Chapter Two

I know what you are thinking. Where is the hero when all this is going on? Well our hero is just appearing now. He is not your normal type of hero. He doesn't have a square jaw and muscular arms and the type of body that has seen the inside of too many gyms. No if you were to describe him (which you are not I am) you would say it has seen the inside of too many chocolate bars. He is about 7 foot tall and probably as round. His skin is a lovely red texture and he has a small beard. His beard has been very useful through out his life since it has saved many a biscuit crumb that would otherwise have fallen on the ground. He is not the most intelligent of demons in fact he is pretty near the bottom rung of demonic intelligence. He is not the lowest level since he has been stuck in a corner for the past three centuries.

Our heroes name is Quartz. Now this might not strike you as much of a name but it is the only name he has. You might think it is because quartz is clear and dense like our hero… That is extremely rude of you to think that! Quartz is currently in the devil's office trying not to cough. The devil is busy working and has raised an arm in the air to show that he must not be disturbed. Quartz is busy trying to count this single arm in the air to occupy his mind. In the ten minutes it takes before the devil has finished his Health and Safety directive he has not managed it.

"Ah! Mr Quartz," smiled the devil. You might think it difficult to smile a word but the devil has been practicing for several thousand years. "As you are probably aware we have lost one of our souls. I want you to get him back."

"Certainly Mr Devil, sir." The devil carried on writing. "Err. Excuse me your evilness?"

The devil looked up again. "Well?"

"How do I get him back, your wickedness?"

"You follow him. You catch him. You bring him back."

Quartz furrowed his brow (no this is not a farming expression, although with the amount of food on his head you might expect a herd of pigs to be grazing). Crumbs fell off his face and onto the floor. He only had a small mouth; you can't expect him to be able to push food into his mouth successfully all the time.

Quartz walked out of the office, bending his head as he left. Thoughts were cannonading inside his head. They were making a bit of an echo. You might think that Quartz was a bit dim but for his job of looking after the souls of the damned he was pretty good. You might also think it is the devil's job to collect errant souls. However the devil is like the manager of a sock factory. He knows socks are made and he is dimly aware of what socks are for but you don't expect him to actually go out and get some socks.

This is not some strange metaphor (a metaphor is a mixture of four people who… look it up yourself! I'm busy!). Socks are nothing like souls. Most people are just allocated one soul. That is why you have to look after it! Personally I wash mine once a week, mainly to clear the stains it gets dealing with tax returns.

Getting back to the story. Quartz wandered through the corridors under the earth. The earth here was blackened and burnt. Wisps of steam emanated from cracks in the ground. He knew he had to get to the surface of the earth so he needed one of the Gates of Hell (in capitals because it is such a big gate). Smiling to the doorman he checked in his pocket for his identity card and flashed it to him. Hell security was always stringent about people leaving. They weren't too bothered about people coming in. Out of the corner of his eye Quartz could see a coach load of tourists who had got lost. One of them was vainly looking in his guidebook for the hellish word for toilet.

Quartz walked up to the gates and pushed them open… In case you want to find a Gate of Hell, you can't. They are hidden to all but the truly wicked (traffic wardens are forever finding them). There was a bright ray of sunshine and Quartz walked out of Hell.

You might think that Quartz would be happy to leave Hell. You would be wrong. Hell is his home. Sure it is not much of a home but it is the only home he has. He has been sent out into the world, all alone. A seven foot demon against everything the world can throw at him…

When Quartz looked down at his arms he could see they were covered in cloth. He looked to his right and could see a shop window (not that he knew it was a shop window) and he could see his reflection. He was still about seven feet tall but his skin was a light pinkish. The only reason demons are always painted with red skin is the fact it is so hot down there. He looked relatively "normal". He still had a small beard. He looked behind him and could see the gate. It was covered in parking tickets and a heroic traffic warden had even tried to clamp it but other people were ignoring it, almost as if they couldn't see it.

He was in a busy street full of people bustling around him. Quartz's secondary eyelids went down and he could see their souls. Most of them were clear white goodly souls. No sign of the soul of Jack though. Jack's soul was tainted blacker than most. It even left a trail of unholy fire behind that only demons or angels could see. The demons in Hell treated Jack more warily than most of the others.

He had been sent to this gate for a reason. He started walking down the street in a straight line. People moved to get out of his way. One lady pushing a pram didn't and bounced off his stomach into the road. Unthinking Quartz stretched out an arm and dragged them back in again, just before a car hit them.

You might think it strange for a demon to rescue someone but a clean soul is no use to hell at all.

Quartz looked down at the pavement. He could see a trail of fiery footprints trailing off into the distance, the fire was just starting to go out showing the trail was about an hour old. He started plodding after it