58 Cards

As they focus their attention on the table, Almighty runs through the history that brought them here. Lucie listens intently. She is on guard for any misleading statements. “In the beginning— before I created man to inhabit Earth—or angels to inhabit Heaven, I learned from the civilization on Avalon within the Great Coral Galaxy, that without giving my created beings the freedom to choose to follow me, I was only populating the universe with advanced species who were designed to worship me. It was meaningless.

“I chose Planet Earth within the Great Milky Way Galaxy to create a society that could decide their fate. At first, I created the angels and gave them free will. I designed you, Lucifer, to be the most beautiful angel of all. I breathed into you a desire to lead and an ability to reason, so you could oversee the angels in my absence.

“In time, you desired to be my equal. With your ability to reason, you met with the angels in the Crystal Castle and began to pose the questions that ultimately led them to rebel. When I saw you standing defiant before me with one-third of the angels demanding I hand over possession of Earth, I saw no other choice than to remove you from Heaven and from the surface of Earth. You see yourself as a victim, but my response could have been more severe. I could have destroyed or ousted you. I decided to keep you where I created you so I could maintain a delicate balance of energy in my galaxies. The demise of everything began when you challenged my authority.”

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Either way, you took your revenge. First, you banished me to Hades. Then, you ignored me entirely. Finally, to belittle me further, you created the humans. They had your full attention and it became glaringly obvious you no longer had a need for me. I grabbed an opportunity to ruin the purity of man when I tempted Adam and Eve into sin—the very sin that led to my fall from grace. Your reaction was the most severe one I have seen.

“For the first time, I witnessed anger from you. I brought the contradictions to your attention: You speak of love but destroy in anger. You preach forgiveness, yet you banish angels from Heaven when you consider their sin to be ‘unfair.’ You embrace equality while declaring the Jewish people as your favored race. As I see it, these three alone made you a hypocrite, a judger of man, and a bigot.

“I theorized opposites cannot both be perfect—one or the other must be preferred. I declared man must know which of your attributes please you, and which ones incite your wrath.

“The things I said caught your attention. You offered to separate the opposing attributes to allow them to compete against each other. You asked me to take upon myself one-half of your opposing characteristics. We agreed, and began what I refer to as the Great Game.”

“I do not like your terminology. It suggests I am toying with man, when in reality this is an effort to offer him my very best. Certainly, you are not here before me claiming anything was unfair. I offered you the first choice.”

“Indeed, you did, but I suspect your higher reasoning skills knew instinctively which of your attributes would create the better outcome. The ones put upon my shoulders led to darkness.”

“Lucifer, I existed with all the characteristics, and did not embrace evil. Darkness was your choosing.”

“Well, I guess my hatred just took over when you refused to grant me and my demons a residence on Earth. Instead, you confined us to the drudgery of Hades. That was reason enough to hate you. After that move, I became obsessed with making you pay for my pain. I surmised I could only improve my situation by challenging you and winning. I have been a worthy opponent for your sporting game. I still believe I will defeat you. I say we proceed—unless you fear the outcome.”

“I do not fear, Lucifer. I am the great I AM. I created your entire reality. I cannot be defeated. But as you accept the conditions, knowing the outcome cannot be in your favor, we can continue.”

Lucie sits back in her throne and crosses her hands in her lap. “I know the rules. Now is the time for you to release Earth to me. Let’s place these cards and get on with it.” The cards on the table glow as they become the focal point of the conversation. The game board begins to rotate. All three of its marbled sections are visible as it turns. One third is made of black marble, one third white marble, and a center third of gold marble. The black and white sides of the board are divided into twelve equally sized squares. The cards are cut to fit into the squares and can be secured by snapping them into place.

As they begin, twelve cards are in front of Lucie and twelve cards are in front of Almighty. The game board slows to a stop with the white side facing Almighty’s throne and the black side facing Lucie’s throne. Lucie is unsure who should move first, but since she chose the first card in the initial round, she assumes she should start this round as well. She lightly touches the top card in the stack in front of her. It flips over, as does the top card of Almighty’s stack. Hers says Female. His says Male.

“Ah yes, the choice to assume either your male traits, or your female traits. My first choice of all the cards. It was a smart pick. For playing the role of the underdog, I found the female traits to be the better ones. Female reasoning has great emotion, making it more accurate, more sustainable, and more lethal to the soul of man.

“I also spared myself the pain you endured by not being able to read the deeply-disguised emotions of men. Time after time, man disappointed you. He would promise one thing, and then do the opposite. He offered you loyalty and then left as soon as something else caught his eye. I believe we both discovered it is impossible to predict the intent of a man—without having the instinct of a woman.”

