C h a p t e r S e v e n
The End of the Angel
I feel almost as if the story is already complete - the sense of closure I mean to provide is hardly needed. Unnecessary, even - little more than a luxury provided for your convenience. Still, I will tell it. The end. The great finale. Answer that annoying, niggling question of 'What happened next?'. You'll thank me, for you'll feel obliged to - it's only ettiquette, after all - but you won't really be so grateful as you think you are, or make out to be. By filling in the gaps in the story that once were wide open, less and less is left to the imagination. When little space is given for this kind of creativity to thrive, the imagination will be left to shrivel and die - conforming to the beliefs of others, and preferring the easier route of blind eyed consent.
You would be wise if you stopped reading now, to be content to fill in the blanks yourself with your own hand and your own pen. You would be a stronger person to leave now, too - stop the pull of my words with a push of your own.
It is for the weaker, craving mortals that I deign to give away the following information. It is for the pathetic few who can't bear to tear themselves away that I even hand you this part of the story at all.
God told Lucifer that he loved him, and then He condemned him to Hell.
And then? What then?
God had cast aside the alliance and the love of the only immortal ever to rival His power. He was foolish, choosing humans (little more than breakable puppets on invisible strings) to be the ones to worship Him, and praise Him, and stick with till their end. He chose His humans to love, and He banished all those who recognised His enamour and saw the unreasonable, irrational love for what it was.
He was wrong, and he knew it. It hung over Him as a curse. And yet, the ruler of Heaven - so perfect, so magnificent - was ailed by a feeling of selfish, selfish pride. He flung Lucifer from Heaven simply because He was unable to face what would happen if the angel stayed. If He admitted that Lucifer was in the right, and the angels saw the way He had treated one of their own with such glorious favour and then bitter dismissal.
While never told His loyal angels just how wrong He was, the memory of Lucifer burned in every bushel He set aflame, and every rebellion He ignited - a constant black storm cloud that rained above His head and inside His mind until the only way out of madness was to forget, and to let go.
After years too numerous to count, God let go. He loosed his grip on reality, and on his heightened memories of his first true love. His angel. His Lucifer. Focusing His mind on the humans who had torn them apart, he looked on their race with a newly acrid rapture - noticing their every fault that Lucifer, purely flawless Lucifer, had never had and never would.
The mortals were not as perfect as He had thought and it drove Him to insanity. The race He had given up everything for were no more than an idea - an embellished lie based around a breed of brutal savages. He hated them, and yet He loved them with an attatchment He'd never felt before. They were the shaping of His past, and they were the sole flame of His future.
God had no choice.
As for Lucifer, landing in the empty abyss of the Underworld with no more than his name to call his own, he stood silently in the vast expanses of midnight dark and he thought. He thought of God, and he thought of love, and he thought of his story - the twisting, winding paths of his fate that had brought him here, to Hell. Crouching down, in amovement of sudden fluidity, he scooped up the earth on which he stood, sculpting it with ageless, elongated fingers into bodies.
If God could create, so could he.
Not unlike a human figure, the bodies had arms and eyes and feet and fingers and raggedly formed ears and eyes. Their mouths gaped wide with the promise of vengence, a crudely cut hole in their knarled, jagged faces. Bending forward with the litheness that comes with immortality, his own lips touched theirs, and he breathed the breath of life into their souls. Their chests rise and then fall, and up and down motion the reminds him of the differences of high up Heaven and the place God called Hell. He fell a long way to get here. Maybe God did that on purpose. Maybe it was His way of saying sorry, or punishing Himself. They'd never see each other again, and if they never looked into each other's eyes, then they'd never grasp just how much unspoken pain they each concealed.
Lucifer looked behind him to see the angels who'd followed him down from Heaven staring, bemused. The angels of Hell stared back at him with open eyes, finally seeing what he'd seen all along.
With the power contained inside their minds, they could be just as great as God.
More so. They could be better.
Lucifer's creations got to their feet to face him, their master, a frenzy sparking in the hollows of their eyes that showed sight, and knowledge, and an unwavering loyalty that was mesmerising to look upon. Together the new race blinked with earthy grey eyes, standing in the sort of unity one might expect from a regiment of soldiers.
Lucifer smiled as they did this, and then he threw beack his head and he laughed - laughed as he never had before - and the - me amongst them - angels did too, the halls of Hell ringing with the unearthly rejoicing sound of their mirth. They knelt, and they pledged themselves to him as their new master, leaning forward so their mouths kissed the turf in a sign of beautiful respect, unknown and unmarred by Heaven or human.
Lucifer towered above them, resembling not a God but a ruler risen from the ashes of his past. A phoenix, burning with a light not even the omnipotent could dream of putting out. His lips parted in wonder as he saw how God had lived, had felt as he ruled, at last. At long, long last. Shaking the remaining bonds of their love free, he spoke to us - the angels, his servants - with a voice shaking with the weight of a miracle. He ripped away the few strands of servitude still clinging to him, and he renamed himself, and his angels, as a sign of leaving Heaven behind.
No going back to Paradise. We were going to make our own, in Hell.
I hope it goes without saying that we did.
When given such a startlingly enchanting opportunity, we'd be as much fools as the dwellers of Heaven not to take it. We had a chance to design a new land, a new world. No rules or hidden boundaries to hold us back. God casting us from Heaven was the greatest gift we'd ever known.
Did we create our own Paradise? What an obvious question. Don't take us for brainless.
Of course we did.