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There is enough of eternity for everyone to dwell in their own private heaven. Live with the consideration that your definition of does not and shall never have the right to deny another theirs, and all else is circumstantial and trivial. ~Lucifer

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When next he looked in on the brittle bit of skin and bones, she was not at all where he’d predicted she’d be.

Court intrigue was wearying. He sat on the frozen throne. . . watching the flecks of white drift down in his vision idly, listening to forked tongues and teeth that dripped venom beseech him for favor, for bargains, for allegiances. . . desultory planning that was beyond lacking in finesse and hardly could have been spoken to have even roused his interest.

It was all so tedious.

It might have been a thousand years, for all the track he’d kept. He’d found himself thinking back to the little pink skinned, black eyed creature more than once, the din of voices in that black hall for the first time since he could remember, fading into the background; ironically, like so much white noise from a television set.

I’ll call you ‘Saint’.

His thin fingers had brushed his pale lips in idle contemplation. He’d faced his own temptation, several times, to go rise and find that tiny, frail female. Like Eve in the Garden, she drew his attention in a way that he could not adequately convey in words.

So on that day, when he rose from his seat and looked over them, he only turned to one Chief of his army and declared he would take leave from the Lower Worlds for a time, and go to Earth to seek news of one particular mortal in whom he held interest. There was no objection, of course; any such idea, even, was dangerous. And so without protest, The Mourning Star departed, following the faint note of the little mortal’s life-song all the way to break the surface of form and substance . . . and on Earth, he came to rest his feet.

You . . .bizarre thing. . .

It was autumn; and that was just as well. The heat and light of springs and summers on earth were nigh intolerable for he who found only a modicum of solace in silence and darkness and yes, endings. He found the rays of the sun warm and harsh; the long days too noisy and too bustling for his preference.

Thankfully, the scenery there was much different. He found himself in a thick curtain of mist, the smell of damp decay layered over with something burning almost pleasant. His eyes adjusted quickly to the sight of towering deciduous trees interspersed with those still dropping their leaves in vivid hues of carmine and ochre. The Mourning Star pause for a moment to appreciate the intricate painting that was His Father’s doing, finding it remarkably unsullied, as was rare for a place on Earth in present days. All around him echoed the voices of time, and something else. Magic; not just the sort of idle knotwork chanting of folk-singers and their ilk. No, this was something rich and ancient, lingering in the air like the smell of old cedar.

It didn’t take him long to spot her. There were voices; and not far off he could spot a winding trail comprised of broken cobblestone. The girl had wandered off the road and was now crouched a short ways off that path with her recognizable lavender book tucked under her arm and a fountain pen in her hand. As he watched, she seemed to pick up several leaves and inspect them with a critical eye-and it gave him just enough pause to find himself asking just what *is* she doing? before his question answered itself, and she seemed satisfied with one particular specimen before retrieving her book and placing it between the pages, pressing it beneath her palms for good measure. Interesting. If nothing else her nostalgic nature made her far less superficial than others of her kind. Humans, he was of the opinion of, had all the depth and clarity of a dingy mud puddle and about as much common sense to boot.

Not that she was endearing herself to dispelling that latter opinion. There was a subtle snap! off in the mist of the thick, dense trees, and it caught her attention immediately. Straitening, he saw her squint off in the direction of the noise. . . and for a moment he was curious if she was about to perhaps be beset by some rather large, irate bear. Did they have those in this part of the world? He need only turn his head for a moment to see the very peek of a stone bell tower off in the distance, and suddenly the forest he found himself a guest to jogged his memory. Oh yes: The Black Forest indeed. There was many a good reason why it was party to myths of dragons and the dead wandering it’s foreboding trails and precarious drop-offs. Bears being only one of them.

If she was frightened, however, she didn’t show it. Rather she remained in a fixed spot, her eyes moving slowly over the fog, as if she could will it to part just for her. But when no more noises came and there was no enraged bear to swipe for her, nor angry ghosts to come shrieking out from the trees, much to his surprise, she nearly seemed to sag with disappointment. Shaking her head, she turned, and several footsteps that crushed already sodden leaves under too-small faux leather boots saw her making her way back in the direction of the trail she’d wandered from; and the party of other people with it.

