An Angel from Hell story
By Christopher Leeson
By Christopher Leeson
Jezebel regarded the ex-princess dubiously. “The last time I looked, Britain was still broadcasting boring Star Trek: The New Generation reruns. What do you mean you destroyed it?”
Frances looked up, red-eyed. “My homeland was once the most powerful empire ever to exist on Earth. It defied both Napoleon and Hitler, even while standing alone. Today it reels paralyzed before a motley swarm of religious fanatics with beheading knives.”
The Watcher shrugged. “If an Englishman isn't at your throat, he's on his knees. Get to the point.”
Frances drew back defensively. “It's not simple to explain.”
“If something's too silly to say, sing it,” suggested Jezebel.
Frances took a deep breath. “The Cabal took the throne of England with the reptilian Tudor dynasty in 1485. In the Sixteenth Century, when the Tudors could not make the Church submit to their whims, they set up an English church that would be more pliant. Creating the Empire was all about serving the Cabal's interests. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Cabal took over the Bank of England with the blessing of the government. From that point on, with state, church, and economy all firmly under Satan's influence, Britain became a mighty fortress for Cabalism.” The longer the Frances Dillon spoke, Jezebel noticed, the more less Arkansan she sounded.
“The purpose of the Empire was to destabilize the world with war and to take over the weakest nations. In time, it successfully reduced its rivals, such as France and Germany, to Cabalist clients. After World War II, the Globalists had the atomic bomb, and were trying to provoke a nuclear war with Russia."
"As I see it, Britain was left a dried up husk after the war," observed the angel.
"Yes, Britain had grown exhausted and had become no more than an American client. Partly by choice, partly for necessity, the conspirators made America its mailed fist. But because they found the American armed forces resistant to commuting treason, they created a national police force and army of their own to carry out their bidding, by which I mean the FBI and CIA.
“Old news. What do you mean that you destroyed Britain?”
Wincing, the ex-princess continued. “It continued to bother the Cabal that they hadn't entirely broken Britain's spirit. With Europe in the grip of a European Union run purely for Cabalist interests, Britain's national morale needed to be extinguished.”
Jezebel sighed. “For such a little lady, you sure are long-winded.”
Exasperated, Frances went on: “I've already told you how the Cabal trained me from childhood to be the “People's Princess. I soon became everything that the masses cherished and admired. It was all a fraud; I was sold for public consumption like a patent medicine. My life story as a leader was almost totally contrived. To make me the opioid of the people, my handlers did risky things, such as creating a hoax of a public conflict between myself and the Royal family.”
“So, you actually had no problem with the Royals, those child-eating lizards?”
“No, I really did. But all the public squabbling was a sham. It was only intended to make me look independent-minded and sympathetic. The real issues between me and the Royals never reached the people. The Cabal manipulated the news coverage ceaselessly. And they were clever. They choreographed my playgirl behavior after divorce, to make me look liberated and “feminist.” I was raised to the status of a goddess in a country that been successfully drained of religious faith and moral fiber. But it made me more miserable the longer it went on. I could scarcely ever be myself, rarely even in private. I always had to act in the artificial role of “the People's Princess.”
Watcher grunted. “Yeah, I don't know what anyone ever saw in you. I would have nominated you as one of the ten most worthless celebrities of this planet. If the Plastic Princess is what Great Britain wanted, it got what it deserved.”
Amazingly, Frances did not flare. “Even I couldn't stand myself. Deep down, I realized that I wasn't lovable, that I wasn't even a good person. I started to hate myself, but even more than that, I hated the people.”
“Because they were idiots? Sure. I can relate to that.”
Frances nodded. “The common man was so sheep-like. Why was it so hard for him to understand what the fate of sheep is is going to be? I was pulling the wool over the eyes of millions. I wanted so much to fail. I wanted the English to see through me, to expose me and disgrace me, make me useless to the Cabal, so that I could just disappear, like Fergie did.”
“Fergie? Personally, I thought Andrew should have married the actress Koo Stark. She at least looked great on pinup posters."
