It begins in a garden.
It always begins in a garden.
This is one where tomatoes grow tall and yellow reeds of flowers stretch in the summer sun. There are zucchinis for the seven year old towhead to pluck, her fine platinum hair like butter that she obsessively parts down the middle each morning. Her hands are grubby with dirt, her skin is golden tan, and she has glasses on to help with those bookish eyes of her. You watch from Above, or perhaps Below, your charge, as she digs for rocks. Why do all children obsessively dig for rocks, you wonder, as her fingers dig through Virginia red clay then sculpt a bowl from the earth. She’s making worm pies again, trying to feed the residents of the garden that fructify the earth.
It is any day on Earth, it is any day in Heaven, it is any day in Hell.
She calls you Star after Venus, the Morning Star, singing as she bakes mud and clay in the sun, telling you about her day, and you do not have the heart to tell your charge that you are in fact Lucifer the all too real Morning Star until she is twelve, and even then she screams and runs far away from you, refusing to use the name you gave her until she is twenty. She prefers the softer sounds, Ariel, Samael, mostly just Sam. You will tell her she sprang from the heart of Lucifer at seventeen, and you will say it is your own black heart, and that she is your progeny in the twisted ways of hope of angels in hell, but she will throw vitriol at you and deny words from the horse’s mouth.
You can see the beginning and end of her mortal life all at once, for time to you is a circle, and immortals are stuck in eternal patterns. For now, she plays in a garden, like a girl who you once knew grew up in a much larger Garden, and who you gave your sole fruit to. That was the greatest mistake of your life, giving the apple of your love to a beautiful woman. You have been rotting since, a good necrosis, a true decay, with void and abyss stitched into your ribs and the sins of the world running through your blood.
You’re the original Fallen after all, first to say “I want more, I am more, I AM.” That lie of separation. That night, as her soul flees her body and runs to your lap, you take her on your cherubim back to yet another garden, where there are fields of slain angels. There is an important lesson in these brethren felled at your own hands, she knows enough to know you are a slayer of angels and demons alike, only she calls them angels, for girls raised on Madeline L’Engle often confuse the two, yet you are an alien in truth, so you never correct her.
She dismounts your shoulders and slides down your back like a song, gently grabbing hold of your wings as she departs. “Why did you bring me here, Star?” she asks softly. “You killed again, and I wasn’t there to save you. I’m so sorry, Star, this is all my fault…”
She clutches a bloodied buttercup, then rips it off at the stem and smashes it in her small hands, mashing the petals to fragrance and pollen. She shakes, she cries, and you hold her in your arms and cry as well.
“Do you know what madness is?” you ask her slowly, wiping away her tears and licking the salt of her eyes.
Her lip trembles. “Yes. It’s when your eyes are red and your hair is black and your skin is poison. It’s when you cry and kill, and slaughter, and Star, only I can help you then and sing to you, and then you stop. But – but when I’m not around to save you, this happens…” She extends her hand to the mangled limbs and shed guts of self-righteous fuckers, those winged holier-than-thou seagulls, yet your brothers all the same.
“I took you here because it is not your place to save me,” you say slowly, breaking the truth like splitting a crusty biscuit. “This is what I am.”
“Yes, you’re Chaos. I knew that already,” she says quietly, eyes downcast, for in her child’s mind she has already named you her equivalent of the Antichrist in a language she invented, and wrote in her seven year old gel pens a prophecy in which you will destroy the universe if she cannot help you find the Light within, well, your heart.
She understands things in Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, ultimatums. She thinks it is her destiny to save you, to restore your Light and hold back your Darkness, and in saving you save existence itself. Perhaps there is some truth in that, but you would never place that burden on her shoulders, for she is just a child.
Just a child that speaks to Satan, rides Heaven and Hell on his shoulders, and met him as her first memory, but no matter. You are the Devil, and you have ruined many childhoods before her. Or perhaps they were all iterations of the same Eve, over-curious girls with insatiable appetites for wanderlust and knowledge. Knowledge is her favorite thing, wanderlust her favorite word.
She will wander far in her lifetime, and her knowledge will tithe her to Hell, sacrificial soul indeed.
For now, she holds you close, and says “I’ll always love you, no matter what, Star. Let’s leave this awful place.”
You carry her away in burning arms to a planet of girl’s first wishes, and she dances with elves and fairies by the firelight, and she is at peace.
As at peace the Devil’s heart can be.