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The Devil She Knew - Chapter 3


The Devil She Knew

Theo's fingers trembled as she clutched the edge of the overpass wall, her eyes darting down to the rush of traffic below. The roaring engines and glaring headlights painted fleeting patterns across the night sky. She was ready to jump, to end the madness, when she heard a voice from behind. "Don't," it said, low and steady. 

She spun around, her heart racing, to see a man standing at the base of the gate. He looked out of place in the woods—his crisp white suit with gold accents shimmered faintly under the streetlight. His cufflinks and tie clip glinted, and even his buttons caught the light. He was barefoot, his feet caked with dirt as if he'd walked miles to get here. 

"Don't do it," he repeated, extending a gloved hand. His white gloves seemed out of place in this grim setting, and yet his voice carried an air of calm reassurance. "This will all be over soon," he said, his eyes kind and gentle.

Theo felt a strange sense of calm, like a breeze had blown away her fear. But the psycho cyclists were closing in, their shouts growing louder in the distance. The man with the white suit sensed her worry and said, "They won't find you here."

"Where's here?" Theo asked, her voice wavering.

"I've brought you to a timeless plane," he replied, his tone as soothing as a lullaby.

"Who are you?" Theo's curiosity mingled with her anxiety. 

"I'm many Who’s and many What’s, but most of all, I'm here to help," he answered with a gentle smile.

Theo's mind raced with questions, but the man’s calm presence reassured her. “How are you going to help?” she asked, inching away from the edge of the overpass.

"I'm here to take you home, but you can't jump. If you jump, I won't be able to reach you," he explained.

"Why?" Theo felt a new wave of fear rising.

"You would have committed murder. We don't welcome murderers where I'm taking you," he replied, his voice steady. Theo’s breath caught in her throat. “God?” she asked, her eyes wide with shock.

"I'm many Who’s and many What’s, but if that's what you want to call me, sure," he said with a soft chuckle.

"So, are you here to take me now?" Theo's eagerness broke through her fear.

"Now isn’t your time," he said gently, his words like a distant echo. Theo felt fear push back into her heart, cold and relentless. It took hold of her as she realized what he was saying. “When will it be my time?” she asked, her voice trembling. She knew that if she wasn’t going with him, she’d face the cyclists and their sacrifices again. She refused to be their victim.

"If you're patient, you'll be exactly where you're supposed to be," he said, his voice a balm for her worries.

"If I'm patient, I'll be tortured by a bunch of maniacs who think I’m their cyclist queen! No! I’m not going back there!" Her voice rose, echoing off the trees, her words filled with a desperate conviction. Theo turned back toward the overpass wall, ready to jump, but God pulled her into the space between time. She spun around, but the overpass was gone. There was nothing but emptiness, a void that seemed to stretch infinitely in every direction. Yet, at the same time, it felt like everything was contained within it. She could barely comprehend it.

God stood quietly, allowing her to vent. Theo screamed, "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?" Her voice carried an edge of raw pain. "All I wanted to do was take a bike ride with my wife." She started pacing in the empty space. "How could you let this happen?" She felt tears stinging her eyes, but God remained calm, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. The touch eased some of her pain, and her sobbing subsided. She looked at him, her eyes pleading for answers. "Help me understand."

"Okay," he said with a nod, and waved his hand. The empty space began to shift, taking shape into a room with white oak floors and towering windows. Through the windows, she could see massive redwood trees stretching toward the sky. It was breathtaking. The ceiling was glass, allowing sunlight to pour in, illuminating the entire room with a warm glow. The only solid wall had a fireplace, a stone monolith with a large flat-screen TV mounted above it. Next to the fireplace, a hallway led deeper into the house.

"I come here to make a wager with Luce every thousand years," God explained, guiding her toward a sunken couch in the center of the room. They sat down. “Who’s Luce?” Theo asked, her curiosity piqued. "One of my first extensions, but an easier explanation for you would be 'my kid,'" he said with a wry smile.

God continued, his voice tinged with a hint of sadness. "Luce has a very hungry ambition. Unfortunately, when you're immortal, ambition can turn dark, and that darkness can spread like a disease. In the beginning, illuminating the darkest corners of the universe was a task done out of duty and joy, but over time, Luce began to question why illumination didn’t mean entitlement. I had to remind Luce of the natural order, but that didn’t go over too well. It led to conflict, and in the end, I had to remove Luce from my kingdom of timelessness. Luce built an empire by gathering those who questioned authority, and that only fueled the ambition further." God sighed, standing up and walking to the window. The sunlight poured through, casting intricate patterns across the floor. Theo listened intently, trying to piece together the story. 

"Luce wants the Neuter of the Universus," God said, his voice low.

"The universe of all universes?" Theo asked, trying to grasp the concept. 

"Something like that," he replied, turning back to her. "All universes are part of a single fabric, stretched over time and space like a blanket. In those universes, I'm allowed to create, but with the condition that Luce is permitted to nurture." 

Theo listened, trying to connect the dots. "So, does Luce want to become a creator?" 

"Luce is incapable of creating, but impeccable at communicating. Exquisite at manipulation. And since the universe has already been created, all Luce has to do is bring light to her creations." God turned around and waved his hand. Another version of him, this time with frustration, materialized near the fireplace. God said, "Who better to do that than the bringer of light?" They both watched as this new version of God played out the story. 