Frances frowned. "I think Andrew felt the same way. But the Royals wanted Fergie. When she had done all that was expected of her, they cast her off. The prince was through with playing the family's marriage games after that.”
Jezebel frowned thoughtfully. “So the idea was to traumatize the British by having you seduce them, making them think of you like a sister or daughter, only to have you suddenly publicly and brutally killed. I suppose the idea was to make the whole population feel that they had had lost a beloved family member to tragedy.”
“Yes,” Miss Dillon said. "A people so traumatized will not be able to think clearly for decades. But it wasn't just ordinary grief that the Cabal was counting on. This was a power-move originated in Hell. Demons were let loose upon the people to infect their emotional wounds like bacteria. They filled their victims with defeat, apathy, despair. In the wake of it, they were too overwhelmed to stand up for the ancient rights Englishmen to live free in their own country."
It was believable; that was how the Cabal worked. For the moment, however, none of this concerned Jezebel. Her focus had to be on Holly, if she wanted to avoid the Lake of Fire. The question was, did she dare turn the girl over to some unknown Southern preacher and the woman who, by her own confession, had ruined Western civilization?
“Why do I always have to be the one to decide these things?” she asked herself. The Watcher thought about her Father in Heaven. "Why don't you ever talk to me?” she mentally demanded.
Another thought seemed to answer the first: “Why don't you ever talk to me?”
Though it was only her own question repeating, it did not feel like her own words at all. Had Jezebel imagined that the last word had been emphasized?
The angel shook her head and stood up. “Unless somebody can tell me why I should believe a thing that you two are saying, I'm out of here.”
Reverend Garland opened his lips, but as if distracted by a voice, he said nothing, but gawped up at the ceiling perplexedly, as Jezebel had seen him do before. Ten seconds later, he glanced portentously at the Watcher.
“Yeah, what?” Jezebel asked irritably.
“The Lord says that you should... I don't understand it. Maybe His request will make sense to you.”
“What request?” she grunted.
“He says that you should take off your coat.”
Jezebel paused. Her coat?
Almost by its own volition, her right hand disengaged the coat zipper. She bemusedly hung the quilted wrap over the back of her chair and a few seconds later, the Watcher saw Holly approaching between the tables – wary, sober.
The latter paused a few feet away at the sight of Frances' face. Apparently, she, too could see “Miss Dillion's” true appearance. Holly, Jezebel realized, was looking at a dead legend come back to life.
“This is Holly,” the angel told the seated pair. Then, to the celebrity, she said, “This is Reverend Orson Garland. And this lady calls herself Frances Dillon. She teaches school and destroys civilizations.”
The young brunette forced a smile and nodded. “P-Pleased to meet you...ma'am.”
“Won't you take the chair next to Miss Jill?” suggested Orson.
Holly, obliging, sat down at Jezebel's right.
“We're very pleased to meet you,” the minister added.
The waitress smiled tentatively, while her eyes sent silent questions toward her traveling companion.
“I can't make a lot of sense of it all,” whispered the latter. “They say they've been sent to help. I don't know if I trust them, but I don't know that I shouldn't, either.”
“Well, okay,” said the singing sensation. “Fill me in on what you've been talking about, please.”
For the next few minutes, with Orson doing most of the talking, the three briefed Holly. She was being invited to settle in a town called Jasper, where the couple would do all they could to help her live safely under a new identity.
“This is heavy. What do you think, Jill?” the younger woman asked.
Jezebel addressed Orson, “You sort of fit with what I should have expected. God decides to place a lost soul into the care of a simple parson. No big surprises there. But why would he send a high-profile Nephilim along with you?”
Reverend Garland shook his head. “I'm not sure. It may be because Sister Frances has experienced much the same thing that Holly has. Perhaps the Lord thought that having another young lady with us would reassure our young friend. Also, God may wish to bring Frances out of the shadows and more actively into the fold. The reaping of souls during the End Times shall require the work of many willing harvesters.”
