Talking with the Devil

I awoke suddenly, as if I were roused from a dream. I remember that I was walking along the park and then a man came up to me. The rest of the dream faded from my memory. "I must still be dreaming" I thought. I looked around me and found that I was on a floating island. It was completely barren but also smooth. I couldn't see any signs that it was crafted by human hands. It was almost as if it were created this way. All around the island was a vortex that swirled and shone red with an unworldly luminosity. Black lines would appear within the vortex and swirl with the flow of it.

As I gazed in wonder at this other-worldly light show I failed to notice the man that appeared next to me. "Quite a sight isn't it?" he asked. "I come out here sometimes and just watch the ebb and flow of it. Its beauty really boggles the mind." "Who are you?" I asked after my initial shock had worn off. "Oh, I guess you could call me the manager around here." he replied. He was about six feet tall and had black hair that was slicked back. His hair was so black that I don't recall the light reflecting off of it. He wore an excellently tailored, black, three-button suit and a blood red shirt. His tie was also black and made of the same material as the suit. His shoes were black oxfords that reflected the light like glass. His skin had a reddish tint to it that was almost imperceptible. His eyes were black and his teeth were white with two sharp canines. He had a small mustache and a patch of hair that covered his chin.

"What's your name?" I asked. "Oh, I have many names. Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Abaddon, Apollyon, tempter, Beelzebub, but you can call me, Satan." I couldn't believe it, Satan, the Dark Lord himself was talking to me as if I were an old friend. "I must be dreaming." I said. "Call it what you will but we have some business to attend to." He replied. He snapped his fingers and a door appeared out of thin air. After opening the door, Satan ushered me inside. I went through like a cow being led to the slaughterhouse.

Once inside the door I found that we were in a vast hallway. It was about 10 feet wide with numerous doors on either side. The hallway itself seemed to stretch on to infinity. On each of the doors was a placard that bore a name, presumably of the occupant. Satan led me down the hallway and as we walked we passed several demons. He would greet each one in a language that made me shudder in utter terror. I couldn't repeat it now even if I tried. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I asked Satan about the rooms. He explained that each room belonged to an individual that, obviously, was not in heaven for whatever reason.

We stopped at a room on the left side of the hallway. "This is one of my favorites." Satan said. He opened the door and inside was a small room with a man standing in the center of the room. The man was white with Victorian Era clothing on. "This is Simon." Satan said. "He was a mathematician when he was alive. He would constantly figure formulae and work on proofs for theorems. In fact that he devoted so much of his life to math that he neglected his own health as well as many other aspects of his life." "What is his punishment?" I asked. "This is a good one." Satan answered. "He started out at the far side of the room. Everyday he walks half of the distance to the door. When he gets all the way to the door he can leave. He is actually quite close to us but I expanded the room for clarity." He told Simon to "have fun" as we left.

We walked further down the hallway and this time we stopped at a room on the right. He opened the door and this time there was a woman in the room. She was dressed in contemporary clothing, blue jeans and a shirt, and was sitting on a stool. She held a guitar across her knees. She was desperately trying to get the guitar to tune, but to no avail. "This is Sally. She's actually one of our new arrivals. She was a musician up until 3 weeks ago" He said. He laughed at his joke and then continued. "Since music was Sally's life and all that she ever wanted to do, we gave Sally a guitar that will never be in tune or play what she wants it to."

We left Sally with her agony and continued our trek down the infinitesimal hall. We didn't actually look into any more rooms, but Satan kept on telling me about the various occupants, as we would pass by their rooms. I noticed that there wasn't any fire or brimstone, however one of the demons that passed by us smelled like rotten eggs mixed with sour milk. The more that we talked, the more that I felt that there was something that Satan was trying to tell me without coming out and saying it. Then something clicked in my mind. "Wait a minute. All of these people were preoccupied with something on Earth. Something that took away from their devotion to God." "Go on" he said. "And then, when they come down here, that thing that was their devotion on Earth, now it only torments them because it won't work. You've shown me engineers whose designs crumble at the slightest touch, musicians who can never play the right notes on their instruments, and mechanics that can never seem to find out what is wrong with the engine that they are working on. But why am I here?"

"Ahh yes," he replied. "The big question. The one that so many of you humans spend so much of your time trying to figure out while not actually enjoying the process of being where you are. To answer your question, the reason why you are here is because you are not up there." He said as he pointed to the ceiling. "Remember that man in the park? Go on. Try to remember what he was holding in his hand." I thought back to the park and the man. I could see something in his hand, but it was fuzzy. It wouldn't come into focus. "Concentrate on it. What's in his hand?" Satan whispered. I focused all my concentration on his hand and then I saw it. It was a gun. That's when it all came back to me. The man had been mugging me. He wanted my wallet and my watch. I hadn't been fast enough in giving it to him because the clasp had become stuck on my shirt. That's when he got angry and shot me in the chest. Then he ripped the watch off of my wrist and stood over me and smiled. He raised his gun and pointed it at my head. The last thing that I saw was his horrible smile as he shot me in the head. "Oh my God" I said as I sank to the floor. "It's a little too late for that" he replied. "You had your chances up on Earth, but now you're here with me." "I was shot," I said, still in shock. "Yes. We've covered that." Satan said. "So, what is my punishment going to be?" I queried. "Well, we had a hard time thinking of what to do with you." Lucifer told me. "You weren't good enough to get into heaven, but you weren't really bad enough to be sent here. You had as neutral a life as you possibly could. We were going to just leave you out in limbo, but you seemed to enjoy looking at the void too much, so God and I talked it over and decided that you would spend all of eternity here in the hallway. You'll be completely ignored by both sides. You'll have to spend all of eternity looking around at all the other people receiving their individual "treatments" and realizing that no one cares about you. But don't be too sad. You're a special case. No one else has had their punishment explained to them." And then he was gone. I spent what I estimated to be a couple of years by normal standards walking around the hallway. I would see demons come and go, bringing people to their rooms, but they never acknowledged my presence. I think I went crazy for about 100 years, but now I've settled into a routine. Occasionally I'll see Satan walk by, but he never says anything. He just kind of has this odd little grin on his face. Let me tell you now, don't make the same mistake that I did. Pick a side.

J. R. Guinness Posted at 12:00 PM

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