Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: I Want to Know Why
By Steve Uppendahl
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My assigned has been struggling against the darkness for some time. He’s constantly tempted and often succumbs. He hasn’t completely abandoned the light yet. But, that time is rapidly approaching. I want to know why.
I’m not allowed to intervene in any of my charge’s decisions. Humans have the right of free will. We cannot alter or change those decisions in any way. But, I can inquire. My opportunity arises at night.
My charge has a weakness for pornography. It’s eroding his marriage, along with another relationship that has kept him in the light for so long. That light is dimming. I want to know why he would give up the light and all that comes with it, for the pain of darkness.
I’m forbidden to show myself to my assigned, but I can to his tormentor. He only arrives after sunset, at least for now. A few more setbacks and he’ll have a permanent residence. Then I’ll be forced to leave and given another assignment. His name is Corruptor and he’s very good at his job. I want to know why.
My charge is again giving in to darkness. He’s online. Corruptor is soon to follow. He’s had success after success lately. He’s close to victory and he knows it.
The scent of sulfur wafts through my nostrils. Thick, yellow fog, invisible to humans, rolls in. A high, cackling laughter emanates throughout the room. I nod, knowing Corruptor’s elaborate entrance well. The fog begins to swell outward, and suddenly he’s there.
Physically, he isn’t much. Brown-grey skin, rough and scarred, covers his body. Long, black, wet hair cascades from his pointed head to his waist. His red eyes are always glowering. Corruptor is constantly hunched over, making his height less than five feet. His back is humped to the point it’s almost even with his scalp. His talons are dirty and six inches long. A black, ancient belt stretches across his ample stomach. A short, well-used sword dangles from his left side.
Corruptor takes his standard position; left hand stroking circles over the head of my assigned, poisoning his thoughts. The talons of his right hand are tapping the base of his neck, as if playing the piano. I know better. Corruptor is controlling him physically, as well as mentally.
The demon knows I’m here. I’m always here. Corruptor also believes I can do nothing to stop him.
“Why do you that?”
He leaps to the far corner, sword drawn. “What do you want, Angel? I’ve got work to do.”
I nod and advance, my sword sheathed. “Yes, I know. I want to know why.”
Disgust furrows his brow, forming deep, black creases across his forehead. “It’s my job, Angel. It’s what I do.”
Corruptor tries to turn back to his work, but I’m not finished.
“I still don’t understand, Demon.”
He pinches the bridge of his pudgy nose, shakes his head. “How do idiots like you get to this station? Isn’t there a screening process? It’s my job to corrupt the lives and thinking of humans. For God’s sake, it’s my name.”
I smile at the irony. “So it is. What I don’t understand, Demon, is why you can’t let this man, and all others, choose darkness or light on their own. Let them decide what they want, without being manipulated.”
Corruptor smiles so broadly thin, clear slime drips down his chin. “What fun would that be? That’s what you holy folk never get. We enjoy what we do. It’s who we are. It’s why we choose darkness.”
“There! If you can choose, why can’t they?”
Corruptor shakes his head. “Because we’d lose.”
“You’ll lose either way. It’s been Written. Why not let the humans choose on their own merit?”
Corruptor is about to speak when the one light in the room, the computer monitor, vanishes. The demon’s eyes bulge in surprise when my assigned stands and leaves. From the next room, voices are low, but can still be understood.
“Honey, can we talk? I need help…”
Corruptor howls as a burst of brilliant light blinds him.
“Why did you do that?”
“It’s who we are.”
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