An Unholy Redemption Chapter 9.1 continued
“It’s all right, David,” Mary said, “We’ve already had the displeasure of an introduction.” Mary was angry at how she had been treated, but also confused because of the strange feeling that intensified whenever Lucifer was around. It was like she hated and loved him at the same time. How she could love him when she had only just met him? Pull yourself together Mary, she told herself as they all sat and began to eat their vegetable soup.
“Luther,” David said, “this is Stephen and his wife Joan. He’s one of our longest serving members. And this is Ian and his fiancée Lisa. Ian is our youngest brother.”
They all said hello, and Lucifer lazily waved his hand to acknowledge them and then downed another whisky. “So Luther what did you think of the meeting?” Steven asked awkwardly. “You must feel very honoured and privileged to be allowed such an insight this evening.”
Lucifer looked up at to Steven and rested his chin against his hand with his elbows on the table. “Honoured, I would not know of such a sentiment. As for me being privileged, that’s a laugh. You should all feel privileged to be in my presence.”
“What makes you so special?” Mary interrupted his speech. “You’re rude and arrogant and certainly not honourable.”
“Who do you think you’re talking to little lady?” Lucifer growled.
“And who the hell do you think you are?” Mary snapped angrily.
“I am Luci −” Again he wanted to reveal his real name, but the words would not come out.
“Forget it, I can’t be bothered.”
“You see David, they.re arguing like a married couple already.” Ruth remarked across the table. Ignoring Ruth’s comment, David asked Stephen if he thought their new master of the east was capable of doing a good job. It was evident that David was trying to defuse the growing tension on the table. “Yes David, I think he’ll make an excellent master, a true brother and a shining example of what a leader should be.” Their conversation was interrupted by another sounding of the gavel. David was relieved that the toasts were about to begin. That would give enough time for him to think about how he was going to survive the night without too much embarrassment.
“Brethren and ladies,” the new master was on his feet and making his first speech. “The first toast of the evening is to the light from above.” Everybody stood, except Lucifer who remained defiant and stayed firmly seated. After they had all repeated “to the light above”, they took a sip of their wine and sat down. Lucifer looked at Mary’s angry face. She was unaware of being watched as she began to eat her soup. His eyes began to make their way down to her low-cut red velvet dress and her cleavage. He closed his eyes and inhaled Mary’s scent. The mixture of Mary’s flesh and her perfume was intoxicating to Lucifer’s mind, causing a stirring deep within. He felt almost animal. This wanting was something he had never experienced before. How can I stand feeling like this? I hate humans.
“Do you mind?” Lucifer opened his eyes to see Mary leaning back in her chair. She’d noticed where Lucifer’s eyes were staring and was now pink with embarrassment. “Luther,” David said. “Our newly-made master in the east is insisting that you should make a speech later this evening.”
“A speech?” they both looked towards the head table where the master was holding his wine glass aloft in Lucifer’s’ direction. “What about? I’ve never made a speech before.”
“You just have to try an act as sober as possible,” David was speaking in a quiet panicky manner, “Say a few lines thanking the brethren, and me of course, for inviting you here tonight. Just show gratitude for the charity we’ve bestowed on you tonight.”
“David,” Mary said, “are you sure that’s such a wise idea given Lucifer’s incoherent state? Not to mention his bad manners.” Lucifer turned to Mary and scowled. Immediately, feeling Lucifer’s icy stare, Mary became quiet as a mouse and lowered her head in submission.
“No,” Lucifer said. “David, I would be delighted to make a speech. I see how much it means to Mary and I certainly wouldn’t like to let the brethren down.” Lucifer smiled with pleasure at knowing how much he was intimidating Mary. Looking across the table, Ruth noticed her sister and how uncomfortable she was.
“Come on Mary, let’s go and powder our noses.” Mary didn’t need to be asked twice. She was soon up and out of her chair and heading towards the dining room door.
“So Luther, where do you come from?” Ian was the first to break the uneasy silence now surrounding the table.
“From hell and other various places,” Lucifer muttered.
“What Luther is trying to say is that he’s had a bad life, isn’t that right Luther?” David was trying his best to keep the conversation going as much as possible,
“I can speak for myself. Do you know something? I’m sorry, what was your name again?”
