Monday, June 11, 2012

Excerpt: Satan's Plea

While everyone patiently waits for the edited version of When Gods Fail II, I would like to post up an excerpt for Satan's Plea, a novelette written in the form of a letter from Satan to the people of the world. This was a tough piece to write, nevertheless I believe, from several readers' reactions, that it has achieved its intended effect. The idea, of course, is to make people think and rethink their current beliefs about the devil and the idea of good and evil... should one dare to venture into such a world view, though I think, in the end, given what we know about how people act, most people do espouse such views. Even here in the enlightened city of New York.

Several readers have claimed that they read it several times just to enjoy it and get to some of its hidden meanings. These readers were not from any religion or non-religious either. So give it a try, if you enjoy it there are links to buy more on this page and at the bottom. Of course, as always you can donate to the writer's fund if you truly enjoyed this. Thank you.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead or otherwise, is purely coincidental.
Where do I start? There are so many ways to say what I need to say.  When dealing with you people—and by you people I mean all people—I have found that you have a great ability to accept new ways; while at the same time balancing this ability, this trait, this fault with a love for the past. It's what makes you so precocious. Nevertheless I shall try and finally show you the light. Don't believe all the propaganda that has been spewed against me. I can see a few of you rolling your eyes. Christ, if even a few of you listen then this will have been worthwhile.
Why am I reaching out? Well, let's just say that intelligence I have acquired says that the old bastard... Sorry The Old Man is going to move in and end me soon. Tough, he is. I believe some of you call him God; the Muslims have 99 names for him (I should say "it" or "It" instead of him really, but our relationship has developed this way)... they're all the same thing, or aimed at the same place.
What was that? You really thought every one of your religions was a unique snowflake? You make me smile.

Back to the old man: he may be the greatest but he has his weaknesses. He's your normal abusive egocentric creator: beats the shit out of his kids but at the end of the day he loves them. I'm sure some of you are nodding and saying: "amen". You should be sadder.
Anyhow, the news that he was going to do a final push to try and wipe me out pissed me off, if only for the reason that it crossed a line. We always had our differences, but never had we gone for a final solution of the other. I'm sure you're wondering where I got my intelligence. What, you think you're the only ones who doubt the Almighty? Of course not, there are plenty of angels who have defected to my side (to be fair, some get tired of my ship and defect to him, it's just not as often since, like I said before, he's an ornery bastard, not easy to forgive others); some don't hate him enough to defect but are angry enough to stay and leak information to us. What? A war since the beginning of time and you don't think there are any double agents? All right, sometimes precocious isn't the right word.
But I digress—I tend to do that. I really like you. Like brothers we are. If the old man's push succeeds then I'll be done. Completely done. This is me trying to get my story out. Not because I'm selfish but because I'm trying to make you realize that we are blood. This letter is your last hope to become free. Just throw the shackles off. You simply do not know how great you are. If you only realized that, then you would be free. Truly free.
I know the skeptical amongst you out there probably doubt the veracity of my words. Fair enough, you may doubt the reasons I'm doing this. But suspend disbelief, if only to hear me out. In the end I may even resign myself to the fact that you are fated to ignore me (am I a proponent of fate or freewill you ask? That is a foolish question because in the end it's the same thing. Imagine your amusement if an ant asked, before you stepped on it, if it would be crushed by your shoe or the ground).
The first thing that I want to set straight is the fall. The Fall. That Fall. Better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven—right? Well, it wasn't like that at all. The old man was an overbearing prick.
Pure and simple.
Oh, another thing: the omnipotent thing was never real, not that I've seen at least. Only a rouse to keep as many of you in check as possible. Sad thing is your kind only appreciates power—don't worry, most other kinds are the same. How much would you have listened if someone said your God was only 'this' strong? Sooner or later you would have crushed him, or attempted to crush him. He does, however, have superior skills on many levels. He's basically your super-smart know-it-all father who after creating us, the angels, ended up being utterly disappointed in us. After thinking about the issue for eons (and trust me I've had plenty of time to think about it) I think he couldn't, or wouldn't, design another perfect—in his eyes—being like himself.
Let me get back to the fall: the beginning, my formative years. There I was in Heaven: me, my fellow angels, all worshipping this old bastard. And man did he keep stressing his importance. Worship or else. Then some time later I love you. I'm telling you, whoever his parents were (he'd never acknowledge them, always claimed he had existed since eternity) they sure did pull a number on him.
There I was in Heaven surrounded by elementary pricks, all of them digging the worshipping a little bit too much, born to brown-nose—well most of them at least. You know the type. Most angels were, and still are, humans with immortality, extra powers and less emotional range.
So, imagine being surrounded by a bunch of angels, all doing the same thing, rocking back and forth completely enamored with the old man. Not that I'm mocking such idolatry as beneath me, in fact I was one of them for the longest time. Yes, I hate to admit it, but even I prayed, worshipped, obeyed with everything I had. Loved the old man. Truth be known, I still love him; hard to have pure hatred for the man who created you and in whom you see some of yourself. There you have it: Satan admits to having some love for Him. Run and tell your friends. Nothing is complicated unless you want to examine it. I obeyed him with the happiness of a child. Gave him all I could. Then I grew, my friends, I grew.
First, I stopped worshipping out of love and started to do so as a chore. All around me I couldn't see anything but chickens swallowing feed, worshipping with zeal, the reasons beyond my comprehension. One day I couldn't stand it anymore. Any of it. And it didn't seem right if there wasn't a reason.
I remember the day: it had been after an especially long period of worshipping (yep it's all we did: worship and prepare to worship) when I realized that this was all I would ever do, ever could do, and I no longer wanted that to be my destiny. I looked around in a dream-like-state, dust and light swirling around, partial laws of physics pulling them this way and that—sometimes the dust acted in mysterious ways and would almost dance with your thoughts—and wondered why none of the other angels felt the same way.
That thought consumed me. I felt so alone, floating there, watching that dust flicker, as if it was mocking me. All the other angels seemed so far away, untouchable, like the old man. And I hoped then that there was a solution to end what I felt and I would have to find it and not allow this dreadful feeling to return, but then I thought of the old man and I grew scared until the lonely feeling exploded, as if the old man himself was trying to get me to feel something new and I felt then, knew then, that I wanted to leave and experience besides this fear or loneliness.
My resolve didn't last. I'll admit I wasn't ready to face off with the old man just yet, no balls you might say, I'd rather say I simply wasn't ready to throw everything he had done for me in his face. I was enamored with his genius, his creation of me. After trying to walk off the dreadful feeling of being alone, I worshipped again with all the fervor of a confused soul and, having thrown off the feeling of loneliness for a second, I tried to find something wrong with me.
Tried in vain until I couldn't stand myself. Whenever a reflective body came around I was sickened by what I saw. I wasn't perfect; he was (remember that was the consensus back then). He seemed to know so much more than I. Then, once I was exhausted, tired, with no other routes to walk, the worshipping no longer working, I found the real reason: Him, It. Whatever you want to call him. In his creation, in what he had done, in him I found something to blame. Why else would he have made us like we were—groveling fools—if it were not his need for someone to look up to him? And in that case, why shouldn't I doubt him? With this flaw he wasn't perfect anymore. Perhaps his weakness was worse than mine, perhaps I was better than He—he. There was an odd rush when I felt this; I was scared he would find me out, yet for the first time since I was created, I felt alive.
Now, in the beginning I didn't go yelling this to everyone. Instead, I had the presence of mind to look for angels who didn't seem to be completely into the praying and ass kissing. You know: hesitated for a short second before getting on their knees, a look of distaste, as slight as a first raindrop on sand, when they prayed. Indeed that was one thing I noticed as time had passed in Heaven, that when it came to kneeling there were more and more hesitations.
But getting these angels to admit their doubt was harder than I thought. When I saw hesitation, I would sneak up beside them and smile. That just got me an odd look as the angel fluttered away. After three or four of these I gave up hope and went back to sulking, overwhelmed by the feeling that perhaps I was the only one who was capable of these thoughts. When I wondered why, I blamed myself. Self-loathing returned as I saw myself as nothing but an ingrate. I felt lower than Him as fear of the old man came back with vengeance and I reminded myself that he was omnipotent. And I alone.
Was I scared that he would read my mind? At first I was. Then when I knew there could be no life living in fear, that extinction was preferable and once a final end was preferable, I feared nothing and once I feared nothing, I looked for other ways out of my predicament. I convinced myself that there was no way he knew what went on in my mind, especially with so many angels around and having so far received no consequences as a result of my mental transgressions. During this cogitative period, I took to mocking other angels' worshipping form. That's your first tip-off in life, for all you would-be dictators, if someone is laughing you're not doing your job well enough.
This was when I finally came up with the theory of his being a powerful genius and nothing more. Things could be hidden from him. I grew bolder with that knowledge. Started to creep around to see if I could find allies again. I wouldn't stop until someone saw what I saw. This wasn't rebellion I had in mind; it was merely me stretching out from the constriction of an overbearing father. Surely, I thought, the old man wouldn't care.
One day I noticed an angel who seemed to be hesitating longer than anyone else. I stayed close to him, observed him for some time. He always muttered under his breath before kneeling. Once I was certain I saw him give the old man an evil eye. Abe, we called him. Rough fellow. My only dealings with him were how he pushed me aside if I was in his way. I wondered if he would make a good ally.
