Satan studied the board from every angle to determine the ideal location--the perfect timing--for the placement of the game piece. Satisfied at last, his concentration on one small area was the only impetus needed. The boulder--firm in its situs for centuries--shook off its tether of soil and tumbled down the slope in obedience to his wordless command.
He searched the road and nodded his approval. They were right on time. --At least by his standards. Their car sped around the curve just moments after he’d placed the piece. He watched his carefully calibrated move unfold before him, reveling in the delightful assault to his senses. The screams…the squeal of brakes…the scent of over-heated tires… The impact.
Satan could not have been more pleased.
He drew closer--nearly within the scene--to peer through the windshield. The man and woman, both in the fog of calm between the worlds of awareness, moaned, but without serious injury. But the occupant in the back…
The driver’s pathetic attempt at avoidance had caused a skid, so that the door behind him bore the brunt of the impact. Satan looked closer and laughed. The so-called child safety seat was hardly a match for a well-placed boulder. The boy slumped over the padding, eyes half-open, yet unseeing. Rasping gurgles and scarlet bubbles punctuated each shallow breath.
At the master’s command, a half-dozen creatures descended.
“Rouse them! Their child’s injuries will bring a far greater torment than their own.”
As he had predicted, the moment consciousness returned, the parents scrambled to join the boy in what remained of the back seat…all sensation of their own physical pain deferred on his behalf. Satan closed his eyes for the briefest instant to revel in the waves of pleasure that coursed through his being at the sight of such delicious anguish.
Protests rang out from both sides of the veil. From his all-too-aware minions on one side--to the perception-impaired parents on the other--human and demon voices mingled in disbelief as the Enemy himself reached into the scene. He lifted the boy…oh, so gently. --Out from the crumpled, marionette-like figure to which his parents clung; out of the tangle of broken plastic and twisted metal…and carried him straight to the throne.
Satan watched the scoreboard tick another soul for the opposing side.
“Quickly!” he roared. ”You know what to say!”
“….How could a loving God let this happen?”
“…This is your husband’s fault…driving too fast…”
“…This is your wife’s fault…late as usual…”
“…You must never forgive God…”
The tortured couple, bowed by pain and grief, listened to every whispered word and took each to heart. In their despair, they had no strength to fight the onslaught.
Satan’s gaze pierced the distance to where his Enemy sat with the child at his knee.
“Enjoy your little pawn. Thanks to your taking him, I’m well on my way to claiming the king and queen.”
He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “Your move.”
+ + +
God chuckled as his enemy retreated. You’d think he’d never read the rule book.
The little one looked up. “What are you going to do?”
The question was asked not in sadness, nor worry, nor fear…for these cannot exist in the presence of the Most High. It was asked in complete trust…with simple curiosity as to the details of the plan.
God smiled, took the boy by the hand and led him to heaven’s representation of the game. They could see the entire view--earth, the heavens, and beyond--yet at the same time could focus on every detail, right down to the number of hairs on someone‘s head.
Amazed, the boy asked, “Can your enemy see all this?”
“This much, yes. I’ve allowed him that. But there’s much he’ll never see. Not because it’s withheld from him. It’s right there in his representation, too. But it’s impossible for him to find. --Evil always hides truth.
The view unfolded as a bloom and God showed the boy Reality. Not the pale imitation humans thought of as “real life” from their vantage among the shadows and behind the veil. Not even Satan’s impressive, yet flawed view. But true Reality. They saw the host of heaven surround the ravaged car. They laughed as the enemy’s troops slashed at the few they could see.
They moved beyond the scene. Way beyond. Together they transcended time and passed the reaches of space. Here, they embraced the True Game of Life--the eternal circle where the ending is written before the beginning.
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