Devil on Sea

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Forbidden Fruit

Chapter 17
Forbidden Fruit

Leaving the pub with an alcohol induced buzz, Sid just let his feet do the walking. He had no idea where he was, or which direction he was supposed to go in. Lucifer wasn't much help either, as he was currently swimming in the warm feeling caused by the alcohol; a feeling he hadn’t experienced in centuries. As Sid wandered down the high street, getting closer to the centre of Manchester, he saw two arguing priests at a bus stop.

An archbishop, Sid, thought Lucifer, slightly slurring his thoughts, you can tell by how humble he is. And you can tell how humble he is by all the gold around his neck. Lucifer burst out laughing at his own joke, much to the bemusement of Sid.

Shouldn't we be worried in case he recognises you? Sid thought as panic began to set in.

Don't worry. He wouldn't recognise me if I was in possession of his favourite altar-boy. Lucifer tittered to himself again. Sid let it slide. He passed the two holy-men and bowed his head; part out of respect but mostly to hide his face for fear they would somehow recognise him as host to the devil. When they didn't, he hurried on his way to nowhere, ducking down the nearest side street. Numerous drunks staggered down here, smelling like they'd been lost in the back alley for years. Sid stepped over the vomit stained cobbled street before realising the darker “cobbles” were merely older stains. He struggled to hold back from adding a new one. Bright signs from dingy clubs offered oases of light and as Sid ducked under one such oasis the devil gasped in shock.

Eve! Sid, we are going in! Sid looked up at the sign illuminating this particular oasis. Eve's Forbidden Fruit. There was an outline of a naked lady, holding an apple, made from pink neon light above the door. The arm holding the apple moved slowly, apple becoming a penis as it neared her mouth.

Classy. And as the thought crossed Sid's mind, the devil took control of his body and they stepped inside the club.

Well at least the smell of vomit has gone. Sid thought idly to himself before the smell was replaced by that of stale semen; which he worried about how he recognised. As his eyes were then assaulted with some of the most hideous looking women known to man, or at least to Sid, he longed for the warm welcome he’d got from the stale vomit outside.

Why are we in here, Luci? Sid instantly regretted adding the nickname but Lucifer seemed to miss it, still high on an alcohol induced buzz.

Her. He replied, staring straight ahead. All Sid could see was an obese 40-something year old woman, barely in a thong and bikini, gyrating over an unconscious man. Lucifer focused the eyes beyond the liver spotted lady of the night, or day as the case may be, to a mural on the wall. The mural consisted of a young pale-skinned lady with long brown hair and only a fig leaf to hide her modesty. The gyrating stripper revealed more than the mural; although Sid now noticed the lady in the mural was holding a penis in her hand as if drawing it towards her upturned and open mouth.

Nope, there goes her modesty. Sid thought as Lucifer found an empty booth, after receiving a momentary glance from a bored bouncer, and sat down; all the while ignoring Sid’s thoughts about the painting. The mural of the young lady was no longer obscured and Lucifer stared, slack-jawed.

Isn’t she beautiful? Sid wasn’t sure if this was a question addressed to him or not and so ignored it. He was doing his best to guard his thoughts because to Sid, the mural was vulgar. Sure, they’ve not quite got the details right. She wasn’t white to begin with. Or a brunette. Her breasts seem a little too large too. Lucifer continued, cocking his head to one side to get a different angle.

Lucifer. What are we doing here? Lucifer didn’t answer. Instead, Sid’s mind was overwhelmed by memories that were not his own and he found himself in a garden, staring down at a strange looking fruit which was stained with a thick red substance. Is that blood? The memory swept away any more of Sid’s thoughts, so he watched in amazed silence.

Lucifer quickly steeled the fruit away as the wind died down,

Today is the not the day. I still have one last problem to solve: How to convince Adam to eat of the fruit? Lucifer thought in annoyance, before he returned back to heaven early; unable to face the loneliness of Hell with such a conundrum on his mind. He had hoped the change of environment back in Heaven would help him find a solution but all it had done was shorten his fuse. Michael and Gabriel had made a mess, again. Under their “watchful” eyes some of the continents had drifted apart, with many of the animals becoming separated to small islands and inbreeding amongst themselves. As a result, they were to beginning to look remarkably different to their fellow kind still on the mainlands and within the Garden of Eden.

