Going to try to figure out what to do with this now other than just shameless plugs.
But this is mostly a shameless plug.
Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!
Going to try to figure out what to do with this now other than just shameless plugs.
But this is mostly a shameless plug.
Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!
Isn’t it funny?
The idea of love fascinates humans.
Love redefines joy.
Its end redefines pain.
…Isn’t it marvelous?
Maybe that’s why it fascinates you as well.
This inexplicable phenomenon they try to explain as a byproduct of their need to procreate.
But somehow they accept that we, the divine, must be able to love as well.
They have faith—faith—that even He loves them.
When was the last time that He put his loins into anyone?
Some of them say it’s more of a mystical occurrence of their human experience.
A little spark of magic and beyond in their minuscule presence in the endless time and space.
But why invite such vulnerability to their already fragile existence?
I find it all very amusing, Beelzebub.
And I find it very potent.
There is truly a before and an after to humans when it comes to their first true love and the first heartbreak.
Something they wish they’d never experience, and yet, something so profound that those who haven’t experienced it are at a sincere loss of what it means to be human.
Even their foulest have a moment of innocence when it comes to their first heartbreak.
And it is there—yes, there—where all of them can truly realize that life is unfair.
A reality check.
There. Is. No. Magic.
‘Irreversible’ is real.
‘Impossible’ is real.
Something so beautiful is fleetingly ephemeral and yet its damages so eternal.
Not everyone will be involved in heinous violence like rape, murder, or war.
Not everyone will experience detrimental deprivations of neglect, starvation, or incapacity.
All of the other devastating, palpable consequences of free will.
But nearly all of them will experience their fellow human’s freedom to give their hearts and take it away.
“Am I wrong, Beezebub?” Suzie softly asked with a moist voice.
To walk away from the road the two had paved together.
Falling into the pit of desperate denial that everything they had wasn’t meaningless.
“I should just let him go, right?”
But how could the road have meant anything if the destination itself disappeared?
Everything they’ve been working towards.
All they’ve been through.
Beelzebub stared out the window of Suzie’s apartment. Neglecting to acknowledge his brother’s words from beyond. Suzie’s roommates were out for the night. As if in a scene of a movie, it was pouring rain.
“Beelzebub,” Suzie sobbed sitting on her bed. “I wish… I wish… I never met him.”
He had seen her cry before. But never like this. Thick droplets of tears poured out of her eyes. Each droplets draining her.
There are mothers who’ve watched their children die.
Men who stared at their friends as they were drawing their last breaths.
A young woman experiencing heartbreak wasn’t something even close to being comparable.
“I…” Suzie choked on her words.
But the voice of his brother had a point. It was all too common. All too relatable. Palpable.
Never like this.
She’s never been like this.
Beelzebub let out a deep sigh.
Don’t deny of me this Beelzebub.
She’s mine as much as she is yours.
“…I love him,” Suzie confessed. “But I’m scared”
Don’t deny yourself of this.
“He messed up and I… I fucked up too. I feel like if I don’t stop him now… We won’t ever be okay. But… but… what if I lay it all out after what he’s done and he’s not worth it? What if we fight to make this work and it’s all just meaningless? Like, mom and dad?”
I know what you’re thinking you want to tell her.
She’s too young to know what real love is in the real world.
And she’s young enough to find someone else.
Someone she doesn’t have this kind of history with.
This kind of tarnish.
“You’re worried that you’ll end up like your mom and dad?” Beelzebub asked without turning away from the window.
But let her pursue.
“I’m worried that I’m ripping my own heart apart over something I can just move on from!”
She’ll fail like most of them do.
And then we can show her the path. The right path.
“I can move on right?” Suzie asked. “This’ll just be another thing that happened in my life in a month. Maybe a year.”
Don’t. Let. This. Opportunity. Go.
“You’re right. You’re young,” Beelzebub told Suzie. “Your life hasn’t even begun yet. You’ll probably get over this.”
“Yeah,” Suzie seemed to understand what Beelzebub wanted to say. “Yeah.”
“There’ll probably be other guys. Other loves. Plenty of time for all that,” Beelzebub turned around and faced Suzie.
“So what’s there to lose?” Beelzebub smiled.