He didn’t understand it. Of course, it would have been easy to intrude on her thoughts; after all he’d listened to them before. But he found it much more engaging to simply guess at whatever tumultuous emotions plagued the tiny primate. Rather like taking a bet on who would win the world series, he mused to himself. She would not be the first human he’d met who carried in them a spark of hope for something fantastical and mythical, only to have the world’s conventional concerns crush it from them with day to day tedium. Some of those artisans couldn’t handle the weight of the disappointment. More than one had come to his realms and faced an eternal freeze just to escape their own well of torment. Forever burning in a cold frost just to rid themselves of the spiritual anguish they endured. Sometimes he envied them that choice; he had no way out of his own. Other sorts of humans who somehow managed to retain that spark would occasionally find themselves in an amicable situation-be it employment, patronage, or some other stroke of luck, and from there, their life expectancy increased considerably. Looking at the little thing’s malnourished frame, he rather suspected she would be a case of the former.

What a waste, he roiled bitterly.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

Her voice jarred him from his momentary lapse into speculation. Blinking, and perking up one ink-black eyebrow, he responded, “Beg pardon?”

“The woods. I love it here. It’s so quiet.”

He took another glance around to be sure that she wasn’t speaking to someone else. No. . . she was still several meters behind her group, and in no clear hurry to meet up with them again.

“Is it your intention to get yourself lost out here  . .? If so, straying away from your companions is an excellent way to do it.”

“Yeah, that’s what the tour guide said.”

“And you clearly did not heed their word.”

“I don’t really care. I couldn’t stand listening to those people talk anymore.”

That got the better of his curiosity. “Oh? How so?”

“Some princess in Britain died, or something. That’s all they want to yack about. We came a gazillion miles to live here, and we’re in one of the most beautiful woods on the planet and all they want to do is talk politics. I hate it.”

“Understanding current events in your world is important. Especially for making informed decisions when you choose to elect your leaders.”

“What’s there to get about a princess who died? I didn’t know her. I could care less. Look at these trees. Have you ever seen a red so pretty? They don’t have anything like this back home in California. Almost everything there turns brown in the fall. I like how foggy it is, too.”

“Do they not have mist where you’re from?” he returned dryly.

“Oh yeah you bet they do. Sometimes in the morning so thick you can’t even see your hand. But it’s different here because it’s in the woods. I keep expecting zombies or something.”

“Clearly, you are disappointed.”

Her expression looked a bit taken back by that. “What?”

“You always seem disappointed when some horror or another doesn’t seem to jump out to devour you. I think perhaps you are too engaged in your fictitious horror novels if you are always so let down that there is no terror to chase you.”

To his surprise, her footsteps halted a moment, and she frowned. “Shut up.” she bit, a fraction of a second later.

That was not at all the reaction he’d been expecting. He tilted his head again, too interested to bother to be insulted by her daring. ” . . .What did you just say?”

“You heard me. I told you to shut up. You sound like my dad. . . that’s all he ever says. ‘You read too many stories’. ‘Life isn’t a fairy tale book’. ‘Get your head out of the clouds’.’It’s not real’. Yeah well you know what? He’s an asshole, and I hate him for it.”

“And you presume this matters to me?”

“Look, are you going to be a total jerk or are you just going to enjoy this walk with me? Because if you’re going to be like him, you can just go the hell away and I’ll find another imaginary friend to talk to.”

The Morning Star coughed a laugh at that; not one that was jovial, but rather a touch spiteful, and factious. “I’m sure you would. Wouldn’t that be the day?”

Except for after a ticking moment, he found himself frowning. At what, exactly, he couldn’t be sure; perhaps it was the simple notion of being replaced. He’d already trod that road, after all . . . or perhaps it was that old, stinging bit of jealousy buzzing back in his ear again . . . his own personal demon come to call. Like a mortal, he sighed at himself, and with no shortage of withering disdain. Father’s little apes constantly had those things digging their claws into their spirits and spitting bile and venom in their ears. Did Fallen Host receive the same . . . ? Were they just as cursed? Or perhaps worse, that they were so sure of themselves and the universe theirs couldn’t even be seen, not even by one another.

