Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story about a pathological liar.... view prompt


Speculative Drama Christian

I sense his presence before I ever lay eyes on him.

It doesn't surprise me, really. Baph is the type of entity who always enters announced.

He is the syncopated tap of stiletto heels that echoes across a tile floor.

A whiff of musk that rides the air till it finds your inhale.

Double doors that open with intention.

The crescendo of the music.

And now, that announced entrance is staring at me from across a crowded lobby, smiling that sinful smile he knows will make me tremble.

I know better than to look away, but I do. Which gives him the advantage. The next time I'm aware of him, it's because his lips are next to my ear.

"Hello, Uri," he whispers. His voice awakens a swell of emotion I've spent lifetimes attempting to quell, and my eyes close as I attempt to force it back down my throat.

"Are you meeting someone?" he continues, the curve of his chest pinning itself to my shoulder.

Our breaths rise together as I inhale deeply.

“Of course you are,” he chuckles. “You wouldn't be off your leash, otherwise.”

His words are a fist to my stomach, my exhale releasing itself in a ragged breath.

“Who are you here to save, hmmm?” he continues, hot breath trailing across the back of my neck. 

“Go away,” I finally manage. 

Baph chuckles again. “You know, that would carry much more weight, if you meant it.” 

He pivots carefully to face me, maintaining the touch on my shoulder. I don’t bother to look away this time. Instead I lift my eyes to meet those endless dark pools that make his pupils. They’re always dilated. Always deep. Always attuned to every motion around him. 

I can see myself in the black, my own face a softer mirror of his. We were both crafted by the same maker, after all. Our features conceived in the same mind, our existence birthed for the same purpose.

And though Baph is no longer part of my world …

He is still so beautiful. 

“That’s better,” he coos. “Now, where were we? Oh, yes.” His gaze sweeps the room with excitement. “Who is it, Uri? No, don’t tell me, let me guess!”

His dark head of curls brush against my cheek as he turns his head. They smell of smoke. There was a time they smelled of myrrh.

“That one.”

My eyes are drawn to his pointed finger. To his long, black nails that have been polished and filed to perfect coffin tips. I only look at the object of his gesture when I hear the laughter rumbling in his throat.

The man has short hair the color of sand, and brown eyes that hide in deep sockets. He reaches into his pocket, checks his phone, replaces it, then waits perhaps ten seconds before doing so again.

“I wonder who he’s so worried about,” Baph goads me. “A wife? A brother?”

“His daughter. She promised to join him for the service,” I reply. “She had to stop for gas on the way. She’ll be here in a few minutes.”

“Lucky little pig,” he quips. “His heart is weak, I can hear it from here. It won’t last much longer sputtering like that. Does the little pig know he’s going to die soon, Uri?”

The words that come are not truly my own. They are the echo of my order. “That’s not for me to say.”

“But it’s for Him to say. He could heal it. He could heal that sputtering, weak heart,” Baph reminds me. “Hmmm…”

His eyes begin to scan the room once more. The crowd is thinning as the bulk of the people move into the sanctuary, compelled by the music that has begun to play.

“It’s not the same, is it, Uri?” Baph asks, his eyes still moving to and fro. “Even their best would never compare.”

For a moment I attune to the strings that are hammered and plucked with honed human skill, knowing he is right. They will spend their brief lives never touching the semblance of Baph’s mastery. The mere brush of his fingertips once summoned ethereal tones that moved galaxies.

In his wake, the human prodigies and adepts alike are sounding brass and clanging cymbals.

This time when Baph speaks, his words drift just before my lips. “He’ll never receive adorations like mine. Ever again.”

Something in me stirs. Something resistant. Rebellious. “I … don’t think that bothers Him.”

“But it bothers you, doesn’t it?” he presses. “He’s so weak and forgotten, He has to settle for these meager offerings. But why should you have to settle, too?”

I feel the command, this time. He doesn’t have to touch me to bring my face back to his, my eyes back to his, my attention back to… him.

“Do you miss me, Uri? I’ve missed you.” His hand is on my side, his touch simmering, drawing my gasp. “Oh dear… am I distracting you? You do have a job to do, after all.” His lips draw closer. “Who is it, Uri?”

That’s when she comes through the door, of course. I’m compelled to look at her, even though I don’t want to give her away. Baph looks, too. 

Our eyes lock onto her with synchronized attention.

She’s young. Humans find her beautiful. Her face. Her body. 

My kind might find her beautiful for other reasons. Her voice. Her soul.

