They were close to Quebec City and Chad was eager to get out of his soiled clothes. The burned interior of the car smelled like a diaper fire and a spring was jabbing him in the back.
“Are you sure this car is safe?”
Gb was lying across the back seat, snoozing. “No. It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far, but then any time you drive is a gamble. Stop whining, we’re almost there.”
“First thing, I need a shower and a change of clothes.”
“No time, we have to get to frosty the snow-douche before sundown.”
Chad snapped his head back, trying to meet GB’s eyes, causing the car to swerve over the line. A horn honked and he corrected. “What? I didn’t know that.”
“What you don’t know dip shit. It has to do with demon things, you wouldn’t understand. Trust me buddy, I’m eager to end this relationship. Being stuck to your all this time is like hell, and I know. I need some fresh meat to torment. So just drive and shut your trap.”
The crowed seemed light to Emile. There weren’t as many easy targets as he was hoping, plus his high was wearing off. Walking around the sparsely attended festival, he dragged his plush feet. Though it was cold outside, he was sweating in the thin costume.
“Etienne, you cock. This shit you’re shooting is bad shit.” He cursed his friend, forming a tight smile thinking of the hell he was going through without his stash.
Ahead, past a maple taffy stand, a large crowd gathered. They shoved and jostled each other to get close to something.
Must be Obo Prez guy.
Cracking his back with a violent twist, Emile entered the cluster of people, eager to grab some tits as he pushed through to the American President he was supposed to meet.
Rather than part and make way for the Bonhomme as he was accustom to, he had to elbow his way into the outer edge of the crowd. Instead of grabbing at women, he resorted to punching, eye poking, and thrusting his knee into crotches.
“Fucking fuck heads! Move!”
He was never supposed to talk while in character, but to the people, he was just another challenger in the fight to get there. After twenty minutes of inflicting pain, he made it to the middle. “Why are you assholes so eager to meet Obama?”
Expecting to see secret service fending off the crowed, he stopped when he saw a man dressed in black standing on top of a car, preaching. Emile was oddly attracted to the man, but the comedown from his high was distracting.
The figure pointed to him, the tip of his finger glowing.
“Here we see another sinner people. A perfect example of those who poison humanity. A drug user and molester. An abuser and thief. He must be punished for his egregious sins!
Before the ball of light hit him, Emile saw the bodies of others, charred and half destroyed.
The car pulled up to the entrance of Carnival, the wobbling wheel sitting at an exaggerated angle.
Chad got out and scratched at his sore, dirty ass. “Where are all the people?”
GB joined him on the curb. “Shit, I think we’re in trouble.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I can feel it.”
The demon, growing to his full size, charged into the stall lined corridors, setting the ones closest to him on fire.
“Wait! What the heck is happening?”
GB bellowed back to him. “I can sense an Angel!”
Running as fast as he could, his stained pants sagging, Chad chased after GB, huffing, holding his side. In moments the big red figure was out of site.
Chad followed in the direction that he’d seen his demon head, hoping he would find him at the end of the charred trail, or run into the jerk in the snowman costume. For the first time in years, he was distinctly aware of the coin in his pocket. It felt heavy, dragging down his already drooping pants.
The Carnaval grounds were deserted, he slowed down and peeked around corners, expecting something bad to happen, or GB to jump out and scare him, a favourite torment of the demon.
A clamour alerted him to the crowd gathered near an exit. He could smell maple syrup and smoke and heard yelling and cheering, like the audience of a concert.
“Must be GB.”
A man ran up, nudging him. Chad grabbed his arm, stopping him. The man fidgeted and kept looking towards the people.
“Hey, do you know what’s going on?”
“Yes, yes. It’s glorious. The Cardinal is smiting sinners, I saw it on the news. He’s so amazing, I just want to be with him!” The man went to leave, but Chad still held his arm.
“Wait, a bird?”
“Let me go! He’s fighting a demon!” The man swung, hitting Chad awkwardly in the cheek.
It had the desired effect and Chad lost his grip. “Ow, fuck.” Holding his face, Chad ran after the man, passing him on the way to the mass of people. It was so tightly packed, he didn’t see a way in. While he stood at the parameter, the man he passed charged full speed into it, making it through the wall of people that closed up after him.
Chad jogged around the outside, looking for a way in. He saw the tops of polls and stalls above the people and climbed a fence to get to the first one.
Hanging above the commotion, he caught a glimpse of a man in black, flinging balls of light at GB who dodged them, and sent fire and burning pieces of wood back. GB’s attacks didn’t seem to be causing any damage.
The people were cheering the man on, yelling, and jeering the demon.
Chad did his best to move from the poll to the roof of a stall, then to the other object protruding from the crowd. He stumbled and stepped on people, but he made progress. He stood on a van near the large open circle in the center of the throng, spotting dead and mutilated bodies, including the snowman guy with a hole in his chest.
“GB! What’s going on?”
The demon and man stopped and looked over to him.
“My followers,” the man in black spread his arms to the people, “See the vile demon’s kin. The individual so wicked and sinful he has concourse with the spawn of hell and frolics with evil!”
