Nobody can tell a lie to the devil when he asks what they desire – except one woman who feels she already died.

 “What do you desire most?”

Sitting on the beach’s rocks, Tai’s mouth started to open and then she pressed her lips together and shook her head slightly, not willing to say it aloud. She wasn’t caught off guard this time and she knew how to discipline her words. Her eyes betrayed her though; they darted over to Paul with an accusing linger.

But she brought them back and down, to that spot just under the devil’s chin.

“What do you desire most?”

She shook her head again slightly and pressed. She could feel his will knocking, looking for entry. She clamped down. Focused on the spot.

What do you desire most?”

Amused at the unexpected resistance from the unimpressive dumpy matron, Lucifer pressed his advantage again; he could do this all day. For eternity if needed. He knew how to compel. He placed a long thin finger under her chin – that uncomfortable spot there – and directed her head and eyes up. Her eyes traveled up – but she wouldn’t raise her gaze higher than his cheeks; he sighed inward.

“We’re stuck here, we three; we’re not going anywhere. We might as well get to know each other. What do you desire most?”

She shook her head slightly, but Lucifer also noticed the slight muscles of her jaw. This was active resistance, as if she was aware of the compellation. Strange. Well, if Mohammad won’t go to the mountain, the mountain … blah, blah, blah.

He bobbed his head down, enough to capture her eyes, and then straighten his head again, a little stretch to raise her head tall and proud – Tai thought arrogant. But he now had her in his snare, her eyes barely shielding her spirit and will; while she could not look away now, she fought to bring her focus to below his dark red iris. He could see that her wall was now very thin; one more knock out to do it.

“Let’s be polite and try this one more time, Love. What do you desire most?” and unheard was Do you want him?”

She again pressed her lips, shook her head slightly –

“I want … to forgive him.”

“Forgive him? Who? This man?” He assessed the obviously eaves-dropping man attempting to catch sea-creatures in the tide pool. Late fifties, early sixties maybe. Features average American but a little doughy the way Poles age. Paul was acting a bit resentful of an anticipated answer – but this answer had perplexed him as well; Lucifer wasn’t alone in his surprise.

There was nothing entertaining in this answer. Nothing he could use. And it felt … wrong. This is not what she desired …

What did he do to need forgiving of?”

She intentionally raised her sight and looked straight into him. And he saw the wheels turning, churning. He felt like he had fallen into a well – or was falling. He felt punched with power, now that she directed her will towards him.

No.

Not power …

Will – Yes, immense will.

But more … emotion. Yes, mixed with that punch was a deliberate package of emotions, complex and interwoven into a knot, images embedded of the Pole, younger, his curly hair a warm brown. Images that melded into dark; him at an open door, him behind closed screens, behind walls, closed doors. Images of their two younger selves – meeting, as lovers, rejection, reunion, rejection, reunion, rejection – a loop that kept stopping on young Paul, fingers sealing lips. A keening stab that Lucifer felt working into his own heart. Cells felt as if they were exploding throughout his body.

The two looked still, like a paired statue.                                     

As Lucifer acknowledged these surprising waves of emotion – felt like drowning – he was aware that she was directing it on him, consciously assaulting. These were HERS. Just as he used eye contact to snare her; he was now snared in her oaken eyes; she wasn’t going to release him. There was frustrated patience, stymied need, betrayed time, angry aversion – all coiled in, on, and through each other. An overflowing vessel …

And an empty one. He felt that pain most of all – a vessel empty, knowing it was to be full but was dismissed instead.

Her brown eyes closed slightly at his comprehension of the pain. He saw now that it wasn’t that she sent the pain into him – or that she pulled him into her. She pushed the pain into him – but she came in as well, spilled in like mop water – experiencing it with him. Empath. He heard stated rebelliously deep within, Push me, I push back. He felt her withdrawing back in, a tide of pain and blood and cellular explosions all rolling back into her eyes with widened iris.

And Tai lowered her gaze back to under his chin.

He was breathless. There was someone very tall and very large within that diminutive frame of flesh.

He appraised her better now. Under that softened face, there was a forged bone structure. He couldn’t trace the linage … Mixed. Mongrel. Both nobility and farmer. We know how to survive.

He cocked his head; she WAS still there. I KNOW you.

Are you asking politely this time? He nodded.

“What do you desire most?” He lowered his voice, removing the push.

She straightened herself, her head; looked at no particular thing. A slight movement. But he felt *something* raised around her, wrapping her back up.

“As I said … to forgive him.” she lied.


“What do you desire most?”

She sat next to him on the rough broken log, the netting she was constructing busy in her hands. “Do you never tire of that question?”

When he didn’t answer, she glanced around and relaxed her shoulders. “With this ring, I thee wed”

He threw a glance at her – “What? You want to marry me?

“No. Not you. … Tho’ you are a handsome devil. I don’t trust ‘handsome’; you’re often a devil.“ Tai’s short fingers picked up and knitted loops. She explained “When I look at him – that’s the words I hear ‘With this ring, I thee wed’.  I hear it now even when I’m not with him.”

So you want to marry him? … I can help you get that.”

“No – I don’t want that. Not anymore. – and it’s not marry him.” She left out a slight exhale of frustration “Its desire. And a totally different thing. It is have a family with him, a life with him …”

Her hands slid to her womb “It’s too late; I can’t have babies anymore. There’s too much life gone. Depleted. “

He waited too long. … “So you want…”

She didn’t respond.

“So … forgive him?”

She cocked her head towards the distant fisherman. And The Devil felt the barely tempered punch again. Yeah. Forgive him. Can you give me that?

“This anger, this stymied need – it isn’t all you.”

“No? Feels like it.”

“It’s too immense, there’s power there.”

“Well – Maybe Fate , or Destiny, feels cheated too.”

Yes – and maybe a certain Father as well. There was a definite certainty behind the averted path, a certain righteous knowing.

She gave a sardonic smile and brief nod. Yes. Maybe that as well. This all feels wrong.


She watched the Pole sleep in the firelight. “So tell me, My Loki, do you ever ask our companion that answer? It’s been a year, now. What say he?”

“I can’t ask that of him; he doesn’t know he died.”

“I do.” Stranded alone with him on an island – yes. It’s how I imagined my hell would be.

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