‘What in the Lord’s all mighty name is this mess you’ve made, Michael?’ Lucifer boomed, as the two angels quivered in chairs before him. Lucifer’s office was the biggest in Heaven but despite this, there wasn’t much room to swing a cat; as the claw marks on the wall attested. Michael and Gabriel were cramped up against each other, knee to knee, and glancing nervously around the room.

‘Erm,’ Gabriel begin, wetting his lips nervously, ‘it’s all part of God’s plan?’

‘Yes! That!’ Michael suddenly chimed in, wings extending in excitement and clipping Gabriel in the face, ‘His plan has evolved!’

Are they really trying to bullshit a bullshitter? Lucifer thought distractedly, mind still focused on how to get Adam to eat the contaminated fruit he had stored back in Hell. Lucifer dismissed the pair of chirping angels who were still trying to convince Lucifer that it was not their fault. Some gentle probing of God, later that evening, confirmed to Lucifer that God had no knowledge of the evolving situation. The following day Lucifer called both Michael and Gabriel back into his cramped office. Lucifer, in preparation for their arrival, had pushed the desk further to the door and even pulled in the walls a little, so the angels were now practically sitting in each other’s lap.

‘I spoke to God,’ Lucifer began as he paced in the ample space behind his desk, Michael and Gabriel’s eyes widened in fear, ‘and He confirmed your story.’ Relieved yet confused sighs emanated from both the angels. Lucifer whirled and slammed his fists on the table at the sighes, ‘Listen, you little shits. I know you fucked up but luckily for you, God isn't aware. Now I’ve got two choices; highlight yet again how incompetent you both are and thus lose my holidaying, or cover for your sorry arses and somehow slide this whole affair under the rug. Which do you think I should do?’

In unison they cried, ‘The rug.’

‘Okay, then I’m going to need you to ensure that this process of gradual change continues in all of God’s creations and across the entire planet. And keep on top of it! I don’t want you to forget about any one species and suddenly force rapid change. That sort of thing will get noticed by the humans and if they notice, God is sure to notice too. So do you think you two will be able to continue to keep life evolving?’ They both nodded, ashamed and yet visibly relieved. ‘Then get the fuck out of my office.’

Michael and Gabriel stood up at the same time and bumped heads, Gabriel falling back into his seat before toppling over into the bookshelf along the wall. Lucifer struggled to keep the grin from his face as Michael scurried from the room and Gabriel clambered to his feet to follow. At the door he turned back,

‘What about the humans and the serpents?’

‘What about them?’ Lucifer asked, raising an annoyed eyebrow.

‘Well, should we evolve them as well? They still live in the Garden and haven’t, erm, changed.’ Gabriel shifted nervously from foot to foot under Lucifer’s gaze; uncomfortable seconds stretching out into tortuous minutes.

‘No,’ Lucifer finally answered, basking in the fear that stemmed from his fellow angel, ‘leave them out of the process for now.’ Gabriel nodded and quickly exited the room.

Of course, the serpents. How had I not thought of them sooner? Lucifer thought to himself as a wicked grin stretched wide across his face.

The serpents were an animal God had made not long after he had finished Adam. Adam had begun to complain about how boring life was in paradise, with no-one to talk to and nothing to do beyond naming animals and trying to keep them alive, thus God created a four-legged talking beast which Adam had named the Serpent. Standing small at just below hip height, and covered in scales, Adam always had one or more serpents with him at all times. This seemed to satisfy him for a few hours until he started moaning and complaining to God that something still wasn’t quite right, and wanting something else. It was then that God had the idea for woman.

The month passed slowly but sure enough Lucifer’s week of freedom arrived and he prepared to leave Heaven. Lucifer left strict instructions for Michael to follow, so as to ensure another mess was not awaiting him on his return, before departing for Earth. With his heart in his mouth Lucifer retrieved the Pandora fruit from Hell and went in search of a rogue serpent to possess. Finding one by a babbling brook,

I must remember that phrase for when God asks me to write His memoirs, Lucifer took possession as easily as he had with all the other animals on Earth. He picked up the blood stained fruit he had brought with him with the serpent’s forked tongue, the cause of the lisp all serpents have, and trotted off in search of Adam; all the while mindful to not get any of the blood on the possessed serpent.