“What?” Chad saw the faces of the mob turn to him, scornful words and trash flying his way.
“Now, watch as I use all my power to end the demon once and for all. Then I’ll allow you to deal with his companion yourself.” With a flourish, he created a huge ball of light as big as Chad, and launched it at God Burner.
Chad dove off of the van, flinging himself between the brilliant white light, that somehow blasted out of the old man’s hand, and his pain in the ass demon friend. He wasn’t sure why but he had definitely did it.
Time slowed to a crawl, like when he would be waiting for Sarah to stop nagging him so he could go back to playing Atari, the only video game system she let him keep. Strangely, he seemed to be watching the scene from somewhere else. He clearly saw the freaky old man, GB and his own body in the middle of the unnatural people, all moving through thick maple-syrup time, ever so slowly.
What the fuck am I doing? This may be the one good chance I have to get rid of that fucking asshole demon, and I jump in the way to save him?
Damn, I look fucking kick ass though. Eat shit Charles Bronson, there is a new Death Wish-er, guy, man, in town.
This is taking forever. Shouldn’t I be seeing my life flash before my eyes or something?
“And see what? You-with-your-face–glued-to-your-fucking-phone-wasting-my-time-sitting-on-your-ass-being-a-prick?”
Chad smelled the man before he saw him waddle up next to him. He was speckled with tiny droplets all over his body. Rather than run together and pool on the ground, like they normally did, they floated up to the sky.
Blinking, he heard a “wow” escape his lips. The sight was magical.
“Hey there Hard On.”
“I pity the fool who calls me Hard On.”
Rather than the usual outburst he knew the man to have, Mr T. Chuckled.
“I don’t get upset anymore kid. It’s good to see you, even though you got me killed.”
“I did what?” Chad turned to see how far his body had progressed. It was still a few feet from GB and it looked like it would actually block the ball thing from hitting the demon.
“That prick Cardinal Molson killed me. The Vatican picked me up because I was the only person they could find with any information about you and that waking piece of hell stuck to you.” Mr T. seemed to glow. Other than the smell, he radiated grace.
“The bird killed you?” Chad struck a palm with the bottom of his fist.
“The old prick who shot the Heavenly energy at your demon.” A harry, chubby finger pointed at Molson, who was standing ridged in the time slowdown. “That shit-dick killed me. Didn’t even say sorry.”
Chad studied the man. “I’m sorry?”
“Ah, don’t worry about it kid.” T picked his nose and flung the booger in the Cardinal’s direction. It glowed and stuck to his forehead.
Chad watched its trajectory and stared at the Cardinal, the source of his death. “Are you?”
“In heaven? Yeah.”
“How is it?”
“It’s not bad. Tapes are making a big comeback there.”
“I suppose I’m about to go to the other place.”
“Yeah. About that.” T put a chubby wet hand on his shoulder. “You weren’t a very good person, but what you’re doing here, saving the demon, that’s gone over pretty well upstairs. They’ve been following this whole saga, and they find it rather entertaining, if not a bit disturbing. This move of yours is the icing on the cake they were hoping for. They don’t really care for the demon, but Molson turned out to be a huge douche. They’d like him dealt with, so you lucked out.”
“Does that mean I get to go to heaven?”
Mr. T shook his head, dislodging more droplets that raced into the sky. “No, but you ain’t gonna die. You get to survive this one.”
Chad grimaced, then furrowed his brow. “That’s still alright.”
“You’re damn right it is. But it looks like you’re about to hit your big finish. This is gonna hurt kid.”
In a flash, Chad was in the arms of GB, he felt like he was hit by a truck, that was hit by a plane, that was hit by a meteor.
Molson’s face sunk. His hand was burned to the bone, all the power of the Angel semen gone.
The crowd was quiet and still.
GB put Chad down gently. “Hold on Hard On.”
With a bellow that forced the onlookers back, he hurled hell at Cardinal Molson, leaving his body in the same shape as his skeletal hand. “See you in hell, dip shit.”
Chad stirred, the pain from the blast waning. “Nice one.” He pulled out the coin, the marker of the demon, and held it in his hand. “No chance the snowman can still take this?”
GB shook his head. “I think you’re stuck with me forever Hard On.”
“I have to die eventually though right?”
“Sure, but since you’re tied to me, you’ll have to come back to hell.”
Most of the mob had turned and headed out into Carnaval. Chad couldn’t imagine what they were telling themselves. From the midst, a woman with severe burns charged at them.
Sasha hefted the damaged machine gun and yelled in her thick accent. “I’ll kill you, you pathetic shit stain. As Putin as my witness!”
Chad threw the only thing he had at her in a sad defense. “Ah!”
The coin sailed through the air. With deft skill, Sasha caught it.
A pit opened under her and she fell into hell, the huge, terrifying visage of God Burner, looking the way Chad had first seen him, flying above the fiery hole.
He plunged into it after her and it closed behind him.
Chad sat up and looked around. “What the fuck?”
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