Satan is in a prison cell. He can’t remember how he got in it or how long he’s been there. His legs are scarred and aching. He wears a black and white striped jumpsuit with the number six-hundred and sixty six on the back. All he needs now is a black mask and a giant burlap sack with a dollar sign on it and he’d make a great cartoon bank robber. In his cell are several generic looking criminals and Mr Legion. Satan blinks. There he is: Mr Legion, his personalities flickering around his dark, stony form like back in the old Winchward Beach.
‘They got you too, Archey?’ he asks, dejected.
Satan doesn’t respond. He’s still mulling things over in his head. In the real world, Legion is an army of thousands. Here, he’s somehow condensed into a single form with a single mind. Satan needs a plan, or at least an objective. Something to aim towards; to focus on. Right now he’s simply letting the madness of the dreamworld wash over him. Lilith and Aosoth had already somehow caught him without even trying. If he can’t muster up any kind of agency soon, Satan would be doomed. He hadn’t achieved his status in life idly. He needs to act. He needs to fight.
‘Legion,’ he says. ‘Get me out of here.’
‘No can do, Archey. They’ve got us,’ Mr Legion replies.
Satan stands up and walks over to the section of bench where Mr Legion sits.
‘Satan One didn’t form you to give up when things get tough,’ says Satan. ‘I don’t care how you do it, but you need to get me out of this cell.’
Mr Legion looks at Satan with emptiness in his eyes. He seems different from when Satan was trapped as Archey.
‘I’ll try,’ says Mr Legion.
He stands up and walks to the iron bars of the cell. The hall outside, horizontal to the cell, is light grey concrete, cracked, with the odd section of white paint that has yet to peel off. As Mr Legion grabs ahold of the bars, music begins to waft in from down the hall. Lilith and Aosoth. The second performance. Mr Legion begins to pull on the bars with all his might, but they refuse to budge. Satan decides to help him, but even combined they’re either too weak or the bars are too strong. As if in answer to their struggle, a voice begins to echo from down the corridor in the opposite direction of the sisters’ concert.
‘Stay away from the bars!’ screams the voice, or rather someone screams with a voice. Voices don’t talk. People do. And that person is Beelzebub. He sprints from down the hall, skidding to a stop in front of Satan’s cell. He holds a large ring of keys in his hands.
He fumbles, trying to find the right one, then unlocks the cell and instantly continues running.
‘RUN!’ he shouts.
Satan peeks out of the cell, feeling quite bewildered. Rampaging down the hallway in the direction Beelzebub was running from is a gargantuan, monstrous frog. Satan suddenly understands Beelzebub’s panic, and acts accordingly. Feeling that the cell bars will not offer any kind of protection against the frog, Satan leaps out of the cell and begins to sprint after the Lord of the Flies. The frog’s rumbling croaks echo down the hall. Satan doesn’t look back. He assumes Mr Legion must be following behind. It’s on him if he isn’t. The ground shakes as the frog shuffles down the hall at frightening speeds. The demon sisters’ song reaches a crescendo. Satan skids around a corner, almost losing his footing. He can see the frog’s hulking green form out of the corner of his eye. It’s close. The frog’s slick pink tongue lashes from its maw and whips at Satan’s feet. He focuses on running, trying to ignore the looming amphibious threat at his heels. To his right, between two empty cells, is a plastic door labelled STAFF ONLY. It’s open ajar. Beelzebub’s wiry hand sticks out, frantically gesturing for Satan to enter. Satan gladly complies, flinging the door open, jumping inside and slamming it shut behind him.
The staff room is a luxurious bar, with shelves of assorted alcohol, velvet carpeting, a jukebox and a pool table. Beelzebub sits against the bar, a half-finished bottle of vodka in hand. Sweat runs down his pasty forehead and his red sunglasses are cracked. Satan gestures toward the shaking door. ‘What is this?’ he asks.
‘You know, half your lines since you got back to the Beach have been questions,’ Beelzebub replies. ‘It’s getting pretty annoying, mate.’
Satan ignores his comments. ‘How did you get away from the first concert?’
‘I ran away when I saw the ocean turning red. I figured the sisters were gonna try something. Didn’t wanna be a part of it. Good thing too.’
A guttural croak from the staff room entrance snaps Satan into action. He spots another door by the bar and goes over to try it.
‘You know what really bothers me?’ says Beelzebub. ‘This chapter is called Frogs. Plural.’
A giant pink tongue explodes from the door by the bar and wraps around one of Satan’s horns. He grabs onto the pool table to avoid being sucked into the second frog’s fleshy maw. The other door breaks and the first frog’s tongue flies in, grappling onto Satan’s other horn. He’s being pulled apart like a wishbone.
‘Beelzebub!’ Satan cries. ‘DO SOMETHING!’
‘It’s your dream isn’t it, mate?’
Satan groans in pain. He can feel his skull splitting. ‘I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS DAMNED PLACE!’
‘Well why don’t you find out?’
Satan grits his teeth and tries. He tries something. He doesn’t know what, but he tries. He tenses every muscle in his body and concentrates his willpower on doing something. Satan screws his eyes shut, and when he opens them again he’s holding a giant, sword-shaped slab of iron. His favourite weapon. Satan smiles maniacally. He spins the weapon in one hand as if it’s as light as paper, chopping off the second frog’s tongue in one clean slice. Unfortunately physics still sometimes works in Winchward Beach, and the sudden removal of the second frog’s tongue means the first’s rebounds, pulling Satan straight into its froggy mouth. Satan drops his weapon in surprise. He anchors his feet to either side of the frog’s throat as his horn slowly breaks in half under the strength of the tongue. He tries to summon his weapon again but it seems it was a one-time use deus ex machina. A flickering hand bursts from the frog’s throat and grabs onto its tongue, followed by a head and body.
‘Thanks for leaving me back there, Billiard,’ says Mr Legion.