I find myself back at monster graduate school. The semester is about to start up in a few days and we picnic in monster caves, play living chess in quarters that look straight out of Hogwarts, add and drop classes, and of course, buy enchanted books that sometimes try to eat your finger if you aren’t careful.
It is bring your spiritual guardians to school day, a mixer the head of the student council thought up to give students from all cultures of the world exposure to all the pantheons. I handwrite invitations to Samael and Michael, expecting them to be too busy to even reply. Instead, they show up at the last minute when I am up on stage before my cohorts, answering questions about Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, and general Abrahamic practices.
Suddenly, in plumes of red and blue smoke, Michael and Samael materialize besides me decked in armor and cloaks.
“Sorry I’m late, Allie. I got held up fighting off demons,” Michael says, blushing as he adjusts his blue cloak.
Samael smirks. “I was about to pound his head into the dirt when we got your summons.”
Michael grits his teeth, then looks at the homemade banner I have made for my extra-credit Abrahamic presentation, and flexes his bulging biceps. “So, ahem, anyone have any questions for me?”
One of the students raises her hands: “Who exactly are you?”
Michael hates the spotlight, I can tell, and winces at the bright lights. He is much more at home leading choirs in prayer or on the battlefield. “Wonderful question. You see, I am Archangel Michael, or Saint Michael, defender of all the people of the world-”
“From me!” Samael interjects.
“- yes, from him, and from negative forces. I am the defender of the Israelites, the right hand of God, an angel of death, heaven’s general, and even the angel of police. Archangels take on many different roles in service of humanity. Any other questions?”
A young man’s hand shoots up. “How many wings do you have?”
Michael smiles softly and spreads his golden white pinions. “Six.”
Samael pumps his open. “You lose, Mikey. I have twelve.”
“Samael, please, wait for your turn to speak,” Michael says patiently.
Samael yawns and stretches. “Whatever, stick up the ass,” he mutters.
I scuff my shoes in embarrassment. “Alright, um, thanks everyone. Any questions for Sam?”
“Are you really the Devil?”
“The Chief of Satans, yes. Don’t come crying to me if you wind up in Hell, no one tempted you there. We all fall of our own accord.”
I narrow my eyes at Sam, he winks. I curse inwardly.
Another question: “Where is Heaven and Hell? Isn’t Hell full of flames?”
“That offends me, young woman. Heaven is a bit above and Hell a bit below. Heaven is full of boring blowhards and fruity men in gowns and Hell is the most happening place in the otherworlds – the only flames you will find are at the steakhouses where we eat mortals like you.”
“That’s not true, Samael, you’re scaring the children,” Michael says, voice steely.
“Better than lying and saying all is sunshine and roses like angels do.”
“I’m taking Allie home, you’re a bad influence,” Michael says, shielding me from Samael with his gigantic wing.
“I don’t think so, she likes Hell and my place better, it has more bars and plus I have a motorcycle,” Samael sneers, tugging at my arm.
“You mean your home smells like a bar, Sam,” I mutter.
“You’re delusional,” Michael sighs, grabbing hold of my other arm. “She enjoys nature and peaceful tranquility, not your disgusting habits and demonic friends that are always trying to get her into trouble.”
They keep pulling at me and I feel like my arms will come off like a Mr. Potatohead doll.
“As if! Heaven is a snoozefest compared to Hell. Young people like parties. Attractive men like myself. Not prematurely old archangels whose greatest talent is gardening.”
“Guys, we’re still on stage,” I plead.
The audience is rapt. “Do angels and demons always fight like this?” my best friend asks.
I nod a solemn yes.