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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic






Satan watched as Arturo approached the gates of hell. Since time began, archangels have come down to save souls that weren’t destined to be here. Satan enjoyed these encounters, even though he already knew the outcome. He would dispatch his demons, who were no match for the archangels, and in the end he would relent and set one or two souls free. There was little to amuse him in eternity and he was not about to fall prey to his own temptations of pride or spite. Satan also knew that Arturo was the most powerful archangel. Arturo’s power was second only to God’s.

Arturo came up to the gates, and Satan asked the question he had asked over and over for centuries, “Which soul have you come for this time”. Arturo’s eyes were ablaze as he pointed through the gates. “All of them,” he said in a loud voice.

Satan smiled in disbelief and almost laughed out loud, but checked himself. He decided to let it pass. He dispatched two legions of his demons to protect the gates. A legion was twenty demons.


Arturo raised his sword and rushed forward, letting out a battle cry. He had to slow down, so that the sound could reach them before his sword struck. It did, and the demons were trembling as he tore through them with his sword. All of the archangels carried a sword called the “Right Hand of God”. The battle was over quickly, and Arturo approached the gates again. He could see the multitudes suffering as he approached. Fighting back his anger, he pointed through the gates. “ALL OF THEM”, he shouted.

Satan immediately grew angry. He turned to his disciples and snarled, “Get all of your brothers up here and defend these gates. Thousands upon thousands of demons assembled at the gates of hell. They were ready for battle, with swords, spears, arrows, and all manner of weapons. Arturo had to take a step backward to better see the army before him. He wasn’t afraid, he just had never seen this many demons assembled together at one time.

Now as Arturo was standing at the gates of hell, and he looked at the army of demons before him, there was no hesitation in his heart. He raised his sword, and again let out his battle cry. This time the ground shook beneath the demons, and they looked apprehensive.

Arturo was about to leap forward, when he turned to see something no man or angel had ever seen before; an army of thousands archangels coming down from heaven, along with a hundred times as many angels for support.

Arturo turned back towards the gates. This time he was smiling. He started praying out loud so his pride wouldn’t distract him. The army of demons was now trembling. Arturo raised his sword again and again he let out his battle cry and rushed forward. With Arturo leading the way, the army of archangels smashed through the gates of hell, with the force of a nuclear weapon. In that first wave of fighting, a quarter of Satan’s army was wiped out, and enough ground had been taken for the angels who were not in battle, to start ministering to the souls that were suffering in hell.

Unknown to Arturo, God was in the background, guiding them all. For the first time since there was time, the one true God was standing inside the gates of hell.

When Satan saw this, he became enraged, and sprang forward to lead his army. Some of them had turned to run, and he killed them out of spite, as he rushed forward. Then he joined the fight and the rest of his demons were encouraged to fight on. The archangels were fighting back with a purpose and the battle was growing. As the archangels advanced deeper into hell, Satan’s determination grew stronger. Some of the archangels were falling to Satan’s sword and others were falling to the temptations of hell.

The angels in the back were ministering to the archangels who had fallen as well as those souls that were condemned to hell. God was offering absolution to all who would accept it.

Arturo was making his way further and further into hell. He had already slain hundreds of demons and was praying out loud to avoid the temptations before him. As he grew weary, he was starting to feel the stings from the arrows, and the cuts from the swords.

His arms and his back were covered in gashes. He broke through line after line of demons, until finally he found himself face to face with Satan.

Satan and Arturo had never fought each other. They were equal in power and their skills had never been tested against one another. Neither hesitated and they flew at each other with swords raised. Their swords clashed over and over as they battled for an advantage. The demons and archangels near them had stopped fighting to watch their superiors fight with skills beyond their own. This battle went on for sometime, with no apparent winner. Satan and Arturo were both growing weary and both were landing blows with their swords with little or no apparent effect. Finally Satan stopped the fight. He had lost much in this war and needed to cut his losses. “You cannot kill me Arturo, nor I you. You and I know that this was part of God’s plan since the beginning. I want to offer you a truce.”