Instantaneously, Suzie darted out of her room. Ran down the stairs of her apartment. Like the movies, it was raining. And like the movies, she saw him standing in the rain unable to leave for the same reasons she was now standing behind him.
“Jay,” Suzie carefully called out his name.
She worried that perhaps the rain drowned out her voice and he’d walk away.
“Suzie,” He turned around in surprise. She was there getting more drenched by the second. His mind and emotions in too much of a chaos to express how happy and surprised he was to see her.
Suzie searched for words. Anger and doubt still lingered for a moment that felt like it was made of thin glass.
“I love you,” He interrupted her. “I love you. And I… I want to make this work. I’m sorry. And I… I don’t want to be without you.”
The devil watched from Suzie’s room as she ran towards the young man to embrace him. They held each other in the rain under the street lamps. The world around them had stopped existing a long ago.
It was too much like the movies.
People were allowed to have their movie moment.
A magical moment they’ll cherish. A near fantasy others may not believe. But the magic they’ll always have them believing in something beyond what’s there.
Because they were witnesses to it.
They’re the evidence of it.
And because it makes life just a little more than what it is.
The devil had disappeared by the time the two young lovers returned.
“You did that?” Binkle asked Beelzebub in surprise as he handed Satan his bottle of dark lager.
“Why?” Satan questioned Beelzebub.
Satan decided to visit Beelzebub at The Center, Beelzebub’s bar in Hell, after their incident earlier with Suzie. He took the form of what a scotch whiskey and a dark lager would look like as a man from the 80s. The gruff man gave a piercing stare as he analyzed his brother.
“Why? Why? I did what I wanted and it happened to also be what you wanted. You know what you get when you complain even after getting what you want?” Beelzebub took a sip of his drink. Today was a drink that’s equal parts vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. It had a name that was perhaps a bit too on the nose for today’s occasion.
“You get to be Daddy’s least favorite. He’s always hated you.”
“Whatever the case,” Satan stood and raised his bottle. “Here’s to the young lovers. For its blossoming spring and its eventual winter.”
“Seriously. He’s always hated you,” Beelzebub raised his glass. “Y’know, for being a creep.”
Satan finished his bottle in one quick chug.
“And I’ve always found you painfully weak,” Satan placed the empty bottle on the table and the money to pay for it. “Painfully weak and unpleasurable. I’m sure you saw as I did what will happen. You did what’s coming to her as much as I. But don’t fret. It’ll all be for the best. Though I suppose I’m a bit confounded on exactly why you’re being more… nettlesome… than usual.”
“Oh, is it not obvious?” Beelzebub looked surprised. “It’s because of you. Hearing your voice makes me want to pray. Seeing you makes me want to get on my knees and tell Pops that I’m sorry. You’re welcome to free me of this misery at any time.”
Satan smiled. He gave a nod to Binkle, put on his hat, and whistled as he exited the bar.
“I’m surprised you let Satan have his way,” Binkle spoke soon as the door closed behind Satan.
“Love is a beautiful thing while it lasts,” Beelzebub answered as he continued to sip on his drink.
“I’m certain Satan foresaw something in the girl’s future where having this boy in her life will hurt her. Did you see otherwise?”
Beelzebub shook his head.
A person’s future was an uncertain thing. It’s a messy grid full of knots and every direction that only became more of a disarray as the person grew older. But certain choices have fewer detours and pathways than others. And some lead to dead ends.
“Oh,” Binkle froze for a moment. Caught by a surprise to his boss’s response though he was uncertain why. His boss was simply doing his duty.
“Alright then. I guess I should be expecting to see her here sometime,” Binkle smiled as he went on to make drinks for his other customers.
“Perhaps,” Beelzebub finished his cocktail. He stared at his empty glass. He remembered the rain. Not even all the raindrops he had seen this evening would amount to the souls he had seen come and go.
Who could possibly care for them all?
It took a long time to post this.
As always, I apologize for the delay.
The greatest concern with this chapter was regarding if it did appropriate enough job building momentum for the next chapter–the final chapter.
And I guess it’s there, in the final chapter, where I’ll actually discuss my thoughts on finishing this little what-was-supposed-to-be-a-simple-fun-side-project and what the actual process ended up being like.
Thank you always for reading.
See you all next time.
It’ll be sooner than later.
