When father created me, he cast me in goodness. Mayhap I was even his favourite because he entrusted to me the task of ministering over his flock both in heaven and on earth. But, losing belief in my father’s ideology, I rebelled. I was young and foolish. So, I defied and challenged his omniscient authority.
Alas! I forgot who I was up against.
My actions had consequences. For my transgression, I was banished from heaven. Yes, I was cast out. I was damned to spend eternity atoning for my sins by teaching repentance to religious transgressors, those who rebelled against the idea or ideologies of God. Thus, I ended up in hell.
But, my demeanour remains regal for I may be a fallen one but make no mistake; I am a lord, no less. I have forged my kingdom of hell from the deepest fires in the bowels of the earth. My realm is where no man willingly comes. In the volcanic embers of my home smoulder remorse, repentance, and rue for that is what I aim to evoke in sinners.
Who am I, you ask? What is my identity?
I am Lucifer, Lord of Hell.
Aaah! I tell you, there was a time, many millennia ago, when my demons scoured the earth looking for religious transgressors. They were a rare find then. Oh, I have to admit, initially, when such sinners made their way to my realm, it titillated me. I would wait in eager anticipation to torment them. You see tormenting them alleviated my ennui. I kid you not, spending millennia in hell can be pretty damn boring (pardon the pun).
But then, gradually, something changed. Humans changed and with them changed the definition of sin.
Why do I say this?
Well because sinners became sadistic rapists, cold-blooded murderers, jihadists and much more. No longer did they remain just agnostics. Sadly, humanity found newer ways to transgress. And, it is these reprobates who now fill my dungeons. It is their putrid souls that stink up my couloirs.
Arrgh! I abhor them. They arouse revulsion in me and this realization has slowly crept up on me, more so in the last few centuries.
15th century, Hell
“Sire, you look perturbed,” asks Malakh, the chief of my demons.
“The abrasion of goodness in the human souls disturbs me,” I sigh. “I rue the impetuousness of my rebellion against father. Had I not done that Malakh, sin would not have been created. I am the original sinner. I am to blame. I wish…”
“Then I fear I am here to add to your woes, Sire. I bring you, Vlad.”
Tortured by the internal demons of my remorse, I look up at the man who is being ushered in. There is an air of cold detachment in him. He does not cower before me. Dipped in conceit, his eyes are cold. I shiver involuntarily at their frigidity.
‘All Mighty Father, he exudes pure evil!’
Getting a grip on my thoughts, I ask, “You are accused of disembowelling, beheading and boiling thousands of innocents. Why did you do it?”
He sneers and replies, “For enjoyment.”
‘Torture and mutilations for enjoyment; surely that is more malfeasance than sin.’
The man is impertinent. I bristle at his admission. I want to smack this sadist down and make him beg for forgiveness. But, as I meet his steely gaze, I realize that he is not a man looking for redemption. He feels no remorse for his actions. As my demons recount the grizzly details of his brutalities, he laughs.
‘Lord in heaven! He is proud of his acts,’ I think startled. ‘How do I make such a man repent?’
Sadly, Vlad is not an isolated encounter for me. Post-meeting him; in this century itself, I met such ignominious souls that they change my perception of evil. My regret at my uprising against father is only intensified after meeting Gilles de Rais, a torturer, and rapist.
When I ask him why he did it, he says, ‘For pleasure.’
‘How can pleasure be derived by raping a child?’ I am aghast.
My belief in humanity’s inherent goodness is shaken. For the first time in eons, I think, ‘Should I go beg for father’s forgiveness? Should I fall at his feet and plead for I don’t think I can salvage the souls of these sinners. It is too great a punishment that he has given me.’
19th century, Hell
I endured the last few centuries on pure obstinacy. Well that, and the fact that I cannot make reparations to father. That avenue is closed. I am living in a hell of my own making.
Of late, like today, I often sit and ponder, ‘the souls that inhabit the earth have to be far worse than the ones here in hell because only the dead come here whereas the ones living still perpetrate evil above ground.’
Malakh enters with a shackled man in tow.
“Sire, this is Jack of Whitechapel.”
In the proud tilt to his head, lip curled in a half sneer, the man’s disdain of me is evident.
‘Are these men so demonic in their acts that they are not scared of me?’ I wonder. ’Am I failing at my job or is humanity failing?’
The man’s arrogance stings me. But, I have lost the will to torment such sinners. I loathe my interactions with them for they are proof that my job will perhaps never be done. I will neither be free nor forgiven.
Herman Mudgett only strengthens my disillusionment. If it is possible to be eviler than the Lord of Hell, then he is that. Like Jack, he butchered out of a sense of self-righteousness.
‘These are not souls I can ever teach repentance to,’ I eventually contend and leave them to wallow in my dungeons.
‘I cannot do this much longer. Oh, father! I fear I have outlived my will to carry out my punishment. I have learned my lesson. Set me free.’
20th century onwards, Hell
Malakh brings me a self-serving megalomaniac named Adolf Hitler, a short-statured man with a funny moustache.
‘I think I can finally relinquish hell to this man,’ I think ruefully as Malakh recounts his deeds to me. ‘His soul is blacker than the darkest dungeon in hell.’
‘Can sin now be called dictatorship?’ I wonder because Hitler certainly redefines it as such.
In the years that follow, dictators like Mussolini, Hitler, and Idi Amin are brought to me. They reaffirm my belief that my realm has not one but many contenders as possible rulers. These men and their deeds personify sin. I realize now how sin like a living organism has fought, adapted and evolved in form.
‘My transgression, the reason for my punishment, pales in comparison,’ I think.
A loud bang rips open earth’s bosom, echoing in the depths of my realm. The year is 1945.
Sin now has a weapon called an atomic bomb. The bomb brings in its wake destruction of such magnitude that it leads me to sombrely conclude, ‘My transgression for sure pales in comparison.’
I sigh! This century has broken my will to rule over sinners. I cannot keep track of all the forms sin has. There are massacres in the name of religious fanaticism; Jihad’s fought over territory, acts so terrorism that are so macabre that they put even the medieval crusades to shame.
‘What are they fighting for? Father created for them a beautiful world. What more do they need?’ I wonder more often than not.
Believe me; I have held lengthy dialogues with sinners like Saddam Hussain, Osama Bin Laden, Afzal Guru, Stalin, Mao, and their likes. I have tried to understand their perspective just so I could appeal to a vestige of goodness in them and direct them towards a way to atone. But alas! I have failed both as a redeemer and as Lord of Hell.
Today I understand the import of what I did.
‘Forgive me father, for I finally realize the magnitude of my sin. Forgive me…set me free,’ I sob.
But alas! Father does not listen. My confession has little meaning without his forgiveness. I am still damned.
Today, if I could I would reverse time. I would never defy father for I now realize that in doing so, I exposed and doomed humanity. Today, the earth is a far greater hell than hell itself.
The actions of humans have usurped my authority over evil. And, in doing so, they inadvertently have evoked my latent goodness, the same I was cast in, and what I lost sight of.
So, I cede my title, I relinquish my control. I aver that hell and earth have merged and only humans possess the soulless fortitude to rule over the now joined realm.
I still live in eternal damnation, but I now live on earth in my new identity as a common man and no longer as Lord of Hell.
This story is a work of fiction. It was not my intention to disparage any religion or community. If that comes across, then I tender an unconditional apology in advance. For representational purposes, I have picked only certain incidents and references from history although sadly, there are many more. I intended to write this story in the dark genre.
Photo By: Zerig
This is an entry for Greenhorns-3, #Metamorphosis, an Exclusive Writing event for the Feathers club members of room8 by ArtoonsInn.
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