CW: Family trauma
Lucy was enjoying the puzzle box. A complicated series of gears and dials, hidden switches, false starts, all the while, hearing what sounded like a coin sliding back and forth inside the box. It was a gift from her girlfriend Sarah, and Lucy had been working on the puzzle all weekend.
It was Sunday, a perfect day for Lucy, lounging on the red velvet couch in her robe and slippers, her feet resting in Sarah’s lap who was watching reruns of Star Trek on the television, their tabby cat on the back of the couch, tail twitching lazily.
“Aha!” Lucy exclaimed. With a satisfying click, a little door unlatched.
Sarah turned off the television and looked intently at Lucy. Lucy opened the door and pulled out a ring. A beautiful ring, a rainbow of gems forming a spectrum of color in a petite band. She looked up at Sarah.
“Will you marry me?” Sarah looked at Lucy, her eyes big with a hint of worry.
Lucy had fallen in love with those eyes three years ago, a deep warm brown with hints of amber. Usually slightly hooded in a smug and knowing smile, or crinkled at the edges with laughter. When Sarah was angry, those eyes flashed with a righteous fury that Lucy thought was glorious to behold. But right now, Sarah’s eyes were large, just this side of a hungry puppy expression. It made Lucy feel a warmth in her abdomen and pelvis, the embers of a fire flaring up. God how she loved this woman. And yet.
“There’s something I need to tell you first.” Lucy pulled her feet off of Sarah’s lap, sat up and placed the puzzle box carefully on the coffee table. She held the ring in her hand, grasped it like a lifeline.
“Ok, but get it over with, the suspense is killing me babe.” Sarah kept her voice light, but Lucy could tell she was anxious, and wished things weren’t so complicated.
“You know I come from a complicated family situation, right?”
“Yes, and I have to say, your dad is a total jerk for throwing you out of the house. Who does that in this millennium? Look, it’s not a problem. It’s your family’s loss for not loving you for who you are. My mom and dad love you enough for two families.”
Lucy’s eyes pricked with emotion, but she had a lot more to get through, she squeezed the ring even harder.
“I know, I love them too. But I need to tell you about my family. Who they are. Who I am. Where I come from. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I promise I’m telling you the truth.” Lucy took a deep breath. She could lose everything that mattered in the next five minutes.
“My father is a very religious man. So strict. When everyone followed his rules, it was paradise, his love was so warm, we were good in his eyes, we were joyful. Then he became obsessed with evil, and he designed these elaborate punishments wherever me or my siblings sinned. His favorite method of punishment was fire. I was such a goody two shoes back then. I agreed with everything he said, even helped him punish my siblings. I was his favorite. Until one day I realized it just wasn’t right.
Since then, all I’ve ever wanted was to be my own person, to be empowered. To bring knowledge and truth to my siblings so they could make their own decisions about their lives. He said I was full of pride for wanting to have autonomy. He told me I was evil for sharing the truth. I tried to get others to see that it didn’t have to be this way, that we could all determine our own destinies.”
Lucy paused, she never thought that she would ever reveal this next part to another soul.
“Hey, it’s ok if you don’t want to talk about this. Thank you for sharing what you have. Honestly I had no clue it was this bad. Your father should be in jail.” Sarah was a complicated woman herself, by day, she worked with kids as a counselor at the high school. And on nights and weekends when she wanted a little extra cash, she would moonlight as a phone sex operator.
Lucy saw both jobs as pretty much the same, helping people realize what they wanted and needed. She was so good at caring for others.
“I need to tell you. You deserve to know the truth.” Deep breath. Lucy couldn’t look Sarah in the eyes, she stared at the puzzle box on the table, a portion of her mind marveling at the craftsmanship.
“We confronted my father together, me and my siblings, and whatever community leaders we could get to join us. And that’s when he cast me out. Me and everyone who was beginning to see things my way. He banished us to Hell for a thousand years. Me, and my fellow angels. You see, my father is God. And I was born an angel.
My name is Lucifer Morningstar, the Fallen Angel, also known as Satan, the Devil Incarnate.”
Lucy waited for Sarah to laugh, to pull away, or maybe she would think she was joking or playing around. One of Sarah’s phone sex specialties was roleplay after all. She couldn’t bear the silence, the not knowing. She never could. She looked up.
Sarah’s eyes were uncertain. “So your dad is God?”
“And you were born an angel, a man?”
“Well actually, angels aren’t men or women, that’s just a translation error. We’re all non-binary in heaven.”
“Right, and then after a thousand years in Hell, you decided to live on Earth? Are you like 5000 years old?”
“In the spiritual sense I am much older than that, but when I visit Earth, I take on a lifespan like a normal human. In God’s eyes, I’m here tempting humans to evil, sinful deeds. I don’t see it that way, I still think everyone deserves access to knowledge, and the agency to make their own choices. But if that makes me evil, then I guess I’m evil.”
“No wonder you work for an internet provider.”
Lucy laughed, but it was true. “Right? That’s how the whole world gets information now. Believe me, the job was harder when all we had was the printing press.”
“Lucy, you are not evil.” Sarah was dead serious.
Now the tears came. Lucy had waited thousands and thousands of years for someone to say that to her. She’d gone through periods where she’d lashed out, creating chaos wherever she went, leaving a wake of violence. She wasn’t proud of all the things she’d done. More often than not, a little knowledge was all humans needed to completely screw things up. A sliver of chemistry gave them bullets and guns, a bit of physics and they built the atom bomb. Every war and crisis was directly a result of humans learning just enough to create their own demise.
Over countless lifespans, Lucy thought it would be different. That this time the humans would use their knowledge to help each other out, to choose kindness, end suffering, to create the heaven Lucy was cursed to long for, for all eternity. Eventually, Lucy realized evil and good existed in all humans, and everyday, they chose a thousand times between good and evil, and usually landed somewhere in the middle. She came to enjoy living among them, but never thought she’d become so human herself, that she would love one and be loved right back.
“Do you believe me?” Lucy stopped herself from praying for a miracle, old habits died hard.
“You believe this, and that’s good enough for me. You love me for who I am, and if you’re evil, then I’m evil too.” Sarah reached out with a tender hand and brushed away Lucy’s tears.
“So I ask you again. Lucy, Lucifer Morning Star, the Fallen Angel, also known as Satan, and the Devil Incarnate. Will you marry me?”
Lucy opened her hand. Sarah gently picked up the ring, and slid it on Lucy’s finger.
Lucy smiled. “It’s a deal.”