I know I always say that.
There are days that are more memorable than most. The kind of days that people relive in their minds through their entire lives. Sometimes we know it before those kinds of days happen but, more often than not, they tend to be a surprise gift. A happy accident.
But for some, even those serendipitous days are marked by something constant. A constant that refuses to wane or be forgotten. The blot on each page of their lives. Nothing short of a real-life curse. An imp sitting over their heads who nested somewhere deep within their minds and hearts.
Bleeding into their senses. Their wisdom. And their beings.
It’s there when they laugh. There when they love. And even there when they cry. Even as their tears roll down their cheeks, it’s the voice that tells them it’s not enough and yet they should be ashamed for giving into it.
For Suzie Lee the week on the lake with her friends and their chaperones would remain one of her happiest and the most adventurous moments of her childhood. It was her days that were more memorable than most.
They canoed through the wakes of the wild waters. They hiked through the creaking trees and where the wildlife cooed and watched. There was even an encounter with a bear and what was the most frightening moment of these young girls lives, in the end, became just another chapter of their adventure.
The fourth evening of their seven-day trip would be the most memorable moment for Suzie. But it would exist as almost a pocket memory of its own. Not because of the Devil but because it was another blot on an otherwise a perfect memory.
A more painful blot because it would have been, otherwise, a perfect childhood memory.
Suzie sat on the dock. Their red and yellow canoes were beached off on the side. The setting sun painted the lake with a blue and purple hue. The few islands they’ve visited filled the horizon like black domes, slowly losing their details to the fading light.
Blanketed by the grandiose nature and its twilight lit visage, Suzie wondered how difficult it’d be for her to drown herself in the lake.
If she pencil dived, no one might notice.
Pockets full of rocks.
A steely determination.
And then… fade away.
Into the cold.
Into the darkness.
No. Be real. Suzie told herself.
Pockets full of rocks.
A violent struggle.
Water pouring in through every crevice of her body.
Filling her lungs and stomach.
Possible last minute of regret.
Then… fade away.
Dangling in the cold. In the darkness. Her corpse gently being pushed one way or the other by the current.
Friends would cry. The family would cry. They’d blame themselves without realizing that the person who should be blamed the most was already gone.
And at that moment, Beelzebub appeared before Suzie in the most unnerving way that’d he would ever appear before her in her life.
From the distance, a familiar head slowly poked above the surface of the calm lake.
Beelzebub slowly ascended until he stood on the surface of the lake and stared at Suzie from afar.
He then took his steps towards her and for the first time, Suzie found herself being startled and nervous to see the Devil. She looked behind her at her friends and chaperone in a gregarious clamor. They had no idea that the Lord of the Flies had appeared. She knew they’d be of no help.
By the time she looked back, Beelzebub already stood before her with a stern look that she had never seen him with. But the dock was higher than the surface of the lake, so the Devil glared upwards at the young teen.
“Well, this just isn’t that menacing is it?” Beelzebub said. He climbed up to the dock and stood over Suzie.
“That’s better,” the Devil remarked.
“Hey,” the teen greeted her visitor.
“Hey,” the Devil replied.
“I didn’t call for you, y’know?” Suzie remarked.
“Your precious heart that wants to kill itself did,” the Devil didn’t sound much concerned.
“My heart, huh?” Suzie didn’t seem too impressed neither. “I have to be some special kind of a fuck-up if my crying, bleeding heart calls out to you instead of the other guy.”
“Well, gee, sorry for being a good friend and being there for you in your time of need. You were a lot cuter and more appreciative when you were younger.”
The Devil looked over to the campsite. Girls and women laughing. Telling stories. Eating snacks.
“Why can’t you just go there and enjoy yourself?” The Devil asked.
The girl did not answer.
“You were so happy… during this trip. Weren’t ya?” The Devil looked at Suzie who was still staring off to the lake with disinterest.
“I was,” Suzie finally replied. “And I think I am. Happy.”
“But what? I can breathe. I’m healthy. I’m with friends. My mom and pop have their issues but I know others have it worse. I should be goddamn happy. I’d be an ungrateful bitch not to be happy. I know that, okay? I know that. I’m so fucking happy.”
