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Satan and the Comrades   By:

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This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe, September 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

It is not always easy to laugh at Satan, or take pleasure in his antics. But when the Prince of Darkness goes on a vacation or holds a mirror up to human nature at its most Luciferian chuckles are certain to arise and follow one another in hilarious profusion. Here is a yarn contrived by a craftsman with ironic lightning bolts at his fingertips, as mordantly compelling as it is jovial and Jovian. If you liked SATAN ON HOLIDAY , and were hoping for a sequel you can now rejoice in full measure, for Ralph Bennitt has provided that longed for delight.


by ... Ralph Bennitt

Lucifer wasn't sure that just the right improvements had been made in Hell. So he used a dash of sulfur with Satanic skill.

Nick felt almost good humoredly buoyant after his year's holiday as a college boy. About a second after leaving Earth he slowed his traveling speed down to the medium velocity of light by shifting from fifth dimension to fourth. Though still a million miles above the wastes of Chaos and twice that distance from the gates of Hell, his X ray eyes were quick to discern a difference in the road far below him.

Sin and Death had built that broad highway eons before. On leaving Hell, presumedly forever to carry on their work among men, they had done a mighty good job of the original construction. But time had worked its ravages with the primrose lined path, and it was not surprising that on starting his sabbatical leave, Nick had ordered his chief engineer to repair the road as a first step in his plan to modernize Hell.

Apparently, old Mulciber had done a bang up job, and Nick roared in laughter at evidences of the engineer's genius and those of wily Belial, the handsome court wag. The Propaganda Chief had added advertising at numerous new roadhouses along the way, and unwary shades traveling hellward gazed at beautiful scenes of lush vegetation instead of a dreary expanse like the Texas Panhandle. This "devilish cantraip sleight" also changed the raw Chaos climate to a steady 72°F and gave off a balmy fragrance of fruits and flowers.

Ten thousand drachmas, a fictitious unit of currency established by foxy old Mammon, was the flat fee for use of the road. Blissfully unaware of this "Transportation Charge," or how it would be paid, numerous phantom pilgrims were sliding down the steeper hills and having a swell time. Their shouts of glee reached Nick's largish ears despite the lack of air as mortals know it. Clever old Mulcie had installed freezing plants here and there to surface the road with glare ice.

Nick poised above a party of phantom men and girls sliding downhill on their derrieres and ending in a heap at the bottom. A nice change from traveling under their own power. Their maximum speed while swift and incomprehensible to mortals, seemed relatively slow to one of Hell's old timers. Only Nick and his best scout, Cletus, could move at thought speed "Click Click Transportation."

Drifting on, a pleased smile on his red, bony face, Nick paused several times to read Belial's welcomings.

"Die and see the original Naples in all its natural beauty," said one sign. "Try our hot sulphur springs and become a new soul." Gayest pleasures were promised to all and golfers had special attention. "Register with the pro at your favorite golf club so you can qualify. No charge for pro's services who'll teach you to break 80. Free lunch and drinks at all Nineteenth Holes."

No fool shade would wonder what he'd qualify for, nor suspect he'd have to shovel eighty million tons of coal and ashes before his handicap would be lowered enough to earn him a set of golf clubs or that the free lunch and drinks were chunks of brimstone, the sulphurous air and Styx River water which is always just below boiling point at 3,000°F... Continue reading book >>

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