The man sits next to the wall in his dark cell, he is mumbling something barely coherent to himself, and it has been days since he had any sort of human contact. He does not remember how long he has been locked up; he does not know why he was locked up in the first place. All he knows is that his name is Marcus Lynch and that he used to be a bishop. His imprisonment had not weakened his faith in the divine, instead it strengthened it, and the former bishop came to theorize that his imprisonment is a test of faith conducted upon him by God.
As the former bishop mumbles something barely coherent to himself, the hinges of his cell door creak, the cage is now open, but the man inside does not think of escaping his confines – he remembers being chained from day one. The chains prevent him from moving beyond the middle of his cell. A young woman in her twenties rolls her wheelchair into the cell, she sees the mumbling former bishop and the sight brings a smile to her face.
She rolls her wheelchair to the center of the cell, where a table is stationed, and places a small wooden box on top of it while calling out, “Hello, Father,” in a slow, drawn out tone.
The man on the floor immediately stops mumbling, glances in her direction and gets up to his feet, “Hello, Meghan! It’s been a week already?” he asks as he makes his way towards the table.
“Yes, how’ve you been?” the woman asks in return.
The man sits in front of the table, crossing his legs and replies, “I’ve been doing fine, thanks for asking, dear, how were you?”
“You’ve never been a good liar, Father, I can tell the loneliness does not do you any good,” the woman retorts, maintaining her slow, drawn out tone.
“That’s why I’ve brought this chess board, and I’ve been doing marvelous, thank you,” she continues.
“Ah, you’ve got me again, Meghan, at least now, I’m able to enjoy the distortions,” the former bishop answers smiling awkwardly at the woman in front of him. “I would like a good game of chess, perhaps I’ll be able to outsmart you,” he says, confidently.
Meghan starts arranging the pieces, each piece in its designated place; she has played so many games in her life that she does not need to look at the board while arranging it. Once she is done arranging all of the pieces, she quickly scans the room with her dark brown eyes; after a moment she looks back at the former bishop and claims, “Father, do not attempt to starve yourself, he is always watching, and if the need arises, he’ll force-feed you.”
He shoots a glance backwards at a sack lying on the floor at the far corner of the cell, “Oh this? I am eating less now because my biological clock is on a different schedule than yours, dear,” he says as he turns back at her, “tell you what, if I win this game, you tell me some of your secrets.”
She smiles back at him and places her fingers on one of her pawns exclaiming in return, “I thought you clergy people had to stay away from gambling, bets and desires.”
“Well, you are right, but it seems like I’ve no choice, do I?” he responds.
“Oh well, I was planning to give you some answers anyways, Father, so ask away,” she says as she finishes making her first move.
The man pauses for a moment to think, reaches out for one of his pawn and says, “Seems like I cannot read your personality at all; I thought you were the type to enjoy the thrill, Oh… can you tell me who he is?” He makes his move as he finishes speaking.
Meghan reaches for another piece and answers in her slow, drawn out tone, “You can say he is a demon, in the religious sense, his name is Haddad, you may know him as Bael or Beelzebub, a former king of hell, the one who successfully rebelled.”
Marcus maintains his calm look, seemingly unsurprised by the revelation that his faith is actually correct, in a certain way, that is, he picks up one of his pieces and says, “Well, if that’s the case, you are destined to go to hell, dear.”
She smiles at him again and responds, saying, “That isn’t exactly the case, Father, my association with him, on its own does not impact me, he quit his infernal throne. What I am doing here, however, that might lead me to an eternity in a lake of boiling crap.”
“If he is Bael, what does he want with you?” Marcus asks nonchalantly.
The two of them continue to take turns in their game, each eliminating several pieces of the other from the board.
After long moments of silence, Meghan finally answers, “He says he finds my strength admirable, personally, I have no idea what he is talking about, I mean, I am too scared to ask him anything that might shake my worldview… Perhaps I can’t really trust the demon, who knows what he wants.”
“Oh you are strong, child, a weak person wouldn’t take all the chances to lock me up here,” replies Marcus.
Meghan looks around the room as the former bishop makes another move on the board; she fixates her stare at a small hole in one of the walls, asking, “Father, why is there blood on the wall?”
He freezes, and begins nervously laughing, “Well, I was pretty sure there was an angelic woman there and….”
She begins laughing, forcing him to stop talking, barely managing to contain her laughter she calls out, “You’ve circumcised yourself with a wall! You’re a madman, Father, a madman!”
He tenses up, lowering his voice slightly, staring a hole through her asking, “Why are you keeping me here, Meghan?”
She stops laughing and slowly turns her head back to him, with an almost demented smile formed on her face. She begins moving another piece on the board game without breaking eye contact with Marcus, as her fingers move she starts talking again, “Oh… You want to go to heaven, right?”
