The Greatest Trick the Devil ever Pulled (Episode 1/2)
The clock on my dash reads 4:30 am. The darkness outside of my headlights is so thick that I can’t see anything to the left or right of me. There isn’t a star in the sky and the moon is eerily absent. The phone call I received last night assured me though, that the church in Havens Creek is nice and the congregation was wonderful. I wanted to get there early, get the lay of the land, and put my own little flair to the place. I’d been driving for some time when I finally came up on my turn for the church. I pulled into the parking lot and what my high beams fell on took my breath away. A large, beautiful white church with long columns, a bright red double door, and beautifully stained glass windows with depictions of our lord and savior.
I stepped out of the car, turning off the headlights and the night was heavy again. Outside of the interior lights of the church and the solar powered lights lining the path to the door, I could see nothing. Ill admit I felt a bit unsettled, but my mentor, Father Reynard had me come here as a guest pastor, and I was not going to let him down. I made my way up the stairs and into the church. The inside was even more glorious than outside. 50 yards of pews lined down both sides and a gold lined red carpet from the door to the pulpit. Getting the full view of the stained glass I see our lord and savior, the cross, our Virgin Mary, cherubs with wings, and the angels up above. Just being inside this place filled my heart with love. I made my way down the gold lined carpet and to the first pew. I took a seat to relax and just take it all in. Directly next to me was a book I’d come to know very well over my 40 years of life, the Bible. I picked up the very pristine book, and sat it in my lap with my hands folded, resting on top of it and took a deep breath. At this point I was just trying to take it all in, when I heard the front door open.
The persons feet sounded hard off of the floor with each step, which was strange seeing as the way up was thickly carpeted. Each step drew nearer and nearer to me until finally a man came into view. He was extremely handsome and well dressed. A black suit jacket and pants, with a red vest, and black tie with red lacey inlays. The man had long blonde hair pulled back out of his face and an air of authority about him that I just couldn’t place. The man walked past me and removed a chair from the rack and walked back toward me. He sat the chair directly in front of me, sat down, and crossed one leg over the other.
We both stared at each other in silence for a short time and just as I was about to speak up he said, "forgive me father, for I have sinned." His voice rolled out like honey, sweet yet sinister. I stared back at him. This isn’t how we usually do things at my church, I thought to myself. But I am a guest in this house, so I won’t push.
"What is your name, my child?" I asked the man sitting in front of me.
He cocked his head to the side and smiled. "You can call me Sam, fatherrr…." he held out the word so I knew it was a question.
"Ah, I replied. Salazar, father Marcelo Salazar." He gave a slight smile and his bright blue eyes shone vibrantly.
"It is very nice to meet you Father Salazar, as I said before my name is Sam, and It would be greatly appreciated if you could assist me. I have sinned and I fear I may wind up in hell."
I shook my head softly. "Oh my child, do not worry. Our father is a forgiving God. Please tell me of your burdens so I may absolve you of your sins."
Sam adjusted in his seat then uncrossed his legs and crossed them the other way. "I drink to excess and then judge others in church when they admit to doing the same."
I nodded. "Well my child, I said-" Sam quickly cut me off and continued.
"When I was married I would have my wife stay at her mothers when she was on her period."
I looked at him, as I tried to assure him that the Bible speaks of it being a time of uncleanness, Sam quickly cut me off again.
"I sent my son off to a conversion camp when he came out as homosexual." I didn’t respond this time and he continued. "I raised my hand to my wife if she tried to leave the house in anything other than modest clothing. I wanted my wife to be modest but I also received…less than modest photographs from my 19 year old babysitter, Brittany."
My eyes widened and I stood up from the pew I was sitting in. I stepped around the side and began to back away down the aisle towards the door. His soft look hardened in an instant. His bright blue eyes went from soft to dangerous. "What’s wrong father? He spat at me, You look awful." This man was speaking my life back to me….
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"Who are you, and what do you want?" My hands and voice were both shaking. I was backing up steadily and Sam was just staring at me. We were far enough apart that if I turn for the door I should be right there. I turned to look over my shoulder at the door and when I turned back I was in the front of the church again, face to face with Sam. My eyes widened, "what is this? What is going on?" I looked around and up at the ceiling. All of the stained glass depictions were staring at me and they looked angry.
"What does it look like father?" Sam said. "You’re being judged."
I looked around frantically. "Judged?! Are you…..God?!" I immediately dropped to my knees and bowed my head.
I heard Sam scoff, "God, he laughed. You believe a man who led a life such as yours would be judged by my father?" I raised my head and stared up at him….
"Your father?" I was confused, I ran through my knowledge of scripture as fast as I could and it came to me. I looked deep into his eyes and said the only thing I could think of…."Samuel." The man smiled a big toothy grin. I stared in horror, "I’m dead….." Sam winked at me.
"I applaud you Marcelo. It takes most of you so much longer to come to that conclusion."
