I stare at the green in front of me; as far as the eye can see there are green fields, trees and bushes, lush as anything. I’m sitting on the park bench, watching the stillness of the place, the only time anything moves is in the very low winds of the air, forcing the leaves and bushes to only move so very slightly. I glance around once again at the familiar fields of Southampton Common. It’s weird how even down here in Hell, I can have something so familiar to me, and so very real, yet I know it’s just a figment of my own Hell. Lucifer’s let me have this little slither of home, even from afar. But it’s still not home. Nothing could be now, even I’m not that stupid.
I haven’t even seen him for ages; since I walked down that damned Hell aisle, in black and was made his. Is it meant to be like this; him being vacant, never visiting me and just leaving me to be alone for however long it’s been since he ‘wed me’ – that’s a point; how long has it been now? I think I’ve managed to count at least two months. I seem to have lost all meaning of time. I guess time moves differently here, I think it’s faster in Hell than it is at home. I remember thinking differently about the Devil when I was alive: he was misunderstood and he’d suffered, but here, in reality, well he may have suffered, but he is definitely not misunderstood, more like he’s just a complete arsehole for the sake of being an arsehole. That’s basically everything I’ve learnt about Lucifer within the three months he tormented me on Earth, and then the god knows how long I’ve been down here, in real Earth time. God, eh, what could he even do for me now? If he even is real. I wouldn’t doubt it if the goddamn Devil is real.
The only person I’ve actually known since ‘wedding’ Lucifer is Gloria, the woman who helped me get ready for the ‘wedding’. She’s the only friend I’ll ever know here in Hell, and the only person who will ever be my friend down here, though even her I’ve seen, what, three or four times since the ‘wedding’, if I can even call it that. We’re both ghosts to this world, and just at hateful of it as when we first came here in our respective lives.
As I look at the tree that’s blowing in the wind the most, forcing a few leaves away from it, I think of Robb. I wonder how long it’s been for him since I died, and how long he’s been mourning me for now. I wonder if he’s even beginning to move on. I know he’ll never be over it; hell, I know I’m not even over it and I’m the one it’s happening to, but I wonder if he’s starting to get on with real life, going to college, living as close to a normal human being as he possibly can, which is something he didn’t do from the moment I told him the truth to the minute I last saw him. I wonder if Mia and Isaac are trying to calm him down and get him back to something near ‘normal Robb’. I wonder if they are all banding together. I wonder if they gave me a funeral. I wonder how they handled telling everything and everyone I ever knew upstairs that I’m dead.
I turn from my perch on the edge of the bench and see him, Lucifer, standing there, behind me, staring at me with wide eyes. I keep my eyes on him for a second longer before blinking, remembering that he is in fact Lucifer, and he expects me to answer him back.
“It’s been something like two months, Lucifer, the only reason you could be here is because you want something, so what the Hell is it?” I ask, keeping my voice even.
I listen to him chuckle to himself, the Scottish accent of the vessel still thick and still as brogue as I remember it. I wonder if Mark is actually alive and upstairs, or if Lucifer has killed him and kept him for himself down here. If I weren’t so suspicious of the Devil right now, I’d ask him the truth about it, but I’m far too suspicious to begin to ask questions like that.
“You suspect the worst of me still, Naomi Hart, after everything, you still think I would ask something of you, my wife?” Lucifer asks, sitting beside me on the bench.
“How am I your wife, when you refer to me using my husband’s last name?” I ask blandly, refusing to look away from the tree ahead.
“Because you wed me, remember? I seem to remember vividly the scene where you walked up an aisle to meet me and we wed, where you agreed to take me for your husband, and I agreed to take you as my wife, or is your memory really that limited, Naomi?” Lucifer asks. “Though, I have let you keep his surname, simply so you can keep that one memory to yourself. I am not that evil.”
I scoff, refusing still to look at him. “I will never be your wife.”
“Oh, but you are,” Lucifer challenges and I roll my eyes. “And I may not have seen you for a while, but you are no less of my wife, Naomi,” he sings, and his hand finds its way onto the side of my face, caressing my jaw line and ear lobe.
My skin tingles and crawls at the same time, like butterflies fluttering on my skin, wanting, yet not wanting to be there at the same time. They’re singing his song, trying to control me into his world.
“What do you want, Lucifer?” I ask, my eyes closed, yet my voice remaining as even as it was before he touched me.
“I want to show you something,” he says, taking his hand away. My eyes snap open as soon as the sensations stop.