Lucie purses her lips in smugness and continues. “With the female instinct, I always knew when to stay and when to leave. It was very liberating. It was the only reason I stayed in this game with you. I did not need a man’s fast win. I needed to needle away at your source of pain for as long as I could, like a woman. I took little pieces of you instead of one big chunk. It was much more gratifying.” Lucie sits forward with her elbows on the arms of her throne, exuding her confidence.

Almighty hesitates before speaking. “As you do not regret your choice, there is no need for a discussion. Lucifer, remember you cannot use male characteristics as you enter the time of Tribulation on Earth. The temptation to do so will be strong when a ticking clock is at play. The long-game you prefer may not serve you well in this fast-paced chapter.”

“I have no worries about any of this. I have set a plan in action. The final war on Earth will be fought with computers, drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence. We girls do not see a need to get our hands dirty with blood and a sword, when we can just push a button and watch the action from a command tower. For this, I do not need the male characteristics. Let’s move on.” Almighty’s card lifts and moves automatically into a white square on the board. Lucifer picks up her card and places it on a black square across from his.

Almighty moves next. The second cards from the stacks flip over without being touched. His is Creative. Lucie’s is Analytical. Almighty speaks to His choice. “I know you were puzzled by my first choice of the cards. I believe you have come to understand the power of creativity. It removes limitations. A creative mind is a free mind. It can hold its enemy in a suspended state—and keep him confused. I have redirected you many times over the centuries, as well as kept you from harming my followers, by simply distracting you. A creative mind knows no fear. Nothing is insurmountable.”

Lucie knows she lost big on this one. She looks at the card that sits before her. Rather than admit to missed opportunity—and in defense of her position—she argues back. “Be that as it may, Analytical was an excellent card for me. There were many times when my analytical mind was able to surpass your creative one. At the very least, it was a great tool for slowing down your creative trajectory. I found a nugget of truth along the way: keep a man immersed in great pain, physical or emotional, and you will suspend his creativity.” Almighty does not answer. His card moves into its square. Lucie follows suit by placing hers.

The third cards flip over—Lucie’s choice. Her’s reads Hate. Almighty’s reads Love. Lucie defends her card. “I’m happy with this choice. I have accomplished many things with hate—inciting wars, sharpening focus, and accumulating wealth. Hate is the most powerful force for moving people to action.”

“This is only true in the absence of love, Lucifer. When up against hate, love will prevail.”

Lucie pretends to ignore Almighty’s comment. To her, it is an empty argument. She places her card in its slot.

The fourth cards flip over. His shows Loyal, and her’s the opposite, Disloyal. Lucie speaks up. “I found no use for loyalty. Without it, I became self-reliant. Never weighed down by the whims of others, I was free to come and go as I liked. I could use people without an ounce of concern for their well-being.”

“One who does not extend loyalty is not shown loyalty, Lucifer. No one walks with you and no one has your back. There’s no one in the entire universe who would follow you into battle, lest it be out of fear and self-preservation. In time, you will be completely isolated. On that day, the pain of your choice will torture you—as it should.”

“Well, I guess it’s good I’m well versed in isolation. I have my demons for now, and they are all I need. Kali is following me to Earth. I am not alone.”

Almighty does not answer. The cards move into their squares and the fifth set flips over with a touch of Lucie’s fingertip. She raises her eyes towards Almighty and smirks. Her card is Twisted Logic. His is Purity of Thought.

“This is a card I would never give up. I use this one on your people very effectively. They are extremely naïve. We could discuss the many victories won by twisting and reversing the logic of your followers if we wanted to spend a few years at this table. Bottom line, your followers are highly susceptible to situational ethics.” Lucie leans forward and pulls herself to sit on the edge of her seat. She intends to drive this wound deep.

“I was able to commit the greatest crime of all time by twisting the thoughts of the crowds that fateful day in Judea. I took your flawless Son—a perfect lamb of a man—and caused the people to fear Him as if He were a dangerous criminal. I had them crying for His death. One of His beloved disciples denied even knowing Him to avoid the same fate. Another betrayed Him for a small amount of silver. Both had unbearable guilt after being released from the power of my twisted logic. Judas hung himself and left the thirty pieces of silver spilled on the ground beneath him. Fascinating, isn’t it?”

Lucie pushes herself back slowly into her seat. She softens her voice to take the last stab. “I intend to rule the Earth for seven years with this card. I will lure the people in for three-and-a-half years, and then pull the rug out from under them. I want them to be lucid when they realize they brought this disastrous ending upon themselves. I wait in great anticipation for man to recognize me as the superior being. As the veil of eternal damnation descends upon him, he will realize he reached for his chains as easily as a child reaches for candy.” She crosses her arms and waits for a response.

