The Devil Went Down

It was pitch black, and you could hear thunder in the distance – just another dark and stormy night, I guess. The street lights outside the “Devil’s Den” strip club were too few and too far apart to really do much good. At least the power was on. It was almost eleven PM and I assumed that if anything was going to happen, I had just over an hour.

Somewhere in the distance a wolf howled, or maybe it was a siren; anyway, there was a noise. I heard it. It made the hair on the back of my neck tingle. That doesn’t happen much. Not anymore. Not since the riots. Not since they burned the coasts. Not since they blew up the Capital Building.

Some say it started when the then-president tried to make a deal with the devil for another eight years in office. If that’s true, it was the worst of a long line of bad deals. They say that the two of them sat in a room and lied at each other for days. Never trust the devil. He’ll bet your soul against a fiddle of gold…

Anyway.

No one knows what the deal was or even if a deal was struck, but when you invite the devil to the White House and offer him fast food, you have to figure he’s leaving with more than McRibs.

Just before the election the president announced that the Democratic Party was evil and had sold its soul. He claimed the apocalypse had begun and rallied the Evangelicals to his side. He proclaimed that all black and brown skinned people were escaped from hell. He outlawed congress and declared martial law. He closed all borders and shut down international flights. At first the military supported him, reluctantly.

There was opposition, of course. Everything escalated quickly. Armies of zombie-like Nazis white supremacists began to destroy the big cities in the blue states on both coasts. The military support began to fade, and they finally threw support to the shadow Congress hiding out somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Numerous assassination attempts on the old man failed. He seemed to be quicker and more agile for his age than he should be. He looked younger too.

After the Capital Building was bombed, people stormed the White House and overcame the Presidential Guard. The old man wasn’t there.

By the time the riots had been put down and Congress restored, the country was a shambles. Ports and ships had been destroyed. Roads in and out of the blue states had been torn up. Power plants operated when they could. Refugees from the coasts invaded the Midwest where they were generally persona non grata. Climate change was wreaking havoc all along the coasts as well. Drought was driving people out of Central America by the millions and the country was in no shape to assimilate them.

I had spent the last three years trying to track the old man down. Turns out I had to track down the devil first. It was easier than I thought it might be. That asshole leaves quite a trail.

All the evidence and lore I had come up with said that if the old man HAD made a deal, he would have to meet with meet with the Prince of Chaos on the ten year anniversary of signing it or the devil could cash it in.

That meant something ought to happen in the next few minutes.

Sure enough, a black car pulled up and a young man got out of the back seat. He was in an ill-fitting suit with a tie that was too long. He stood outside the door to the club and looked in my direction and smiled or smirked – it was hard to tell; the door opened and he stepped inside.

I had laid the charges carefully to minimize damage outside the building. They did their job. There was nothing left. But when the dust began to settle, there were two figures sitting at a table. They both looked in my direction and the man in the ill-fitting suit said, “Come over here. I have a deal for you.”

Shit.