Authors: Rebecca Steinbeck






he demon came up behind Jonathon’s mother now and raised its spear high. “In the name of Beelzebub, God of Gods, Lord of all the Lands, I smite thee.” The demon lowered the point of its spear toward the woman’s heart and she felt no pain, and while the road was hard and hot, and while it hurt his feet, Jonathon moved faster now for his mother needed him. The point of the demon’s spear pierced his mother’s skin and still she felt no pain, and while the road was hard and hot, and while it hurt his feet, Jonathon moved faster now for his mother needed him more than ever. He approached the demon and reached into it. He grabbed its black heart and squeezed it until it stopped beating and now the demon’s body was dead and so too its soul. Smoke rose from the demon’s body and soon it caught fire and Jonathon let go. It fell to the ground and a great roar echoed through the darkness surrounding them and soon the demon was gone, leaving behind a spear and a pile of ashes as the only proof in Jonathon’s eyes it had been there at all. He turned to his mother who had her back to him and was still holding her knees to her chest and he reached out to her. He touched her shoulder and it was real. He kneeled behind her and wrapped both arms around her. He held her tight and cried as the beat of his heart matched hers. Then there came a voice from the darkness. “You can’t have her, Jonathon,” the voice said. “She belongs to me.” The words cut Jonathon deep for he was sure Serena’s father was gone for good. He let his mother go and stood up. He turned to where the voice had come from and Serena’s father stepped into the light. He was armed and ready to fight for what he believed was his, but Jonathon wanted her too.

Jonathon stood between the man in black and his mother. “I will not fight you, because men don’t fight for what is theirs. They work for it, and they love it with all their hearts. When they do that, they want for nothing.” He took a step towards the man in black. “And don’t take my unwillingness to fight as a sign of weakness. It’s nothing more than proof that I’m more man than you’ll ever be.”

Serena’s father circled Jonathon and Jonathon followed him out the corner of his eye. “You can have this piece of shit, Jonathon,” Serena’s father said before spitting at Jonathon’s mother. “I’m talking about my daughter, Serena. You thought you could take her from me? You thought that all your money and fancy cars and big houses could take my daughter away from me?” He looked at Jonathon’s mother then back at Jonathon and spat at him too. “Now we’re even.”

Jonathon looked at him. “You didn’t kill her because of anything
done. You killed her because you danced with the Devil when you should’ve been dancing with your wife and you lost. That’s the difference between you and me. I earned that money and those fancy cars and big houses. You couldn’t even earn your wife’s love.”

Serena’s father pointed his finger at Jonathon. “You earned jackshit, Jonathon,” he said. “Your father gave it to you on a plate. He sold his soul to the Devil and he gave it all to you and you earned jack-fucking-shit.”

Jonathon thought about all the words he had written and all the stories he had told, and sold, and all the money and fame and everything that went with both. He thought about all the girls he had slept with and all the time he wanted only one thing - someone to truly love, and he had found her in the form of Serena. The man in front of him could only dream of finding such love and when he didn’t find it at home he went looking for it in his mother and then he shot her dead. A bright light descended from the heavens and it wrapped itself around Jonathon and his mother. He looked at Serena’s father. “Some things need to be earned more than others, you son-of-a-bitch. Like the love of a woman.” The world around them exploded and fire and brimstone shot in all directions like bullets from a gun, and the white light protected them. But it didn’t protect Serena’s father and the fire and brimstone pierced his soul and burned it until there was nothing left. Moments later the light disappeared and Jonathon and his mother were standing in front of Serena and the angel. He looked around and saw that his home had not been mended and the smoke still rose from the ground. He looked at the angel. “I need your help to rebuild this.”

The angel shook her head. “You have everything you need already.” She tipped her head towards Serena and then his mother. Then she stepped toward him and took his hand. She placed it on her heart and then she placed it on his. He felt her love enter his heart and he knew he would be safe and so would she. “You’ve earned this, Jonathon. You’ve earned the right to live in eternal peace and happiness, and you will.” The angel stepped back. “Love them both, Jonathon. Love them as you loved me.” Jonathon knew in that moment what he hadn’t known before, that this angel was the same one he had seen in another place at another time. Indeed, she was the teenage girl his father killed in an accident in which two cars collided head-on. A tear escaped his eye because he loved her every bit then as much as any man had ever loved a woman, but now it was time to love another. It was time to truly open his heart to Serena as he had to God. It was time to let his mother in as well. And it was time to rebuild his home.

The angel disappeared and it returned to Heaven where the band of angels was waiting to greet it. One of them stepped forward. “You have done well. You have reunited Jonathon and his mother and now you are ready to become what God destined you to be.” They led her to a great door and she opened it. Inside was a throne and sitting on it, God Almighty. He motioned her in and said, “You have proven your worth, my friend. You have stayed the course through those things that others have cowered from, and Jonathon has saved his mother, and now,
, you will live forever.”

The angel had been to Hell and back, and now she had it all. It didn’t come easy, though. Nothing ever does. As Jonathon Steel, who in life had everything he wanted and in life after death had everything he needed, said, “Some things need to be earned.”









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