Author’s note: This is part of a series of stand-alone [with provided, relevant information] stories called “Diana’s Life Tips”.
Relevant information: Daemon is a demon Diana accidentally summoned. They’ve both seen Cerberus around Diana’s high school. Diana accidentally stole a piece of paper with a mysterious plan on it.
“Wait so... What?” Diana twisted her head around in confusion, trying to make her thoughts bounce and mingle more so she could actually understand the words being told to her. Her lips pressed into a puzzled expression. It didn’t work. “Explain it to me again.”
Flipping the whiteboard Diana “borrowed” from her mom’s office, Daemon began his diagram with childlike illustrations again. Based on his skill level, Diana really couldn’t tell if they were helping her understand, or making it harder. “Cerberus—” Daemon drew a stick dog with three heads. “Is Satan’s ex-wife’s dog. She got him in the divorce.” He drew a stick figure of her with a line connecting to the dog.
“Why is her head a box?” Diana gasped. “Oh my god, is she a box demon?”
“First: watch your holy language,” Daemon said as Diana shrugged. “Second: it’s a veil, not a box.”
“Why does she wear a veil?”
“I don’t know, okay? It’s Hell, things get weird.” He gave her a look that said he saw too much. Quite similar to the one Diana had when she walked in on her parents “wrestling” when she was five.
“I can imagine,” Diana murmured. “Wait so, what is Satan’s ex-wife doing at an American public high school in Florida?”
Daemon paused and let her thoughts mingle a little one. In the middle of two thoughts doing the tango, she pieced it together. “Ohhhhh. Yeah, no, this makes sense.”
“Right. Moving on.” Daemon drew a rectangle with some squiggle lines on it.
“A pirate map?”
“This isn’t pictionary, Diana. This is serious.”
“Ah, yes. Your noodle drawing with three heads reeks of professionalism.”
Barely concerning her smile with her subpar acting skills, Diana covered her mouth with her hand as she crossed her legs. “Sure. Continue.”
“Alright so this—” Daemon pointed to the rectangle with squiggles, “Is the invasion plan you stole from the main office.”
Daemon glanced at the whiteboard. “You know, you’ve been ‘borrowing’ a lot recently.” He placed a hand over his heart as his face lit up with pride. “I’m such a terrible influence on you~!”
“It’s two things; and I’m going to return the whiteboard.”
“So you say…”
“Just move on already.”
Daemon raised his hands up defensively. “Alright, alright. The invasion appears to be written by someone with expert knowledge on demonkind and our realms. Since we’ve both seen Cerberus, it can be assumed that one: Satan’s ex wife is here because she loves her doggy. Two: she is the one behind the invasion.”
“Okay, I’m following.” Diana paused. “Except, I don’t understand why. I’d imagine she had it pretty good married to Satan, so why divorce him and then try to take over the world from a high school?”
Capping the erasable marker, Daemon smirked. “Ah, so you want to talk about the Christian-Hell-shaking event only known as The Divorce?”
“I mean, I would consider a divorce more a scandal…”
Daemon held up a finger. “This is no ordinary divorce, Diana. It defined the state of Hell for years to follow… until one of Satan’s friends set him up with a hot date.” He cleared his throat. “It’s a tale as infamous as they come. I remember it like it was yesterday even though I was but a child during its events when—”
Diana cut him off. “Why do I feel like you’re reeling back to tell a story?”
“Because I am.”
“Can I make a snack first?” She got up off her bed. “I haven’t had lunch yet.”
“Sit back down! Things were just getting good.”
Disgruntled, Diana mumbled to herself as she plopped on her bed. “Held prisoner in my own bedroom. That’s just nice.”
