Author : J.R. Blackwell, Staff Writer

Lucifer Morningstar stepped out of his sleek black starship and smiled a sharp smile into the barrel of a particle gun. There were twenty armed guards in the hanger, four on the balcony and the rest on the ground, all of them with their sights on his chest.

Lucifer raised his hands, his sharpened silver nails glinting. “I was told this was to be a peaceful exchange,” he said.

A woman in red walked through the line of guards. “It is. I don’t think that I can be blamed for taking precautions. Your reputation is. . .well known.”

“I would hope it should be, Ms. Tirelle,” said Lucifer, holding out his hand. She ignored it. Lucifer laughed. “You want to get down to business? Very well, give him back. “

Ms. Tirelle shook her head. “No, not until you give us Annabelle.”

“Annabelle died on Earth.” Lucifer spread out his arms. “Her mind was scanned, judged and given to me for punishment. She was found to have quite a lot of sins on her soul.” He grinned, his teeth like knives. “Most of her sins were of a sexual nature.”

The woman’s brow furrowed. “She’s not yours to judge Lucifer. She is a legal citizen of the planet Taurus. Unless you want the United Planets pulling down the walls of Hell, you’ll let us have Annabelle.”

“I’m sorry, the united government of Earth, Heaven and Hell, doesn’t acknowledge life on other planets.” Lucifer shrugged his slim shoulders. “But you have found our weakness, Ms. Tirelle. I know very well that you aren’t from the United Planets. If you were, you wouldn’t have resorted to kidnapping.”

“I could destroy you and your ship right now,” she said, hands clenched.

“You could, yes, but then you’d be killing your dear Annabelle as well. She’s on my ship.” Lucifer held up a hand. “If anyone makes an aggressive move against me, the ship will blow and there won’t be a shred of DNA left to rebuild Annabelle.”

“Then you do intend to make the trade.”

“I’ve always intended to make the trade, Ms. Tirelle, but I have to see him first.”

Ms. Tirelle nodded. “Very well,” she said and motioned with her fingers. A black coffin floated toward them. The top was slit with clear glass, under which Lucifer could see the olive skin, golden hair and snowdrift wings of the Archangel Gabriel.

“Open it.” said Lucifer. Ms Tirelle pressed her hands on the top of the coffin and it opened with a soft hiss. Gabriel inhaled sharply. His eyes were like flames, gold and orange.

“Morningstar,” He said. “I knew you were behind this treachery.” Gabriel took Lucifer’s hand and pressed it against his cheek. Their flesh sizzled against one another. “I knew it.”

Lucifer leaned into the coffin, his face close to the archangel. There was a flash of a long black tongue, a whispered word, Gabriel’s eyes closed.

Lucifer snapped his pale fingers and an imp came out of his starship, leading a woman in white robes with chains around her hands and neck. Lucifer picked a key from under his shirt and handed it to Ms. Tirelle. The key was hot to the touch.

“She’s yours,” he said.

Lucifer lifted Gabriel into his arms. The Angel’s wings brushed the grated floor.

“What are you going to tell him?” Asked Ms. Tirelle. “After all he’s seen, you cannot deny our existence.”

“He’ll be told it was a test of faith.”

“You’ll lie to him.”

“I’m the Prince of lies, Ms. Tirelle, it’s what I do.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows