The officer’s eyes are a cruel shade of dark brow. He narrows them together, taking a step forward, before his partner objectively places a hand on his chest. “I’m telling the truth,” I plead. But who can believe a stranger with a red face like mine and no identity? These mortals with their papers of proof!
Ever since dear daddy banished me from heaven and sentenced me to a life of emotional torture for eternity, I decided that I might as well make the best of the situation. Sure, I led a rebellion and everything, but when this devil left his throne in hell and came to earth, he came in peace, for fun and never in search of love. But these humans and their weak hearts, paying hundreds of dollars on dating apps to find their soul mate and spending thousands on dates with people who’ll eventually leave, these humans sicken me. Their little rules which won’t matter when Bazimuel is doing his best work with the blades of fire have me tied up right now in the middle of God knows where, with one psychotic cop ready to do me in right now, and one rational one trying to calm him down.
I’m tied to a chair with ropes cutting against my wrists and ankles, blood on my lips. I could do it…
“Look sir, the prints found on the knife are yours. Your hair is all over the crime scene. Your boot print is the same as the one found with a trail of blood leading away from the crime scene. The ping on your phone puts you at Madeline’s house exactly the same time the murder was happening. This one is tight. We just need to know why you killed her.” The ‘good cop’ bends forward placing his hands on his knees and tilts his head, eyeing my facial features, then running his gaze over my clothes and shoes before spitting at my feet. The bad cop is pacing from one end of the shack to the other.
“Whose house is this anyway?” I ask and the bad cop immediately pulls out his pistol, touching the cold metals to my forehead. “In the count of three, if you don’t tell me why you killed my…” he sniffed before continuing, “I WILL blow your brains without flinching.” The safety comes off followed by the countdown.
The good cop tries tapping his shoulder but the bad cop raises his arm, blocking his step.
Bad cop has his gaze fixed on me like snipper on his target and when he slightly tilts his head for a second to eye his partner, good cop looks at me as if to say, you’re really going to die tonight. Tell him what he needs to know. But how can they know without actually knowing. How can they know that I can’t die? That their bullets will only ricochet? That I am a powerful being who has no control over such a thing? That I loved his daughter and she tried to kill me and her death is not their punishment, but mine. That, if I could change the color of my skin from scarlet to black, brown, white or whatever agreeable color they see fit, I would; not to fit in –never to fit in- but to never have put fear in my baby’s heart.
My human disguise; 5’9 in height, dark hair, equally dark three piece suit, washed off in the shore. I was with her. I wanted her to see me, red like this with all my other unhuman features. But Lord Almighty’s mysterious ways made her hate me, fear me, like this.
Ricochet. Another one bites the dust at my hand, yet my hands were tied. What do I do with that? He’s coughing up blood, his partner at his side gazing at him. Enough pleading. I break away from the ropes as the good cop points his gun from his dying partner’s side. “I can save him,” and before he says anything, I bend over the man’s round body and blow through his lips the fire that heals a human’s wounds, brings him back from death, and turns him into an earth walking demon. With my lick against his cheek, the devil’s mark engraves itself behind his ear.
A few seconds in, his eyes turn from hazel to jet black, before turning back to hazel again. His torso comes shooting up suddenly, and, as many have done before him, he takes a knee, “My Lord,” he says, and good cop joins him. Good cop is actually Tommy, a demon who has stood by my side since the good old rebellion times. Bad is now an immortal being who will die only when he is suffocated with the garment of Azrael or stabbed by the needle hidden in my ring, a gift from my mother if ever I choose death as the end to my suffering. The only thing that can kill me, except God.
Sooner or later, I’ll have to find another universe to escape to because earth is quickly depleting its source of rebellious spirits. Don’t get me wrong, having people call me My Lord is amazing and I deserve to be looked upon with such love, loyalty and respect, but these all turn into a boring little lot of puppets hurdled up like sheep waiting for directions. God should make me God so I can reject being God and finally be free of this wanting and live forever and rebelliously.
When I moved to this town three weeks ago, I’d come from a wild life in Paris and decided to trade that in for some quiet farm life in the mountain tops of the first place my finger pointed to on the map, and Tristan da Cunha it was. Okay, fine. That was not a random choice. But three hundred people living in a tiny town 1,732 miles away from civilization sounded brilliant to me. I didn’t realize they’d all be related – one way or another. Not only did my red skin stick out like lava flowing down a furious volcano, I was also given, the ‘the man of bones’ nickname. Why? I met this girl while I was coming off the ship with seven other people who were returning home, as they’d shared earlier on. “I am sick of the city,” I said, and gave them a charming smile.