Again, Daemon cleared his throat. “Like I said, I remember it like it was yesterday…”
Christian Hell, ten years ago…
A delicious rumor had passed through the ears of the damned and demons as a careful Daemon and his childhood friends ran around the fire banks, listening to the sweet sound of the damned’s screams filling their evil, little ears. When they came home, soot ridden, Daemon’s mother ushered them upstairs to clean themselves up as she discussed said rumor with the other demonic mothers. One of which, Ulgeth’s mother, Zellsha, worked inside Satan’s palace.
The lady demons gathered around Zellsha. She smirked with crooked teeth as the attention went right to her ego. “Ladies, please, one question at a time.”
“What’s happening? Are the rumors true? Is Satan and his Mrs. getting a divorce?” Daemon’s mother asked.
Zellsha flashed her her grin. “Well, Xylora, I don’t see how it could end up any other way. I was cleaning Satan’s throne the other day and heard the fighting again. I can never make out what about, but it’s getting more frequent.”
“Sounds like trouble in paradise,” one of the mothers murmured.
A cacophony of mmhhhmmm’s and told you followed.
As the ladies talked about all they heard and knew, what they didn’t know was that their children had gathered at the top of the stairs, eavesdropping.
“Satan’s getting divorced, huh,” Ulgeth said.
“Was he even really married?” Another demon child, Zack, dared. “I’ve heard no one’s ever seen her face. She always wears a black veil. How do we even know she’s real? What if she’s a fake and he’s getting a ‘divorce’ to cover his tracks now that the secret’s about to get out.”
“Oh, oh, I’ve heard that too.”
“It makes sense.”
“Pff…” Daemon said, taking center stage. “As if. How could you doubt Satan, himself, our unholy ruler? Where’s your loyalty?”
As the other demon grew quiet, Zack got louder, annoyed that someone would question his brilliant conspiracy that had gotten him oh so much attention. “You’re so sure about that, huh? Why don’t you prove it. Get pictures of Satan’s wife without the veil. I dare you.”
“Oooohhhhh…” The others gasped, turning to a flustered Daemon.
“Unless you’re a cowardly human,” Zack taunted.
“I am not a cowardly human! I just…” Daemon stumbled for an excuse. “I just don’t have a way in. With Satan’s security, there isn’t a chance in heaven I’ll get in.”
“One time, I went with my mom for Take Your Child to Work Day and found a secret entrance through the vents. It’s tight, but you could probably fit.”
“Oh well…” He was practically falling down a staircase for an excuse now. “I don’t have a camera.”
Suddenly, a camera appeared in his empty hand. He sighed. “Guess I’m sneaking into the palace, then.”
Like Ulgeth said, Daemon had been able to fit through the vents. Should he have been able to? No, but there’s another time to discuss Daemon’s childhood chubbiness.
Regardless, by the time Daemon’s only working brain cell had finally taken a shot of logic to wash down all his bad decisions with hindsight, he was already in the empty throne room. His right hand shook while his left clenched the camera so hard, his knuckles turned white.
While the majority of the room was wide open space, pillars of fire surrounded a fifteen foot stone throne with spears holding rotting skulls on the back. Huge stained glass windows that looked like they belonged in a church alternated with towering stone arch hallways across the circular walls forming the room. Sand littered the floor, although based on the bigger bits, it might have just been crushed bones. Somewhere in the distance, the faint smell of death lingered: rotten blood, moldy oranges, and vanilla.
Daemon gulped as he crept low and travelled across the throne room towards a corridor that had voices coming from it. Angry voices.
Pushing his body flat against the wall, he peeked out just enough to see down the hall was Satan and a woman with a black dress and veil—his wife. Their hands flew in the air as they fought, voices hissing to avoid drawing attention. Without warning, the woman’s voice raised enough for Daemon to hear, “I just can’t deal with you when you’re like this.”
Heels clicked in the direction of the throne room.
Panicking, Daemon glanced around, trying to find a way to escape, but the only vent was across the room where he entered. There was no way he could make it back without being seen. He was trapped.
If Daemon had a heart, it would be in his throat. But he didn’t, so he was just hyperventilating from the anxiety of it all.
