Monday, December 30, 2013

Ralph's Writing Collection - A Meeting with Louis

I just found one of my short stories from 2nd year fiction class and thought I'd post it here. 

It's basically a guy meeting the Devil. I was cramming this 2 nights before the deadline after my proposed story was rejected by the professor. It's not perfect but hey, I'm not a good writer at all.

            Light started to penetrate my eyes. I awoke on a misty white floor. There was no one present. There were no doors, no walls, no windows – it was like one big concealed room with a white floor that seemed endless. I didn’t know what to do. Standing up was a start but I didn’t know where to go from there.
            I don’t even know why or how I got there in the first place. If I could remember correctly, the last thing I saw was the headlight of a truck that kept roaring its horn at me continuously. Despite its efforts, I was somehow ignorant. No, I stand corrected. The last thing I saw was the sky and people surrounding me as I was on the dirty Quezon Avenue road. The gravel beneath me felt like I lied on a bed of nails. That’s basically it.
            I looked around, trying to find some way out of the misty room.
            Suddenly, a rough voice interrupted my search. “Welcome to purgatory!”
            Confused at this sudden presence, I looked around. “God?” I called out.
            “Sure, why not?” the voice replied.
            A man dressed in a black pinstripe suit with a purple undershirt and a red necktie walked out of nowhere. He was holding a cigar on his right hand.
            “Who are you?” I asked.
            The suited man smiled at me. He spoke with a rough yet loud voice. “So, how’d you get here?” he asked me. “Oh wait, you were the punk who didn’t see the truck going 75 miles an hour which led you to being thrown 76 miles an hour onto the road. Granted, the driver did pass the stop light and somehow gained little pleasure in running you over. I’ll get to him in a minute.” He took a whiff off the cigar and chuckled at me. “I’m sorry, where are my manners?”  Louis paced around me as he introduced himself. “I go by many names. ‘The Prince of Darkness’, ‘The Light Bearer’, ‘The Snake in the Garden’, ‘The Anti-Christ’ and lots of other names you’d find in the internet. But I’d rather stick to the basics. The name’s Louis Cypher. Call me ‘Lou’.”
            The name sounded too odd yet somehow too familiar but I didn’t say anything. I just stayed silent.
            Louis looked at me as if he expected a reaction. He chuckled once more. “You don’t get it, do you? Watch this,” he said. He then dropped his cigar on the misty floor. Slowly, a fire started beneath Louis’s feet. I wanted to run but there was nowhere else to go. Louis waved his right arm and the fire moved to whatever direction his arm went. He was directing the fire! The white mist was gone and black smoke had started to shroud the area. The heat was unbearable.
            I finally came to the realization on I was with at that moment. “Stop!” I shouted as the fire made me lose my balance. “You’ll kill us both!”
            Louis snapped his fingers and within a second, the flames have disappeared. The floors were unscathed and the white mist had returned. “Took you a while, kid,” he said as if nothing unusual happened. “Also, ‘kill us both’? How dramatic.”
            “What are you doing here?” I asked, worried that he might set me ablaze again. “You can’t be here. You’re supposed to be in Hell.”
            Louis had a wide grin on his face as if he found me amusing. “Now who told you that?” He said wryly. “Did the Bible say that? Did those guys in white robes tell you that?”
            I didn’t answer because I didn’t have an answer.
            “I can go wherever I want, you know?” Louis said. “Remember the garden? Oh damn, that garden was hilarious. Two naked idiots in a garden. I’m surprised they didn’t get thorns on their nipples--”
            “Hey, Louis!” I interrupted. “I don’t mean to stop you from reminiscing good times but what’s your point? What are you doing here?”
            “Kid, you’re in Purgatory right now so I can’t lay a finger on you,” Louis continued. “That means you are safe here. But I just wanted to tell you about who you believe in.”
            “No,” I replied. “I wouldn’t even let you throw me off like that.” I knew what he wanted and I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
            “Well, I understand if you’re deaf since you couldn’t hear a roaring truck in the middle of the street,” Louis said wryly. “And since that truck was already there and you’re a believer of God in the sky with a big pizza pie – sorry, just had to get that in – why couldn’t he just stop the truck with his divine intervention?” Louis was talking in dry manner but I knew that he was trying to make a point.
            “Everything happens for a reason,” I replied.
            Louis clapped his hands and raised them in front of his shoulders. “Watch out, we got a believer over here!” he shouted.
            “It’s all part of God’s plan!” I shouted as well.
            “God is supposed to be your all-knowing and all-forgiving creator.” Lou said as he paced around me. “Why would he send believers like you to Hell if he knew you were going to sin sooner or later? And since he’s all-forgiving, why can’t he just forgive you in a snap? Of course not! That’s what egomaniacs do – they don’t forgive you if you don’t feed their ego! They’d rather enjoy seeing those who don’t worship them, who don’t kiss ass, suffer!”