“What about you, Holly?” Jezebel asked. “Would you ever feel at ease around a royal princess who's also a half-human ex-Cabal agent? I think that I should point out that the reformation rate among the upper crust of the Illuminati isn't very impressive.”
The minster, wincing, looked back at the other restaurant diners, as if worried that someone might have overheard these frank words.
The Princess of Wales now sat up to speak for herself. “Orson is right. I've been hiding since 1997. I've received mercy, but I haven't been doing very much to deserve it. I so much want to truly become the person I've only been pretending to be. I want to make my existence worth something. I don't know why, Holly, but it seems you're important to the Lord for some reason,” the teacher said.
“I don't know why," Holly replied. "I've only been trying to get rich and famous. If there is a God, I don't know why he'd bother sending an angel to help me."
"An angel?" asked Frances.
"A girl I didn't know led me out of a mansion full of child-murderers and cannibals. Then she appeared days later on a bus seat behind me, and told me that the town that we were in would be a good place to hide."
"I suppose I could tell you a few amazing stories, too," the English girl said with a faint smile.
Holly glanced to Jezebel. "Do you believe in the sort of religious stuff that we've been talking about, Jill?”
The latter shook her head. “I wish I had some decent advice, Holly. The truth is, I can only do what I've been told to do. But I do know that the world is supernatural and religious faith is the best way to understand what it throws at you. I guess I've already mentioned that science is pretty much a crock.”
“Who tells you want to do?”
“The good guys – I think.”
The ex-star, ex-waitress thought digested that information for a moment and then asked, “If I went with them, could you come with us?”
The angel looked her in the face and said, "I could use a little quiet time to get my bearings. But my I'm pretty sure that vacationing is not in the cards.”
“I only met you about forty-eight hours ago, Jill, but it feels like much longer. I hate to think that I won't be seeing you again. I've never met anyone like you. You're a frightening person, but at the same time you make me feel safe.”
It's nice you should say that. But I'm just a pawn; there's a war going on and I'm expected to fight in it. But for Heaven's sake, take care of yourself. I'm going to get really angry if, after all I've gone through, you don't live long enough to figure out who you are, what you are, and what you believe in.
“But I promise you this, Holly: I'm going to be looking in on you not too far in the future. If you're doing all right, you might not even know that I've been there. That's for the best. You don't need the kind of trouble that rides around on my shoulder.
"But if I find you're not in a good place, I'm going to kill anyone who's done you wrong, and anyone who helped them do it.” Pointedly, Jezebel challenged the glances of the pair from Arkansas. Reverend Garland appeared unsettled, but did not mirror fright. The princess leaned forward to speak.
“She'll be all right,” Frances promised. “If she's not, and if I'm responsible, go ahead and kill me.”
After that, Watcher had no place to go except home. Entering Jill Arendel's apartment felt like stepping into a void. Was she expected to feel at home in such a place? What was she supposed to do next? Start living the life of a human nobody named Jill Arendel? Wait for another mission that might cost her this mortal life?
The girl listlessly drifted to the window and surveyed the activity along what was a residential street. So many useless lives. This city felt as strange as a hospital corridor felt to a newborn. Turning away from the view, she went to the couch and lay on her back, simply staring at the ceiling. Eventually, Jezebel slept. By the time she awoke, the winter daylight was dimming.
“I thought you could use some company,” said a woman's voice.
Alarmed, the Watcher threw herself into a roll that brought her to her feet, ready for a fight. She was already clutching a makeshift weapon, a glass pop bottle.
When Jezebel recognized the speaker, she fumed with indignation. It was Shekinah, the female form of Metatron – the false angel who had once been a human being.
“What are you doing here?” the blonde asked testily.
“My duty. I'm looking out for you, as I've been doing every day since we last spoke.”
“What are you saying? That the chief of the Seraphim has been demoted to a guardian angel!”
“The Father considers this assignment a very important one. He didn't say why he chose me, but we do share a history. Just do not allow the status of your guardian spirit to go to your head.”