“Lucifer, the death of my Son restored the bridge needed between man and myself. It represents salvation for every man’s soul—should he choose me. In three-and-a-half years, when you ‘pull the rug out’ from under the people of Earth, my children will be called home by then. Does this mean you are intending to shake the footing of your own followers? This is illogical, and it will increase your pain. There will come a time when you can no longer pacify yourself with your misguided and prideful thinking. Once you are out from under the power of your own twisted logic, you will live an eternity being tormented by the truth. I am grateful my beloved followers can sense my purity in thought and set their standards by the example I set.”

Lucie huffs in disapproval. She refuses to concede, even though she knows the truth has cornered her. She isn’t even sure why she wants to torture and destroy all the remaining people on Earth. All she knows is she doesn’t need them, and they stole the attention of Almighty. Hurting them is just a way to get back at the Creator.

“I hate this entire race of people,” she hisses, “especially your minions. The only thing holding me back from shattering your pathetic sheep into tiny pieces the second I begin my reign is your stipulation your followers ‘must not be harmed.’ The instant you remove them from the planet, I will rain down disaster on every remaining human and animal. I do not consider any of these people to be my followers. They are my competitors. The ones left are nothing more than empty-headed vessels with a propensity for evil.

“I have all the conditions for anger,” she continues. “I sense unfairness with a total lack of control. Adding my state of mind, I have the perfect anger triangle. Before you criticize my destructive ways, the Scriptures of John say during this time, you’ll be raining down your wrath on these people too. I guess we will just make their deaths into another contest. Dare to wager another bet?”

Almighty refuses to engage. His choice in the sixth round turns and displays Content. Lucie’s shows Discontent. Almighty speaks first. “After watching one-third of the angels leave Paradise because of their discontentment, I wanted to keep this card as a reminder of its power. I want to be content with man, the angels, and the Universe I created. Discontentment seems to place people in a state of endless turmoil.”

She scoffs. “Be that as it may, if you have any interest, we’ve been very discontented with the horrible life you provided for us in Hades. We hate living with meager means, and the torture of the heat and the stench of the waste. I’m quite sure seeing us in this lowly state adds to your contentment.” Almighty does not answer. Lucie adds her sixth card to the board. Almighty’s card follows.

Lucie turns over her chosen card from round seven: Compersion. Almighty’s card shows Jealousy. Lucie wastes no time in taking credit for what she sees as a clever piece of strategy in the game. “I reversed my psychology here. I chose Compersion because I had to be accepting of my situation and pretend you weren’t getting to me. I was not going to give you the satisfaction of seeing me stew in anger towards you every single day of my existence. It would have been a huge waste of my energies, so I feigned joy in my situation. It wasn’t all that hard to fake joy for man as I saw him saddled with burdensome relationships and high-maintenance possessions. Today’s man lives like a caged animal, even though there are no bars holding him captive. I prefer a free-flowing existence that allows me to take what I want, when I want—and discard anything and anyone at will.

“More importantly, by forcing you to take the opposite, I knew jealousy could cause you to act out irrationally in anger and lose your luster with your followers. It certainly worked in Sodom and Gomorrah, now didn’t it?” Lucie smirks.

“I admit I was initially concerned when your choice placed Jealousy upon me. It seemed to conflict with the other characteristics on my side. In time, I came to see it differently. I want my children to love me, and love is a vulnerable state. Vulnerability causes irrationality at times.

“I realized there is a place for jealousy in my relationship with man. It causes me to be attentive to his needs and protective of his body and soul. Men can indeed extract a sense of security from possessiveness.

“It is written, ‘For whom the Lord loves, he chastens.’ If man knew about your evil plans against him, he would welcome the excessive attentiveness that comes with jealousy. I do not deny I am a jealous God. I laid this out clearly in the Ten Commandments—‘Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me.’ It’s not a secret.” Lucie scowls at her inability to get a rise out of Almighty before the cards move to their slots.

In the eighth round, Almighty’s card reveals Giver. Lucie’s shows Taker. Almighty speaks first. “I will hold nothing back from my people. Soon, they will be with me and I will meet all of their needs, heal all of their pain, and provide everything they need for a joyous existence. It has been hard to withhold the things for which they prayed.”

Lucie offers up a forceful “Ha! Are you really going to try to get by with that? Oh, please! I watch you hold back things all the time—love, wealth, health, security, and even cooperative weather for a church picnic. They ask—and I mean beg—for the things they desire, and yet you remain unmoved. My demons and I have watched on the screens in Hades your naïve followers crying out to you. It provides great entertainment for us.

