Stories

Le Tête-à-Tête


Art-Illustration-Card-Tete-a-tete

“You know you are like a spider in a jar don’t you?”, I said, holding the little devil in my gaze, stretching my legs out long, then folding them up again, my tight shoes cupping my feet comfortably. “Is this analogy some sort of a taunt?”, he returned sharply, a glint of venom flashing across his black face, his claws nestling anew into my waistcoat. “Oh certainly, very much so, I would suggest, but one I feel I should elucidate in the interests of contemplating the truth of your situation. It is brave of you, little friend, to have somehow summoned the gall to craft yourself into the entity I see here before me, a creature of deception, springing around from one falsehood to another, like a mountain goat lost for a footing, ever dancing, ever repositioning, devoid of any solid ground. Let me see, like a shadow in the breeze, tossed around and flicked hither and thither by the sun, with no landing place or repose allowed you. What a sorry state.” I conjectured, looking at him plainly. He ran his mind over my words, then regained focus and looked down his pointy nose, twinkling with wicked mirth and a flashing grin as he said, “Well I’m here with you, and that means we have something in common; perhaps my needles in your chest are a telling sign that you, sir, are not quite clean of shadows and deceptions of your own?” I gathered in this countering comment and found my reply, “Very good, dear fellow, very good. You posit an interesting suggestion with that, but I should say you overlook one fairly prominent thing. Please take a moment to think about what I represent. Consider me a token of something else. Take a second or two to consider me in silence and see where all the implications run. Take the input you receive and extrapolate on that; extend it to its logical conclusion and what do you see? Where does it take you? Pray be honest.”I perceived his beady intelligence searching me for tricks and subterfuge of some kind or another. “Do it”, I said, “Don’t be a sissy about it. Where does it take you? Where do you go?” I pressed. He leaned back, loosening the pressure of his talons and reposing, using my legs as a rest for his back. His gaze searched mine and he tumbled into a connection with my thoughts. I ushered him along, from one impression to the next, calibrating my frequency to keep him attentive to each successive modulation. He stared, and allowed himself to be led. I had a thing of triumph harboured within me, like a silent mountain, ready to crack apart the lithosphere, ready to split apart the earth and manifest like a cataclysm before my friend, but for now it lay in wait. The devil ran from one footing to the next, following my thoughts as though looking through a kaleidoscope, interested and at points amused, trying to decipher my game. For a while we parried thus, drawing along an odd path to the heavens. Then, as I perceived he had extended himself to the limit, I knew we were at the precipice, and I stood there with him, waiting. He peeked for a moment over the edge, then recoiled suddenly, quivvering and becoming tense with fear, his spiny feet jabbing furiously into my body, squirming to get away. The forces of chaos shot through his being like a maelstrom. But he knew he was hooked. That little spec of his soul he knew he could never cast away was harboured on the other side, calling him, requiring him to leap into the bosom of destruction, and give himself into the hands of God. I snapped my fingers in front of his face and composure sharply returned to him. His glance jumped across to me again and he snapped, “Curse you! What in blazes was that? You, you devil! You sadist!” he accused. “Hahahaha”, I laughed, looking gladly up at the sky, then back to his irate face, “Me the devil?! I’m sure it seems that way to you. What do you think that was? What did you see as the conclusion? Now be honest”. His swarthy face was beading with sweat and his system shivering still with impressions of a new terror. He said, “I don’t want to know. I curse you for your troubles. A thousand armageddons reigning from the skies is what I felt. A violence and a tumult I have never known”. I looked at him very steadily and said, “you know what that terror is? It is the mercy of God. This is what we call Christ, and his most triumphant offering is mercy. Now mercy, my friend, is the one thing that is missing in hell. You have never known it or seen it because you have never been out of hell, but I have. That thing that is the culmination of all your fears? That place where chaos fills you like a cyclone? There is an eye in the storm. A still place in the middle where the pelting, abusive motion cannot go, but you have to trade something in order to get there.” He looked at me scornfully, “Well what is that?”. “Your illusions”, I explained, “you must leave behind the anti-matter of sin. This is consumed in the fire. It can’t withstand the light. It has to go. It has to be jettisoned. To stand in the eye of the cyclone, that holy place, is to stand in the presence of God. You have to go to Him. He won’t condescend to come and stand among your lies because they are not real. The one thing He does do, though, is leave his stamp. This is imprinted on you like a tattoo that says who your owner is. Your owner is God. The tattoo is on me too. It is on all of us. You recall that little part of yourself you saw on the other side? That is the ONLY thing about you that is real, and that is the part that resides within Christ, the keeper of your truth and the arbiter of mercy. You may ask for mercy at any time and it will be given freely, because that is how heaven works. But to turn aside, as you are wont to do, to cover this up and entertain deceptions and the delusion that mercy does not exist; this leaves you slinking and scuffling in the shadows, like a wretch. But your actions and movements appear plainly to God, because he is the jar that has you trapped, little spider. No matter where you scurry or what web of lies you weave about yourself, still, there you stand, plain as day before God, whose eyes penetrate the fog of sin like lasers.” The devil had calmed down in accordance with the unexcited frankness of my speech. He searched me and said, “But it felt like destruction. It felt like…”. I motioned him to silence and added, “like the destruction of your lies. This means the end of what you thought you were. It is the beginning of a life elsewhere. You have seen it now. You know the way. There is no recovering from this knowledge. But, I assure you, this represents a much more agreeable and upright situation. And why fear the destruction of things that are not? This should be a welcome innovation, my good devil?” He looked dumbfounded, but calm enough. He patted my jacket down and removed a few shreds of grass that had blown onto me. He leaned back and looked up at the sun, glimmering in the clouds like a silent seraph. His face grew silent and he appeared as though captured by a dream. His breathing grew faint and finally ceased. And there he died, right there on my lap.


Renfield H. Bizarre, 19.02.16