"There is no rest for the wicked, especially one who pretends to serve such as you, Patriarch." The caller replied unamused.
The sleepy-eyed voice was now awake. The voice speaking to him was old, vaguely familiar and yet distant from memory, like a face in an old photo he could not quite place. It would not take long to jog the memory.
"The Motel is open and fully operational. There is a very special room waiting for you, if you ever need to...get away."
Now the memory was clear. All the Patriarch needed was to hear the word "Motel" and he immediately recognized who the voice belong too.
"I must thank you for your contributions, Patriarch. Without Bishop Verrelli the Motel would not have been possible. It is only a matter of time before your own sacrifice will come to fruition, sharing with me in the fruits of our labors."
The Patriarch's silence was all the demon needed to know that, like all the others before him, his agreement had been forged in a pit of doubt, thinking his Lord would never allow such abominations to exist. That His forgiveness would supersede the sins of man and wash away the treason with the ingestion of a few wafers and sips from a community chalice. Never would his LORD and savior stand idly by and watch the world burn. Never would the forces of good observe evil as it reigned across the land unabated by the hand of justice. Marquis Sabnook replied before he had the chance to speak, having had this conversation countless times already.
"I can hear your thoughts. He will not come to your aid. He will not answer your prayers. He will not step in and save you from the hell you assisted in bringing upon the world. And, above all, he will not help you and do you know why, Patriarch? Because you have given him no reason to. Two hundred years of blasphemy, denouncing Him and his son. Spreading your lies to advance your World Order, proclaiming the Gospel as truth where only lies lay, dividing your people into religious sects in order to maintain your control over your flocks, separating the bond He built into each and every one of you monkey's. There is no need to sob. Besides, the guilty do not cry, they leak tiny droplets of respect in order to make room for more dishonor in their hearts."
"You are mistaken, demon. I do not shed a tear for me or my fellow man. I do not worry about God or his Plans, nor do I worry about you and whatever devilish debauchery you have planned for me. You're a mongoloid, a grunt, a thug in Lucifer's horde. You do as you're told and obey as instructed by your master. The Deal I signed up for was one that benefits The Holy Bridge, which spans far and wide, high and low, above and below the surface. I may have given you a way back to Heaven, but, in turn, you have given us a route to Hell and that is what really matters to us, Marquis. The existence of your Motel is just a distraction to the overall goal of the Holy Bridge. Enjoy it, while it last."
The Patriarch was now full of himself. Confident and cocky, so much so, he spoke with a slight chuckle after his words. The Motel was supposed to be a secret. It's purpose an impossibility that the clergy was willing to take in exchange for the power offered to it by the Legion of Hell. It had been a long and difficult journey, beginning with the arrangement made just before news of the Atom bomb had reached President Truman's desk in 1945. Ever since that moment, when the world stopped and took a long hard look at itself, Hell and the Holy Father had worked in tandem with one another, each with his own agenda and never disclosing the details to anyone not within the Black Circle.
"Hmm, yes. You speak of the Judas Priest."
The name startled the Patriarch. There were only three men in the world that knew of his existence. How could he have known?
"Admittedly, I was surprised to learn of him. I was further impressed with his knack for avoiding certain death, even when I intervened personally. Had I known that the faux priest was Judas himself, I might have been a bit more tactful when disposing of his wife and unborn child. But the moment he emerged from the spiral and sprouted wings, well, even I was impressed. Had it not been for Loki, he might have even killed me. Alas, that was then and this...is now."
"You speak as though he is no longer among the living. I spoke to him personally just yesterday."
"When was the last time you connected with the outside, Patriarch? I suspect it has not been for days. Here, allow me."
In front of the bed, a light flickered on the television screen. Moments later, the channel turned until it found a local news station, where a young woman reporter was live on the scene. She wore a thick heavy fur coat and her lips were purple in color from the cold. The patriarch listened as she reported of another approaching storm front, growing from thin air, that spanned the entire continental United States. The producer cut to a digital map as the reporter attempted to try and explain what she had seen. The Patriarch jump out of bed and quickly shuffled over to the window. Outside the manor was at least a foot of snow and falling steadily.
"A nice touch, if you ask my opinion."
When Hell freezes over, he thought. He looked far beyond the large iron gates out front. Somewhere out there, buried in an accumulating snow drift was Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to the map on the television screen, snow had blanketed North America and, if the projections were right, South America would be covered within a day, and Australia by weeks end. There was defeat in the Patriarch's voice.
"Where do we go from here?"
The answer was just as unsettling as the obvious reality before him.
"You can go to hell, for all I care. You all can go to hell as far as I am concerned."
The Patriarch paced the floor, periodically looking out the window, racking his own brain on what to do next. Everything relied on the Judas Priest. He must have stood still for over an hour, before his legs stiffened forcing him to sit on the edge of the bed. He reached for the phone when he suddenly stopped. A small blinking LED light took his attention away from the dial and on to his metal briefcase. He walked over to the small desk, where the briefcase sat, and opened it. The LCD screen lit and his eyes widened with delight. ON the screen was the seal of the Holy Bridge, along with a single line of information. It read.
The Genesis Seed. That is what they called it. I had thought it to be a thing of flesh, something tangible that could make sense of all the things I had seen and yet to bare witness. I had spent months tracking the activity of the Motel, learning about the people who had disappeared there only to learn that some of them were actual versions of myself, caught up in some kind of sadistic time warp that has left me a shattered reflection of the events that lead up to my rebirth. I had come into this a man of doubt. Someone who could make sense of that which had no explanation, no reason, no purpose to the surface. Since opening that door, I have learned that there are many mysteries to the world, most of which come without answers and more that never had them to begin with. I entered that Motel a broken man and emerged, somewhere in time, as an avenging angel of God. My own memory is shot. Just pieces of times when I was one person or another, with flashes of places and people I do not recognize , but feel strongly for nonetheless. I am guided by impulse, which I can not explain nor control. I am pulled towards something that calls to me, when I am awake, when I am asleep, when the wind ceases to blow I can hear it calling to me. I am not sure what it is, but I know I must find it. I know that if I do not, the images I dream about will come to fruition and fire will rage uncontrollably across the plains, burning everything it touches to the ground and killing everything within its path. One thing is clear to me, however, that drives me. It is a solitary grave, without an inscription, standing alone inside a massive graveyard. There is a church ahead lined with demons, standing guard at its gates. Whomever this grave is for is key to it all. I will learn the truth. I will slay the demons in my way. I will kill whomever I need to seek the truth. I will do so in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Lord have mercy, for the Angel shall not!
John stood, hovering over the lifeless demons at his feet, and stretched his wings. His wings arched and caught the air, lifting him. He smelled the air and caught scent of something far to the North. He wasted no time, catching a southerly jet stream under his wings, and darted forth without fail.