The sea was nothing short of angelic, but it was far below Adelie’s feet. The city was vibrant and majestic, but Adelie still longed for the sea she had come to know Spain by so well. The sea that had defined her life for so long, that she had lived by and grown up with. Still, however, she loved the sights she could see, the people, and the overall way of life in the beautiful Madrid.
There was one sight Adelie couldn’t figure out her feelings on, however, and that was the one right in front of her. 666 meters on top of the beautiful Medittearanean Sea she had grown to love, Adelie found herself at the statue of the fallen angel.
You see, Adelie had always had a complicated relationship with the devil. When she was young, he was someone to fear, but as she grew older, she accepted him into her life. She knew she couldn’t always win, that her family might not ever love her, but she also knew that she had to accept her life and live in her way.
But that didn’t mean the pain would stop. No, Adelie would always be hurt by something or another. Whether it was her past memories of the mistakes she’d made, or just the thought of progressing with the future without living her present, Adelie would always feel pain. There was just no way around it. No way to rid the devil from her life.
The sun shone brightly as Adelie sat down, watching the former angel fall. Her short brown hair whipped to the side as she stared at the sight in front of her.
Adelie wasn’t sure if she wanted to come here, given what the devil meant to her. Given the pain and suffering in her life she had personified to the fallen angel himself, but she found herself there anyway, and she guessed it provided closure, in a way. Here, Adelie could come face to face with her pain over all the years, the pain she had brought to life, that the sculpture brought to life before her. Here, in this beautiful city, Adelie could be free at last, free from her pain, her suffering, her throbbing heart full of weights heaving her chest.
“That’s true,” a soft voice said from behind Adelie. “You can.”
Adelie turned to see a little girl behind her, smiling the sort of smile that could only mean something sinister was afoot. “Who are you?” she asked, nervously.
“I think you know,” the little girl said, giving the same smile, combined with a knowing glance from her golden, amber eyes.
Her eyes looked beautiful at first glance, and destructive at second. Like little flames ready to ignite the world.
“You’re him, aren’t you?” Adelie said, her own grey eyes widening with fear.
“Very good,” the Devil said, his form changing into that of a young man. “Is this the face you were looking for?”
Adelie gasped, blinking furiously. She recognized that man. He was the man from her nightmares, the one inflicting her pain. The one who always told her she was wrong, who constantly berated her. The one who made her doubt all in her life. Who made her question her beliefs and her own moralities. The one who made her suffer.
She remembered the first time he had come to her, back when she was a young girl herself. Back before she could even speak, she wasn’t wanted, and he knew it. He knew it, and he took it for granted.
She wished more than anything that he would just leave her alone.
“Why have you come to me,” Adelie asked, fear going through her bones.
“Is that the right question to ask,” the man said, “or should you be asking why you have come to me?”
Adelie sighed, realizing he was right. If there was anywhere to find the devil, it would be at the only memorial to him in the world, and that was exactly where she was. In this moment, Adelie wished again for the beautiful, calming sea that put her to sleep at night when the man from her nightmares - the man right in front of her - kept her awake. The chilling fear echoing through her body made her miss her hometown, and the bright blue hues of the water as she dipped her toes into the sand.
“There’s no need for more comfort,” said the Devil, his sinister smile returning. “You should be comfortable enough. I chose a quite scenic area for our meeting.”
“How did you-” Adelie started, before the Devil interrupted. “I hear all of your thoughts. Nothing is safe from me.”
Adelie felt the rush of the wind instill yet another rush of fear throughout her body. Her brown hair flipped up again in what was earlier pleasant weather. Perhaps the man controlled the skies, or perhaps Adelie’s fear caused the darkness to start, as the clouds turned a grey hue.
“It doesn’t matter, really. The point is, you’re here. And I’m here. To offer you a deal.” said the devil, the tips of his mouth raising ever so slightly into a cautious grin.
“A deal?” said Adelie, her fear dissolving slowly.
“Yes,” the Devil responded. “A deal.”
Adelie thought one again of the beautiful waves of the sea, and what she would give to be back there. But she knew, she knew in her heart, that she couldn’t be there again, at least not now. Her only choice was to listen to what the man of her nightmares had to say.
“Good choice,” the Devil said, coyly.
People of all types started to appear behind him, coming out of the grey clouds above. Adelie recognized little girls like the man had appeared to her as before and young men like he was now. But they all had their slight little differences to make them all unique - a dimple, a mole, anything. They were all the same, yet different at once. Still, Adelie recognized them all, from when she lay awake at night worrying and wondering, and from when she slept at night, waiting to wake to another day of misery.
They all had the same amber eyes, however. The mark of hellfire.
“That’s true,” said the Devil. “We are the same. We are all fallen angels, in our own rights. Demons who plague your nightmares.”
“Why are they here?” Adelie asked, curiously.
“Because,” said the Devil. “You could be one of them, if you wanted. You could join us. You are an angel on earth, it’s time for you to fall.”
“I’m no angel,” said Adelie, thinking again of her pain and suffering. Of everything that hurt her, and how it haunted her.
“Of course you aren’t” said the Devil, with a chuckle. “You think your family would care about you if you were an angel? I just meant that you’re enough of an angel for you to fall.”
Adelie thought again of her painful memories, haunting her at night, making her feel powerless and miserable. It had been what always drew her to the ocean, with the sandy beaches and gorgeous waves. Somewhere safe.
Somewhere where she could still drown.
“That’s also true,” he said. “You’ll drown in the ocean.”
She remembered that line, from the first time he had ever said it to her. Back when she was young.
Remember Addie, you’ll drown in the ocean. You can’t escape me.
“Do we want her?” said a little girl from behind the man. “She’s so indecisive.”
“Yeah,” agreed a man from the back of the group. “I don’t like her.”
The voices grew louder and louder, criticizing Adelie. She winced, remembering this pain from her nightmares. Oh, how Adelie knew this pain. She knew it too well.
“What is my choice?” she said staring into the Devil’s fiery amber eyes. “What if I don’t join you?”
“Then we continue to haunt you,” said the devil. “You will be forced to live with the pain. Every angel has its demon.”
Adelie sighed again, thinking of the sea she’d never be able to see again, the waters she’d never be able to dip her feet in. She thought of the family she’d never be able to see, and the life she’d never be able to live. But then she thought of the pain and the suffering, and how it might finally come to an end.
“Why me?” said Adelie, her fear returning as she thought more and more about the possibilities of joining. “Why did you choose to offer this to me?”
The Devil smiled a coy grin. “Your eyes are grey, Adelie, but what are grey eyes except blue with specks of gold? You have hellfire in your eyes, Addie,” he said, using his old nickname for Adelie. “Hellfire.”
Fear ran cold again through Adelie’s body as thought again of the pain she would feel. The suffering that would run through her blood, always present, even when she was happy.
But then she thought of the water she’d never feel again, and the world she’d never see. Somehow, that felt more painful than all the Devil had done to her.
“No,” she said, for the first time in what felt like forever, firmly, with prowess. “I can’t.”
“Suit yourself,” said the devil, as he and the demons started to disappear into the smoke of the grey clouds. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
In that moment, Adelie felt more pain and regret than she had ever felt before. Not regret in not taking the Devil’s deal, but regret from all of her past mistakes combined. It stung in her chest. In her heart.
A single tear dropped down from Adelie’s eyes. Grey, with specks of hellfire.