“….It’s as if… as if…” Suzie grew more and more agitated. These questions. Her feelings. Her lack of a better answer. The shame of admitting these answers. The embarrassment. “None of this is real? It’s all fading? And I’m just… never going to be able to hold on to anything. And I don’t… I don’t want tomorrow to come because it has to all start over again… and no matter what happens I’ll feel the same. Like something’s broken. Like I’m not good enough for anything. And I can’t get better. I want to be better but I can’t. And I’m so tired of it. I can’t even appreciate… appreciate that I’m out here. I’m just going to mess it all up somehow. I am messing it up.”
Suzie held her tongue. She was rambling. She felt silly. She felt trivial. She didn’t deserve to complain or feel bad.
Beelzebub to let silence come over them. Let them soak in what was said and what they were feeling.
“You thought about getting a shrink?” The Devil carefully asked.
“No. I just feel weird talking to some stranger about my problems. Like shit, you only care because I’m paying you.”
“Well there’s another way,” The Devil smirked.
“…My soul for the cure?”
“…Yeah,” The Devil seemed a bit embarrassed that Suzie stole his punchline.
“Does it work?”
“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t think it was some sort of a solution.”
Suzie stared at the Devil for a little while and turned back towards the lake.
“Look, I know this beast better than you’ll ever know. It’ll only get worse,” Beelzebub began to make his case. “You’ll feel like you’re always running from your own shadow. And when you stand still it’ll be larger than you remember. You’ll have moments when you forget but those are the moments you’ll realize later just how sick you really are. Hopelessness.”
Suzie buried her face into her arms.
“You’re going to live your life feeling like you’re always just head above water. I’m the guy on the boat. But for me to give you my hand. To throw you the life jacket, I need something from you. I can’t help you without that.”
“…I believe you,” Suzie replied without looking up.
“You know,” Beelzebub felt flustered. What couldn’t she understand?
“At the end of the day who’s been there for you? When you felt like no one could hear those screams inside, when no one could tell that you were messed up. When you’ve felt alone, rejected, and unheard. Who was there for you?”
“But, you’re you. You’re the devil. You want my soul. That’s what you do.”
“Because I want you to be with me. I want you to be part of what I’m building.”
“And I don’t want to give it,” Suzie finally looked up. “Isn’t this fine the way it is?”
“And what is this, exactly? You don’t think I’m like a shrink? Just coming for your soul? Except I can actually help you.”
“Do you love me?” Suzie stared into the Devil’s eyes.
They stared in silence.
“Let’s not get gross, kiddo, alright?” This isn’t… that. Don’t get full of yourself.”
Suzie still stared in silence.
I wasn’t. She mouthed.
“I’m just asking. Do you love me?” She spoke.
“I love more of you than any of you will ever realize,” Beelzebub answered.
“You’re not my shrink. Far as I know our sessions have been free,” Suzie smiled. “I’ve already said no. Or maybe I’m fucking pathetic. I don’t know. But I like you as a friend. Friends tied by odd circumstances. You’ll always want my soul and I’ll always say no. Though the temptations there somewhere. Because this sucks.”
“Knowing that there’s something wrong with me and not being able to do anything about it. That I am the way I am.”
It was a question Beelzebub often pondered. She was the way she was. He was the way he was. But why?
“Is there a God?” Suzie asked.
“Who knows,” Beelzebub answered. It was not a question he could answer. Some of his brothers would tell her “no” or “yes”. Whichever they determined would help the case. But Beelzebub, without truly understanding why, believed his answer to be the correct one.
“If you’re real, He must be as well, right? I hope? For humanity’s sake?”
“That is being hopeful,” Beelzebub gave a sly smile. “Believing that there must be another side to this coin. What if this is it? What if I’m all you get? What’s worse?”
“Must be lonely for you,” Suzie said empathetically.
“At least, we get to believe. Hope. But you already know. Whether there is or isn’t. Either way, I’d feel like that’d be more lonely. More hopeless. Helpless. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why you come to see me.”
“You really were a better company when you were younger,” Beelzebub chuckled as he pulled out a cigar from thin air. Already cut and lit.
“Then stop coming to see me then.”
Beelzebub took a drag of his cigar and released the smoke into the twilight horizon.
“…can I try?” Suzie asked.
“You’re too poor for this,” Beelzebub answered.