The Watcher dropped into the easy chair. “What's next? Should I get a cat out of a tree? I'm tired. I'm not ready for another mission as pointless as the last one.”
“The mission wasn't pointless. It delivered Susan Wevers out of the hands of evil, and it was good for you, also. You needed an easy assignment while you were getting used to having a human heart. I think the result have been very positive.”
“You let me be raped!”
“You let yourself be raped, when you did not appeal to the Father nor the Son for mercy."
Jezebel only glowered and said, “Why have you shown up now, at a time that no one is trying to kill me?”
“I've come to commend you on an assignment well performed.”
“What was it all for? What happens to the people on this world means nothing to me. And living as one of them is insufferably degrading.”
“No doubt, from your perspective,” the seraph said.
Jezebel flared. “What's it all for? What's expected of me? For two days I busted my butt to... Oh, I know: 'All thy good works are but filthy rags.'”
“They are. But though you are carrying six thousand years of sin with you, all of it can be taken away in less than five minutes."
“And all I need to do is grovel?”
The angel sighed. “It was pride that first placed you on a road with no exit. And angel cannot change his direction once he is tainted, but a mortal is allowed to.”
“It's more complex than that. There is an excellent instruction book.” The visitor went to a volume on a shelf. Blowing off the dust, she said, even a lost soul like Jill Arendel owned a copy of this. Her mother gave it to her.”
Shekinah shook her head. “Jill was not a bad person, not really. Her soul was of course salvageable, if she had simply believed that she had a soul and had applied a little effort to keep it tidied up. Many young people suppose they can save repentance for their old age while they do whatever they please, but so many of them never live so long. If the hedonist girl had opened these pages and contemplated her life, she might now be in a much better place.”
It bothered Jezebel, somehow, to think that the last occupant of her body had been damned. That struck a little too close to home. “And they call me cruel," she said. "I can only kill the physical body. I can't send anyone to Hell. Why should either an angel or a human be tortured eternally just for wanting to live free for a few years?” asked Jezebel.
"They can get away with living free for few years, but they are lost if they carry their sins into the grave."
"That's like saying a bandit can rob as much as he wants, until he gets shot."
“The Father sends no one to Hell. But should it come as a surprise that he cannot carry a load of garbage through Heaven's gate? The Father is the God of the living, not the dead. It is too late for the dead to cast away their loads and join those eternally alive. For the dead there is only the refuse heap we call Hell. As for freedom, didn't you feel free in the realm of Glory?”
The Watcher sighed. Perfect obedience is not any sort of freedom that I can understand."
"Perfect obedience should be unobjectionable if one has a perfect master."
“Every choice made inevitably carries consequences. The Father makes it no secret which choices carry a good or bad consequence.”
“There are countless acts that even an angel doesn't know are something right or wrong.”
“No doubt, but if someone wants to know something, he can find it out. But you knew that seducing mortal women was wrong long before you and your companions committed your willful acts of defiance.”
"It didn't seem to matter what we did after that. Even the good works of angels could not redeem them. We hated mortals because they could be forgiven, but we couldn't."
"So rejoice. You are now mortal and forgiveness is yours for the asking."
“You still sound as tediously professorial as you did back when you were still mortal.”
“And I should be ashamed of having been mortal? Not so. It taught me much. It especially enlightened me to the fact that Heaven should not be taken for granted. When glory was all you knew, you treated glory too lightly. I lived on Earth in the terrible days before Noah, and that is why I can never grow weary of what is pure and without blemish. Though you are starting out late as a human, you may acquire similar insights before you are judged.”
“Am I supposed to believe that the Father wants me saved when he's puts me into the life of a striptease dancer who's possessed by a Jezebel spirit and subjected to every temptation of the flesh?”
