Father had been studying in the library, going over the old texts, looking for some reason to explain his behavior, to understand the fears and desires that tormented him. He had grown tired and was thinking of taking a nap when he heard the door creak open. Father looked up, surprised. A flutter of fear dashed across his heart as the looming dark presence approached, it’s face obscured by the black hood. Only the glint of red eyes could be seen.
“Ah, if it isn’t the devil himself come to call,” the father said, trying to sound calm.
“And here we are,” said the figure.
“What do you want?” the father asked, his face red with anger as he got to the point.
A smile crossed the Devil’s face, beneath the shadow of the hood. “I’m wondering, how could a being of my particular skills be of assistance to a priest? I have been summoned here to do God’s work.”
The priest looked startled. “THIS priest would not summon the devil.”
“But Priest.,” said the creature. “You are loosing your battle for God’s children here. By your own confession.”
“Indeed,” the priest admitted. “They engage in theft, lies, debauchery; they rob from the church; they prostitute their women. Sodom and Gomorah had the likes of these within their walls.:
“Exactly, and God sent three angels to destroy that city,” said the Devil. “Some believe that Satan is merely one of God’s angels, with a slightly different job description.”
The priest looked at him suspiciously. “You are proposing an alliance. Why? What benefit would it be to you to aid in the salvation of my flock?”
“To save their mortal souls from the pagans and their silly beliefs.”
“And what about saving their Immortal souls from you?” the priest argued.
“I would only take one or two, a fair trade.”
“Each and every one of those souls has been given to me to protect,” the priest rebutted. “They are mine.”
“Think about that. For that sin, they will be beside you in torment, knowing you failed them.”
Fr. Barnard pursed his lips together. The Devil was clever. “I would burn in hell with the ones you chose,” Fr. Barnard stated flatly.
“No, your judgment is not mine to make. That is between you and your god. My one or two would have a separate experience.”
“You speak as if I don’t know the mind of God. I know. I speak with Him. I listen. I know I would be damned.”
“Then ask him what is more important, the one or the many? Does he want numbers or quality? Right now, Priest, you are not providing him with what he wants. That is why I am here.”
“Do not presume to tell me that God sent you! You are here of your own accord. Seeking your own ends.”
“I was summoned.”
“Summoned? By whom?”
The Devil simply smiled. “Tell me about this woman that caused you to sin?” the Devil asked, leaning forward.
The priest frowned deeply, anger flashing in his eyes. “You cannot have her.” he stated.
“She interests me, an Eve, able to lure a man of God to his spiritual demise. Her soul would be powerful indeed.”
“YOU CANNOT HAVE HER!” the priest shouted
The Devil continued, taunting him. “Very fitting I would think. Would she scream during her taking? Would she wiggle and squirm?”
“GET OUT! Be gone, Satan!” the priest screamed, rising out of his chair, his eyes wild.
The Devil laughed. “You must know a demon’s name to control it, even you know that, Priest.”
“I know this, you are on HOLY ground. You have no power over me here. And you will no power over her. Ever.”
“I swear on my life,” the priest raged.
“DONE DEAL! Thank you!”
Fr. Barnard watched, startled, as the demon turned to depart.
“Sleep, Priest, while I look over my new Keep.” He sweeps his hand and a weight of sleep overtakes the priest.
Fr. Barnard falls into a deep sleep, his head buried in his arms.