Finding Adam asleep under the shade of a fig tree, Lucifer crept closer until his heart stopped at who he saw beside him.

Eve! There she sat, in all her glory, combing her hair with her fingers. Lucifer’s, and thus the serpent’s, mouth dropped open; spilling the Pandora fruit to the ground. Eve stopped mid-comb and smiled, slightly startled at the sound.

‘What’s this you’ve brought me?’ Eve asked with an angelic smile. Lucifer felt smaller than a gnat in her presence and struggled to think.

‘F-f-fruit, Eve.’ He eventually managed, blushing in the wake of her beauty.

‘Well aren’t you awfully kind,’ Eve picked up the fruit and looked at it quizzically, ‘what fruit is this?”

‘Pandora, Eve.’ Eve dropped the fruit instantly, her face a look of horror, at the serpent’s comment.

‘I can’t eat this! I can’t eat from this tree!’ She cried; Lucifer’s mind reeled.

My plan hasn’t even survived first contact!

‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ He asked, struggling for composure. Eve shook her head, wiping her hand on the rough grass.

‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’’ Lucifer left her comment to hang in the air between them. Slowly, realisation dawned on Eve’s face and she looked from her hand to the fruit to the serpent then back to the fruit.

‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like Gods, knowing good and evil.’ Lucifer was working where he worked best, off the cuff. Doubt twinkled in Eve’s eyes and he could see she was beginning to be persuaded.

She's mine. He thought with glee. Slowly, Eve picked up the fruit again, almost as if expecting it to burst into flames at any moment. She sniffed at it and her eyes melted with pleasure as she went to take a bite.

‘STOP!’ Eve froze in terror at the voice, as did Lucifer who for a moment thought God had found them. As he analysed the voice in his mind he recognised, by the lisp, that it in fact had come from him; though he had no idea why. It then dawned on him,

She was about to eat the side with the blood! He thought before venturing,

‘The dark side is for Adam. Try the lighter side, it’s so much more juicy.’ Eve turned the apple, much to Lucifer’s relief, before taking a big bite. Her eyes lit up with pleasure as her taste buds danced with delight. She went to take another but stopped when she saw the shaking of the serpent’s head.

‘Let Adam try some.’ Eve woke Adam and with hushed voices she managed to convince him to take a bite. His face furrowed at the taste of the blood but soon melted with delight as the juices found his tongue. Adam ate the rest of the fruit with Eve frowning throughout, clearly disappointed to not be getting any more. A cool breeze began to blow through the garden but Lucifer paid it no heed, his plan had come to fruition and he was basking in victory.

Adam and Eve looked at each other, ignoring the serpent and the breeze around them, juice dribbling down Adam’s chin. Lucifer didn’t know what was going on but they had a hungry look in their eyes. Adam’s member began to grow and throb and Eve noticed, looking down at it before tittering behind her hands. This caused Adam to blush and he covered himself with his own hands. He reached down for a fallen fig leaf and used that to hide, in vain, his erection. As he did so Eve blushed red too and reached for her own fig leaf, to cover her own pubic mound. The breeze began to strengthen as they helped each other to sew multiple fig leaves together with vines, to hide their genitalia. Lucifer stood there, unsure of what to do now his plan had gone completely awry.

‘ADAM!’ Lucifer did a double check to ensure it wasn’t him speaking again and when he realised it wasn’t, terror crept in. Adam and Eve both hid in the bushes surrounding the fig tree. ‘Where are you?’ The booming voice continued as the wind caused the fig tree’s boughs to groan..

‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ Adam replied from the bushes. Lucifer looked for a place to hide too but it was too late; Adam’s response had brought God into the clearing.

‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ Boomed God, clutching his head and holding a half empty bottle of mead. Adam pointed at Eve, causing Eve to glare at him with murderous intent.

No-one likes a grass, Lucifer thought before panicking that maybe Eve would finger him too; momentarily unsure about whether he would like that or not.

‘The woman you put here with me. She gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.’

‘What is this you have done?’ God asked, face reddening with rage. Eve shrunk under the gaze of an angry god.

‘The serpent deceived me,’ she replied pointing at Lucifer, ‘and I ate.’ God turned his gaze on the serpent and for a moment Lucifer was convinced God could see him.

Nope, I did not like the fingering, Lucifer thought as his bowels threatened to loosen.

‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all the wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.’ With that the serpent’s legs disappeared from under him, causing him to land heavily on his belly. Without thinking Lucifer said,

‘Well I got off lightly,’ and God turned his gaze on the serpent once more. Lucifer felt the serpent’s throat tighten, its ability to speak gone. Lucifer quickly vacated the serpent’s body and retreated back to Hell, shaking like a leaf for the rest of the week away.

‘Wanna dance, sugar?’ Sid was shaken from Lucifer’s memory to find he was back in control. He also found the stripper he had seen before now gyrating over him.

No doubt she’d finally realised that the man she was pretending to bump uglies with was unconscious. He thought in disgust and wishing he could see more of Lucifer’s memory instead of the stripper.

‘No. Erm, thank you. I have to go.’ He tried to slide around her and when unable to he smiled up at her meekly before gently trying to push the stripper to one side. His hand grabbed loose flabby flesh and he cringed, revulsion spreading to his very core.

‘EDDY!’ She suddenly screamed loudly into his face, ‘this scum bag is tryna cop a feel!’ Fear mixed in with revulsion, especially when he noticed the loose flab he was holding wasn’t one of her many love handles but was in fact her breast.

‘Dear God no! I wouldn’t!’ He mimed being sick involuntarily, pulling back his hand and wiping it on his top. He guessed, from the look on her face, that she appreciated that action even less than being groped.

‘EDDY!!!’ As she screamed again a gap, albeit a tight one, appeared and Sid shot through it. One of his jacket buttons caught on her bikini top, tearing both her breasts free and they spilled forth, wobbling like jelly.

‘Shit, I’m sorry.’ Sid said, trying to unhook the button from the bikini whilst at the same time making vain attempts to hide her revealed breasts, for modesty’s sake. Lucifer was laughing in his head throughout. The bouncer, who Sid guessed was the one called Eddy, came in from the front entrance. Sid thought about trying to talk his way out but realised the first thing the bouncer is going to see is him covering one of her breasts with his hand whilst stuffing her bikini top in his jacket pocket. He also didn’t think Eddy was the type of person hired for his ability to reason out potentially difficult situations. Finally, unhooking the bikini top, from the stripper but not his jacket, Sid was left with only one option. He walked towards the bouncer, who was running towards him, and raised his fists like a boxer from the 1800s. Sid had never been in a fight in his life, unless you count the one time he’d tripped and punched his brother in the mouth; which he didn’t. The bikini hung loose and it chose that exact moment to tangle with Sid’s feet. He went down, fast; arms still raised but now flailing. He felt his right hand make contact with something warm, soft, and yet hard at the same time. There was sickening grinding sound before he fell, face first, into the ground. Stale beer clung to his face and the smell of mouldy semen wafted up his nostrils causing him to dry retch. Hearing a thud he looked up to see, over a jungle of loose pubes, Eddy on his back moaning and holding his face. Screams came from behind Sid, followed shortly by an empty beer bottle. He turned to see the stripper shouting obscenities at him and throwing whatever she could get her hands on in his direction. Scurrying on all fours Sid dashed out of the club, getting a quick glance at the bouncer on the way out. He’d somehow connected with Eddy’s nose and mouth, breaking the former and removing a tooth from the latter. Sid felt both guilty and proud.

Guess I should start counting this as fighting, he thought darkly as he ran into the vomit stained street and turned left, deeper into the gloom. The noise of the moaning bouncer and screaming stripper began to fade and they were soon replaced by the whoosing sound of wind as the world blurred again. As Sid’s face closed in on the vomit stained street one thought crossed his mind. Bikini! Lucifer cheered and wolf whistled from within his mind, clapping at the same time, confusing Sid as to how he was able to do that with a thought. The confusion was soon replaced by pain.

Sid stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. For the past ten minutes he had tried his best to wipe the vomit off his jacket and pants in a Starbuck’s toilet but had only managed to spread the stains around. His lip was bleeding and his nose was sore, but thankfully not broken. Throughout this cleaning exercise the devil continued to laugh heartily in his mind.

Did you SEE that punch you delivered?

Quiet, I don’t want to talk about it. Sid thought miserably, concerned that the white stain on his lapel wasn’t coming off.

And then to land face first in fresh vomit, unlucky! Although, that street has given me an idea for an extension in Hell. Lucifer laughed, Sid sighed.