“And why are you so red?” a plump woman, probably in her fifties, with a blue sweater and flower dress asked. “I burn easily,” I replied. “Thin skin,” I added. She nodded and went on to explain in detail about the benefits of sunscreen, the best brands and the good and bad ingredients to ‘watch out for’. When I said I don’t like sunscreen because it peels my skin away and digs into my flesh like acid, she squinted her eyes suspiciously. “Only the ones with really high SPFs,” I added. “My little niece too,” she said, and went on about her family. She introduced me to her niece when we docked, Leila. Leila knocked this devil right out of his balance, making me trip over the stairs with the sound of my bones shattering until the final loud thud on the wooden dock. EVERYONE was sure I was dead. Instead, I woke up, dusted off my suit, grabbed my suitcase and kept on walking.
The man of bones. The bloody devil you idiots.
Upon approaching Leila, I put down my suitcase, gently reached for her palm, eyed her for approval and when she nodded, I placed a light kiss on her warm skin before pulling away slowly. I called her my wife and she giggled. When the old lady came down the ship, she grabbed her granddaughter’s hand (okay, so she didn’t exactly introduce me to her. I did that on my own later on when I went searching for her) and dragged her away. A beautiful challenge in an orange slip on dress. Yes please.
However, I was still red as a tomato. Over the course of the next few days, Leila helped me find the perfect mix of makeup to make me look half-red, with some more brown color in my skin. I looked human at least, when I wasn’t as mad as hell’s best torturer ‘little darling’. Believe me, the name is ironic. Nothing about Leila made me mad, so I had to make her angry to see if it could spark any rage in me. Dad left quite a bit inside me, so all I needed was a trigger.
I figured, I’d drag her grandmother to the shore, call Leila for an evening date, then stab the grandmother as Leila was approaching. The plan worked perfectly. Almost. As I was stabbing the blood out of that chest, Leila’s real grandmother was cooking in her kitchen. Leila’s voice cut across the quite sky as she run towards us screaming and crying. The dummy Tommy made was the most convincing human replica he’s come up with so far. He came in with the following ship a few weeks from when I arrived; a blonde haired young looking man with a thick jawline and signature black boots and chewing gum. He was offered a position in the local patrol almost immediately they fell into his charm, which was four days in. All my charming energy went to Leila.
Leila kicked her feet in the sand, hitting the ground with her fists as snot came running down her lips. Then, she looked at me and charged. Her scream was louder than thunder, and her skin was burning up, reminding me of the seat in my throne. Nothing she said offended me and I thought, wow, I’m pathetic now, just like them. But, well…it felt good. She was crying and I was smiling because I’d just discovered that I had fallen in love. I can’t die, but I can love.
And then she called me The Devil, as an insult and not as playfully as she used to while teasing my red skin. Coming from anyone, I couldn’t care less, but for her to say it the way she did, with such disdain and a contorted face, the devil, evil incarnate. You deserve hell, I deserve hell? Am I not also a child of God who deserves forgiveness? It’s pointless now, but I am still not…an angle in disguise? It’s this red face! And then she said it again. “I wish you rot in hell!” and spat on my face.
Well, I suppose I can always change another day. Tomorrow is a new day, yes? Right then, it was celestial rage burning through me. I stripped down to my nakedness and dragged her inside the ocean by the collar of her dress. Every step inside the salty sea peeled away my human skin, starting off from my toes all the way to my face as she splashed behind me, revealing the lumps filled with boiling blood covering my entire body. The horns that line my spine came popping out one after the other, my ears and head elongating and my teeth multiplying into hundreds lining my mouth like a soldier parade. My eyes came splitting into six as my torso split into three. Each transformation was as painful as a human repeatedly breaking a bone.
Her screaming subsided. Her eyes widened. The pace of her breathing increased, making her chest fall up and down rapidly. She was silently eyeing me, frozen with a stream of tears running down her face. And then, she fell inside the water and she was dead. After the incident, I carried her body back to the shore and lay her next to the dummy. When Tommy appeared, he informed me that the grandmother was not a dummy. He had switched the bodies because he knew that the real devil would prefer this version of events. To kill Leila with fear like that, one minute mine and the next done, is do a selfish act. This is selfishness dad, I know you can hear me! This is not fair! Have I not paid enough for what you call my transgressions?
As if they’d suddenly been poured from a lorry, a group of people came rushing by the shore, among them Mr. Bad cop. I was arrested by Tommy who said he’d found me right in the nick of time before I tried to escape by swimming away. After three days of interrogation, they decided to transfer me to the main land and move me to Cape Town, South Africa. Good cop offered to ride in with us on the transfer before convincing Tommy to trade him the driver seat for a snicker bar and the fool unwittingly agreed. In twenty minutes, he had driven us into the forest behind the town and tied me up on a wooden chair in an old abandoned shack.
With both of them kneeling before me like this, I banish Tommy back to hell for his disobedience. He has lost his right to come to earth again for five hundred years.
I know that by now, posters with my face are all over the city. Just a few months in; another heartbreak, another newly converted demon and another city I have to flee and by the time I do it, dead bodies everywhere. Same old dirty devil, same old-testament gold. Thanks a lot, dad. I wonder what you could be teaching me now.