The heels stopped. “Let go of me,” the woman demanded.
“Just answer me honestly: are you cheating on me with him?” Satan asked.
“See, that’s not honest.”
“It is honest, your insecure ass just can’t handle the truth.”
“I know you’ve been spending more time with your ex.”
“How many times do I have to explain this? I’m not spending time with him, I’m—”
“How could you betray me like this?”
“Can you stop talking over me for five minutes? I’ve tried to explain this before so many times, but you keep writing me off. This is getting infuriating.”
“How could you choose your ex over me?”
“Why in gods’ names would I choose a man that’s cheated on me twice? That’s why we got divorced in the first place.”
“Don’t use such holy language in my house,” Satan boomed.
“It’s our house. We’re married, remember?” Another pause. “You know what? This jealousy was never attractive and honestly, I can’t deal with it anymore.”
“What are you saying?”
“I'm saying I hope my divorce lawyer gives a discount for repeat business.”
The clicking returned towards the throne room.
Both of Daemon’s hands started shaking so violently, he dropped the camera just as Satan’s soon-to-be-ex-wife walked into the throne room. While he couldn’t make out any other facial details, Daemon did stare dead into a pair of seething golden eyes as he listened to the camera shatter.
The woman’s voice hitched as she stopped. Daemon swore he saw the shadows over her face curl into a snarl as she spun on her heels. She leaned one arm on the doorway, blocking Satan from seeing him. “Stop following me like a pathetic mutt. There are dozens of hallways in this annoying, labyrinth-like palace you’ve insisted on designing yourself despite the fact that you have no experience. Go use one of them.”
Satan tsked as his footsteps sounded in the opposite direction. Once he was far enough, Satan’s soon-to-be-ex-wife crouched in front of an awe-struck Daemon. With two thin fingers, she reached up and pinched his adorable chubby cheeks. “You’re lucky you’re cute, kid. Are you one of the staff’s children? I thought I told them they couldn’t bring their kids to work anymore. Not since the last kid started crawling through the vents. Go. Shoo. Go to your parents. I’m not in a good mood and neither is Satan. Hell have mercy on you if he does find you sneaking around here.”
Slowly dethawing from the chilly fear at the thought of Satan finding him traveled up his spine, Daemon nodded and scurried away.
The next morning, Satan’s divorce was officially announced. His ex-wife was never seen in Christian Hell again, leaving Satan in a permanent bad mood that he took out on both the damned and demons…
Back in Diana’s bedroom...
“Eventually, setting him on blind dates worked and he started seeing some succubi, but the demons never forgot the years in between. They will never forget the consequences of the cataclysmic event known as The Divor—are you licking an old candy wrapper?” Daemon asked.
“I told you I was starving,” Diana whined. “It was the only thing in my room. There’s still some crumbs on it.”
“Not anymore, you animal.”
Diana shrugged. “You really insisted on your ‘adorableness’ in that story. Was it even true?”
Offended, Daemon’s jaw went slack as he gasped. “Of course it was! One hundred percent!”
“Wait a minute, that story didn’t answer the question of ‘why is she doing this’.”
“Yeah, but I feel like it set up some important background for this story series.”
“Nevermind. Nevermind,” Daemon said quickly. “Let’s just assume she’s power-hungry—most demons are—and wasn’t satisfied with Satan.”
Diana flopped onto her bed with a sigh. Fiddling with her fingers, she stared up at the montage of newspaper clippings from all the most world-shaking stories across history. “We still don’t know how to stop her. This is hopeless. Forget getting a scoop, the world’s gonna end.”
Daemon bounced next to her. “Actually, I may know someone that is able to help with that.”
Sitting up, Diana asked, “Really?”
“Yeah, he’s the only guy I know that’s been around long enough to witness the last takeover attempt: AKA the Great Demon World.”
“Woah, what’s that? Sounds newsworthy.”
“I think it’d be better if he explained it to you. And believe me, it was.”