“Show me what?” I ask, but he keeps silent as soon as I speak. He just merely looks at me with that same sly smile on his face that he usually has when he has things going his damned way. He stands from the bench and nods at me. I narrow my eyes for a minute, but then take the hint that he actually wants me to follow him. But how could he want me to go somewhere with him when this is all there is? There is only Southampton Common in this place. I know because I’ve walked all of it; trees, bushes, grass… you can walk in the trees and through the forest, but then you only come out back to Southampton Common. It’s like it’s a never ending park here; this is Hell. I know there are many different types of Hell, but this is mine, and there is no escaping it. He’s purposefully made it so.
“Where are you taking me?” I ask as I stand from the bench. He watches me closely, his ice blue eyes narrowing at my question.
“I need to show you something, Naomi,” Lucifer repeats and I take one single step forward. “You can trust me, Naomi, I will not hurt you. You should know that by now, do you not?”
I blink at his choice of words. Everything about him in the past five minutes has become formal, like somehow, his wanting to show me something is important and there’s no escaping it. I blink a few more times before he sighs deeply in annoyance.
“Naomi, I really do need to show you this, please will you just come with me?” Lucifer asks, actually nicely for once, though I can still hear the annoyed undertone to his words.
“Where are you taking me, though, if this park is all there is to this Hell?” I ask, which I think is a valid question before I go anywhere with him.
Lucifer chuckles to himself, the smile reaching his eyes and radiating across, reaching into my eyes and causing me to stop. “Naomi, you should not be so naïve as to think this is it. Of course it’s not. Did you really think there would only be a park as Hell? I think I have told you this before, Naomi; this is the most peaceful part of Hell, the bit I have let you live in. There are so many other parts to this place, Naomi. This is just the one that is the… how to put it… the most pleasant.” He reaches his hand out towards me, beckoning me to go with him. I narrow my eyes again, still unsure about it all. “Come, it cannot wait much longer.”
“I don’t trust you,” I say matter-of-factly. He scoffs at me, shaking his head.
“You have never trusted me, Naomi. I do not expect you to, for that would be a dangerous thing for you to do. I just wish for you to trust the fact that I plan not to harm you then maybe you will join me, even against your better judgement. We cannot linger any longer, Naomi.”
I roll my eyes, looking down at the grass – is this even real grass or is it just the remnants of Hell, making it look like grass? – and then I see the rings on my fingers, reminding me of the last time I saw Robb; tears flowing down his face, looking completely like his entire world had ended in that single moment.
“Fine,” I finally give in, looking at Lucifer with a disgusted look. Well, that’s what I hope he gets from the expression anyway. “But make it quick.”
“We have all the time in the world Naomi; it will take as long as it takes.”
He stops me in a little alcove of trees in the forest thing, except this forest is darker and a lot closer than the forest I’m used to in my part of Hell. We’ve been walking for what seems like an age, which makes me start to wonder if we’re even in the same part of Hell we were when he approached me on the bench. I don’t even know anymore, everything in my mind is mixed up as to what’s what here.
“We’re here,” Lucifer announces as he stands on the edge of a small lake.
“At a lake? You wanted to show me a lake?” I scoff; why in the bloody Hell, Earth, Heaven or world why he wanna show me a damned lake in Hell?
“It is not the lake I wish to show you, Naomi Hart,” Lucifer scoffs, the Scottish brogue coming out stronger than before in his pure disgust. He takes a small goblet type cup from the lakeside and fills it with the water.
“Are we doing some Satanic ritual, which you know, would be kinda weird considering we’re already in Hell, and well, I’m standing with Lucifer himself?” I ask, feeling like some sort of weird bystander, not knowing what the bloody Hell is going on.
Lucifer doesn’t even crack a smile at my comment, he just turns to me, the cup in both his hands as he gives me a straight face. He moves forward towards me and gestures towards the goblet with his head, suggesting I take it.
“What?” I ask, my entire face turning sour in confusion. What the bloody Hell is going on right now? It’s a lake, in Hell, and he wants to show me the water I can clearly see behind me in a freaking golden goblet thing?
“I need you to take this from me, and I need you to drink it. It is just water, it will taste of nothing more nor nothing less. And when you have done that, I need you to look into the lake itself,” Lucifer says nonchalantly. I stare from the goblet in his hands to him, confused beyond belief. He stares at me, right in the eyes, his blue eyes trying to force me to do it, but somehow, down here in Hell, he hardly has that control over me he used to have. It’s like since I’ve come downstairs, everything about him that used to control me has just disappeared and I’m no longer his puppet. I must admit, I like that fact, but for him, I can see the pure stress it has over him and the pure frustration it creates in him, every time he tries to make me do something, or try to talk me into something, whether it be something simple like coming out here, or whether it’s taking the goblet in his hands, or whether it be thinking or angsting over Robb, it frustrates him so much, and I’m not too sure whether that scares me or makes me laugh.
“Why?” I ask, my voice questioning his intention. “What am I gonna see?”