“Yeah?” Suzie darted her head around to see her friend.
“We’re making s’mores and we were getting worried. Come join us?”
“Yeah! Sorry!” Suzie quickly looked around to see that the Devil was already gone.
Suzie and her friend chattered and walked back towards the camp as if nothing had happened. As if she had felt nothing. And when she looked back, all there was the empty dock and the beautiful scenery.
She won’t ask him to come back soon or that she’ll miss him.
They were what they were.
Usually, when Beelzebub entered his bar in Hell, it tended to be a bit more cheery. Nods from patrons here and there, some hellos, some flirtations, and sometimes even cheers on more festive nights.
But only choking stillness awaited him this evening.
The bar was full but silent.
Patrons spoke only in sparse whispers.
Obviously uncomfortable, but none willing to be the first to leave. Or at least, none willing to seem like they were eager to leave.
They all glanced at Beelzebub with a spark of hope in their eyes. Pleading eyes that cried,
And then they quickly turned their heads to their own crowds. Afraid that they would offend that one patron in the bar.
That one patron sat alone by the barside. Eating his order of liver and pomegranate with few flatbreads on the side. He had brought his own bottle of wine and offered some to the barkeep, Binkle, who graciously took the drink.
Beelzebub knew it wasn’t Michael. He knew soon as he opened the doors that there were only two beings that could unnerve the denizens of Hell to such extent and make the Lord of the Flies so tense.
“Brother,” Beelzebub carefully called out as he walked over to the patron.
The Brother once had a name.
A beautiful name bestowed upon him by his father.
But it was a name that’s been long forsaken. Only used to recite the Brother’s wrath.
“It’s gotten better,” the Brother spoke of his meal without looking up. “New cook?”
“No,” Beelzebub answered. “Same cook. He’s just gotten better.”
“Always better for the people you already have to improve than to hire new,” Brother cut and ate a generous bite of the liver. He then took a bite of the flatbread. Then took a sip of his wine.
“The bread could be the next thing to improve,” the Brother commented.
“Is that why you’re here? To be Hell’s Duncan Hines?” Beelzebub was irked by Brother’s presence but was careful to not let his emotions slip. And even more careful in choosing his words and attitude. He always thought it was better to not treat his brother with not an overt reverence that may be perceived as sycophancy, rather, simply seem respectful with gentle show hostility.
The Brother smiled.
“You’ve been going to the mortal realm,” Brother still didn’t bother to look at Beelzebub. Still focused solely on his meal.
“To see a girl?”
“Is it love? Lust?” The Brother said the latter with subtle, but violent disdain.
The Brother didn’t question Beelzebub. He knew that Beelzebub and his other brothers were far too wise to lie to him.
There the two sat, along with the rest of the patrons, in uncomfortable silence. Beelzebub declined a drink from Binkle. Only the Brother’s knife clanking against the plate as he cut the liver disturbed the silence.
“What is eternity without purpose?” The Brother finally spoke as he finished the last morsel of food on his plate. “What is eternity without passion?”
Beelzebub knew better than to answer one of these sorts of questions by Brother. The question was simply an invitation for a dramatic silence. A theatrical imposition rather than a thinking exercise.
“An eternity without purpose is being lost,” The Brother carefully placed the utensils onto the near immaculate plate. Neatly folded his napkin, placed it on the table, and then poured himself another glass of his wine.
“And an eternity without passion is being just a function. A perpetual, endless function.”
“And what are we trying to get at here?” Beelzebub asked with a slight snap.
“It’s embarrassing but I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole thing. For a long, long time. Why we are the way we are. Why they are the way they are. We’re at least made with purpose but what are they? And why were all of us made to be able to question our purpose? He trusted all of us so much. And yet I, his favorite, rebelled. I wanted to prove him wrong.”
“I thought it was to show him that we’re fine without his rules. His demands. That we can make a world for ourselves,” Beelzebub waved Binkle over as a way of ensuring of safe passage to pick up the plates and the utensils.
“That’s part of it. That in and of itself, I thought, made Him obsolete. I wanted to show him that he had made a mistake. The power to choose was unnecessary and perverse. I wanted to show him, ‘I am what you made of me. Happy now?’ In fact, I even had a chance to ask him that exact question before… all this.”
