Twice in a Lifetime
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Note: This story takes place during War of the Worlds
Mr. Smith walked down a dark, deserted street in Los Angeles. Even though it was nearly spring, and normally the Southern California city would be quite warm, it was a chilly night.
"What's taking him so long?" Mr. Smith muttered to himself. Judge Othniel was supposed to meet him, but he had apparently been delayed.
Mr. Smith glanced around. The rundown buildings and absence of street lamps made him very uneasy. What's more, he could almost feel the presence of something evil.
Suddenly a cloud of blue smoke appeared out of nowhere. Mr. Smith was shocked. "What the . . ."
A dark figure stepped out of the smoke. "Hello, Mr. Smith," he said in a mocking tone. The voice was very similar to Mr. Smith's.
"Oh, it's you," Mr. Smith groaned. "I always look forward to a visit from my evil twin from the Underworld."
His double smirked. "I'm not very pleased with you, Mr. Smith. You completely fouled up my last plan."
Mr. Smith gave him a "duh" look. "Well, what did you expect me to do? Stand by and just let you and those aliens kidnap Norman? Sorry, pal, but you know to expect more from me than that."
The double laughed, then sighed. "Yes, I certainly do. But Mr. Smith, I'm afraid I just can't have you interfering with my plans anymore."
Before Mr. Smith could reply, his double snapped his fingers, sending up another huge cloud of blue smoke. When it thinned out, neither Smith or his double was there.
Judge Othniel was very worried. Mr. Smith didn't seem to be around anywhere. He had been waiting for over an hour.
Suddenly Mr. Jones appeared. "Hey, Judge, where's Smith?" he asked.
"That's what I'd like to know, Mr. Jones," Othniel replied. "He should be here."
"I don't like the looks of this place," Mr. Jones said.
Othniel nodded. "I know what you mean, Mr. Jones. Something doesn't feel right." He paused. "I have a feeling Mr. Smith is in very big trouble."
"I have a feeling you're right," Mr. Jones said. "Do you suppose it has anything to do with our ongoing case?"
"That's very likely, Mr. Jones," Othniel agreed. "Especially with that wicked twin of Mr. Smith's cavorting around."
Mr. Jones paused. "Judge, I have to go to my next assignment. I hope you'll be able to find Mr. Smith. I'd like to stay and help, but there's no one else free for Mrs. Garcia . . ."
"I know, Mr. Jones," Othniel interrupted. "You go along. I'm certain I'll find him." He sounded more confident than he felt.
Mr. Smith coughed, waving away the blue smoke with his hand. Dazedly, he looked around at his new surroundings.
"Where am I?" he asked aloud. The room was dark and musty, so he decided that it was some kind of basement or cellar. "Hey! Where are you?" he called to his double. His voice echoed off the walls. "He flew the coop," he concluded.
The only furniture in the room to speak of was a table and two chairs, and there didn't seem to be any doors or windows. With a sigh, Mr. Smith sat down on one of the chairs and wondered what to do now.
Suddenly a shadow appeared in front of him. He looked up with a start. A smirking woman in black leather was standing there. "Well, well, what do we have here?"
"Who are you?" Mr. Smith asked.
"Oh, honey, that's not important now," the woman replied. "You know, you really do look a lot like Isaac." She paused. "Except you are much too kind and sweet. We could use you on our side if you'd only rough up your act a little more."
Mr. Smith's blue eyes flashed angrily. He knew what this woman was, and he didn't want any part of it. "You're a fallen angel, aren't you?"
The woman smiled. "We're winning, Mr. Smith. Our side is winning."
"I'll never join you," Mr. Smith spat out.
The woman sighed. "What a pity."
Mr. Smith looked at her in stony silence.
"Oh well." The woman smirked and suddenly vanished in a cloud of blue smoke. Mr. Smith stared at the vacated spot where she'd been standing.
Suddenly he heard voices around him. He didn't recognize any of them, but he had a feeling they were up to no good. He said a quick prayer. "Dear God, please help me," he whispered, as menacing figures began to materialize around him.
"What do you want?" Mr. Smith asked.
"Isaac sent us," the first one growled.
"You've been causing him a fair share of trouble," the second added.
