CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE
“You have to wait three minutes,” Jeraine said.
The God of the Underworld blinked at Jeraine, and Lucifer shook his head. Jeraine pointed to the digital clock on the stove.
“Hours,” Jeraine said pointed to the hours and then to the minutes. “Minutes.”
Hades and Lucifer went to the stove to touch the clock.
“Wait for three of these to pass and we’ll try the tea,” Jeraine said.
He turned away and went into the pantry. He took out the ladder and climbed up to just under the rafters.
“What are you doing?” Hades asked.
“Getting your cookies,” Jeraine said. “We make them in batches and put them in tins so that we always have some. But we have three teenaged boys so we have to hide them.”
“Why is that?” Hades asked.
“They will eat through these tins and anything else,” Jeraine passed Hades the tin of cookies and then another. “Ginger and chocolate chip.”
The God of the Underworld nodded. A thought occurred to Jeraine. If they knew what an amazing woman Sandy was, they might not be upset that she was staying on earth.
“You might like to try some cake,” Jeraine said. “Sandy makes the best cakes. That’s the woman whose soul was stolen from you.”
The God of the Underworld grunted. Jeraine put the ladder away and went to the refrigerator’s freezer. He took out an already prepared chocolate cake.
“This is frozen,” Jeraine said.
“Frozen?” Hades asked. “Like lakes in winter?”
“Like in there,” Jeraine said.
Hades and Lucifer looked inside the freezer. They opened and closed the door a few times to see how it worked. In the meantime, Jeraine took out a large knife and began to cut the cake.
“Now, you both said you work for Abi,” Jeraine asked.
“We have taken over some of her duties,” Hades said. “My brother, Poseidon, has taken over the seas from Abi’s brother, Gilfand.”
“And what does Lucifer do?” Jeraine asked.
His eyes flicked to Lucifer and then back to Hades. He gave Hades a quick nod to encourage him to speak.
“Do you know of people who live in great shame? Great self-loathing?” Hades asked. “These people can barely take a breath without feeling as if their very existence blots out the sun.”
“They are depressed,” Jeraine said.
“Come now, Mr. Smith,” Hades said. “You know better than that.”
Jeraine gave the barest nod.
“This kind of thing had not been seen in other species,” Hades said. “The single celled creatures and early invertebrates had none of it. It did not exist in the creatures you call ‘Dinosaurs.’ Not in most of the creatures on this planet …”
“Add a humanoid brain,” Abi said from the table.
“Yes,” Hades said. “As soon as a creature can think about himself, we see this kind of self torture.”
“Doesn’t it come from being abused?” Jeraine asked. “It’s not really self-torture.”
“It is often started in abuse — torture at the earliest ages,” Hades said. “Certainly. In a humanoid brain, the torture is internalized. The self-rage grows and grows. For a moment of abuse, there can be decades of self-torture, self-rage, and self-loathing. This kind of thing does great damage to the soul.”
“I take care of them,” Lucifer said.
“What does that mean?” Confused, Jeraine wrinkled his nose and shook his head.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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