By Penelope Downs, AKA Doc

Disclaimer: This is the second sequel to the story Getting the Devil into Heaven, which is humorous spin-off from a tale in The Decameron. I decided to write this after I received more e-mail messages asking me to continue the story. It looks like there be further sequels, too. FYI--WordWarior is recording the first three stories in the series. Once I have the time, I plan to digitize her recording and convert it to MP3 to post on the Web. The characters in this story are mine and I own the copyright. Use without my permission is prohibited. Any resemblance to a person, dead or alive, is unintentional. If you under 18 years of age, are offended by same sex romances, or it's illegal to read about it where you live, stop now and read no further.

The she-devil and Mach had been summoned to Bel's private quarters in Michael's mansion. Like the expert master devil that he was, Bel intentionally was late, making them stew and fret longer. He truly loved to get his devils worked up before making a grand entrance that would almost cause them to faint. Vi and Mach paced nervously on opposite sides of the room, having decided to stay apart so they wouldn't have to worry about striking each other with their tails, which twitched uncontrollably. (Both had given up any hope of controlling their tails. Tail twitching had long been known to be a sign of trepidation in Bel's presence, actual or announced. It would have been futile for the two devils to have tried to hide their nervousness. Bel prided himself on striking fear in his subordinates and was able to smell it in the air.)

Vi and Mach were no strangers to Bel's modus operandi. Each of them had served stints working for various major and not-so-major officials in Hell and had been afforded the opportunity to observe him working. Both actually had admired his style when they had the luxury of merely being observers. However, it was a different matter when they were about to be the victims. Vi began making sounds that were best described as something between a sigh and a hiss. Mach cast a glance at her. That noise was not a good sign. Vi's nervousness was beginning to metamorphose into anger. Mach worried that if Bel didn't make his entrance soon that Vi would get so agitated that she might do something that both devils would regret. He had visions again of the she-devil bloodying their boss. He stopped, looked at her and spoke.

"Vi, please calm down. You know that you have a problem controlling your anger when you get this worked up."

The she-devil abruptly stopped pacing, turned and snarled at her friend. "Damn him, Mach. I swear his timing was intentional. I was just about to . . . well, you know." (Although devils weren't supposed to be shy, Vi bucked the trend. She had never enjoyed bragging about her sex life, unlike most of her colleagues.)

She cast her eyes downward and continued. "Why in the hell he had to send one of those huge guards of Michael's is beyond me. Let me tell you, I may have permanent problems. I mean, the angel just stepped up and tapped me on the shoulder although he could see what we were doing. There was no warning, he didn't make any noises that would have given me the opportunity to tactfully have stopped before he came up to us. It scared me, and believe me that is not a good thing to happen to you when you're . . ." Vi stopped, clasped her hands behind her back and shook her head.

Mach suppressed a chuckle. He knew that Vi would have hit him if he had laughed out loud. Instead, he moved near her and asked another question. "Your little friend seems quite bold. Did she rebuke the big lug for his lack of manners?"

The she-devil took a deep breath and then sighed at the mention of the little blonde angel. "Well, not a first. She was too preoccupied. It seems my first reaction to being startled was to . . ." Vi was tongue-tied again. "She liked the feeling and embraced me tighter. It was only when he persisted in demanding that I accompany him back here that she got mad."

Mach quirked his eyebrows. "What did she do?"

Vi leaned toward Mach and replied in a low voice. "She used language that I would never have expected to hear from an angel. She was quite graphic in her description of what she would do to various parts of his anatomy if he did leave us alone 'til she was satisfied that I was sated. She must have scared him more than his boss because he backed away, told her that she had to have me back here within fifteen minutes and then ran."

Mach slapped Vi on the shoulder. "It looks like you have a little hellion on your hands my friend. You'll be the envy of all devils. She'll take good care of you. I bet if they don't let us stay here that she'll find a way to follow us back to Hell."

Vi just shook her head. "She's something. She was very disappointed that after my scare I couldn't finish what we had started--that's the only reason I got back here on time. I think she would have made Bel wait if I had been able to continue. She has developed quite an appetite herself, if you know what I mean." Vi playfully poked Mach, making a face as she did so.

As the two devils cavorted with each other, they failed to realize that Bel, having abandoned the idea of making a grand entrance, had entered the room quietly. They didn't even notice him until he cleared his throat. When they realized it was he, they grimaced and stood at attention. The new mannerisms that their leader was displaying had them off guard and uncomfortable. Bel had always been somewhat unpredictable. He did it intentionally to keep everyone in Hell on their toes, so to speak. Now, he was becoming inscrutable. Vi and Mach realized life in Hell was going to be much more difficult. Even more reason for them to stay behind.

"Well you two," Bel began in an uncharacteristically quiet tone, "I've made up my mind. Do you want to know what I decided to do?"