“Something that I need you to see, Naomi,” Lucifer says bluntly, gesturing me towards the goblet again. I glance down at the thing and inspect the contents. It looks dark, but that must be because of the shadow of the alcove, and the darkness in the goblet itself. I glance up from the goblet to Lucifer again. He stares hard into my eyes, trying to get it across to me how important this is to him. I think of what happened two months ago. Well, at least, at what I count to be two months anyway, when I walked down that makeshift aisle to face him. I remember the triumphant look on his face, how he looked proud as if he’d won the battle. I remember the desperate look before he killed me up on Earth; how he had told me many times that he needed me, not just wanted me. He had told me two months ago that he had needed me, that I was important down here, but he hadn’t told me how, apparently I’d find out in time. Maybe now is that time. Maybe I’m finally about to find out how I’m important to him.
But then maybe if I drink this shit and do as he asks, maybe then he’ll gain back his control over me.
But then again, the way he’s been speaking to me, it’s as if he’s over trying to gain control and he just wants me to do this one thing. Since I’ve come down to Hell, he’s lost all power over me, and he’s been trying so freaking hard to do what he can, and now he’s realised he has nothing over me, he’s practically persuaded me to come with him here over his own sheer pleading. Maybe if I do as he wants, maybe just maybe I’ll find out what I want to know. I could be selfish here.
“Naomi?” Lucifer asks, making me jump out of my own thoughts and look to him once again. Those blue eyes of the vessel, they are practically pleading with me, narrowing and pushing pleases into my own eyes, down into my soul. I remember all the times he would touch me, kiss me, how his touch felt, how it felt to have him look at me, how it felt to taste him over Robb, how he would manage to control me. It was like nothing else in the world mattered. And then I’d go back to Robb and everything else felt irrelevant because Robb was my husband and the only love I would ever have. I remember how Lucifer overruled my thoughts, my mind and my being, and to see even just the vessel now, pleading with me, all silently, but even so… it’s practically ridiculous and kind of cute, to see a man… well, not a man, but a fallen angel… the Devil, pleading with me; practically a ghost down here, a mere mortal is just ridiculous.
What have I really got to lose? I don’t even know what I’ll see or experience. I’m already dead, so what more, other than my life, my husband, my life and my family and friends have I got to lose, when I’ve already lost them?
I silently nod, taking the goblet in my hands, both of them engulfing the golden goblet. It’s as light as a feather, yet the weight of the unknown rests in my hands which are weak anyway. I look down at the water and take a sniff before even attempting anything. It smells like absolutely nothing bar fresh water, if that even has a smell. I can’t tell if I’ve ever actually noticed the smell of water before.
“You need to drink it, Naomi,” Lucifer says quietly.
I glance for a second up at the Devil, suspicious beyond belief. He keeps looking at me with that blank, desperate look that reaches into my chest and grips, forcing my breath to catch in my throat for a single second, remembering the way his lips felt on my neck, the way his words used to wind up in my mind, resounding over and over, the way he would control me, make me touch him, feel him…
I take a long sip, feeling the normal, tasteless water quenching my undeniable thirst. There isn’t even much in the goblet at all, just enough for me to drain it all in one, long gulp and enough to make me less thirsty, but not enough to fill my stomach up. Why was I complaining? Why didn’t I just do this sooner, why the Hell was I suspicious at all? It was just water. Though, admittedly, it tasted a tiny bit filthy because it came from a lake and not a normal volcano and a bottle, and not a tap from home, but still… just normal water, nothing more and nothing less.
“Thank you,” Lucifer says, taking the goblet from my hands and nodding at me. “Now, if you could stand at the edge of the lake and look into it, you will see what I need you to see, and then we can discuss it. I just need you to do this one more thing for me, Naomi.” He gestures towards the lake in front of us, though I feel no different to normal, dead me. Though normal, dead me feels no different to normal, alive me, so I have no idea what I’m supposed to feel like.
I nod once and take a step forwards, and again, until I reach the lakeside. When I’m standing there, I crouch and look right into the lake, reminding myself of in The Return of the King when Gollum looks into the lake there and starts speaking to Smeagol. I’m probably the Gollum in this; completely evil underneath now I’m down here in Hell, though in truth, I have no idea who I am or what I am anymore.
I look at my reflection: the same blonde hair as when I last looked at myself, the same sad and haunted blue eyes, and the same face looks back at me that I’ve known for eighteen years. The same Naomi Hart, yet something is different, something is not her, but I couldn’t put a wager on it. Something in the eyes, maybe? Something in the way the face looks? I’m not sure what it is, but whatever it is, it’s not the same Naomi Hart that I’ve known for eighteen years. It’s not her. It’s completely someone else.
And then I see… I know why he’s brought me here. I know exactly what it is he wants me to see. Lucifer brought me here to show me this… this vision. It’s all become clear.