Melloch revelled in the heat and hate of Hell. He adored every realm but being invited to the Lake of Fire was an extraordinary delight. He rejoiced in the charred remains, the ungodly sin that hung heavy in the air. It was paradise.
He stood quietly on a bank made of ash and pumice and waited. Soon the Dark Lord would appear and Melloch would be humbled by his presence. Satan was not just a demon, he was every demon. Commander in Chief of the five realms of Hell, Melloch knew that Satan valued all of his generals, but he wanted more. He longed to be loved by his Master, to be adored. But Satan had never seen past his most cherished child, the original fallen angel Lucifer. Sometimes he wondered if the Dark Lord adored Lucifer even more than his own daughter Astaroth.
Astaroth was Satan’s only child, the first born of Eve, the seed planted when he slithered into the garden and defied God’s ingenious plan. The Bible never mentioned Astaroth of course, she was a blight on God’s history, a testament to the fact that Satan, not Adam, had been the first to slide inside God’s little whore. There in the blessed Garden of Eden, she had been spread open and broken apart. And He had been none the wiser. As Astaroth grew, God became smitten with her beauty. Completely unaware of the evil that ran through her veins, and so lovely was she, that He bequeathed her the world. But venom and deceit soon spilt from her lips like poison. Her forked tongue lied and murder dripped from her fingers. Heartbroken, God had no choice but to cast her from the Heavens, where down below her father waited with open arms. Melloch just loved the true original sin, the pure wickedness of it.
At his feet molten ripples spread out across the lake like a lie. He was coming. Melloch stood up straight and rubbed his hands together in excitement. What delectable task would he be given as reward for planning the rise of the Reaper Army? No other demon had figured it out. No other general had sensed the change in the atmosphere above. They were all too busy inciting rage, jealousy, hate and lust, but not Melloch. He had bigger plans. He had found a way to lead Hell’s army onto the earthly realm and stay there. And now he would be richly rewarded.
When the Dark Lord broke the surface Melloch gasped in awe. He fell to one knee and bowed to his Master. When Satan spoke, Melloch heard his voice, not through his ears but in his mind. The sound penetrated his brain like a thousand tiny fingers poking and pulling at his insides. It was rapture. When Melloch asked permission to look upon his Master and it was granted, he raised his head to gaze upon the Dark Lord in wonder. Charred skin stretched across bulging muscle and sinew. Burning embers glowed inside his chest and a two-headed serpent hissed and coiled from his right hand. Melloch braced himself as his eyes rose higher. Jagged teeth protruded from his Master’s mouth, and in his eyes swam the reflection of thousands of souls, trapped and screaming.
“Master,” Melloch began. “I worship the Dark Lord and am humbled by your presence. Tell me, how may I serve you?”
Melloch closed his eyes and waited with anticipation for his instructions, but when they came, instead of rapture his body ignited with jealousy and rage. “Master, I implore you,” he began, but suddenly he was face down on the bank as Satan’s flaming whip lashed across his back.
Scalding heat seared into his flesh and he cried out in pain. “Forgive me Master, I was wrong to question you. It would be my great honour to carry out your orders. Forgive me my Lord. I am but your humble servant.”