            “Remember that Abraham guy?” he asked me.
            I nodded.
            “What did he do at first?”
            “God asked him to kill his first son to show loyalty.”
            Louis raised his eyebrows, expressing fake surprise. “And that doesn’t bother you at all?” he said. “It doesn’t bother you that God would order a father – a good father, at that – to kill a first born child for the sake of worship? I would expect that in movies about organized crime but not in religion.”
            I tried to rebuke what he said. “But the Bible said--”
            “Bible said this, Bible said that! Have you even explicated what the Bible says?” Louis said. “It’s like a sponge – it’s full of holes! The Old Testament shows you this horrible dictator while this New Testament shows that this same dictator would rather risk his own son for a job that he has the power to do himself. Worse, he sent his son thousands of years to save them instead of, you know, next Tuesday. Basically, God said ‘Believe in me while I take my time sending a savior. If you don’t, you’re going to hell’. And when the son had finally arrived, there were still people left in the dark, waiting for said son – hence, the Jews – so what kind of God do you believe in?”
            “This guy committed genocide on his own creations,” Louis continued. “And you people are supposed to actually worship this Supreme Being, this all-knowing entity? I just told a naked chick to eat an apple and I’m considered the most horrible being ever.”
            Louis had slowly calmed down from his rants. “But we have a common ground anyway, God and I,” he said. His tone was a little more restrained than it was before. “Without him, I wouldn’t exist. And without me, people wouldn’t even listen to him. Why? Because there would be no consequences. Humans would let their egos take the best of them and before you know it, evil’s running wild.”
            “But there are some legitimately good people in the world,” I said.
            “Nobody is good forever,” Louis said as he pointed a finger at me. His voice had started to get louder. “If they choose to be good, that’s fine and dandy, but there will come a time when they would just get tired of it all and decide to have a little fun. Rules are made to be broken. Who do you think taught you that?” Louis pointed at himself and grinned once again. “This guy! I’m not the controlling one here!”
            “But God isn’t controlling at all!” I said.
            “You’re right, you’re right,” Louis said. “God isn’t controlling. He is, however, threatening.”
            “What do you mean?” I asked.
            “Were you not listening to what the hell I’ve been saying?” Louis said. “With God, it’s basically ‘worship me or go to hell’. That’s a little extreme for someone who’s ‘all-good and deserving of all your love’, right? He has unconditional love for his creations, right?”
            I answer with a nod.
            “Bullcrap!” shouted Louis. “Unconditional love, my ass! He creates you, knowing all your flaws – present and future – and he sends you to Hell for said flaws that he didn’t bother to correct himself. He can turn water into wine, dead into living, and three loaves of bread to a thousand but he can’t turn a flaw into strength? Kid, come on! “God is this self-righteous egomaniac who knew that I was going to turn against him. That was just supposed to be a Heaven thing but what does he do? He publicizes it, making him look like some sort of hero war general!”
            Could this guy be right? Could God be everything Louis had said he was?
                I was starting to accept every little detail Louis had told me but I then realize that it was someone who was against God who I was talking to.
            Louis checked his watch. Somehow the presence of time in this place puzzled me a little.
            “Kid, before you go back to your world, I want you to remember everything I said to you,” Louis said. “You should never have too much faith in someone. If you do, you tend to ignore the flaws and become a crazy fanatic, preaching about how God would help you if you hold some rope from a parade float or pay some minister to touch your head.”
            Wait. ‘Before you go back to your world’? What did I just hear?
            “I’m going back?” I asked.
            Louis nodded. “Yeah. That truck driver’s the one I’m taking down. Taking pleasure in mowing down an idiot like you is a qualification of meeting me.” He then pointed at me once more with a stern look on his face. “Again, remember what I said to you. Your little God and this entire Bible hocus-pocus is something you don’t take too seriously. And I’m surprised that you held your ground, even though you looked weak doing it.” Louis’s face as well as his tone of voice turned serious. “Just remember this: one mistake and you’re mine. He won’t help you once I get my hands on you.”
            The next thing I hear were sirens blaring. I was no longer on the misty white floor. That was gone. I was on the rocky street now. The Quezon Avenue traffic went around me. Instead of Louis, paramedics and a sea of onlookers were the ones I could feel watching me.
            I had woken up. Was that all a dream? I had hoped it was. Then I saw a lit cigar on my chest but it didn’t burn me at all. A rough voice suddenly echoed in my head. Took you a while, kid!