“Ian,” he answered, slightly offended that his name had been forgotten so easily. “Ian,” Lucifer continued, “imagine you had something in your life that was so powerful, a power which commanded men, nations, even angels. Now imagine all that power being removed from you against your will, how would you feel?”
“Well, if I had all that power and it was suddenly taken away from me, I would ask myself and the light from above why? I would then think long and hard about whether maybe I’d deserved it and consider what I’d done to upset and offend the Most High.”
“You see, this is where God’s logic makes no sense and proves the stupidity of the Most High. If God is so benevolent, why would he make mankind, who he loves so much, suffer?”
“That, I can’t answer Luther. Some things are left for the infinite wisdom of the Most High. It is not for me or you to question. All I know is that great power is nothing without control. It demands the highest degree of respect and comes with great responsibility. Without these, I would deserve to lose my powers by my own undoing.”
“Well said, Ian,” Stephen remarked. “I see your degree in philosophy holds you in good stead. I love a good debate amongst friends.”
“Thank you Stephen,” David said. “Has that helped you with your question Luther?”
“Not really, I want to change the subject anyway. Talking about God bores me and gives me a great headache.”
“Excuse me, sir,” a waitress said as she collected the soup bowls from the table.
“What’s keeping the ladies?” Again, David was concerning himself with the whereabouts of other people. “They’d better get back soon, the main course is about to be served.”
In the ladies, Mary and Ruth were talking in front of the mirror. “Arrgh!” Mary said. “That man is so rude and arrogant. Who does he think he is?” Mary banged her hands down on the ceramic sink in front of the mirror. “Calm down Mary, I’ve never seen you like this before. Your face looks like thunder, like you’re ready to explode.”
“Well, I was so looking forward to this evening and meeting him. Poor John was telling me about his dreams, all that nonsense about God wanting me to go and look for the light. Ruth, how could I have been so stupid to believe in such fairy tales? Although when I saw Luther’s glass in the moonlight moving side to side my heart did skip a beat and for once my head wanted to believe and −”
“Stop!” Ruth exclaimed, interrupting her sister’s ramblings. “Look Mary, we don’t know anything about this stranger, where he comes from, how he was brought up. For all we know, he could be a wanted murderer or something. I don’t know why you’re concerning yourself anyway, after tomorrow he will be out of our lives for good.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Ruth paused as she leant forward towards the mirror to reapply a coat of lipstick. “I’ll ask David to politely get rid of our unwanted guest in the morning - he makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“Is that really necessary? You said he had nowhere to go, what will he do?”
“Mary, Mary, Mary,” Ruth sighed impatiently, “there seems to be a hint of disappointment in your voice, you sweet thing, always trying to see the good in people or always trying to save someone.”
“I know it sounds strange, but for all his rudeness and arrogance I still feel there’s a connection between us. Something I don’t understand, and yet paradoxically I do. Is this making any sense to you?”
“No, not really, how much have you had to drink anyway?”
“Only a couple of glasses of wine, you know I don’t drink much. Anyway when you met David, did you feel like you had known him forever and your whole body felt alive whenever you were around him? Do you believe in love at first sight?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Ruth replied curtly. “David and I had a friendship to start with and out
of that friendship our love grew. There was never that ‘wow’ between us. Anyway, enough of this stupid talk, we’d better get back before our main course goes cold. Let’s just get through tonight then tomorrow Luther will be out of our lives for good.”
Back in the dining room, Lucifer was struggling with his dinner.
“How’s your beef, Luther?” David asked. Lucifer was still getting to grips with using a knife and fork. Splashes of gravy were soaking into the white tablecloth.
“It’s delicious, don’t you think?” Stephen was trying to make polite conversation.
“It’s okay,” Lucifer said. His mouth was full of food as he spoke and halfway through his sentence some beef left his mouth and fell onto the plate. David despairingly put his head in his hands. “Hello there, gentlemen,” David turned at the sound of Ruth’s voice to see the ladies walking back into the dining room. All the men except Lucifer politely stood while the ladies retook their seats.
“Have we missed much?”
“Nothing much, the speeches will start after the main course, so eat up and don’t let it go cold.”
