Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
TITLE: Route 666
By Brad Paulson
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“Very well, off we go.”
The engine started, the transmission was slammed into drive and the accelerator was shoved to the floor. The passenger’s heads snapped backward as the driver spun around and began to cackle. His blood red eyes examined his demonic cargo. A mass of charred flesh, open sores and yellow fangs peered back at him. “Not much to look at,” he thought to himself, “but they never are.” The sulfuric yellow gasses and glow of red embers began to diminish as light seeped into the van. The demons had to shield their eyes as they finally broke through the haze and into the sunshine of the city.
“This is one of the seediest areas in town.” Adult book stores, bars, and strip joints lined the streets. A few transient souls roamed aimlessly, pausing occasionally to drink from the brown paper bags that concealed their addictions.
“As you can see, there is little work to be done here. Many demons before you have labored diligently to create an environment in which any soul, who is willing to succumb to the desires of his flesh, can find a playground. Coming up on our left, however, is the rose among the thorns where you might find an interesting challenge.” The passengers strained and squinted as the ‘Union Gospel Mission’ came into view. The large cross that stood prominently atop the mission made some of the demons gasp.
“We have lost many souls to this mission. However, it is ‘their’only place of refuge in this glorious sea of our dominance. The amount of effort it would take to produce so little fruit is hardly worthwhile. Our next area of interest is likely to provide a much more abundant bounty and is where most of you will be assigned.”
The van lurched forward, dodging in and out of traffic that didn’t seem to notice they were there. They slowed down when they reached a tree lined street. The manicured landscaping and expensive parked cars indicated that this was an affluent part of town. There were several churches interspersed between strip malls that contained upscale shops and restaurants.
“At first glance this might seem like a stronghold for the enemy, and perhaps within the church walls that may be true, they always seem to do better in large numbers. But, eventually every church service ends and these souls disperse and go in various directions. The coffee shop on our left has great potential for us to win souls through gossip and betrayal. One bad sermon from a young pastor and this place could be all abuzz about how to throw the bum out on his ear. The potential is endless. If you look up ahead, you’ll see a health club where a number of church folks go to impress each other and flaunt their disgusting earthly vessels. This is a gold mine for our side in respect to envy, lust, and a host of other wedges that can help drive them to our side.”
A voice from the back of the van interrupted the driver. “I’m a little concerned about working here. When I was on earth I used to spend time here and I became friends with many of the people. I think I will be less effective trying to condemn souls that I cared about.”
“Silence!” The driver screamed as he lunged over the seats taking the passenger by the neck, “Are you so stupid that you thought you could actually pick your assignment? These souls that you don’t want to condemn are the reason you’re here. They had an opportunity to impact your destiny and did nothing. But trust me, a little more time in the lake of fire and you will be clamoring to pull them down into eternal torment with you.”
For a few moments the van was silent as the driver crawled back up into the front seat.
“Compassion has no business in Hell,” he said as the van began to move forward, “Now, up ahead you’ll find another excellent haunt where we’ve had great success,” the driver pointed his withered finger at a video movie rental store.
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