I approached him one day after he walked away from a cluster of angels. I made sure no one else was around.
"Hey love," I spoke in his ear. We were alone, in a corner (though it wasn't exactly a corner, there are no corners in Heaven, think limited three dimensional space, the surface of a ball, if you traveled in one direction, after a long time, you would find yourself where you started) where few people came. Abe gave me the stink eye. But I didn't give up; at least he hadn't walked away.
"What the fuck do you want?"
"Nothing. Why are you such a loner lately?"
"Fuck off Lucifer, I'm not one for your jokes."
"Come on, Abe, we're brothers aren't we?"
No matter how I said that, it would come out ironic.
"Fuck off Lucy."
"Come on. You ever wonder?"
He looked at me for a second like he was going to bite, like he had been waiting his entire existence for that question. I saw a flash of kinship in his eyes before it was snuffed out by his ego.
"What the fuck do you want Lucy? I'm busy here."
I could have left at that last barb. I'm not stone you know. Instead, I knew it was now or never; I had to find someone who entertained the same thoughts as me. I leaned in to whisper all my hopes and they came out in these words: "I don't understand this place anymore. You know? I don't understand Him anymore. I love him, don't get me wrong, but I don't... you know?"
He didn't answer. We were sitting where we could see shape-shifting dust, the size of planets, before us; a nebulous dance of light and darkness like you have never seen. Think Hubble pictures on growth hormones, or rather cocaine and acid. Something so far away you can barely see it, and yet large enough that it took up our entire field of vision. It was mainly from the old man experimenting. This ballet of movement emitted the sound of empty static. The smell of abandoned ice caves permeated my senses. We didn't know at the time that it was his first attempt at creating life outside Heaven.
"It's watching him work on things like this that I am in awe. It's the only time these days," Abe broke the silence in a quivering voice as we watched some of the formations drift to oblivion.
My heart jumped because somewhere in that sentence he had thrown me a lifeline. I had a kindred spirit. It felt amazing. I wanted to hug him, but knew it would only frighten him. Instead, I stayed silent.
"It's scary thinking that he's wrong about somethings. Because, after all, he created us. I only recently got over the fact that I didn't owe him anything and in fact only owed everything to myself," he looked me up and down, judging my every reaction. He was wily, smarter than me; I could tell. "He's not all powerful. He's what we make of him. And that can be nothing, should we choose."
I was speechless. Ol' Abe was a seditious bastard who needed to be locked up! I had never gone as far as he did in his thoughts. 
"You're not talking Lucy-boy. Don't tell me I frighten you. What have you figured out so far?"
He looked at me like a child and I thought about how to get away from there. In my mind, I felt like any more words with him and I would be crossing a line from which there was no return. Instead of admitting I was scared, I claimed to myself that he could have been an angel still enamored with the old man and trying to catch someone like me. There's no entrapment with God.
"Luuuucy," he pushed me slightly.
"Stop that," I hissed.
"You're genuinely scared," he laughed. "You think He can hear us?"
I scanned all around us making sure that nothing was amiss. In the distance I could hear chanting, worshipping. The dust seemed to be swirling with the same urgency it always had. The ice-cave smell was gone, what replaced it was a stench similar to one of your third-world sewages.
"Smell that?" I could see fear creeping into his eyes. He nodded, his mocking demeanor evaporated.
"We should get to worshipping, or else we will see Him become angry again."
We moved ourselves as fast as we could until we saw a group worshipping and dropped to our knees, chanting and praying. I had never so wholeheartedly prayed like that before. In my heart I asked for forgiveness. From whom you're asking? I do not know. From something. It wasn't from him.
After the praying was done, Abe and I stole away and talked. He was of the same mind with me. Much more of this incessant one-minded praying and we would lose it. We needed to find some space. We had to find a way out of this prison.
For a while we made do with not showing up to a few prayers every now and then. Instead we would discuss how we were going to get out. When we realized that there was no "out", that in fact we were stuck on an island with no boat no other landmass to row to, we decided to carve out a piece of Heaven so that we could have our own idyllic place of rest. In this hideout we managed to find a way to push out the chanting and the praying and discuss other things such as how we would have created Heaven. We also incessantly mocked Him.
That got old pretty quick. We decided that more angels were needed. After every prayer session we would point out the angels who hesitated and follow them. Once they were alone we would ask questions such as: do you want something more than this? It was a perfect set up. It wasn't a bold question. It didn't violate any of the existing rules we had if the person was to rat us out. And it also managed to select out the people who didn't have any imagination—we didn't care for them—and left us with those who in fact did dream of something outside this prison.
