Temptation is the driving force of human beings. Power, wealth, and lust – any rational human would eagerly set upon them, consuming until they were too big for themselves, until their souls were ripened with taint and minds poisoned with nectar. They swelled under their own demise, utterly content when he comes to feast on their honeyed flesh and blackened souls to feed the nonexistence of his own.
It is this natural affinity for the dark descent that he hates humans. They are too willing, too stupid, and too eager to sip thick wines from goblets of lies. He hates them and yet, there is one that intrigues him – has intrigued him and confounded him for many years as its soul wanders across the vast stretches of the afterlife, wavering between existence and purgatory.
This soul, trapped in a motionless libido, a human soul whose name was once Arthur, untarnished by the works of deception and evil speaks to him.
He sits in a field of spring flowers, unburdened by clothes and the pressures of Hell and its captive souls. He wants to speak to the spirit again, waits patiently with his head bowed so his sin-black hair hides his eyes. Butterflies flit from flower to flower, spreading colors, blending them into mauves, crimsons, and golds. They land softly on his spiraled ram’s horns, on his knee caps, on the crowns of his folded wings, and along his spine to tickle at his pales skin with then, delicate beats of their wings.
He is not bothered by their presence and merely sits and continues to wait as the butterflies come and go. It is a task he is familiar with – waiting. Wait for the humans to bloat with pride, wait for them to succumb, wait until they ooze, until he can lap away their lives, their essence, their very being.
There is a rustle and he looks up very slowly, an orange tinted butterfly passing over his nose at it flees its prior perch on his neck. “Alfred, hello,” the spirit says in a voice that is like the wind spinning through a chime. “What a lovely place you have found.” The spirit has shining green eyes and they seem to dance merrily as he watches the insects flutter to and from the demon with ease and contentment. “And such delicate company, too.”
Alfred finds himself frowning. “Why did you come here?” he asks. Arthur wears a simple robe of white, his hair is a pale yellow and he is fading in and out of their current plane of existence. The demon watches him with serpent eyes as he sits amongst the flowers in front of Alfred, their knees touching.
“I find that I’m drawn to you,” the spirit says softly. “You know that. You are a demon, and yet the more I seek for salvation, the more I see you.” He fades away for a brief moment and reappears as a faint gleam. “I am lost. Am I deceived? Are you truly a guardian?” And is all Alfred can see are Arthur’s shining green eyes and golden mouth as he disappears again, sighing and swooning of the purest intents and radiating innocence that tastes of cool water on a hot summer day.
“I am not,” Alfred says when the spirit is gone. “I will never be.”
Sometimes Arthur comes back, sometimes he doesn’t, his spirit unable to remain in one place for too long. But this time he does come back and he’s no longer the wavering outline of a man, but he is solid with shimmering pale skin that is slowly exposed as his robe falls from his shoulders. “Can you show me the way to salvation?” Arthur asks him with wide eyes, leaning forward and crawling towards the demon. “Please… show me.”
Arthur holds a hand out to Alfred. A blue butterfly flitters from Alfred’s chest to Arthur’s fingertip, spreading its wings wide before taking off. He doesn’t understand, doesn’t know how to react to something as simple and untainted as this soul is. The demon hesitantly reaches out. He cannot show this spirit salvation, but he’s sure he can pretend; to slowly drown Arthur in indulgence and thickly sweet pleasures until he can be feasted upon.
He places his clawed hand into Arthur’s smooth one and he doesn’t know what’s happening until he sees the grandeur of unfurling feathered wings, the spirits gleaming aura becoming angelic radiance. Alfred is pushed harshly into the bed of flowers, the butterflies scattering into a pretty mosaic behind Arthur’s haloed hair. “A demon,” Arthur says softly as he tethers Alfred’s struggling body with golden ropes, “who is tempted by innocence.”
“No.” He doesn’t know what else to say, how else to deny such accusations. His kind tempts – the lavish sin that drew in the weak, they were the ones to feast on the follies of others or perish in failure. “No,” he repeats.
Arthur cups the demon’s face between his hands, their naked bodies pressed together as the angel stares down at him with wise green eyes. He smiles at Alfred and it is as if he has stared blindly into the very sun.
“I will bring your soul to salvation.”