He would have to focus his attention on that idea later, and perhaps seek out his own answers in time.

For now, he kept pace beside her. And after a cool hike in which they both came away refreshed and pale from the mist, she would look over her shoulder at the tower of the crumbling castle and offer, “Seems like I’ve always been here; or at least dreamed about it before. But it’s really pretty. I wish I could stay.”

He followed her gaze, and hummed his agreement with her, before he could catch himself doing so.

“I wish I could see you. I wouldn’t mind being able to hold your hand, just standing here.”

He swayed his eyes down on her, but found her looking only pained, and distant.

Neither of them would say any words after; they were both as still as statues.

I’ll have to hide this. Dad will be mad if he finds out. . . 

Her pen is scratching on the surface of the thick, densely grained paper. What is he doing here . . .  ? Why does he find himself standing with his eyes on this child again. . .?

“That would be wise.” he says out loud. The girl’s parent has, ironically, proven more than negligent. She was alone in that room, curled in a corner under a heavy down blanket; her only protection from the cold of winter on foreign soil. A book with a unicorn rendered classically on the cover, like the medieval tapestries, was balanced somewhat carelessly on her knees that nearly bumped her chin. Several times he’s looked in on her to see her in this state. She wrote often, though seldom in any great quantity. Then she would tear out pages, toss them in the closest trashcan, or else in a lit fireplace. It was her way of fumbling around in the dark. Though she had no privacy to call her own; the man she wrote of now, the ‘dad’ (a pitiful title not earned for a pitiful monkey of a human being) was a professed follower of Their Father above, and yet, looking at the tiny sliver’s deteriorating condition, hearing the rattle of breath in her throat for a condition untreated, it was by word only and not by action. Still, her musings penned in that book had led her to lashings from that man’s belt before. Now she was careful. Now she was sly, and hid her words. Perhaps not so clever as to have avoided the beatings in the first place. But clever enough to know that hers was not an environment that fostered the very gifts Heaven had imbued man with in the very first place.

But for a moment, her fountain pen halts. Her head jerks up. A long space of silence fills the air. There are flickering shadows on the wall; outside the veiled curtain that covered her window, candles flicker in a cemetery, casting an eerie, ambient aura about the room. He can hear the snap of those flames; she can not. But there is no scratching of scrawled words. Like a measured beat of music, she finally speaks in perfect time, and her voice is somber, and quiet.

” . . . I know you’re there.” she states quietly. “I can’t see you. But I feel you.”

He raised an eyebrow, and the placid surface of his expression doesn’t break. “Can you, then . . . ?”

“I thought you were Michael, at first.” she says. He knows from a quick peek into her mind she’s speaking of the frankly absurd portrayal of the warrior of heaven that she had seen on video tapes in recent fashion. He makes a valiant effort not to be insulted. He can’t put the blame on Michael himself for their duel, of course; he understood what Orders were, what it meant to disobey. And if there were any creature incapable of turning it’s back against The Maker, it was surely Michael. The Mourning Star envied the child’s devotion; whether instilled by Father Itself or entirely borne of circumstance . . . it was not a fact he was privy to. Still; he had very little patience or respect for the same; a being who did not ever question their servitude. It was foul, and there was nothing in his breast but loathing for sheep; whether Angel or Man.

“Hardly.” he returns, glad that he was able to keep his composure. After all a child, and a human one no less, could hardly be expected to be versed in etiquette in classic manner. She knew nothing of their history, and that was easy-to-discern fact.

“I’m still glad you’re here.” she offers. “What should I call you?”

“I’ve no care for what you choose to call me. I’ve many names, I shan’t weep for another.”

She was quiet for another moment; the dim, flickering light traced in her eyes, so they were two trembling, ebony flames. She stared for that moment, unblinking long and hard, at the diary at her knees. Another moment passed, and she took up her pen again, and the scratching started once more.

“I’m going to call you ‘Saint’. That’s a movie I just saw.”

He wanted to make a retort, but saved it. “Trash you call entertainment. I’d rather you didn’t. Or can you not be more creative? You mortals are dreadfully stale. It’s stifling–”

His words stopped, however. She was writing again, now, and with reckless fervor.

