Content Warning: I changed up a few details in the Bible to fit my story better. I meant no harm by this. If you feel uncomfortable, you can click off. Enjoy.
If someone asked me, hypothetically, what my least favorite parts of being the devil are, I wouldn’t even have to consider my answer. I hate them that much. God? You may ask. No, Gary’s actually a pretty cool guy. Hell? No, not that one either. It’s something that no one would even consider to be the worst part of the job, though without a doubt, it is. Humans and Parties. For starters, torturing humans isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They scream so damn much, and plead innocence every goddamn session. Do they think that there’s a possibility that I might be releasing them from Hell? I think the closest humans have ever got to understanding that was with Hotel California. You can check out any time you like/But you can never leave. Damn, that song was ahead of its time. But back to the subject at hand. Humans and parties. Well, humans suck, we’ve already covered that. But, parties. You know, I used to like parties when I first became the devil. But I was younger than, and had less duties as lord of the underworld. I just don’t have enough free time now, with all the humans down here. I could live without partying, if parties weren’t always trying to find me. From the raves the lesser demons throw, to the summoning circles edgy teenagers and my most loyal followers draw. I haven’t been to a good rave or summoning since the Middle Ages, when everyone was so damn Christian that next to no one went to Hell. I’m interrupted in my thoughts as I feel the buzzing of my phone in my hand. Oh, that’s right. I forgot to mention, I’m going to a party tonight.
Everyone in heaven has been prepping for the party tonight. I even see Jesus helping out, which is pretty weird, considering that he spends most of his time hanging out in the back of church services.
“Jesus, you know that it’s a Sunday evening, right?” I ask him, grabbing a ladleful of red wine from one of the bowls out on the table. “Don’t you have some evening prayers to observe?” He rolls his eyes at me.
“Yes, Gary, I do know that it’s a Sunday evening. Why wouldn’t I know?” He looks at me in a disgusted sort of way.
“Oh right! I resurrected you today, didn’t I?” I feel a sense of pride well up in my godly chest. One of my finer moments. He drags his hand down his face.
“Gary, shouldn’t you be observing evening prayers? You are the one who the prayers are going to, are you not?” He smiles smugly at me, as if I couldn’t vaporize him from existence right this second. I wouldn’t though.
“You know better than anyone, Jesus, that I don’t observe evening prayers.” I lean close to his ear and whisper, “That’s why I made angels.” I smile smugly right back at him, and while he stands frozen by the table of wines, I walk off to converse with my angels. They’re standing around casually in a circle, sipping wine. The younger angels look noticeably uncomfortable standing next to my archangels, and with their swirling vortexes of eyes and corporeal forms that draw in all existing light near them, I could understand why. The archangels were my earliest designs, back when I based most of everything I created on black holes and exploding stars. Oh, yeah. I didn’t create the stars, for your information. They came long before me, and they’re the driving force of all life in the world. Even mine, which is weird to think about. I lean up against one of the tables full of wine, and join in the angel’s conversation. “How are the preparations going?” I ask, having a taste of the white wine on the table.
“Just well, my lord” One of my archangels, I think Micheal, rustles. My archangels don’t really speak, but instead rustle and shake nearby objects to speak for them. It’s freaky. The younger angels scoot farther away from Mikey and the other chief angels.
“Who’s all coming again? Well, you guys, and the citizens of heaven, right?” I swish the goblet of wine around a little and look into the mini vortex I created. I did create vortexes, though. The little water tornadoes you see when you pull the plug to your bathtub. I also made bathtubs. Love those things. The angels all look uncomfortably at me. Even the archangels, which is made even more worrisome, seeing as they’re using all of their eyes. “Did I miss someone? Jesus? Mary? Joseph?” One younger angel holding a glass clipboard clears his throat and says,
“Erm, sir, you seem to have forgotten-- um, Satan.” I nearly spit my wine out.
I have to dig through my wardrobe to find my suit and tie. I haven't worn it since- since a while ago. When I do find it, I realize how old it is. It’s covered in stains and holes, and oddly enough, burn marks. Christ, this won’t do. I think that maybe one of my demons will have an extra suit to spare. I quickly throw on my Led Zeppelin t-shirt and a pair of jeans and run out of my apartment. I take the elevator all the way down to floor 666 where one of the most fashionable demons I know lives. I ring his doorbell, which is programmed to play, I’m on the highway to Hell on loop until the door is opened. It drives me mad.
