(This is inspired by a scene I’ve had in my head for some time now. I’m not sure how well His innate cruelty is conveyed here, but there’s certainly some of His fatherly side going on. Enjoy!)
World Enough and Time
He hadn’t been in this world for long, and was still somewhat perplexed by human behaviour. He had, more out of necessity than plan, attached to the first mortal of interest He’d found. He had been wandering the streets of this city (which He now knew was called Cincinnati), when He had passed by a local temple of healing. He’d felt, among the ebbs and flows of so much pain from so many of them, the seething anger of one young mortal.
That mortal was named Mark.
“Teach Me how to walk in your world,” He’d said. “And I will give you what you desire most.”
The young man’s ambitions were simple; he wanted to be a Youtuber, for that to be his craft and career, and to be loved. And He could feel the strands of this reality, so delicate and malleable. It would be a simple task to alter it in the boy’s favour.
The terms were set, and the two agreed. There was a price to deals with demons of course, and especially that of a Hellgod, but the young man could not see beyond his own needs and frustrations. He only knew his pain, and was angered rather than defeated.
He liked that. The boy wasn’t a victim, but a warrior that had been compromised in battle. Granted, the circumstances didn’t translate in that way, but not all battles involved swords and spears. Some were waged in other ways.
It wasn’t that long before young Mark’s hopes and ambitions came to pass. He had his career, he had a new love in his life, and was adored by many. The Hellgod was always there, in the periphery, plucking the strings so certain circumstances would pass in the boy’s favour. It was a subtle art; one small change could have long-reaching consequences that human perceptions could not easily grasp.
And really, most of the hard work was done by Mark. Every video made was crafted carefully by the young man himself. The Hellgod merely gave the necessary gentle push to the intangible, making the process of building an online empire take a much shorter time than it would otherwise.
Time, after all, was not the strictly regimented minutes, hours and days humans made it out to be. Time was fluid, could be shaped and molded, its flow impeded or made more swift. He merely altered the speed of the current and ensured that the boy did not crash against the rocks hidden within the stream.
As the years had worn on, however, young Mark had pulled away from Him. He had found his own voice, and had realized too late the cost of the deal they’d made. This upset and frustrated the Hellgod, as He had grown rather attached to the young man, had seen him as His protégé.
Mark, however, felt himself a slave and rebelled in the only way he could.
Mark’s audience had grown aware of the Hellgod’s presence on the periphery some time ago, and the demon lord even had the pleasure of introducing Himself to them. They now called Him Darkiplier, a name based on His protégé’s online moniker. He was flattered by this, as He’d grown quite fond of the boy.
And that’s what Mark – clever lad that he was – used to stage his battle for independence. Their perceptions were as malleable for him as the construct of time was for the Hellgod.
Mark began to drag the Hellgod’s new name through the proverbial mud, mocking Him before the eyes of the many. Humiliating Him.
He had worked miracles for him, and this was the gratitude He received? Oh no, that would never, ever do.
It wasn’t long before Dark struck back, incensed as He was by the boy’s errant disobedience. His fondness had given way to a burning resentment and righteous indignation, and He swore that He would take back everything that He had delivered on a silver platter. His protégé had betrayed Him.
But there was one thing that had not changed. Amy.
She loved Mark, not through Dark’s supernatural influence but by the natural gravitation between two kindred spirits. Dark had known that feeling once, and it pained Him to watch.
She got to know Dark, and was not afraid of Him – demonic powers be damned. She was curious more than anything else, and they would talk late into the night about whatever crossed their minds.
The Hellgod’s sense of propriety and code of honour stopped Him from attempting to lay claim on her. She belonged to another, had chosen of her own volition. He had no right to interfere with that.
Once His initial attraction to her died, He began to develop a fondness for her.
Which made what came to pass all the more heartbreaking.
Dark materialised at the hospital, walking past the mortals milling about in the halls to the Intensive Care Unit. Mark was already waiting there… but he wasn’t the one in the bed this time.
Dark glanced and saw Amy there, lying pale and still.
“What do you want?” Mark snarled at him, and Dark admired the boy’s chutzpah in spite of Himself.
“She is not doing well.” It was clear as day, but Dark nonetheless spoke the words. He had never lied to the boy, and wasn’t about to start now. “The damage to her fragile, mortal body is too great. She will soon die.”
Mark looked up at Him again, his expression clearly mistrusting. “Why do you care?”
“Because, in My fashion, I love her too.”
“Fantastic,” was Mark’s sardonic reply.
“I will give you back the day, so you can change this. I will remove this from the stream of time, putting you back in the previous day. No one will have any knowledge of this; no one but you and I. Do whatever you must to keep her away from the street where the car hit her, so she can live.”
“What’s the price for this generous ‘gift’?” Mark demanded cynically.
“The price has already been paid. Save her, as I couldn’t…” He stopped cold, realizing His regal mask had slipped. “Save her, and this day will be nothing more than a bad dream.”
Mark, realizing discretion was the better part of valour, didn’t ask who Dark hadn’t been able to save. Dark gave a slight smile in gratitude for that small kindness.
“Good luck, My boy,” Dark said. With a slight smirk, He added, “Don’t say I never gave you anything.”
With a touch of two cool fingers against the boy’s forehead, Mark went back to save his beloved. Leaving Dark alone in a reality that would no longer exist.
Such was the way of things, after all.