Vi and Mach looked at each other. Normally, Bel wasn't direct. He liked to play with his devils and string them along just to see their nervous reactions. Neither of the devils could believe that he would be willing to tell them what he decided so quickly, unless he had rejected the idea of leaving them behind as sort-of-ambassadors. Both devils suddenly had dejected looks on their faces. Then he shocked them again by laughing. (They had always been reprimanded for laughing or smiling. Their superiors had always instructed them that it was not appropriate behavior. The company line was that one was not in Hell to have fun. The boss was setting a very bad example by breaking one of the cardinal rules of behavior in Hell.)

"You two need to lighten up." Bel said with a smile. "You're predictable. I know what you're thinking. Just remember that I make the rules and I can change them at anytime. While I'm here, I'll act differently. It's expected. I had further discussions with Michael. We've agreed that we need to improve our communications. I've decided that you two will stay here to serve as my representatives. You'll be returning with me to Hell. There are some things you need to be briefed on, but you should be ready to return within a week. Michael's actually sending a couple of his angels with us so they can get a better idea of what devils are like. I expect you two to keep an eye on them when you're not busy yourselves. Is that understood?"

Vi and Mach looked at each other and then at Bel. They said, almost simultaneously, "Yes."

"Then get out of here." Bel replied. He watched the two devils almost run out of the room.

The first person whom Vi and Mach met as they ran out of Bel's quarters was the little angel. She stepped right in the she-devil's path, intentionally blocking her way. "Guess what," she said. Vi cast an irritated look at the blonde and, putting her hands on her hips and quirking her eyebrows, replied. "I don't like surprises. Just tell me."

The petite blonde smiled at Vi and said excitedly, "I get to accompany you when you go back to Hell. I finally will get to see where you live. Michael also said that I can make the arrangements for your housing here."

Vi didn't say anything immediately. She wasn't so sure that it was a good idea to let the little angel go to Hell. She had grown quite fond of her and worried about her safety. The angel definitely would be the center of attraction, especially since there were no anatomically correct female devils. Vi wondered how she would be able to keep her little friend out of harm's way. She began thinking and totally forgot about Mach and her love. Mach decided to excuse himself so that the two lovers could have some privacy. The little angel, interpreted Vi's silence as anger. She almost began to cry.

"You don't want me to go, do you? What's wrong, you have a lover there whom you don't want me to meet?"

The angel began sobbing. Vi was roused from her thoughts. The last thing she had wanted to do was make the angel cry. She stepped toward her and tried to pull her into a hug, but the little angel swatted her away.

Vi said defensively. "Please love. It's not that. I'm worried about you. Hell's a dangerous place and, despite what you think, devils can be very nasty. I don't want you to get hurt."

The angel relented to Vi's attempts to get close to her, letting the she-devil hold her. She, in turn, hugged Vi and looked up into her blue eyes. "Vi, love, as long as you're with me I'll be safe. Don't worry, I'm not going to look at any other devils. You're the only one for me. Now, let's go to my apartments." Vi silently followed her love. She decided she'd take Mach aside in the morning and work out a strategy to protect her angel.

The next morning Mach suppressed a smile as he watched a very tired-looking Vi protectively hold onto the little angel as they moved through the delegation of devils. He suspected that his friend hadn't gotten any sleep. He made a mental note not to tease her since he didn't want to be punched in the face. Whe she saw him, Vi shouted. "I need to speak to you." Mach nodded his head and began to make his way toward the strange-looking pair. When he reached them, Vi pulled him closer so she could whisper in his ear.

"Look, my friend is one of the angels accompanying us. We've got to figure out how to protect her. You know what Hell is like. I just bet some low life will put the moves on her first thing upon our arrival."

Mach whispered in response. "Vi, I don't think you should worry. Bel's extended his protect to the entire delegation from Heaven. No devil would be stupid enough to incur his wrath. Anyway, enough of Michael's guards are coming. They'll keep an eye on her when you're not around."

Vi didn't respond, but she wasn't convinced that the little angel wouldn't be in danger, at least when she wasn't in her presence. Vi tightened her hold on the blonde and scowled at any devil that was stupid enough to stare at her. 'Well, I'll just have to be alert at all times.' She thought to herself.

Once Bel arrived with the rest of the entourage from Heaven that was going to journey to Hell, the delegation headed out. The little angel was bright-eyed even though she hadn't gotten any sleep the night before. She was finally going to learn what life was like on the other side and was excited. She figured that Hell had to be a lot more interesting than Heaven. As they approached a massive gate, she looked up at the entrance and asked Vi what the sign above it said. Vi looked at it and smiled, realizing that her love didn't read Italian. She replied. "Well, Bel liked the Italian version that was printed up in Alighieri's tour book so he lifted it. It reads:

'Through me the way into the woeful city.

Through me the way to the eternal pain.

Through me the way among the lost people.

Justice moved my maker on high; divine power, supreme wisdom and primal love made me.

Before me, nothing was created but eternal things and I endure eternally.

Abandon every hope, ye that enter.'

Unfortunately, it's a pretty accurate description of the place. Don't expect too much my love. Most importantly, stay near me."



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