Lucie steps through the fog into the Holy Atrium. Her body shakes as soon as her black boots touch down on the gold floors. She hates coming here, but not as much as she enjoys gloating over the human failures that allow her to manipulate the conditions of the Great Game.
She glances around to see if anything has changed. As she does, she catches a look of herself in one of the many mirrors that line the walls. Wavy blonde hair and blue eyes are always the right choice for meeting with Almighty. Their innocent appeal conflicts with her uncompromising black bodysuit. She likes to play the victim with the hosts of heaven. Since she cannot create more demons, she is always open to recruiting angels.
The crystal candelabras are still in perfect form. Lucie sneers at the contradiction. Almighty created this ostentatious paradise for Himself, and yet most of his naive followers live in humble means on Earth. Many live in outright poverty.
It amazes Lucie that Almighty continues to grow his “harem of humans” in spite of giving them so little. She wonders how long His selfish hoarding habits can go unchecked. Surely, there must be one of his followers intelligent enough to call foul on all of this. Then again, the followers of Almighty are gullible. They live by “faith.” Lucie cannot help but to roll her eyes every time she hears the word. As she sees it, faith is an empty ideology that allows organized religion to control and collect money from simpletons.
Almighty’s followers subscribe to faith in hopes something good is just around the corner. They pray for relief from poverty, addiction, bad health, loneliness, and destructive relationships. When relief does not come, they reason it away as, “not being Almighty’s will for their lives.” She sees it as total rubbish, though highly effective rubbish!
Lucie decided long ago, when she comes into her rightful reign, she would shower her followers with all the riches the world has to offer. Any celebrity in the world can tell you, if you do not own things others cannot afford, they will not know to look up to you. She will do things differently—and she is sure man will flock to her because of it. She will charm him into servitude and buy his loyalty.
Her daydreaming ends when she hears a thunderous sound and the lighting turns bright. A blasting trumpet signals Almighty is approaching. Lucie stands defiant. She refuses to sit, fall to her knees, close her eyes,or even bow her head. If she is the only one brave enough to stand up to Almighty, then so be it.
There is never a solid figure for her to see. Almighty has never been contained in one. She has only known him inspirit. Though she sometimes wishes she could look Him in the eyes, it will never happen. Lucie agreed to speak with His spirit when she signed off on the terms of theGreat Game.
Almighty is the first to speak. “Welcome to my home, Lucifer.”
“You know I don’t like to be called Lucifer. Let’s stay with Lucie, if it’s all the same to you.”
“I named you Lucifer——the bearer of light—and I shall continue to call you Lucifer. You have come because the Great War and your reign are imminent. What else brings you here?”
“I came for the keys you have hidden from me. Surely, you would not want your beloved servants to know you purposely kept the Keys of Death and Hades out of my grasp. What would they think of your integrity? More importantly, what will they think of your free will? How can your prove to them they have control over their own destinies if you hide the very keys that lock away for eternity those who exercise their free will against you?”
“Ah, Lucifer, you have always held the card Twisted Logic. You use it well, but I am not accepting your invitation to banter. Nonetheless, I will give you ample information to find the keys. You will fail to retrieve them, but the Saints will be blameless for withholding information.”
“Ha, as if the Saints could have information to which I am not privy.”
“There was a time when the Saints hid the whereabouts of the infant Jesus. You directed King Herod to murder all the male children younger than two years of age in hopes of killing the blessed child and thwarting my plan. All the while, the child was in Egypt. Do you deny you could not find the Messiah child?”
“I did not know we were going to reminisce today. I hope you can forgive me for my lack of preparedness. This will have to wait until another time. Circling back to the reason I am here—where are the keys? Your own words bind you. You must answer me. What say you?”
“The keys are but symbolic, Lucifer. The sealed doors of Hades will be a barrier between you and my children. No one will be able to cross the barrier I will build. Once you are locked away in the Pit of Hell, you will be punished for the evil and pain you inflicted upon mankind.”
“Once again, you digress. The ending is not yet set. I am your most worthy opponent, and I intend to win the Great Game. It is true the keys are only symbolic, but they are required for locking me away for the thousand years. You are bound to keep the conditions we negotiated. The contract so stipulates.
“Furthermore, this isn’t the first time you have given power to an inanimate object. You pride yourself in symbolic tokens, like the Staff of Moses and the Ten Commandment Tablets… Ah, I know the location of the keys. You placed them in the Ark of the Covenant with these other trinkets. Answer me honestly.”
“You have spoken the truth. The Keys to Death and Hades are in the Ark of the Covenant. The location of the Holy Ark is still unknown to man. I cannot tell you more than man can know.”
“Of course, Almighty will not deviate from the rules. Your words suggest you have told one of your minions—perhaps a soldier—the keys are in the Ark of the Covenant. Tell me, does he know the location of the Ark?”
“He knows to search in the land of my people.”
“Israel? An interesting choice, and the perfect location for beginning my reign. I ask Almighty’s permission to leave the Holy Atrium.”
“Granted… Lucifer, expect a battle for the keys.”
“I live for battles. You are the one who backs down from them. What say you?”
The bright light makes a spectacular show as it spirals from the room and exits above. The last words spoken by Almighty come as the room goes dark— “Be gone.”