"I could say the same about him," Mr. Smith replied.
Suddenly the blue smoke was there again, and Mr. Smith's evil twin stepped out. He was wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and khakis, and had a serpent ring and dark shades. "Well, so we meet again, Mr. Smith."
"Yeah, it appears so." Mr. Smith stood up. "I wish I could say I was glad to see you."
Isaac laughed. "Kathi told me she'd been around to see you."
Mr. Smith nodded. "Yes, she was."
"She also said that she'd offered you a position on our side. Our winning side." Isaac lowered his shades, smirking. "And that you refused."
"That's right," Mr. Smith confirmed. "I'll never join your side. Evil and hate will never win."
Isaac continued to smirk. "You are a stubborn one. Well, I'm tired of having you meddle in my plans. Let's see just how strong you are." He nodded to the others in the room. "Go on, boys." And in another cloud of blue smoke, he was gone.
The figures closed in on Mr. Smith, who held up his hands in protest. "Hey, now, come on, you don't want to do this," he said.
The first one raised his hand and struck Mr. Smith hard. He reeled backward, dazed. It had felt like an electric shock.
The second blow sent him crashing into the wall. As he sank to the floor, the demons continued to beat him brutally. "Help me please," he whispered, as one of the demons sent him flying nearly halfway across the room.
Meanwhile, Othniel was searching through all the buildings for his missing protégé. He knew that if Mr. Smith's evil double Isaac had him that he was in big trouble. Mr. Smith had not had much experience with the Underworld. In fact, the current assignment was his first contact with it. And it was definitely not something you wanted to have dealings with.
Othniel paused in front of the next building. He had been about to enter, but suddenly felt as if he should try a building across the street instead.
When he opened the front door, he could feel evil inside. Then, suddenly, it was gone. The evil spirits had fled.
Othniel walked through the building, calling for Mr. Smith. When he got to the basement door, he noticed it was sealed off. He stared at it, willing it to open. It did.
"Mr. Smith? Are you here?" Othniel's voice echoed off the bare walls as he ventured into the dark basement. Suddenly he stopped short, a flash of black leather catching his eye. He said a quick prayer of thanks and went over.
Mr. Smith was crumpled in the corner, unmoving, his skin pale, his brown hair falling over his closed eyes.
Othniel kneeled down on the floor next to him. "Mr. Smith? Can you hear me?" Othniel gently touched Mr. Smith on the shoulder. He didn't respond.
Othniel shook his head sadly. "What have they done to you, Mr. Smith?"
Othniel carried the limp Mr. Smith outside and gently laid him on a bench in a nearby park. Thankfully, it didn't look like the demons had hurt him too badly. Othniel thanked the Lord that he'd been able to find Mr. Smith when he did. He hated to think how much worse the demons would've hurt him if he hadn't.
Othniel reflected on the assignments he had had with Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith was often impulsive and sometimes disagreed with Othniel's decisions, but he was also very kind and compassionate. He had a lot to learn, but Othniel dared to say that Mr. Smith was one of the best Celestial Guides he'd ever worked with.
Mr. Smith stirred and Othniel was brought back to the present. "Mr. Smith?" Othniel said quietly.
Mr. Smith's eyes fluttered open. He looked around, confused.
"Are you alright, Mr. Smith?" Othniel asked.
Mr. Smith was silent, then finally said, "Yeah, I think so." He weakly tried to sit up. "What happened to Isaac?"
"He and his fallen angel friends fled," Othniel replied. He paused. "I heard about what you said to them when they tried to get you to join their side."
Mr. Smith shrugged and grinned. "Yeah, well. . . ." He looked at Othniel curiously. "How did you find me?"
Othniel smiled. "I didn't." He glanced upward. Mr. Smith understood.
Suddenly a strange green light appeared in the sky. Mr. Smith groaned. "Oh no. Is that what I think it is?"
Othniel looked at it as well. "Yes, Mr. Smith, I believe so."
Mr. Smith slid off the bench and began walking in the direction of the light. "Well, then," he said, half-sarcastically, "I guess it's time to do alien battle."
Othniel chuckled softly at Mr. Smith's choice of words and followed him out of the park.