Baph’s lips curl into his most pleased smile. One that bares the tips of his pointed canines with teasing ferocity as his remark is released through a satisfied growl, “Oh… that one.”

We don’t move. We just watch.

She stands there, in the doorway, her hand still gripping the handle that granted her entry. Her body is poised to such extreme that the gentlest suggestion will either draw her deeper within, or push her back.

“Stepping into my territory again, aren’t you?” he taunts. “He doesn’t want her.”

“Why not?”

His grip tightens on my side. “Look at you… Uriel… His Light … So…” A sound releases from his throat. Almost something of pleasure… admiration. “Why does He need something defiled when He has something so glorious? He doesn’t. He doesn’t need her.”

“But …”

His finger presses over my lips. “Shhh… I know what you’re thinking… But he wants her, right?” Baph shakes his head. “He just wants the praise. These pigs can’t HELP but praise. They will praise ANYTHING that makes them feel like they matter.”

She’s uncertain now. Her weight falls back, pressing against the door, pushing it ajar just enough so that I can feel the breeze from the outside snake its way through the small opening.

Baph’s whisper chills me. “But they don’t matter.”

She’s going to leave.

And so my spirit reaches across the lobby. My essence draws near to her, folding into her, so that I might penetrate the bonds Baph has so exquisitely laced around her mind, bending her to his will.

And I whisper. “I have loved you…”

His eyes narrow at this. His fingers dig painfully deeper, clawing at the fabric of my being so that I can finally feel the Hellfire in his grasp. The emotion that will forever separate us begins to boil within him so fiercely that its malice attempts to close around my throat.

But it’s not enough to stop me. “... with an everlasting love… I have drawn you... ”

His dark, slender tongue flicks amid his lips. “No!”

But it’s too late. The door has closed behind her once more. And her fingers have slowly uncurled themselves. She takes a step inside. The music begins to draw her to the sanctuary. With a nervous breath, she passes through to where He is waiting for her.

Baph’s fury is unleashed in a roar that would fill these mortals with terror, could they only hear it. But the rage quickly drowns amid agony. Amid tormented, frustrated anguish.

“Why? WHY?” he screams. “They’re depraved! Ugly! Broken! They’re NOTHING!”

His skin begins to darken till he glistens like obsidian, his eyes smoldering to dull flames that look into the Heavens as the inferno burning inside of him manifests through his open mouth.

“He doesn’t love them! He just uses them to torment me! TO PUNISH ME!” he screams. “Well it won’t work! I don’t want you! I don’t need you! I HATE YOU!”

I inhale the heat of his despair, holding it inside my lungs a moment, sharing the same pained feeling in my chest.

“Do you really believe any of that?” I ask.

His face turns to me. His eyes. Those black pools. So deep.

Yet so empty.

“I have to,” he whispers. “Otherwise… I can’t stand it.”

July 23, 2022 18:04

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Michał Przywara
21:39 Jul 23, 2022

This is a neat twist on the old angel-and-devil-on-your-shoulder. I like the characterization of both characters, particularly Baphomet. Uriel encounters and must overcome the complication of Baphomet's seductive lies, and in so doing saves a mortal (for now, at least :) But Baphomet's entire existence is a conflict that cannot be overcome, and so the best he can do is invent lies that even he believes, at least for a while. It's curious. They've clearly met before, and they likely will again. Baphomet's role is temptation, but it's eviden...


01:34 Jul 24, 2022

Michal 😊 I was hoping you would read this one! It’s probably not going to be my most popular story, but I honestly worked so hard on this one! The concept of angels and demons and the myths around them fascinates me. They interact so delicately with humanity, yet I often ask how IMMUNE are they to human emotions? So getting the chance to explore that was fun but difficult. Baphomet is probably one of the more fascinating characters I have had to delve into. A once angelic host who both belittles but also desires the humans he toys with....


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Kendall Defoe
20:30 Jul 23, 2022

Wow...I am very impressed. The theme of evil vs. good is an old one, but you put a very new spin on it. Impressive work!


20:32 Jul 23, 2022

Thank you! I like to explore the tensions between what we perceive as “evil” or “good”, so this piece was both fun and difficult for me to write. Thanks so much for stopping to read it! 😊❤️


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Roger Scypion
07:42 Feb 15, 2023

Great story! Good vs Evil styled in a captivating way. Excellent! A sequel perhaps?


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Graham Kinross
05:02 Aug 21, 2022

I like that even angels aren’t immune to temptation. I like the style of your writing and your characters.