“Come in!” I hear a familiar voice call as I turn the door knob. The air is thick with smoke from who knows what, and smells faintly of basil and thyme. An extremely handsome, curly haired demon lays sprawled out on a leather sofa. “What brings you here, Sebastian?” He takes a drag off a thick cigar held gracefully between his fingers. I try my best to appear confident, but I can tell that Lathan sees right through me.
“Oh, I simply wanted to know if you had a suit I could borrow? I have an, erm, gathering to attend tonight.” He smirked at me and slowly rose from the sofa.
“Mhm, a gathering, you say. Are you certain you’re not-” I stop him there.
“All I need is a suit, Lathan. Can you just do that?”
“Certainly, certainly. Follow me.” He leads me down hallway after hallway, all while grinning like Cheshire Cat.
“You know, it really is just a gathering. One in Heaven. I’m not going out with anyone. Really.” His grin spreads farther across his face.
“One in Heaven, you say? How in Hell did you get invited to that?” I narrow my eyes at him. “Alright, alright Sebastian. I won’t bother you anymore. I swear on the River Styx.” He snorts at his joke, and I roll my eyes at it. We don’t have a River Styx, nor do we have a river. Heaven has one though, and it’s one of the only things I miss about visiting there. Yes, I used to visit Heaven. Heaven and Hell aren’t as separate as you might think. I can visit Heaven at any time, and Gary can do the same for Hell. We just choose not to. He rummages around in his closet a moment before pulling out an emerald green suit. “Here. This’ll look good on you.”
“What about a tie?” I ask, rubbing the green cloth between my fingers. He snorts.
“A tie? Do you wanna look fashionable? Ditch the tie.”
“But It’s Heaven. Wearing a tie is like the minimum to enter.”
“Screw Heaven. Ditch the tie. Now go change!” He shoves me out the door and slams it shut.
When I do put the suit on, I realize how fashionable I look in it. It’s perfectly trimmed to my form, and pairs very well with a pair of leather loafers Lathan loaned me. Lathan opens the door a crack and peeks out.
“There we go, Sebastian. You finally don’t look like a homeless goat. Now go impress the big man upstairs!” I glare at him as he herds me to the elevator. “Tell me all about when you get back. Or don’t!” He gives me a smile and shoves me into the elevator. I input a pin code that opens a slot in the elevator wall where another button hides. I press it, and feel the elevator floor shooting up to Heaven.
The angel wasn’t wrong. A quarter to seven, (He was early) Sebastian steps awkwardly out of the elevator, adjusting a sparkling green suit.
“Erm, am I late?” He says, as near everyone is staring at him. A high-ranking angel steals an anxious glance at me as he herds Sebastian to a chair situated at a long dining table.
“No, no, good sir. You’re in fact, early!” As he points out the locations of different food and drink to Sebastian, archangel Michael glides noiselessly to my side and says,
“Did you invite him, God?” I look at him and nod my head slowly.
“Yes,” I sigh, “Yes I did.”
It all started with the accidental click of a button. It was late, too late to be doing something so important, but I had so many other things to get to the next day that I sent out party invites at 1:00 a.m. I sent them to all my contacts. Including Sat- Sebastian. I forgot he was in my contacts. I mean, I hadn’t talked to him since, since the dawn of civilization, I suppose. We hadn’t been able to get together since, we hadn't had the time. I didn’t and still don’t even know if I want to see him again. It didn’t seem right. The ruler of Heaven and the ruler of Hell going out to dinner. On a date. Oh. Right. I forgot to mention that me and Sebastian used to be a couple.
I guess this really all started in whatever year me and Sebastian came into existence. Probably around -1,670,869,001 BCE. (We in Heaven don’t use BC and AD. It makes Jesus uncomfortable for the Earth’s timeline to revolve around his existence.) One gorgeous but sweltering Earth afternoon, I woke up. I don’t know how to describe it. One moment I didn’t exist, and the next moment I did. Endless green spread all about me. It looked infinite. Limitless possibilities I thought, spreading my arms wide to appreciate the location even more. I didn’t create the Earth, or the stars, or the other planets. They created me. And Sebastian, I suppose. To this day I still don’t know if I created Sebastian because I was lonely, or if the universe created Sebastian along with me. I never thought to ask him.
When I awoke, I knew I had a purpose, but it took me a while to figure out what that purpose was. But I eventually figured it out, and started to shape the very land under my feet.
I found him soon after that. I thought I was the only one. We stared at each other a lot that first day. We didn’t know how to talk, as we didn’t need to before. So we made up the first spoken language and talked. For years. Then we became friends and then something more than friends. We were the only ones for millions of years. Then I made my first angels and he made his first demons. We were still together then. Then I made my first humans. We had our first argument over that. He felt as if I was overstepping my boundaries as a creator. Making life that did more than eat, reproduce, and die. I told him that as creators, we needed to explore new possibilities. He didn’t talk to me for over a thousand years.