Arturo answered. “It’s true. I cannot kill you; for now; not until judgment day. Then your kingdom will end, and I will be here to end it. That is also part of God’s plan. There will never be a truce between us. The losses your army has suffered today were yours to lose as you chose, but the souls I came for, were never yours to take, and never yours ?

to lose. I am not leaving without all of the souls that don’t belong here. What could you possibly offer, that could stop this battle?”

Satan smiled. “I can accept those losses. I know you and your fellow archangels will be back again, and again, until judgment day. But, I am growing tired of this fight and have much to do between now and that day. So, I have something to offer you, to end this battle. Yes, you can take with you all those who go willingly, but there is someone I will not give up if you don’t go now.” Satan turned and pointed to a figure in the distance.  Tears started to sting Arturo’s eyes as he recognized his brother, and rage started welling up inside him.

Satan spoke again. “You haven’t noticed that years have gone by, on earth, since this battle began. You were too busy to notice that I left for a short time. In that time your brother died and fell to my powers of persuasion. Now he is mine. So, I ask you again, do we have a deal?”

Arturo regained his composure, and replied, “No, deal. You know I will not make deals with the devil. I came here for all of them and I will leave with nothing less. I won’t trade any soul for another. Those that won’t leave will never leave, no matter how long we fight. If you bring my brother to me now and give up all who accept absolution; that will conclude my business here. If you don’t, this fight will go on for another hundred years if necessary."

Satan smiled. “Your way sounds so much better.” Satan signaled for Arturo’s brother to be brought forward.

With his brother by his side, and with the fighting over, Arturo gave the order for the army of archangels to close ranks and hold the line between the demons and the angels, so that as many souls as possible could be saved. Most of them were willing to accept absolution, but there were many who belonged here, who could not accept the one true God. The line of archangels, still thousands strong, began pulling back as the angels cleared the way. When they were nearing the place where the gates of hell used to be, Arturo caught a glimpse of a figure that could only be the one and only true God.

He made his way over, and knelt before God, who had taken a form that all the angels could see now. God touched Arturo and all his scars from centuries of fighting as well as those from this battle disappeared.

Then Arturo spoke, “you are displeased with me, Lord, for all of this”; Arturo waved his sword at the path of destruction he had created.


God spoke; “Arturo, this day was inevitable. I am proud of you for what you have accomplished here. The strength of your faith and your compassion for those who are suffering, is why I have given you the power, that you have.”


I don’t understand; why didn’t you send me here sooner?


God smiled; “There is so much for you to learn. You came here as fast as you could. Look around you, Arturo. You told Peter that man should not fear death. These souls had much to fear. Satan will take any soul whose faith is not strong. Many still refuse to believe in me, even now, as I stand here before them. They weren’t ready; said God, as he pointed to the multitude of souls that had been rescued. Thousands of new archangels have been forged here today. You are going to need their help, Arturo. They are ready to help you with your task of saving souls. Imagine the world without my church. Societies rely on churches to help connect people with the laws of man. The laws of God influence the laws of man. Without the fear of death, man could not exist. It has been a paradox since the beginning, but a necessary one.

I want to show you what would happen if this were not so. God touched Arturo and he was able to see the earth under these new circumstances. Almost every corner of the world was at war. Governments and social services no longer exist. There were no churches, and no religions. People had lost all faith and reason to pray. Everyone was fighting over food and property and gold.

Then Arturo was back, standing before God. God spoke again; You were right about one thing, Arturo. The modern day church has tipped the balance in Satan's favor.

From now on, you will help Peter to balance life and death for man. You and Peter will work together to bring back the balance between heaven and hell. There are six billion souls waiting to be saved. What will you tell them, Arturo?”

Submitted: April 21, 2012

© Copyright 2022 JOHN FRYXELL. All rights reserved.

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