“Heaven?” I echoed feebly. “How did I get here?”
“When I made you my successor,” my great grandfather explained, “I didn’t necessarily break the rules, but I defied certain…precedents. You weren’t the usual devil stock, I guess you could say. You weren’t wholly good, of course, but your actions, though often selfish or mean, weren’t necessarily evil. The spell that I used to make you my replacement wasn’t the usual simple blood-swap spell. And this is one of its special abilities, in a way.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“I used an obscure, arcane variation on the usual spell that gives you a kind of invulnerability,” he said. “You’ve retained more of your humanity than the run-of-the-mill devil and when you die, your human body gets sent here—to Heaven. The second spell, which I am about to inject you with, returns you to your reanimated devil body back in Hell.”
I blinked. “So…I’m basically an undead devil now?” I summarized.
He shrugged. “If you want to phrase it that way, sure.”
“But why did you do all that?” I asked. “Why pick me as your successor? Why not use the usual spell? Why keep sending me back to Hell?”
He held up the syringe in response. “This needs to be administered within a certain time frame for it to work,” he said. “So I’ll just say that, as the devil, you are an asset. You’re doing good things down there whether you realize it or not.”
“I’m an asset? To what?”
“To Heaven,” he said.
Had I not been so frail, I probably would have been much angrier. I was working up a hefty frustration, though. “How am I an asset to Heaven as the devil?” I pressed.
“Look, there’s no time now,” he answered, speaking with urgency. He grabbed my arm tightly and jabbed me with the syringe. “Everything will be explained to you eventually, but right now, you need to go back.”
“But what am I supposed to do?” I protested.
He used his thumb to expertly inject the liquid into my bloodstream. “Do what you’ve been doing,” he advised. “I know you’re flying blind right now, but that will change down the road. I used the spell that left you more of your humanity on purpose. I think you can safely rely on your instincts to know what to do in the meantime.”
I groaned. “But…but….” I could feel myself slipping away.
As my vision swam and faded, my great grandfather hovered over me with a smile. “Make me proud, boy,” he said. And then everything went dark again. This shit was getting old.
What felt like a second later, I woke up on the floor of my office, still partway in my chair, smeared in my own blood.
It was time to get back to work.