I love a Saint. 

Was it possible there was a hitch in his breath. . . ?

“By all that’s unholy, you . . . bizarre thing . . . ”

If she heard him, however, she showed no sign of it. Rather her pen continued forward, the words flowing from it as though it were a fountain as it’s namesake.

He’s been with me since North Carolina. I can feel him. I feel him everywhere, and I love him. He’s my guardian angel. . .

I’d be very much obliged if you’d not confuse me with that slothful layabout…”

Again, his words halted. Her eyes, ever like pools of ink, were now clouded over with a layer of saltwater. Her writing halted again; but she did not pull her pen up from the paper. Over the cover of the book, he could make out her hand shaking. He had to give in; for now he was curious. She wasn’t speaking. Her mind was drifting. . . somewhere. Since she wasn’t quite to whatever had stopped her musings on paper, he crossed over to where she was propped on the small wooden cot, leaned against the wall, and took a glance at the paper for himself.

Her pen was pressed against it. Now navy blue ink was beginning to soak through the paper, dripping down in a mess that also began to stain her fingertips.

His lips parted. He looked to her eyes again. Now those pools had flooded and spilled over. The tracks of salt marked her cheeks. Her shoulders shook; but her sobs were quiet.

Had he upset her . . . ? Well that was just as well, he thought, straitening up. Bound by whatever eternal torment as he was to this little pink. . . female. . . what care had he for a human heart? Likely she would eventually damn herself anyway. Many mortals did; and then he would take great delight in sipping from her eternal despair. He’d pour it in a glass and savor it at court; making a mockery of all the others who held the title of Accuser, Opposer. Let them all talk, he mused. He would show all the lower worlds what became of ‘love’ in Hell.

But there was a thrum in his chest, and the cold burning was back again. The tick in the narrow line of his jaw betrayed the feeling. There was no one around who could see it; but he knew the hollowing of his cheeks. His lips parted for a moment, and for another, he was still as a statue. He watched her weep quietly, the only sound the soft ‘drip’ of tears on the mass-printed paper. The saline soaked through, and smeared the ink, and with it her professions, clear through to the other side of the page.

His gaze was smouldering, in the fashion that he burned as cold as ice. For a moment he thought he could hear something; something off in the distance, sonorous, pulling at feelings of nostalgia that lay buried in his black black  heart. He pulled his eyes from her for a moment and turned his gaze to the flickering candlelight that played itself over the walls of that tiny room. He looked back to her for just a second, before following the sound to the window itself; parting the transparent, thin curtain to look at the sight beyond the glass; headstones, tiny flames dancing in pools of wax. It was peaceful, he thought. Vacant, decaying bodies below the earth; souls laid to rest. That was not a cemetery of sorrows. It was serene, and still. The song was a requiem of all that had passed in the wake of those dust-bound forms slowly deteriorating.

She was human, he thought. There would come a day when she, too, would pass on this way. Now, he looked back at her again. She was still weeping, but not had pressed her face into a flat down pillow. Her sobs were quiet, her shoulders shaking. She was restless, he realized. It wasn’t just loneliness. Not just the absence of their Maker that stirred her to sorrow. There was more to it. And if he gave a moments’ paused and sifted through the sands of time and possibility . . . jostled the hourglass just right. . . he could see tragedy in her wake.

The Devil was many things. Cruel in his duty. Some said devoid of compassion.

But he was not a monster. He did not favor mortal ghosts wandering the earth. Rightfully, they belonged to the Gods that made them, coddled them. Be it in heaven or hell, but a ghost was one that did not find their place. One of an innocent child was just another pint of blood on his hands, one more wrench in the gears of the cosmos.

No, he wouldn’t have it.

Sighing, somewhat reluctantly he murmured bitterly into the shadows… “Child. Yes, you. Stop crying.”

She pressed her face into her pillow, and there was a choking sound. “I’m sorry. . .” she shook her head, and he couldn’t see her eyes, pressed as they were into the fabric. “I know it’s stupid. I shouldn’t cry over something so stupid.”

“Indeed. Do save your tears for real pain. What do you know of such things?”

