The Devil's Gift

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XVIII

The sunlight beat down on me as I attended to the duties given to me by Deus, God. I stood firmly upon the clouds that supported me as if it were marble, I stretched out my wings, ten feet across, white and feathery. My crisp white robe fell down to my ankles where it fluttered in a light breeze. The robe was as soft as silk and as light as the air around me. I looked down at my bare feet and the sight below me. An unending span of brilliant white clouds, they looked soft and fluffy to touch but were strong. In front of me, indistinct figures shimmered through a mass of thick clouds, they were having a heated discussion,

‘I’ve asked you before, Deus,’ Lucia’s stern voice floated through the cluster of clouds ahead, the sunlight behind the two figures pushed their shadows through the clouds, towards me illuminating their silhouette in a dark form, ‘Why can you not be satisfied with us? We have everything. Sophia is the only one who has kept on my side,’ my heart started to race as they dragged me into their conversation. It’s true, of course, I did favour Lucia.

‘We do not have everything, Lucia,’ this time, it was the deep voice of Deus that drifted through. I tried to blot it all out, but their voices just penetrated my ears. ‘I am on the verge of creating a whole new race, we can have an army of them, right at our feet, a race of perfection!’ The excitement had crept into his voice.

‘We don’t need an army!’ Lucia’s disgusted voice had sounded next, blocking out Deus’ next words, ‘We have angels, we have hundreds of them, and none of them has shown any signs of unsettlement, they don’t need anyone else here, and nor do we!’

‘That’s the best part, Lucia, they will live below us, on earth.’ Lucia had had enough of the argument and so turned on her heel and stalked away muttering something that sounded a lot like, ‘revenge if you do’. Deus called after her but she did not turn to face him.

‘Sophia!’ He called, sounding unhappy. With a heavy heart, I faced Deus as the cluster of clouds obscuring him drifted apart. A long, golden, elegant robe had been draped over his well-built body with chiselled muscles. He wore a pair of sparkling white sandals. His thick, dark hair was a little shorter than shoulder-length and thrown carelessly, but somehow still very neatly, backwards towards his back. He was truly very handsome to look upon. Even with all this overwhelming perfection, I still saw the angered expression carved into his flawlessly handsome face.

‘My lord,’ I spoke, my voice was high as I faced his scorn that I knew would come.

‘Do not forget who you serve, angel, I created you, not Lucia, it was I that gave you the light in your heart, not Lucia, and above all, it is I that will banish you should you continue to support her against my will.’ I winced as his words cut me deep, ‘Are we clear, Sophia?’ He almost spat,

‘Perfectly.’ I mumbled unable to look him in the eyes. The clouds swirled around him and he disappeared into them.

The days passed and I spent them desperately trying to please Deus, but he seemed to have taken a disliking to me. Whispers filled the clouds of Heaven, there was talk amongst the other angels, that Lucia had been banished. Fury took over me as I thought of Deus banishing her. After some investigations, I had found out that, against Lucia’s wishes, Deus had created two of these things, humans, he called them. One female and one male, Adam and Eve he had named them, and Lucia had somehow turned them against him. Lucia had been, admittedly, a little over-angered with this human creation, but to banish her from Heaven, his own lover, his partner that he had been with since before I was created. I had to see Lucia before she left. Wings outstretched, I took off, flying at incredible speed. I was soon stood in front of colossal golden gates, where Lucia, a look of rage on her face, stood, about to exit and descend the wide golden steps that lead down, it’s end hidden from view behind the clouds below us.

‘Lucia, mistress!’ I exclaimed, tears clinging to my lashes, ‘what has happened?’ My friend and mentor, looked at me with hollow, empty eyes,

‘Deus created those wretched humans, sent them to a garden,’ She spat, ‘I told him not to, I said we were happy. But no, he created them anyway. So,’ She added, a glint in her eye, ‘I created a snake, I had it persuade them to eat the apple they were forbidden to taste, and so Deus was forced to banish them to earth, to survive on their own. Reasons unknown to myself, he discovered I was the culprit and so punished me accordingly.’ She scowled to the gates that opened before her. Tears ran down my face as I hugged Lucia goodbye, ‘I will see you again Sophia, my friend, do not worry, I have foreseen our reunion in ways you cannot imagine.’ I was briefly perplexed at this but I did not allow it to trouble me now, as I bade goodbye. As the golden gates closed behind her, I turned around. Fuelled by rage, I outstretched my wings and flew at full speed until my destination became clear.

A huge glittering-white castle stood before me that plunged everything around it into shadow. The door was large and golden. I strode up to it, the anger spurring me on. As I entered, I saw the walls that were made of some shining material, the floor was marble and solid, cold on my bare feet. In front of me, I saw hundreds of doors, equally made of this shining material I could not put a name to, on either side of the walls. At the end of the rows of doors I saw, set in the middle, a golden, spiralled staircase. I took a deep breath, inhaling the scentless air around me. I continued onward, determined in my task. My feet gently slapped the cold marble, echoing around hall. I looked up, the ceiling was high and seemingly endless.

As my echoing footsteps stopped, I reached the staircase. I gazed upwards. My eyesight just reached another golden door, glittering like the strange walls around me. I started to ascend the steps, my feet getting colder with each one. Below me, I heard the huge doors at the front slam shut and I stopped on the stairs, a few steps away from Deus’ office door. I took a few deep breaths, grabbed the golden handle and opened the door without a knock.

Inside, the room was pure white everywhere I looked, the only piece of furniture inside was a white-metal desk with matching chair that shaped with elaborate curls. The room was large and circular with a large circle window opposite me. In front of the window stood a Deus, he was peering out of it, seemingly unaware of my presence.

‘Sophia. I wondered how long it would take you to betray me.’ He was definitely aware of my presence. I stood in front of him, trying to summon the courage to show my support of Lucia. I started to get the feeling he could see into my mind when he next said,

’I know, you are in favour of her, yes I banished her, this is my realm not hers, I created everything and this is how she repays me? And you,’ he added turning round to face me, his golden eyes flashing, ’you come to my study and attempt to persuade me to bring her back? Oh no,’ He chuckled frighteningly, ’No no no no no, that is not how things work here Sophia. You will be sent to earth, you will guide the religion that will see me revered as I deserve. The humans will worship me and I will see to it they are guided.’ He raised his booming voice that seemed to magically project, ‘you are banished, Sophia, you will spend five thousand years on earth. I hereby clip your wings. Only after five thousand years may you return here once more.’ Searing pain filled my shoulder blades as my wings reacted painfully, it was as if my body was rejecting them, pushing them out of my shoulder blades until they tore off and fell to the floor.

The last thing I saw was Deus’ terrifying face before the marbled floor seemed to melt away and I fell through the hole that had just been created beneath my feet. I seemed to fall for an eternity, the walls moved and swirled like air as I tried to grasp it. My fingers ran through the staircase and I soon saw the clouded floor below. For a fleeting moment, I hoped I would hit the floor, but that moment passed when I fell through it like it was air.

After a few terrifying minutes, that might have been days, I hit the floor. I yelped in shock as I lifted my gaze and saw an unending floor of coarse sand. The boiling sun belted me with its searing heat and I lifted a hand to attempt to shield myself from it. For a moment I sat and just wept in the heat. I decided then, to pick myself up and start walking.

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