13:23 Aug 24, 2022

Hi Graham :) thank you! yeah, I imagine that since angels were the first ones to "fall" (according to scriptures, anyway) that they would struggle the same way humans do. maybe they don't actually fall prey anymore, but hey, the struggle can still be there! I'm glad you enjoyed it! <3


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Yves. ♙
06:39 Aug 07, 2022

I love angel/demon stuff, and am hoping to someday write some of my own! This was an interesting take for sure, especially because of the mixed traditions of Baphomet and Uriel. I did a lot of thinking as I read!


16:20 Aug 07, 2022

I’m glad it was an interesting read for you 😊 if you want to read a REALLY cool demon story, try “Demon, by Tosca Lee” it’s an AMAZING read and really influenced my writing! ❤️


Yves. ♙
20:39 Aug 07, 2022

Thank you for the recommendation; I'll have to take a look!


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Philip Ebuluofor
17:19 Aug 03, 2022

Fine rendition Hannah. Some names sounds like exclamation mark and computer programming related words. Are they really human names over there? Baph.


17:53 Aug 03, 2022

Hi Philip 😊 so, Baph is a “nickname” that Uriel uses for the name Baphomet, which is the name of the figurehead of the Satanic Church. I have Uriel (which is mythologically an Angel name) and Baphomet call each other “Uri” and “Baph” to show they are familiar with each other and have a past. Hope that helps explain a little 😊 thanks for stopping to read my story!


Philip Ebuluofor
17:51 Aug 05, 2022

Glad to hear.


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Betty Gilgoff
20:10 Aug 02, 2022

I really loved reading this. The language in it is so evocative and yet playful. “A whiff of musk that rides the air till it finds your inhale” might be my favourite line but there are several. Your story telling so clearly ‘shows’ the story, the tension between the two, the struggle over the control they are each seeking. I like that you’ve run with Baph being so seductive and clearly having had a thing with Uri before this meeting, that Uri perhaps is swayed to the dark side by him. I had a little trouble sorting out which of the huma...


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Zelda C. Thorne
16:01 Jul 31, 2022

Hi Hannah, I really liked this. Cool angel/demon story. The dialogue was tight and believable. It felt mystical, which fits. Well done 🙂


16:40 Jul 31, 2022

Thank you, Zelda! (I love your name, by the way, I don’t know if I have ever told you that) I am intrigued by Angel/Demon relationships, so I wanted to try writing one of my own! I appreciate you stopping to comment, I will be sure to look for your work as well! 😊❤️


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Beth Jackson
07:59 Jul 31, 2022

I really enjoyed this story, Hannah! It was so beautifully written and I loved the idea of angels struggling with human emotions. I enjoyed the ‘behind the curtain’ vibe you created and the little nods to scripture dropped in - like the sounding brass and clanging cymbals. A great piece, thank you for sharing. :-)


16:38 Jul 31, 2022

Thank you, Beth 😊 I was wondering if anyone would pick up on those lines! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, I was so nervous about this piece. Thank you for reading and commenting! ❤️


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Jay McKenzie
02:40 Jul 29, 2022

Hannah! I love this! I think it's my favourite story of yours. The nuances between good and evil are often implied in stories, but with the scales tipped to direct us somewhere specific. You've created this character that is inherently 'bad' in a traditional understanding, but there's so much more here: the scales tip back and forth throughout. Cleverly done, beautifully written.


20:12 Jul 29, 2022

Thank you, Jay 😊❤️ I wanted there to be an ACTUAL struggle (for the reader and the characters involved) Uriel is there on a mission, and Baph is there to distract him. And I gotta admit, Baph even distracted ME while I was writing about him 😆 he commands so much attention I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, it’s probably one of the most difficult for me to write. Thank you for reading and commenting ❤️


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Nandini Panchal.
09:57 Jul 27, 2022

Wow! As always, your stories relax me and help me take a break from the mundane routines. Baph's characterized was superb. I could see it completely only after a second reading.😀😀


12:15 Jul 27, 2022

Nandini :) it's so good to hear from you! So, this one is a little bit mysterious if you don't know who Baphomet and Uriel are (forgive me) but, for my story, I used Baphomet to represent a demon/evil spirit and Uriel to represent an angel/good spirit. Baphomet and Uriel fight each other because Baphomet has been cast out of the heavens, and he uses the lies to cope with this. I know this one was a little cryptic, but I'm so glad you still enjoyed it! <3


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