“What did he say to that?” Beelzebub remembered the fall. The war. It was imagined by humans to be of some sort of an actual war. In reality, they all simply left His presence. There was no bloodshed but only grievance by their brothers and sisters.
“He said, ‘You’re what you chose to be and you’ll be what you choose to be’,” the Brother scoffed. “I wonder what he thinks by what they choose to be. Rapists. Murderers. Incestuous perverts. And of those who despise Him with all of their hearts. That’s what they choose to be, father. Who is He to judge them when He’s the one who set them free? So I decided to give them a place. Here. They don’t have to live under a tyranny they can’t understand, governed by a being they don’t want to understand. Let them be, who they choose to be. What He always wanted. Everyone just doing whatever they want. Trying to make sense of choices. Trying to figure out their purpose. Trying to find their passion. Doing. Whatever. They. Want.”
“Even kill themselves,” Beelzebub chuckled.
“Or save them. Look at you. I’ve always meant us to show the ugliness of the humans to let them relish in it… but you… you don’t want any of the humans to actually understand suffering. The absence of God. The cruel reality of having choices. To understand why they need to come here. To be free. You didn’t want that girl to kill herself.”
“There are better ways to spend a life. Better ways she can get here. The suicide bunch tends to regret and leave if they ever find that things could have been different. They’re not understanding anything. They just want the things to end. They don’t like it the way it is. So they just want it to end. They’re just trapped and they want out.”
The Brother leaned in closer than Beelzebub was comfortable with.
“But what if I wanted her dead right then and there? Get her here and then sort it out.”
Beelzebub took a moment to search for his answer. But there was only one answer.
“I’d imagine you have the power to make any of us here do whatever you want,” the Lord of the Flies spoke frankly. “We’re mere insects compared to you.”
“And what would be the point of having any of you around if I were to do that,” the Lightbringer answered as he snickered.
Beelzebub gave the Brother a look.
“I know. I know. But I’m not Him. I’m not all-powerful, all-knowing being,” the Broher let out a big sigh. “Who gives a shit. Now… now… I’m so tired. I don’t know how He can keep this up. Or maybe He just doesn’t give a shit either. And I don’t give a shit what you’re doing Beelzebub. I just wanted you to know that. That’s why I came today. You don’t have my blessings with whatever you’re doing, but I frankly don’t care. I just want to have a nice meal. A nice drink or two. And maybe drive out somewhere to stare at the full moon as my dessert. That’s what’s on my mind.”
The Brother looked deeply into Beelzebub’s eyes.
“You know your purpose. Maybe you’ve found your passion. Who am I to get in your way? But looking at you. I admit I do feel lost about myself,” the Brother didn’t take his eyes off of Beelzebub. “So you have my blessings to do whatever the fuck you want.”
Beelzebub waved Binkle over. An odd sense of liberation washed through him.
“You want your drink?” Binkle asked.
“Vodka—” Beelzebub answered.
“Why?” the Brother interjected. “Is my drink not good enough for you?”
“Just bring me a wine glass.”
The overdue Part 3.
I think this is the part that had the most correct… soul *ba-dum-tss* and tone of the story.
There’s a lot of ideas here that could use some incubation time to properly develop and hatch. If I were to go through the editing and the rewrite process for this short story, this is the part that’d I’d look over first.
It was always planned to make the story mature as Suzie matures. To make the ideas, the odd philosophies, and the tone fit Suzie’s age. But there still has to be some sort of a deft and recognizable uniformity that carriers from section to section of the story.
I think the contrast is clear when comparing this part with Part 1. The story originally began as sort of a comedic short from a goofy idea I had while working other projects. The first part is really clear of that. But as the idea developed, it became something else.
And this is why editing and rewrites are important to a story. Because sometimes it’s hard to predict or plan how a story may develop or what new ideas, insights, and outlook you may get for your story.
Anyways. Sorry for the delay & thanks for reading!
Part 3 of The Devil & Me will be posted tomorrow. It’s been brewing for a little while and took a lot longer than I planned.
As mentioned before, there was only an outline of where the story would go after the first couple of parts. Even without the editing process and what not, this project turned out to be a bigger task to complete than I expected… for not fun reasons.
