Hell closes down when Lucifer falls in love, quits his job as the Prince of Darkness, and becomes a bartender in Ft. Lauderdale.
Deep in the rugged mountains of southern West Virginia, nestled in the cradle of an idyllic little valley, the tiny town of Brandell, and its colorful cast of lovable characters, hold an ancient secret.
Here, in this most unlikely of places, the women of Brandell Valley cook, clean, shop, gossip, dream, fall in love – and guard the gates of Hell.
The tranquility of daily life in the valley is disrupted when Lucifer finds a way out of the depths. He simply quits his job as the Devil, packs his bags, and heads for Florida.
Pandemonium erupts in the valley when, without the devil to keep things in check, various demons find their way out of Hell and wander into Brandell.
A rather likeable Lucifer, decidedly un-evil demons, sorcery gone awry, romance and hilarity set the tone of this heart-warming, very tall tale.
Albert Morgan, Pastor of Brandell’s non-denominational—and only—church, enjoyed strolling around his little town in the mornings, occasionally stopping by to visit with a parishioner or two. It wasn’t his intention to visit Amanda Clark this morning, but as he passed her walkway he saw Aubrey and Sarah Crumb peeking out the window of their house across the street. Fearful that he might get invited over, he turned onto Amanda’s walkway and climbed the porch stairs. He didn’t want to seem rude, but he wasn’t in the mood for the Crumb sisters this morning. Truth be told, he was never really in the mood for the Crumb sisters. They were, to put it simply, no fun at all. Not that the Reverend expected his parishioners to be fun, but the Crumb sisters took being no fun to a whole new level.
Amanda came back into the living room with a coffee service which she set on the coffee table in front of the Reverend. She sat down beside him on the couch and poured for both of them.
“There we are,” she said, handing him the cup and saucer.
Albert recoiled in horror, suddenly, powerfully, overcome by a feeling of raw lust—an almost uncontrollable urge to lunge at Amanda—tear at her clothing, feel her naked, writhing in his arms—smell her flesh.
“Oh, my God! Oh, my dear God.” he uttered in a shocked whisper, tears of shame coming to his eyes. He practically jumped to his feet.
“Oh,” he stammered, “I’m so sorry. There’s something very pressing… I just remembered… I have to go… I’m… I’m so sorry.” He turned and rushed towards the front door, deeply shaken.
“Reverend, are you all right,” asked Amanda, a little shaken herself by the Reverend’s sudden odd behavior. She stood and followed him to the door. “Are you sure you don’t have time for coffee?” By the time she reached the door the Reverend was already outside. “Reverend?” she exclaimed. “Are you okay?
Reverend Morgan looked over his shoulder. “Yes, I’m fine. I just have to… I’m so sorry.”
A rather stunned Amanda watched as Albert fairly sprinted towards the sidewalk. She shrugged and thought, Whatever, then closed the door.
* * *
Jim Crowley, owner of the Brandell Theater, stood on the sidewalk staring up at the marquee. It read, “Weekly Classic Movie,” and under that, The Sound of Music.
Jim showed old classics during the week and saved the first-run movies for weekends. Week-night business was slow, and new releases were expensive, so alternating the old movies on week-nights with the new ones on week-ends worked out fine, especially since so many of the counties older residents appreciated the old ones more—“Less sex and violence,” they’d comment.
Jim stood there looking up at the marquee. “What crap,” he growled. “Schmaltzy kids and faggoty Nazis singing shitty old folk songs.”
Jim went inside, and a few minutes later emerged from the storage room with a ladder and enough black plastic letters to change The Sound of Music to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
* * *
Out on West Stillman Road, old Mrs. Hinkle sat in her wheelchair on her front porch muttering, “Damn tourist,” with each car that passed. Young Teddy Kroger, on his way home from school waved and smiled at her as he rode by on his bicycle. She raised her bone thin arm as if to wave back, but instead shook her fist at him and yelled, “Damn tourist,” but he had already disappeared down the road.
She sat there grumbling for a moment then, groaning with the effort, lifted her old body, unsteadily, from the chair and hobbled across the porch. She opened the screen door and went inside. A few minutes later she reappeared carrying a carton of raw eggs. Making her way back to the wheelchair, old Mrs. Hinkle sat down and waited.
The UPS driver took a right off Brandell Boulevard onto Stillman Road heading west. Over the engine noise of the big brown van he didn’t hear the egg splatter against its side, or old Mrs. Hinkle yell, “Damn tourist!”
Emma Paul drove all the way to the hardware store in Stillman Township trying to find shotgun shells. They didn’t have any.
She muttered, “Shit, shit, shit,” all the way back.
It was going to be a strange day in Brandell Valley.