Sniffing, she looked up, and though she couldn’t see him there, her eyes locked on where he stood, silhouetted in the window by the curtains and the hellish shadows about, and said, “I just wanted to get away. I thought . .. I thought things would be better here.”

He knew what she was speaking of, of course. It was his duty to know all the darkness within men’s hearts.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. After all, it’s for your kind to never be content with their lot. Why should you be any different?”

She frowned. Deeply. “I’m not like them.” she bit out loud, and he perked a skeptical eyebrow at that.

“You are a human child. With fantasies of flight. It is a foolish dream. A toad may do nothing but sit on his lilypad and eat flies and vermin. Likewise an eagle does not aspire to swim as a fish. You were not created with wings. Learn to walk, or you will fail.”

“Humans can fly. That’s why we have airplanes. We can swim, too. That’s what snorkles are for.”

He tilted his head at her, a catlike expression of curiosity. “And your world; and your planet, suffers for your ambition. Spare me your boasts of your kind’s achievements. You destroy everything you touch.”

Her eyes drifted down to her book again, which was now open on the side of the bed next to her.

“I’ll make things then. Paint things. Things that don’t hurt people. I’ll give people wings; if they want them.”

That elicited an amused, sardonic stab of a laugh from him.

“Will you then? You fancy yourself a grand sort of artist, do you?”

“One day, maybe.”

“Phantoms of the Renaissance save us all.” he intoned dryly.

But she sighed, and sunk, as though heavy weights pressed down on her shoulders. Silence filled the span of several seconds more before her voice came again, softer now.

“You should go. . . I’m tired. I have to sleep. Jay gets up early.” referring, of course, to the babe that slept in the crib in the next room over. She sunk back into her bed, and shoved her head under the pillow that she was holding.

“I think perhaps, I shall. Until we meet again, Child.”

“Goodnight, Saint.”

“Goodnight.”

5959247

He sent her away too often.

Far too often. When she lay apon his altar, when ice swept her over; halted her breath, stilled her pulse to the brink of death.

It caused him pain. 

A pain in his chest, something he hadn’t felt stir in him since the stars sworled about him like water around a drain. He’d cursed the feeling at first. Seldom did he spit obscenities; he found them nigh repulsive. That black night, he had. He’d writhed. On a throne as chilly as any arctic wind, in the throes of what felt like a true ending. . . a true death. For that was what love was to a creature such as he. Torture. Agony. Merciless. 

Those seconds that ticked by on Earth were, below, aeons. They stretched into the black abyss and reached into him and rend his already blackened heart to ribbons with their claws. His anguished moans had turned quickly into wails that shook those same icy halls. There wasn’t a serpent that had not slithered from a crevice to look on in askance concern at their beloved Prince’s suffering. He’d cried out in vain to Father; why? Hadn’t he suffered enough? Hadn’t the loss of his home, the lies, the exile, the seat of Evil as duty . . . wasn’t it enough? Couldn’t it ever be enough, for his daring? For his mutiny? Now he was beholden to one of the little  . . . ug. Loathesome pink creatures. It was unbearable. Intolerable. He would not love them. Could not. Could not. 

‘You can not ask this of me!’ he’d recoiled to the blackened, frost-burned throne as he never had, weeping. ‘You can not ask me to love them. I will not! I defy you for this . . . !’

Oh, how far he had fallen. That was what many of those Adversaries would say, when they spoke amongst themselves. Look at The Great Prince, the Star of Mourning. Look at how he spits on the creation that is humanity. Look how he pines after one also.

He remembered the first time he had lain eyes on the child. She was nothing, he’d thought, as he watched her from the sidelines. He couldn’t understand why he had been pulled here, to this time and place. It seemed so irrelevant. Humans lived shorter lives, now, than they had in ancient days, or else they reckoned their days differently; he couldn’t be sure, and he didn’t care beyond the confines of the cosmic shackles that bound him to damnation.

His eyes were like jade in a snowstorm. And he watched. For the longest time, he simply watched. 

The day Above was bright; the sun had set itself high in the painted blue sky, and all of the glory of Father’s masterwork creation lay sprawled out before him. Clouds roiled over like tufts of cotton, thick and looming; he could feel the electricity and pressure in the air snapping against his porcelain skin, and knew later there would be a storm. That was the breeze that tousled his hair, like the tall green grass that undulated in waves as far as the eye could see, dotted only with the occasional stray grouping of cattle, or else a decaying fence line that had long been overrun with creeping fig.