I'm not going to get any more off with these paper towels. And are they even paper? They disintegrate at the first sign of moisture. He flushed the toilet for the benefit of those waiting outside and went to leave, before feeling his feet begin get caught again. He tore the bikini from his jacket in anger, taking a button with it, and threw it to the floor with disgust. Opening the door, with a face of thunder, he was greeted by a queue of people. The person next in line looked at Sid, then at the bikini bottom on the floor, then at the stains on Sid’s pants and jacket, and finally back to Sid's face. Sid blushed and stalked past, refusing to look back in an attempt to maintain some semblance of dignity.

So, where are we going? Sid asked as they wandered aimlessly around the centre of Manchester, desperate to get his mind thinking of anything but the last half hour. The sun was beginning to set and shops were closing. The busy rush hour of both cars and people began to fill the streets.

I don't know. Confessed Lucifer, still occasionally chortling to himself.

Great, thought Sid as he began to fight his way through the swelling crowd, well I'm going to get new clothes and find us a place for the night. Is that going to be okay? People were giving him a wide berth which, whilst wasn't surprising, was welcomed. Lucifer never responded, so Sid took it as an agreement. After finding a suit shop still open Sid treated himself to a sharp new suit and a larger balance on his credit card.

I'll need one for the wedding, after all. He thought watching an old man fold his new suit into a bag. The dark suited gentleman who served him gave Sid a smile; no doubt glad that Sid was now leaving. Wandering the streets again, mostly now empty, Sid searched for a place to spend the night. Twilight was beginning to dim, as was the crowd, but soon the streets would begin to fill with those in search of bars, clubs, and easy fucks. Most passer-bys gave him a wide berth but when he sat in a doorway, to catch his breath and think of where to head next, a few night revellers threw coins his way. This motivated Sid to continue the search, but not before he scooped up the coins from a puddle of dirty water. Finally, down a side street heading away from the city centre, he saw a sign for a Bed and Breakfast with a vacant sign hanging below, so he went in.

The lady serving at the desk of the hotel looked almost as old as the wallpaper decorating the walls, with both being spotted brown and wrinkling. The fact they both had mould also unnerved Sid a little.

‘A room for the night?’ She asked as Sid walked in and Sid nodded in reply, ‘And how long for?’

How long for? Sid asked Lucifer, to no response, come on, how long are we going to be in Manchester for? Are we far from this girl?

‘Sir?’ She pressed Sid again.

‘Two nights, for now,’ Sid finally answered on his own, ‘do you accept payment by card?’ The old lady shook her head slowly.

‘But you can pay in the morning. You do look a little dishevelled, if you don't mind me saying.’ She said causing Sid to smile to himself,

I'm not the only one.

‘If you'll just follow me please.’ She took a key from a shelf behind her and shuffled, back bent, to the front of the counter and towards the stairs. Sid followed at her painstakingly slow pace.

Are you still there? He asked internally, following the old lady down a narrow corridor. There was still no response from Lucifer.

‘Figures.’ Sid said aloud without thinking.

‘Excuse me?’ The lady asked, pausing and looking back at Sid.

‘I said figurines. You have nice figurines.’ He gestured at some of the statues sitting on the window ledges they had passed. They were porcelain angels, ghostly white with arms and wings stretching skywards as if in a dance. The old lady stopped and smiled.

‘My husband and I used to collect them, before his passing,’ she began.

Oh for fuck's sake. Sid thought, regretting his quick witted reply and worried he was about to walk with this woman down memory lane; a lane no doubt too long for his liking.

‘I have many more, in storage, if you'd like to see?’ She ventured which a hopeful smile.

‘Oh God no,’ Sid cried out loud waving his arms and causing her smile to fall, ‘I mean, I'm tired. Maybe another time?’

‘Of course, your door is the next one on the left.’ She handed him the key with a look of disappointment and then started to shuffle away. ‘Oh,’ she stopped to turn back, ‘my name’s Ann, by the way. If you need anything my room is behind reception. Just ring the bell at the front desk.’

‘Thank you. Ann.’ Sid said quickly, sliding the key into the lock and sighing at the sound of the bolt sliding back. Before another conversation could be struck up Sid slipped into his room and locked the door behind him. He didn't even bother to turn on the light; he stripped, showered and then collapsed face first on the bed, falling asleep moments later.

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