Grand Assembly

Colleen stood in the back with the rest of the quislings and shivered with a more than natural cold. The lake of ice spread for hundreds of miles in all directions; a black smudge on the horizon might be the black cliffs she’d come down a week earlier, or might not. Directions and distance didn’t work the same way down here. She’d gotten used to always knowing which way she was facing, and the disorientation made her sick.

“Mic check!”

“Pretty good crowd,” she said to the Brahmin Kapila, who swam heavily in his vast tank. The fish rolled over and looked at her with its monkey head.

“There are,” it burbled, “thirty two thousand, seven hundred and sixty-eight demons present, plus an additional five hundred and twenty-four thousand, two hundred and eighty-eight humans with non-voting shares.”

“Mic check!”

“More humans than demons?”

Dog head looked at her sorrowfully. “It was always thus.”

The great pot began slowly to roil. A great voice cried, “Mic check!” and the feeble army of hell grew silent at last.