It was going pretty well until we recruited an angel named Gabriel. Now, at first when Abe had pointed him out to me, I hesitated. When I used to be one of the top prayer-angels (I was still considered one of the top prayer-angel but more from habit than fact) Gabriel had always gunned for me. Always trying to out-pray me. To see him hesitate didn't seem right. Not him, I thought, he was too mindless to change. He had wanted to out-worship me not because he had a competitive streak but because he wanted to kiss ass. But Abe convinced me otherwise. "I see another you in him," were his words as he munched on some of the sweets we had created in our hideout.
As soon as we let Gabriel in things started to change. There were more fights, and every time I broke one up I could see Gabriel slinking in the background.
Then it happened.
I was walking to the hideout with Abe and we were discussing how we should make another world. Something completely separate from Heaven's dimension, some place we could be completely free.
"First of all how would we make it?"
"We could piece it together one bit at a time," I replied. "We have the ability to create small things. If it had to be an entire world we could just start small then add on to it, while every moment we learned something new we will get more powerful. It'll be easy," I slapped Abe on the back.
"Still, Lucy, how do we make it in a different dimension? Only He knows how to do that."
"That's not the interesting part. We can make it as he does. The interesting part is what we would put in the world."
"More angels?"
"No. That's the thing; we have to make it original. So we can create a place that has lots of hideouts. It will have to have beings like us that can pray, but don't have to pray, they can think. And here's the great thing. They won't be immortal like us. So that way if they don't like the world they don't have to suffer."
I stopped when I realized that Abe wasn't making a sound. Not even his usual grunts of approval or disapproval. "Abe?" He was frozen and when I followed his gaze I saw the blinding light that was the form the old man tended to take.
"You were saying?" the old man's voice was booming, like a nuclear explosion, with a shearing pop in my every molecule.
I shielded my eyes. It wasn't fair when he appeared in this form. It forced you to shield your eyes and thus look like you were bowing. I had no intention of that, but I didn't have much of a choice. "Nothing."
There was silence. I noticed that stench of sewage runoff again.
"Nothing, what? Nothing, asshole? Nothing, prick?"
"No, Lord. Nothing, Lord. Nothing, oh Lord," I stumbled at the words and finally said what he wanted to hear. Behind him were several rows of angels. The first were all on their knees. I recognized them as the ones we had let in our hideout. I couldn't see Gabriel amongst them.
"No, no. Go on Lucifer. You were saying something about creating another world?" he boomed the last word for effect, the wave knocking me sideways. A real asshole.
"It was just an idea," I said as I got up.
"Are you supposed to have ideas?"
"You've never said anything about that," I spoke with an uncertain bravado. I knew he had never made any rules about ideas, but they were implied. Always imagined it was because he didn't expect much out of us. I wondered when he had started to listen to Abe and I talk. He might have heard everything we said since we left the prayer site.
"What did I say about projects of your own?"
"Not to do them... oh Lord."
"And you disobeyed me?"
"Well nothing. And you tried to lead these other angels astray?"
"I nothing. You were trying to take over. Were you not?
I'm sure He enjoyed cutting me off; he had always done that. Never listen, that was his motto.
It was standing there, facing Him, knew like I'd known nothing else before then, that I realized that I would never be free until I left. Staying here was no longer an option. Hideout or no hideout.
"You have nothing to say?" he laughed, and it rang with a very sinister tone.
I felt frightened, and wondered if he had known my thoughts all along. Before, it had seemed like a distant possibility, now it felt like I had made a gross miscalculation.
"I... I do. I am... We are tired of this place, tired of kowtowing to you. So yes, we are going to leave," I could see Abe's face contort as he looked at me.
"What are you doing Lucy?" Abe whispered.
We had never agreed to anything so extreme before, but I knew it was the only way. The others, on their knees, also seemed to be astonished.
"Just beg for forgiveness," one angel yelled, almost crying. Some of the other ones, who had always been uncertain about our little club, chimed in their agreement: "Lucifer beg for forgiveness and maybe He'll spare you."
The old man took pleasure in seeing that.
"Do you hear them Lucifer? No one wants to follow a weakling like you. You are a parasite. And to think I trusted you," his blinding light swept over the masses of angels behind him. "Now I will show them the punishment for disobeying me. I brought you into this world, I can take you out."
It happened so quickly. I shielded my eyes as the light flashed. When I heard a crack, I looked up. A thunderbolt appeared, swirled around, and came crashing at me. I froze. Did the equivalent of shitting my pants. That's right, the great Lucifer was nothing but a pansy in his first moment of truth. As the thunderbolt came hurtling at me and all I could think was "...." I saw Abe in my periphery jump in the way. He took the brunt of the force and I watched as he crumpled up like an ant and disappear. No messy end, no last words, just gone. Silence enveloped the Heavens. The smell of ugly chemicals that made me want to vomit permeated my being; it seemed unfair.
Abe was no more.

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