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Lucifer arrived early that day, and he seemed to have found a little of his happy past. He looked down at the chess board, at a pawn, and wondered what he would be like.

Peter was not at the gate today, in his place stood an angel whose wings seemed large for her small dainty body. She kept herself busy by drawing heart shapes on a small floating cloud. She would draw a heart, then pierce the cloud with her hand, only to piece the cloud back together and repeat the drawing.

Lucifer looked up at the fence, he had never really taken time to examine it before. He had only seen it as something that reminded him of his undoing. It was not made of gold like humans thought, but rather, like most of known heaven, it was made of those magical moistureless clouds. Also, there were no gates, only a place were the fence gave way to a large arc. There was no need for a gate to keep him out, only His will. Lucifer could enter heaven any time he chose, but he would not until He chose to forgive him.

Finaly, as his impatience peaked, Lucifer saw Peter, and behind him walked two young boys. At first Lucifer thought that one of them might be Cupid, but as they came closer he was sure that this was not so.

As he approached, Peter waved to Lucifer and said, “Sorry, for the delay, Old One, but the council didn’t let out quite as early as I had expected. I brought for your meeting two angels who just finished their education. The highest in their class.” In answer to the puzzled look on Lucifer’s face, Peter answered, “The council decided that two angels would not be as easy for you to persuade. This is Joel Howe, from Maryland, and Marc Labont√©, from Ottawa.”

“If you don’t mind, Peter, I’d rather not play chess today. I had hoped that we, the four of us, could go and talk on those clouds,” suggested Lucifer.

They sat and talked about earth, mankind, and heaven. Whenever the conversation switched from the happenings of earth to those of heaven, Lucifer would always press for more information on humans. Joel, he learned, had been reborn three times, and he finished his last term at the age of fourteen, saving a drowning child. Marc had been reincarnated six times, at his final period on earth he was an old bachelor who, on a morning walk, saved the life of a young boy who was almost rundown by a truck. They both felt that their last time on earth was the one that made up the majority of their present personalities.

“Why are the angels so formal?” asked Joel.

“Unfortunately they, excluding Peter here, are quite content with their present knowledge. They don’t have the need to learn like humans, and if they did, they lost it long ago. Things are run here to a perfectionist’s standard and must remain that way. It wasn’t always like that; at one time everyone would raise hell. Uhm. If you will excuse the expression.”

At hearing the curse, Peter blushed, and decided to ignore the occurrence. “In defense of the council, I must say that downtown heaven has never been so organized, and even God himself said everything was perfect.”

“Was that before or after he went on his holiday?” asked Lucifer. Peter ignored the comment, but one could tell that it had upset him. “I’m sorry Peter, I was only being bitter.”

“I do believe we should be going now. I will see you soon Lucifer. And we shall play chess, and once again, I shall beat you.” Saint Peter stood up and began to slowly walk away.

Lucifer grimaced and said his fairwells to the earth-angels. Just before the two boys left him Lucifer said, “If you ever do meet Him, tell ‘im I miss Him.”

Marc and Joel walked silently, they still could not fly comfortably, to their house in the Eden suburb. A few angels were still out flying, but Marc and Joel had most heaven to themselves this night. They began to talk when they felt the less trodden clouds under their feet.

“I told you he wouldn’t have horns,” said Joel.

“He didn’t even have a tail, and he had feet just like us.”

“What exactly did he do wrong to be expelled from heaven?” asked Joel.

“Well I had read that he wanted to take God’s place, but from what I saw today, unless he changed a lot, he doesn’t seem that bad. But there are other things that just don’t piece together. I have read that almost a third of heaven’s angels went with him. He is definitely alone now,” said Marc.

“In any case he sure is a handsome devil,” joked Joel.