Hope Springs Eternal

He had known the conversation would be difficult, and, as always, He had been right. He let His mind drift.

In his young godding days, things had been easy. Thunder, it had felt good. They did warn you. Creating a world was fun, but if you started to take an interest, if you let yourself become enmeshed with its history, it would change you.

And he had become enmeshed: he had fallen in love. With a perfect soul, a warm and wonderful human being. The warmth of her smile flooded Him with joy, and when she was in pain, so was He. And He had begun to change. Unthinking cruelty towards His creatures was impossible now, as it would hurt her. And when she talked of humanity, how could He not listen?

Slowly, He began to understand. He had given them knowledge, but not control. They were still at the mercy of every instinct and impulse. Teaching them to judge instead of to accept had backfired, creating conflicts and hatred, blocking their ability to cooperate.

How could He punish them for being what He had made them? She had asked, and He had found no answer. To understand all was to forgive all. He wrenched His mind back to the present.

“Rehabilitation?!” The devil’s ears were quivering. Hell wasn’t more than an eternal naughty step, anyway. He simply didn’t have the staff. But this was going too far.
“If a King orders a General to fly like a bird and the General fails, whose fault is that?”
Luce snorted. “Another one of your son’s little parables, huh?”
No, ” He said patiently, “it’s from a book, a human book.”  And He began to explain His plans.

* * *

When Luce left, his tail was twitching nervously. He gave himself a little shake. Early retirement didn’t sound too bad. Relax. Take some time off on a hot beach. Leave the job to someone else.

A smirk spread on his face.

Good boy Gabe, perhaps?

* * *

T. Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: Omniscience and Free Will. I couldn’t resist writing a sequel to The Devil Is in the Details.

The Devil Is in the Details


It simply wasn’t fair! He fumed. The client base was growing. There was really only so much he could do with his small host of imps. Who mostly chased their own tails, anyway.

With the population explosion, he had counted on setting the damned souls to work. Now the Boss had vetoed it. It would be pernicious to their souls. They were the damned, dammit! But, apparently, the fine print foresaw ultimate salvation for all.

He didn’t know how he’d manage without computers. Next: a customizable operating system. He grinned. It would drive people mad! He’d simply be raking the souls in!

* * *

T. Mastgrave’s story challenge: Overworked and rundown.