"Wait, this can’t be." I stammered. "The devil himself…..Lucifer?! I may not have been the greatest man during life, but I followed the Bible as close as I could. I kept my wife in modest clothing, sent her away during her time of uncleanness, and tried to have my son reborn in the eyes of the lord. I did falter in my marriage a bit but how has that earned me an audience with the devil."
Sam let out a long and deep laugh. "You know, my dear priest" he said. "Some say that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. But I assure you, I have done no such thing. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, dear priest, is convincing the world that the Bible is the word of god."
I stared at him, mouth agape, and my mind running overtime. "What do you mean, Sam?" I felt on the verge of tears.
"I mean, I wrote the book that you people flock to. You see, my dear priest….many, many, many years ago. My father created humanity. He loved you with all his heart and swore that humanity would be…perfect. I assured him that no creature with free will would ever be so, he assured me of the contrary, and for the first time in his long life the devil struck a deal with none other than God himself. I told him I would add but one thing to this world that would prove the downfall of humanity, and if they proved unfit, he would see me as his right hand. He assured me that it wasn’t possible, that humanity was pure and perfect..Now….that book has existed in many forms depending on who holds it, but I wrote them all. I never appeared to Adam and Eve as a snake, but a book bound in snake skin, did. I told them of the beauty that lay outside, the glory, the happiness. It spoke of just eating that fruit and experiencing it all. Then, as the first bite was taken, I had won. My father was furious, my brother was bloodthirsty, so began a war in heaven and my fall from grace."
I stared at this man, this being, as he turned everything I thought I knew upside down. Sam began again, "Did you not stop and think as to why your loving malevolent God would have bears turned on children? Why he’d destroy cities full of people in holy fire, or flood the world committing genocide?"
I stared at him, "because" I said, "gods wrath is terrible, but his love is infinite. It was for the greater good so humanity could be reborn."
Sam spoke up, "ah, no not quite. Just a little smoke and mirrors on my end to 'put the fear of god' in humanity you know?" Sam tilted his head back and laughed again. "You people use this book to mask your bigotry and hate, not knowing that one day, your undying soul will land right here on my doorstep. Since humanities initial birth I haven’t persuaded a single soul to do anything, I haven’t had to. That whole, the devil made me do it….pure shit. The things I wrote made it normal for people to hear voices about murdering their children. Oh, its just God’s will. Nope, hi, sorry again, that’s mental illness."
Sam looked at me serious and spoke again, "do you believe God makes mistakes?"
I stood and faced him, headstrong in my conviction. "No I do not." I said. My voice no longer shaking.
He stepped forward almost nose to nose. "Then why is it, my dear priest, that you tried to change one of God’s creations because it did not fit your narrative?" I took an involuntary step back as he continued. "I wrote that book with the idea in mind that hypocrisy would surge. Its laden with enough truth and love to lead the stupid astray. My father loves all life, all things, no matter color or gender. The part about stoning those that lay with the same sex, all me. You hypocrites line my doorstep like lambs to slaughter. That love you feel well up inside when you tell someone they will burn in hell for who they love, or for living their life not according to your broken vision of an almighty God. It is not love at all, but your souls acceptance of your truly wicked nature"
I clutched the Bible to my chest and just shook my head. "No, you are the father of lies, none of this is true."
Sam smiled again. "Is that what you believe, my dear priest? If so, have a look at the book you have so coveted all your life."
I pulled the Bible away from my chest and looked down at it. A snake skin cover with a 6 winged angel emblazoned on the cover. Sam seemed to stare into my soul. "This, my dear priest, is the book that Eve held in her hands when she decided to take that first bite." I opened the book to a language id never seen before. Sam looked at me quizzically and turned his head to the side. "Ah, he said, my apologies. You can’t read Enochian." He waved his hand and the book glowed white hot. I dropped it immediately and took another step back. I couldn’t understand this, if what he was saying was true, my entire life had been a lie.
"But wait, hold on..…what about before the birth of Jesus Christ, before Christianity." I stammered.
"Ah, you will find my handiwork in the hieroglyphics, in the halls of ancient Rome, or the diary of Julius Caesar."
I had heard enough, I couldn’t take anymore, tears openly fell down my cheeks. "Now for my questions, my dear priest. How does it feel knowing that I robbed you of all earthly desire only to have your soul remain in hell for eternity?"
I couldn’t answer him, I couldn’t even form clear sentences in my head.
"How does it feel knowing that the wife you detested so much, took your son, denounced your wicked ways, and will both thrive for eternity in my fathers kingdom?"
I felt his hand touch my shoulder and it burned like nothing I’ve ever felt before, I screamed out in agony.
"As for my final question, this one won’t be directed at you my dear priest. But for our little eavesdropper here. So tell me, my dear reader. When was the last time you went to church?"
Originally posted by u/KeepItReal-ish