***


God's voice echoed through the vast, ethereal space, laced with frustration. "What is your obsession with manipulating the natural order of things?" he yelled, his words rolling like distant thunder.

A voice responded from the shadows, sharp and defiant. “What is your obsession with the inability to change?” The sound bounced off unseen walls, disorienting Theo as she searched for its source. Every time her gaze darted toward where it seemed to come from, a blinding flash of light erupted, obscuring her view. It was like trying to find a firefly in a strobe-lit forest.

God threw his hands up in exasperation, turning away from the bodiless voice. "Even in solitude, you cannot stop being rebellious!" he exclaimed, his robes flowing as he moved.

"And even with our ribs bound by threads of your soul, you still can't handle the idea that I can share your gift of creation," the voice shot back, its tone dripping with righteous indignation.

God paused mid-stride and turned to face the voice—Luce—with a mixture of resignation and endearment in his eyes. The air seemed to vibrate with tension as Luce continued, "I am yours, made in your image. I hold your grace within me."

God's tone softened, but it carried a hint of caution. “It’s not my image I’m concerned about, Luce. It’s your will. It’s... dark. And I worry for you.” His voice was low, almost a whisper, as if afraid of awakening something ominous.

“Are you afraid of everything you create? Because we’re all born out of the darkness you control,” Luce countered, the words slicing through the stillness. “Admit it, she's a prisoner.”

God’s voice remained calm but firm. “Everyone has free will.”

“Including the Neuter of Universus?” Luce pressed, his voice like a blade drawn from a scabbard.

“Of course—”

“HOW?” Luce interrupted. “How can she have free will if she's only known you? She’s experienced nothing else!”

God’s patience frayed as he snapped back, “You cannot manipulate the Neuter of Universus to bend to your will!”

“But you can?” Luce's words were sharp, cutting through the silence like broken glass.

A heavy pause lingered between them, the kind that makes you feel like you’re on the edge of something irreversible. Luce eventually broke the quiet. “Besides, I don't want to manipulate her. I want her to continue her duty, being in the darkness. I just want to create in the light without interruption. Is that so much to ask?”

God sighed, his shoulders dropping slightly. “What do you propose I do, Luce?” he asked, his voice a shade more resigned.

“Let's make a wager, father. One that removes both of us from the equation and gives her a chance to choose—truly choose—for once,” Luce said, the hint of a challenge in his voice.

“Tell me more,” God replied, curiosity edging into his tone.

Luce's grin was almost audible in his reply. “At the end of every aeon, the Neuter of Universus chooses a body to rest in, taking about a century to doze off. During that time, I'll relinquish my powers and take a mortal form. I will find her and make her fall in love with me. If she chooses to stay with me when she awakens, I win. If not, I’ll return to my duties, obedient and without rebellion.”

God stroked his beard, considering the terms. “And what do I get if I win?”

Luce didn't hesitate. “If you win, I will be the obedient extension you desire. I'll go back to my duties without causing any more trouble.”


***


God waved his hand, signaling the end of the conversation, and Theo suddenly found herself back in the woods. She was still atop the overpass wall, the cars rushing below like tiny ants. “What does this have to do with me?” she asked, feeling a mix of confusion and fear.

God’s voice was gentle as he explained, “You, Theodora Rivera, are the Neuter of Universus. You are the vessel chosen to hold her essence while she rests to gain strength to expand. If you jump, your mortal soul will not be saved, and you will force her to awaken prematurely. This will make her vulnerable.” Theo's breath caught in her throat as she looked down at the speeding traffic below. “That’s so much pressure—” she began, but when she turned back around, God was gone.

It was then she heard a familiar voice. “Yeah, he does that. Abandons you in the middle of a major situation. He means well, though.” Theo turned to see Lauren standing there, waiting for her. She wore the same suit God had worn, but hers was black with red accents. No gloves, but proper shoes. She extended her hand, and Theo took it, climbing down from the wall. "Now that you know everything," Lauren said, pulling Theo close. "And I know that you love me." She caressed Theo's lips with her fingertips, her eyes locking with Theo's, then whispered softly in her ear, “Do you choose me?”


To Be Continued...

 

Thanks for tuning in. I had a lot of fun writing this chapter and can already see where I'm going to take the next. While you wait here's a sneak peak at next weeks saga of The Devil She Knew:


Theo whirled around, her eyes blazing with fury. “Lauren, you literally made a fucking bet with God that you could make me fall in love with you. That’s EXACTLY what they do in 1990s teen movies!” Her voice was shaking with restrained rage.

Lauren swallowed hard, realizing she was only making things worse. “It was a wager,” she insisted, though her voice was softer now.

“A WAGER IS A FUCKING BET!” Theo yelled, her anger exploding. Lauren, realizing she wasn't helping the situation, tried to reach out to pull Theo into a hug, but Theo shoved her away.

“I’m sorry! It definitely could have gone differently, but I needed you to love me for me. I was afraid you’d run if you found out I was the Devil. People tend to... well, avoid that sort of thing,” Lauren said, her words tumbling over each other as she tried to explain.


See you next week.
The Devil She Knew


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