I stood in the middle of an empty gray throne room, no hint of light save a handful of candles that kept the darkness at bay.
“And you are…” my voice trailed off as I addressed the two before me. For a moment they looked at each other, a bit perplexed as if it was odd I didn’t recognized them.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am The Prince of Darkness, or more widely known as the Angel Lucifer,” he beamed with a wide grin, holding open his black and red cape, bowing exaggeratedly low until his horns nearly touch the floor.
“Don’t mind the old man, he’s never really good with words,” he winked and motioned to an elderly gentleman who simply stood with his hands behind his back, who was watching Lucifer with an uninterested gaze.
“Hmm, by my estimation, you are the last soul around that hasn’t made up their mind yet,” Lucifer’s smile turned wicked and his eyes filled with mock charm and innocence.
“Lucifer, there is no one left that cares for your inane chatter,” the old man sighed, as he rolled his eyes “this one indeed isn’t interested in joining you.”
“Pffftt old man,” sneered the fallen angel, “what do you know about the mind’s of mortals?” Turning Lucifer made a dramatic sweep with his overly elaborate cape and walked towards me purposefully positioning himself between the other man and I.
“Look, Friend. I’ll put it to you real simple like,” Lucifer threw his arm around my shoulder, “Join me and get whatever your heart desires, join that guy,” his thumb jutted towards the man in the back of the room, “and there’s really no telling what you’ll get.”
I peered over the dark angel’s shoulder and wings, “So what’s your story?” I asked the old man in the back.
Lucifer snarled, but didn’t interrupt the man when he spoke, “well, you could say I tried a little experiment and it went…ok I guess. But now it’s all over and you’re the last one I’m afraid.”
He seemed a bit sad and worn out. “Oh I guess, I should mention, Lucifer is not to be trusted, he is after all the embodiment of evil,” the old man continued.
“And I suppose you are the embodiment of good?” I finished the old man’s thoughts. He only smiled in acknowledgment.
“Oh is that how we’re going to play if you old fool,” Lucifer crossed his arms and sat back on his hooved heels.
“Well since you brought it up God, why don’t you tell…what’s-his-name,”
“Carl,” I offered.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Welcome,” I answered.
“Tell Carl how great you actually are. My favorite story is the one about how you let that unending famine kill millions of people. I’m pretty sure it’s in your all encompassing power to fix a few crops,” Lucifer’s accusations dripped in disrespectful sarcasm.
I remembered that famine. I was awfully busy those ten years.
The old man just looked at me, expressionless. He was not sorry and he made no excuses.
“Should I interfere with every death?” God asked me.
I stared at him for a moment, “Should you not stop a famine?” Lucifer’s laugh echoed throughout the chamber, “oh yes old man answer him!”
“The physical life is temporary, so is suffering. What does it matter if they die now or later? Is one death better than another? The end result is the same, ” he simply said, ignoring Lucifer’s mocking laughter.
He had a point. I was the greatest of all equalizers, and took souls indiscriminately – young, old, man, woman, and child.
“You see! He cares not for his own creation! His callousness and his wanton disregard for the suffering of the people he claims to love,” Lucifer swept his hand across the room.
“And I suppose you never caused destruction or death,” I asked Lucifer who seemed quite smug at this point.
“I have never directly caused a death!” Lucifer feigned wounded pride, as he touched his chest. “I guided and directed them onto the path of fulfilling their goals and dreams. How can that be so terrible? I gave them whatever they asked for!” his eyes sparkled with excitement.
“Did you love them unconditionally and truly want their happiness?” Lucifer faltered at my question. Love was not a concept Lucifer wanted to discuss at length and instead changed this tactic.
“I wanted nothing more from them than what the old man wanted from them,” Lucifer pointed an accusatory claw at God, who had still not moved from his corner.
“And what did you both want from the humans?” I asked them.
“Love,” Lucifer answered
“Love,” God answered.
I stared at them both. They were so alike, yet so different. If one wasn’t careful you could almost confuse the two. So similar were their goals of wanting human love. Yet, so different was their ways of going about getting it.
“Huh” I said to them, which told them everything I was thinking. I looked at both a few seconds longer, then turned around and started walking towards the door at the back of the room. The light traveled with me, leaving both soon in utter darkness.
“Wait! Who are you picking?! Me or the old guy,” Lucifer called out after me. I did not answer and kept walking.
“Death chose both of us,” God answered Lucifer.