“You know this pain you allowed into the lives of your followers is going to be your greatest complaint when man stands before you. I’m not just referring to the bad ones that belong to me. The ‘pure’ ones are carrying some big grudges against you too. I don’t see how you are going to throw around your ‘love’ word with them and then explain some of your decisions. Wow! I would not want to be you on Judgement Day.”

“Lucifer, I am not going to have an extended conversation with you on this—no matter how much you want it. Love is not about giving people everything they want. You will see how this practice ends for you after your reign on Earth. I can see the future. You can only see this day. Love is a complex and fixed emotion. Once my people see their lives to be the great circle it is, they will understand my decisions. They are demonstrating faith when they continue to follow me while having their requests denied or delayed. They are developing the iron-clad faith they will need for the next phase of their existence.”

“Got it! Well, I think we both know I enjoy taking from your followers. I especially enjoy watching them struggle when bad things happen to them. They can never figure out if you’re allowing bad things to happen for their good, or if it’s just me messing with them because they are living an effective life for you. Even if you eventually clear it up, their agony was glorious for us.” Almighty does not reply and the cards are placed on the board.

Lucie taps her next card for round nine. It displays Fearmonger. Almighty’s shows Comforter. Lucifer sits back. She pulls her sleeves down into place over her hands and settles in with a smug look. “I’m into scare tactics. They work well with man. Watching people shake with fear is an adrenaline-rush for me. I especially like the rich man’s version of fear— anxiety. The last figures brought to me from the surface say half of your followers are taking medications for anxiety. Can you tell me, oh Great One, why so many of your people are popping pills to suppress worry of their future when they have all of this waiting for them?” Lucifer waves her arms around her in a mocking fashion.

“I’m not the one putting the chaos and sense of uncertainty into their lives, Lucifer. Their fear causes me pain. I look forward to putting them into a complete state of peace when they come into my presence. On that day, I will become their Great Comforter.”

“That’s not a direct answer.”

“It is my answer.” After a short pause, the cards are placed on the game board.

When the tenth card turns over in front of Almighty, it reveals Truthful, and Lucie’s shows Deceiver. Almighty continues, “I have nothing to state here, we can move forward.”

“Whoa,  wait just a minute. Aren’t you going to explain yourself for the times you were less than truthful, like with Adam and Eve in Eden? That little move was not only lying; it may have even crossed over to my fearmongering. Why did you tell them they would die if they ate from that tree?” Lucie tilts his head towards the light and squints, listening intently for an answer that will shed some light on the topic.

“By disobeying, they opened their lives to a flood of temptations, struggles, and pain. You became a very real enemy for them, and death became their reality. They both eventually died a physical death. If they had obeyed in Eden, they would still be there, enjoying the many generations  born from their seed.”

“I guess that’s as much of an answer as I can expect from you. Man will have to finish this conversation. I am placing my card.” Lucie turns over her eleventh card. It shows Independent. Almighty’s is Dependent. Lucie sees a way to turn this on Almighty. “I like my independence. I recommend you equip the next race you create with it. The people of Earth are whiny and needy. They cannot function without a partner. Your worst idea might have been marriage. If they cannot make that one relationship work, they become pathetic lumps of helplessness, even those who go about expressing themselves with endless sexual encounters.

“You know what I see in all this? I see evidence that your love isn’t enough for them. They go looking for the thing they lack in another human being, one who is just as needy as they are. Of course, it fails.” Lucie smirks.

“My followers are not perfect, but this struggle is their expression of needing one another. They are creatures of emotion. Sometimes it is misplaced, but it is one of the things that makes them endearing. Once they are here in my presence, they will never feel lonely or unloved again. I accept my dependence on my beloved.”

“Well, I think we just found the source of your long-suffering with the humanoids: you need them? Oh, give me a break!” Lucie mocks Almighty. The eleventh set of cards move to the board.

The final set of cards turn over. Almighty chose Healer. Lucie is left Aggravator. “I chose Healer so that I could repair any harm done to my followers as a result of living in a sinful world. We both struggled to win man’s battle of the unhealthy body and mind. We met many times to debate the healing of one of my followers. Sometimes, I provided a healing, and sometimes, I chose to have my beloved carried home in the arms of the angels. I expect when my healing hand is withdrawn during your reign, you will spread illness through the people of Earth?”

“Yes, what better way to take man’s wealth than to sell him antidotes from Eden? The Lead Demon Amy will spread the diseases, and I will collect their possessions in exchange for the cures they need. This isn’t a new game on Earth. I am just upping the ante. Seeing humans, designed in your image, give into frailty is always a source of delight. I will especially enjoy watching someone die of a simple ailment like the common cold because they have run out of money. It will truly be an entertaining Tribulation.”

Almighty’s light goes dim. The final cards are placed on the board.

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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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