For a while, Adam and Eve were happy in Paradise. Then they wanted out. To see the world. So I let them out. Then they wanted more humans. I did that. Then they wanted language and art and literature and towns and cities. I gave them that. But as I tended to my garden of humans, I ignored Sebastian. So he ignored me back. We didn’t and still don’t talk much. We just got busier and busier, and our relationship fell apart. I haven’t dated anyone since. Who is there to date? My angels and humans are like family to me, like children. Sebastian really is my only equal in the entirety of the Milky Way galaxy. Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if we had stayed together. Would the world have turned out different, had there been less of a divide between Heaven and Hell? Would the world be more grey and less black and white?
I decided to stop asking questions of myself and looking into my past. I have a party to host.
Gary taps a little spoon against the rim of a wine glass.
“Good people of Heaven and… other locations.” He looks at me a moment, a smile playing on his lips. “I have called you to this feast to celebrate the revival of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ!” I politely start to clap, but then realize that everyone else is laughing. I slowly lower my hands back to the table. Must be an inside joke. “No, but actually, I just wanted an excuse to drink wine and eat bread. Dig in!” Soon the sound of joyful conversation and the tinkling of china fills the air. There are so many forks and spoons and knives laid out in front of me, I just grab the closest ones to my hands and start cutting into a loaf of bread on my plate. I forgot how different the food of Heaven was from the food of Hell. We mostly eat pork rinds and under or over cooked burgers in Hell, while in Heaven they eat bread and rolls and classy alcoholic beverages. It was always hard for me and Gary to decide what to eat. Popped air or flower stems? Bread or barley beer? If we were still together in the modern era, we’d be choosing between Olive Garden or A&W.
I find myself distracted by one of Gary’s archangels eating. Consuming? It’s incredibly interesting. As they raise a chunk of bread to their mouth, reality bends around them, vacuuming the bread to who knows where. I wish I’d designed my first demons like that. My earliest concepts have no difference between my newest demons besides that the older ones have slightly better manners. But even still, none of my demons could eat at a banquet like this without setting something on fire. That’s just in their nature. It’s also in my nature-- I love fire -- but I have better control over my pyrokinesis than even my highest ranking demons. An angel turns to me and tries to start polite conversation.
“How is- um, how is your job going?” She wrings her hands nervously.
“Um, just fine. Been- uh, busy lately.” I take a sip of wine to avoid speaking again.
“It’s been the same way for us. Lots of newcomers to Heaven lately.” She turns back to her plate and goes back to sawing the loaf of bread on it into pieces.
“Yep. That’s what happens.” I turn back to my plate and tear my bread into little chunks with my fingers. I don’t talk to anyone else for the rest of the evening.
Right as the party ends, Sebastian hurries to the elevator.
I didn’t want to be rude, so I waited til the end of the party to leave. I hear Gary come up behind me as I walk up to the elevator.
“Sebastian?” I call out to him. He sighs and turns around.
“What, Gary?” His eyes, though tired, have a sort of blaze hidden under the exhaustion.
“You’re leaving so soon?”
“Yes, of course I am. The party’s over, isn’t it?”
“Well, yes, but I didn’t know if you wanted to stay any longer.”
“I have something to do in Hell. Have a nice night, Gary.” He turns to the elevator and presses the button to call it. All of a sudden, every mistake I had made in the past came rushing back at me. I didn’t want Sebastian to join the list.
“Wait!” He turns to me. “I-I wanted to ask if you’d like to dance.” A small smile unfolds on his face like a stiff sheet of paper.
I wasn’t expecting him to say that, but I don’t want to say no.
“I’d, uh, love to.” I reach out my hand to him. He grabs it up and pulls me out to the dance floor. He swings me around again and again, and I can’t help but laugh. We eventually slow it down and move into a waltz. One of the only things we made together, and passed onto his humans. We dreamily sway on the dance floor for the rest of the night, listening to the works of Mozart and Bach.
We lie on a soft bed of grass and look at the stars. They shine so deeply, like- like, nothing I’ve ever seen before. Sebastian breaks the silence.
“I don’t know why people think that you made these things, Gary. No one could have made something like them.” I agree with him. The power of the universe, of the stars, is overwhelming. They have the power to create the two strongest beings in existence, and most likely have the power to destroy us. I don’t know how I’ve faced it all these years without him. I tighten my grip to Sebastian’s hand.