She was sprawled out on a . . . what did they call these inventions? A trampoline, he realized after a moment. She was stick thin for a young girl and far underdeveloped. Who was caring for this child? Were her ribs supposed to be showing like that? He’d thought human children were supposed to have been filled out more at that age. Unusual.

That was his first opinion, looking at her. Her hair was splayed out behind her, no more noteworthy than the hue of a bandit sparrow’s wing. Her eyes were black and glassy, and they reflected what was above her like a mirror. But she was staring upwards with an expression of wonderment on her face, as though heaven itself had just opened up in front of her.

Almost as if he’d taken a peek into her thoughts just then, she echoed them. There were other children there with her, but they did not concern him, for it wasn’t they that he  had been drawn to. Usually he came above for souls already well within his grasp, or his by deed or proxy already. Bargains, sometimes, if the cosmic misstep was dour enough. Souls steeped in such sin were delicacies to the insatiable hunger of all those who dwelled under his banner, whose protection they sought. They could not die from starvation. . . not the way that a human would waste away. But it was a desire for feeling and life and the energy of sheer creation which all human beings were imbued with by the grace of their creator that his sort always craved; and it was their curse that they could never be sated. Never. Their separation, their eternal forsaking of their maker had ensured that.

The sticklike child raised her finger towards the sky, and called another to gather their attention. He followed her gesture with her eyes to see what she was indicating, as her tiny voice tingled in his ear like a small bell.

“I think it’s a door!” she was speaking. “Like a door to heaven!”

The clouds in the direction had parted, and formed a perfect opening, as though they had indeed rolled themselves back, beckoning with the promise of entrance. He could only perk one ink-black eyebrow at that. The folly of a human child, perhaps. . . ?

“But you have to fly to get there!” a young boy’s voice came, and with it, the sound of straining springs as he gave a hard ‘bounce!’ on the trampoline. “It’s too far away!”

“Not for me.” the glassy-eyed girl challenged. “I’m going to grow wings one day.” Her tone sounded so matter-of-fact that The Prince couldn’t help but hold back a chuckle. Humans sprouting wings. That was amusing. Those magics had long since been lost. Else The Mourning Star would have given King Solomon himself the benefit of a doubt, that the sorcerer could have flown strait upwards of his own volition, given the chance.

“Nuh uh! How are you gonna do that?” the young boy challenged.

“Because I asked Dad, and I know he’s going to. They say in church that he loves kids. I love him too.”

This sentence was said with such strait forward conviction,  The Mourning Star felt a sudden jab, like a frozen knife, pierce his chest and go strait through to his heart once again; that same feeling that had caused him to scream in protest only a few short centuries ago. He didn’t even have to eye the little things soul, nor of the myriad blackened creatures that clung to it like parasites to snarl and snap and snivel in her ear, to know that there was not a drop of doubt in the words. Not one. Her wondrous expression-dare he say almost rapturous, didn’t fade at all. He could see the rays of sun reflected in the pools of her eyes; that same fancied gate strait into heaven with them.

Well? He pulled his own gaze from her mirror-eyes and locked them back on the sky. Aren’t you going to oblige her, Father. . . ? 

His very tone was bitter. It always was. And Father was silent. . . as he always was. Foolish, he thought, shaking his head as the silence stretched on. That single ray of sunshine that poured out through that imagined door was cascading down to the earth as a waterfall. With it, he thought, should have been a choir of angels in their full service dress, trumpets and harps, ready to escort her in all manner of pomp and circumstance strait upwards to those marble pillars. Like Metatron or David, here was a soul that was so rooted in faith, that even despite the demon blemishes every human bore, was unfiltered and without stipulation. It was the innocence and grace of a child, offered up in praise to Heaven. The child wanted wings. The child wanted to go home. To fly. To be with His own Brothers.  . . to live among them. Such desire to endure in The Presence was the path of the Saints that had come before.