She continues, “Well, I’m giving you a little piece of heaven right here, on earth.”
“This seems more like hell to me, dear, you’ve driven me to the brink of sanity, as you yourself said,” he interrupts her.
She chuckles a bit, and goes on to say, “Exactly!” in a more eager, passionate tone.
He makes another move on the board and says, “You are an enigma to me, child.”
She follows with another move of her own and says, “Well heaven is supposed to be a place where everything is perfect, where you need nothing…”
“Yes”, Marcus says, “that is about right.”
“Well perfect, and without needs, means static, frozen, timeless, and deathlike,” she says
He remains silent.
“This means all of your mental screws will fall off very quickly… heaven, for me, is both reward and punishment, it’s a place of the ultimate duality, both pleasure and suffering, they are achieved through the static existence in heaven.”
They both fall silent for a few moments; instead of talking, they both filled the cell with the sound of chess pieces moving across the board.
Finally, Marcus broke the silence saying, "Your theory makes some sense, but this so called 'heaven' you've created for me, it lacks the divinity in it... You..."
Meghan cut him short saying, "I am the divinity here," in her slow, drawn out tone.
Marcus' face turns pale as he looks at the woman in front of him, "You're mad... Me..."
"Says that man who beat his junk against a wall so hard it bled all over the place," she begins laughing, "Don't get me wrong, I would help you in that department, I just can't," the woman keeps on laughing signaling at her paralyzed lower half.
Marcus is stunned, unable to respond.
She stops laughing and asks him, “Tell me this, does my presence make your existence here any easier?”
Thinking she had given him the edge in their mental game of chess, he proclaims, “Yes, it does, in fact.”
“For as long as I pay attention”, she shuts him down in response, continuing her verbal assault, she claims boldly, “And God’s omnipotence is no different, after all he either cannot save you or does not care enough to.”
Marcus bows his head in defeat; he stares blankly at the chessboard on the table as she moves another piece.
"Check-mate", Meghan proclaims with one final movement of her chess pieces.
Marcus still does not respond, his mind is racing, and he is unable to digest her words. She broke him. She tore his spirit apart.
"Well it's time for your weekly atonement, so what will it be this time, Father, electrocution or flagellation?" Meghan asks Marcus with a sadistic smile smeared all over her face.
"I'll electrocute myself," he responds to her, causing her smile to widen even further, almost inhumanely.
He raises his head a bit, his eyes are now full of fear as she hands him the stun gun she kept in her jacket. He stands up revealing his very tall frame in its full glory. Meghan's eyes widen in anticipation, they gleam at the prospect of seeing him torture himself, and he presses the tool to his torso and presses the button.
He falls to the floor, spasming, and she laughs.
Her laughter, it angers him, and he shocks himself once more.
She just keeps on laughing.
He shocks himself a third time, finally dropping the device.
"You cannot kill yourself, Father, I set it up to hurt like a son of a bitch, but not kill... You are still far too entertaining to die," she tells him in a condescending tone.
As Marcus lay there, shivering on the floor a booming sound courses through the cell.
A deep, hoarse, bestial voice coming from behind Marcus' body then says to Meghan, "We had visitors upstairs, M'lady, but I took care of them."
Her smile turns from sadistic to affectionate as she responds to the voice, "Red suits you, Haddad."
Hearing that name, Marcus turns his head backwards slowly, only to see a tall winged, white skinned humanoid creature with long horns protruding out of its black hair. The creature notices Marcus' movements and looks down at him, revealing to the man its skeletal face.
The sight of the creature's face forced the man's heartbeat to go even faster, tensing his body even more, causing him unimaginable pain.
His fear is causing him pain, otherworldly pain.
The man tries to force himself up, only to feel his left arm being twisted in unnatural angles; the creature controls it with its thoughts, the arm snaps and Marcus falls back to the floor, screaming in agony.
He clutches at his destroyed arm screaming, "Why? Oh God, Why?"
Another booming sound swoops through the cell, and then Meghan's voice echoes through the space, "Because I can, Father, because I can..."
Marcus Lynch lies on the floor, screeching to himself in agonizing pain, bashing his head on the cold floor. Once he draws blood the adrenaline rush forces him back to live and a wave of anger courses through his body, he throws himself up in the direction of the table, knocking it over, only to find that he is once more alone in his dark cell.
A crushing tsunami of terror engulfs his body once he notices his range of mobility. He muses to himself the possibility of hallucinating the whole encounter, because Marcus Lynch, he cannot even remember why he thought he was chained in the first place, when he clearly was not.
Written by BloodySpghetti