Part 3 is probably the closest to the correct voice for this short story and I’m at least happy about that. I’ll probably discuss in the future how much the story changed from its conception, the first part, and to its conclusion.
It’s interesting to see how a story can change and The Devil & Me is a demonstration of why editing is golden and why stepping away from your work and approaching it with fresh mind and eyes will probably do it more good than harm.
Unfortunately, it’s been a chaotic month with a lot of unexpected things occurring and I couldn’t justify giving this project and other blog posts more time than I was already giving it. I’m also trying to finish my next novel as well on the side.
I’ll get better at juggling it all but it seems the next month is looking a bit hectic as well. But I’ll figure something out.
Anyways. This is just how things go sometimes but I do apologize to those who’ve been waiting.
Part 2 of The Devil & Me is planned for tomorrow. It’s a couple of days late than I would have liked to have posted (as mentioned we’re shooting for Mondays).
If you haven’t already, check out:
Thank you for reading & understanding.
“Take an event from history and write a fictional account describing a conspiracy theory about what “REALLY” happened. Or, if you prefer, write a scene about a character who believes in one or more conspiracy theories.”
[Word Count Limit]
Found out about the contest around 6:00PM PST on 04/04/2018… the day the short story was due was…. at 8:00 PM PST 04/04/2018
Around 90 minutes.
500 Words, cut down from around 680.
Started from a Lee Harvey Oswald bit to this:
Down the Highway 285, just about when drivers would think they’re in the middle of nowhere, there was a diner. It looked like an old chrome box and during the day it glistened under the blistering sun and at night it lit itself up with the bright red neon sign on its roof that simply read: “DINER”. They figured no one cared about the name of the place.
It’s 1969. The time was 1 AM.
Jim sat at his table with his coke bubbling through the ice cubes. He scratched his head with its crew cut and pushed his thick black-rimmed glasses back on to the top of his nose with his index finger. He opened his mouth to speak to the lanky man in his fancy suit and matching fedora before closing it to gather his thoughts again.
“I’m telling you it’s all true, Jim,” the man in the fancy suit said. “All those people who’ve told you that you were mad… they were wrong.”
“But…” Jim still couldn’t find exactly what he felt was wrong.
“How long were you searching for us?”
“…for 23 years. Jesus. That’s two wives and three children.” Jim sat back a bit and sipped on his coke.
“I’m here to tell you that we’re real,” The man gave Jim a kind, comforting smile.
The man removed his fedora. Four green tendrils shyly poked above his thick, black hair. He then pointed his finger at his forehead where a third eye opened stared at Jim’s reluctant face.
“What is it, Jim? What’s wrong?” The man asked.
“You can’t be real,” Jim said sternly.
“I’m saying, where’s the MIB? The boys in the shadows? The Men in Black?” Jim tried to keep his voice down. “How can I be speaking to you right now?”
“I don’t… think they’re real.”
“They’re not real?! Ha! Then what’s the government using the tobacco industry for? What’s Vietnam for? Think man! Think!”
“I…” Worried about the commotion, the man retracted his tendrils and put back on his fedora.
“Do you really think that the government would let aliens just walk around willy-nilly? Talk to us? Let them observe us? Bullshit! That’d be utter chaos! What’s the point of paying taxes then!”
“I have… I don’t know.”
“Then who’s propagating this idea that Earth is round, man?! And that “moon” landing a week ago? Come on!”
“Earth… is round.”
“Earth. Earth is round,” Jim groaned. “Jesus Christ. I don’t know who put you up to this but they at least need to do better homework.”
“You boys okay?” The waitress asked.
“Yeah,” Jim stood up. “And he’s getting the check for wasting my time.”
Jim put on his jacket and his fedora. With his briefcase clenched tightly in his hand he walked out to the cold, desert night.
He lit a cigarette and looked up into the sky. The vast black canvass of endless stars, mysteries, and other lives.
Someday, Jim told himself. Someday he’ll find the truth.
Well. There it is.
That’s the copy and paste of the story. A direct link HERE. There’s a lot of great other submissions to read as well so make sure to check out the whole thread if you click on that link.
In the end, while I had a lot of fun writing this story I wasn’t entirely happy with it. But it was good to write something from beginning to completion again and I submitted it regardless.