The neutral, cool expression of his statuesque face and sharp cheekbones almost broke. Almost . . into a grimace. He watched above as the clouds slowly rolled over further into one another. Cutting off the ray of golden sun, of light that fell in that bit of green plain and the dilapidated farmhouse that stood on it. Closing off the doors to heaven. Grey came soon after. Blocking off any more light. Blocking off the view of the grand sky above . . . and the stars, and possibilities of, with it.

There were no trumpets. No singing angels.

But she didn’t move.  He didn’t either. Not until those same clouds turned threatening, and black, and rain began to pour down on the now lone child laying on a trampoline. When the water falling in her eyes finally tore her away.

Thunder rumbled. He thought for a moment to stir the ions in the air; to send his own ray of searing light after her. Anything, he reasoned. . . anything to fill the silence. For that was the worst sort of hell any sentient being could know. To love, and pine, in vain. To lay out everything in ones heart at another’s feet. . . and instead meet with only their cruel silence.

Still, he stayed his hand. He watched her trace away, her dirty bare feet passing soberly through puddles and leaving ripples as they went. What a peculiar thing. . . he thought, as she stopped on a crumbling covered porch; only a moment, to squeeze the water out of her plain-colored hair.

But just because she was peculiar, did not mean the little speck of dust was anything special. No. Not special. And he would not spare a strike to see her eyes light up. Would not give her any sort of hope. Why should he? No matter what the ache in his chest tried to convince him of, this tiny creature was wholly insignificant. There had been no mention nor proclamation of new saints, martyrs, or prophets. Heaven was silent, and he would not encourage any kind of adoration. Let a human know what it felt like, he thought with a spiteful well in his throat, to be abandoned and unloved by their maker. Let a human come to know Hell through absence. Through neglect. Through silence. He would certainly at least be entertained by it being another creature-besides himself of course-to suffer for a lack of Father’s love.

How strong was a clay heart compared to one of fire, he wondered? How long could it endure before it crumbled to pieces?

Now he stared down at her. Long, tired black hair, colored like ink.  Her jet black eyelashes lay on her cheeks as she slept. Her lips were parted just slightly with the coming and going of her breath. Only the mirrors of her eyes were hidden from him. Everything else about her lay sprawled before him like an open book. Her hopes, her fears; her dreams, her own demons. She slept in that cold darkness, and walked about on Earth as she did. It was a sacrifice of one world for another; he kept her in sacred manner here; it was their way of staying connected. Even with so much distance between them.

“Gather your strength.” He’d whispered to her, as he’d ushered her to cold slumber. “I’ll send for you, when you’re capable of making the journey.

“Will you stay with me. . .?” her still tony voice had jingled at him. She’d looked at him with those same silver mirrors glimmering. “Can I talk to you? Will you hear me?

A hint of something amused had wrestled it’s way to the surface of his sorrow and somehow lifted the corner of his mouth. “Always. . . ” it was the only word he could muster.

She smiled, too. Something weighted, like his own gaze. It was a look heavy with loss. It was a reluctant goodbye. A never knowing when they would meet again.

He’d swiped a thumb at the corner of her eye. Leaned in then, and pressed soft lips to her forehead as she’d breathed once more, letting her eyes drift shut. He’d watched the frost patterns lick their way up her powder white skin, listened to her pulse hammer once . . then twice. . . then still from a steady rhythm to something faraway and lacking. Listened to her breath halt, felt her body slacken to the touch. Felt the spirit leave. Felt gravity pull it  back to a waking, mortal world. And just like that, ice had her, and she was gone.

He’d wept.

He always wept.

As though his tears could bring her back.

As though tears could thaw her.

Distance. Cold. Darkness. That was his curse. That was his eternal despair.

It was that he had to let her go. 

That he had to leave her to the same hell. The same absence. Oh yes; once, he’d thought it would do a mortal well to live through Hell; to know The Devil.

Now, he would do anything to spare her from it.

Heaven, as always, remained silent.

About this Blog

Online Shrine and Devotional Space dedicated to Lucifer-Helel, The Mourning Star, The Lightning Bringer,and the Aeon of Air.

Blogger is Danyel, Pop Culture Pagan, Godspouse, Spiritworker, and Witch.

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