The brunette shook her head. “Jill Arendel was a dancer, but you do not have to be, though I believe it would be a good cover for you as you travel to many places. Anyway, temptation is the lot of Mankind. Even the Son was tempted. If you do not care for the very Jezebel spirits that you fallen angels inflicted upon mortals, you are free to do what Jill did not do -- refute the spawn of Hell and become a bastion of rectitude. But I think that you have a love and hate relationship with your little demon. You cherish the power that it channels to you even more than you hate the way that it inclines you to lust, vanity, and immodesty.”
Jezebel reacted incredulously. “If I didn't make use of the power I'd be dead now, and Holly would have ended up being tortured until she accepted an eternity in Hell!”
“That's true. You chose the most obvious route to avoiding an evil outcome, but there were other ways.”
“I didn't see any other ways!”
“Try to look more carefully next time.”
“You've been in Heaven for too long. You don't know how this degenerate world works any longer.”
“My world was as degenerate as this one before it was destroyed. You protest too much. You willingly take your harlot's payment and then blame others for giving you the opportunity to do so. Rebuke that payment, Jezebel, let the power of Heaven be your sword. Stop depending upon the power of sin, and you may be rewarded with something very much more preferable. You seized the vulgar bauble in front of the curtain, never thinking about the prize that might lie beyond it.”
“Why should I risk my life on the mere hope that there is anything behind the curtain? I want to know what I'm getting beforehand.”
“Your problem is that you have no faith. You may never return to Glory unless you come to faith.”
Jezebel looked away. “Faith come easily to you, because you find it so easy to believe everything you are told."
"That's not true. I don't believe anything you are now telling me."
Sighing, Jezebel said, "I don't feel like company right now, Shekinah. Leave me in peace.”
“But I came to you because an angel can sense a spirit who needs guidance and support.”
“Is that what you really want? Would you send Miss Wevers away, were she here now?” the seraph asked.
“Her? She means nothing to me. I'm not cut out for babysitting.”
“Did you not vow to kill anyone who harms her?”
Jezebel stood up and turned her back. “I was warning those two that they had better not play me for a fool. The girl herself is unimportant.”
Shekinah smiled. “I hope you do not mean that. Knowing her made you a better person. I also think that further improvement is very possible.”
The Watcher wheeled angrily. “I haven't changed at all...” Her words fell off, beholding what Shekinah was suddenly wearing -- a brightly-colored club dress replete with accessories.
“What's that thing you've got on?”
“Does contemporary fashion not deem this variety of uniform suitable for 'an evening out.'"
"If you're going out, please get up and go."
"You should come with me. You haven't eaten since mid-morning. How would you feel about a dinner and a show?”
Jezebel raised her chin. “You don't need to eat.”
“No, but you do.”
“Why do you care? You're not my friend.”
“I'm not your enemy either. Originally, I had little hope for your redemption. I feared that you would kill Miss Wevers yourself, in some moment of pointless pique. Instead, you were faithfully protective and, at times, almost kind. I am forced to take another look at you and your prospects. You may indeed be the best of a very bad lot.”
Jezebel raised her chin. “Don't you mean a very, very bad lot?”
The angel laughed. “There you see? I've already started thinking better of you Watchers. I wish to offer you a wholesome meal at a dinner theater. The one I have in mind is performing Bell, Book, and Candle, about a witch who is redeemed by love. You will need to dress appropriately. Fortunately, Jill Arendel has many excellent frocks to choose from.”
“That reminds me. Was you who inserted that nasty little red dress into my luggage?”
“I admit it, but no one forced you to use it the way you did. I was thinking that, should you fail in your first test of righteousness, as you did unfortunately, such a garment might allow a sinner with no faith to gain easy access into certain advantageous locations.”
Jezebel stood considering the invitation. The Watcher's instinct was to get angry for having been manipulated. But what would a display like that gain? To push away the seraph was to push away the Father who sent her, and that seemed unwise, especially at this moment when she felt so uncertain of where she stood. Also, did she really want to be left alone in this bleak mood, with nothing to do and nowhere to go?
“It will take a little while for me to change,” Jezebel finally said.
Shekinah smiled. “Yes, I expect that is how it will.”