“Always the organiser, aren’t you darling?” Ruth placed a kiss on David’s cheek while looking at Lucifer. He was too busy finishing off the remains of the food on his plate to notice. “So Luther,” Mary had decided to start afresh. “What are your plans for the future?”
“Apart from regaining my angel status and defeating Michael the henchmen of the Most High nothing much really.” Mary let out a little giggle. “No, seriously, what do you plan to do and where are you heading?”
“Why don’t you believe me?” Luther asked. In a condescending manner “Just imagine for an instant that right now you sat next to an angel who had done immeasurable cruelty to people, an angel that wanted the death and destruction of everything living on this godforsaken earth. Also imagine that this angel did not know or want to know love and did everything in his power to destroy it. Mary, ask yourself would you still want to be in such a presence?”
“What a strange question, are you all right?” Lucifer nodded and begged for her to answer the question. “Well I detest all forms of violence, but I would try and understand why this angel is behaving the way he is. I think that someone who is trying to destroy love just doesn’t understand it. So therefore I would ask God to help this lost angel find love again because I believe that nobody is beyond redemption.”
“What if this angel didn’t want to be redeemed and was happy being who he was?”
“That I don’t know and I can’t answer. All I can say is that in the end, love conquers all. Those who are either frightened or hide in the shadows, too scared to show love, will eventually have to face up to that truth. Only then can they accept it into their lives.” As Lucifer was listening to Mary, he felt pain in his heart and his eyes began to water.
“Rubbish!” He took another large mouthful of whisky hoping it would suppress the pain he was feeling. “An idyllic dream for those who are afraid to see the world as it really is. People like you would rather see the world through rose-coloured glasses than go out and feel the pain of reality.”
“Well there you go, that’s one thing we have one thing in common,” Mary retorted. Lucifer lifted his eyebrows. “I haven’t been with a man, because I’m afraid of being in love,” she continued. “To me love is so important that I would rather not know it than have it and lose it. You see, we are both afraid of love.”
“I am not afraid of anything and I never will be.”
“Luther, is there really no love in your heart at all?”
“No! Certainly not, now can we please change the subject?”
“Because −” A gavel sounded from the top table, bringing everyone to order and interrupting Lucifer. “Brethren and ladies,” Jeremiah was on his feet. “I would like to claim your attention as I ask our special guest this evening to make a long awaited speech. I give you Luther.” Everyone started clapping and banging their hands on the table. “Up you get Luther,” David said, nervously pushing Lucifer out of his chair, who glared at David. The applause ceased as Lucifer stood and everybody waited in silence for him to begin. Standing in silence, he looked around the room. Trying to think what to say, he found it hard to concentrate as Mary’s words filled his head. He couldn’t understand how they made sense, how could they? How could a human know more than him? “Luther,” David spoke just above a whisper to draw his attention. David’s voice allowed Lucifer to focus on his immediate situation. He felt a warm sensation as a hand took hold of his. He looked down to see Mary’s hand entwined with his own. For the first time in his existence, if only for a split second, he allowed a moment of intimacy. As soon as it had started it was gone.
“No! What are you doing to me?” Lucifer said and he pulled his hand away. He looked down at Mary’s surprised face. “Luther, this is highly embarrassing,” David said. “Will you please stop it?” Lucifer was now feeling very uncomfortable at the unwanted attention being directed towards him.
“I have to get out of here,” he said and pushed his chair to one side. He crashed against the table as he struggled to navigate between the chairs and the other seated people.
“Luther! Come back, I am so sorry Jeremiah,” David apologised profusely. Lucifer stopped just next to the head table and looked back at Jeremiah. Instead of Jeremiah looking angry, he just smiled and nodded like he understood.
“No! I don’t want understanding, get me out of here,” Lucifer said as he stumbled, making his way towards the door. David again apologised to the top table and ordered Ruth and Mary to leave with him.
“Luther! Wait, come back, I want a word with you.” David had quickened his pace to catch up with Lucifer, leaving the two women walking slowly behind. Ruth was laughing at the situation, how her husband had been humiliated in front of all his important brethren. Mary’s face told a different story: she had just made a connection that went beyond the realms of this world and she wanted to explore it more.