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Sympathy for the Devil

Short Story - By Zeeshan Areef

My journey begins as usual like every day. My job always opens several opportunities for me. I travel a lot, meet people and explore avenues of life. I find happiness in what I do. My job keeps me going. Today I was returning from Gujarat after a week-long continuous schedule. My team was talking about the concept of Devil. What do they know and believe about the Devil? The concept of Devil in many religions is almost similar; He is a bad guy. We were able to get the answers to many questions and our survey also secured a lot of useful information for our project. I was satisfied with the progress. However, I needed a break to spend some time with my family. So, I drove quickly towards my destination, Home.

I was on the expressway but my vehicle struggled to make up to the speed limit. I was in the middle of nowhere but luckily I saw a service station nearby. I pulled over. The engine was overheated, a perfect gift from my loving Father. I got off and opened the bonnet. Thick smoke puffed out from the engine. I backed off before it could kill my lungs. I looked around for help but the service station was closed. I took out a can and searched for water. I went behind the service station building and to my surprise I found a water tank. I quickly filled the water and made my way back to the car but things were not the same. The bonnet was closed and the smoke had vanished. Slowly, I came closer to my vehicle and I saw somebody seated on the front seat.

                I must’ve locked the doors for sure. What the hell!

                I knocked on the windscreen. He opened it without hesitating but I was really furious.

                ‘Hey, this is my car. How did you get in?

The stranger seemed to be in his late 30’s. He replied courteously, ‘The door was open.’

                ‘I am damn sure that I locked it. Even though if it was should you just get in? Before he could try to respond I lashed again, ‘Please get off my vehicle’.

                He requested, ‘Son, I just want to go a few miles ahead. Please allow me’.

                ‘It had been better if you would have requested before you got in.’

                The stranger had bright blue innocent eyes, felt heavenly. So, I couldn’t leave this man in the middle of nowhere. Either way he just wanted to travel a few miles. So, I didn’t mind. I turned away from him to see my car. It seemed to be fixed and felt as good as new. I asked the stranger, ‘Hey, do you know who fixed this?’

                He followed my looks and said, ‘I did’.

                ‘What? Did you? Are you a mechanic?’

                ‘No. But I know what the problem was and I fixed it’

                ‘Wooh! Saved my time. So this means…’

                ‘You owe me a lift’. His request was genuine. He gave a generous smile and I bumped in. I started the car. It was smooth just like new. I drove off from the service station and was speeding on the expressway.

                I started the conversation, casually. ‘So, where are you going?’

                ‘To church’, he replied.

                ‘You’re dressed well. I’ve never met a religious folk for a long time.’

                He had worn a perfectly fitted suit. I probed for a healthy introduction, ‘So, Who are you?’

                ‘I am Satan’, he replied.

                ‘Wow! So I am talking to the Prince of darkness?’

                ‘You can say that’

                I began to play, sarcastically.

                ‘So, how are you getting along with God?’

                ‘We get along as always. I do what I’m allowed to do and God watches.’

                ‘God actually allows you to be evil?’

                ‘That depends on how you interpret evil. Either way that’s an old word, son.’ he responded.

                ‘I am not sure I understand you.’ I was confused.

                ‘Well, I am in it purely for entertainment purposes.’

                ‘So you can’t harm me then?’

                ‘Not exactly. But death has nothing to do with your body. It simply destroys your free mind much like falling in love.’ He replied, ‘That’s what I am after.’

                I actually started to show interest in the conversation. It wasn't normal. ‘Can I ask why?’

                His response was vague, ‘I am being blackmailed to do it.’

                ‘By whom?’

                ‘God’

                ‘No’, I objected.

                He continued, ‘I am there for his dirty work’.

This guy must be nuts. How can he talk about God like that?

                ‘Do you hate God?’ I asked.

                ‘Let’s just say He is a difficult man to understand.’

                ‘Man!’ He has totally lost it, ‘How do I know you are not lying?

                ‘Because I can destroy your free thoughts.’

                ‘Sounds scary.’ It actually felt scary. ‘So, why are you going to the church?’

                ‘To check my investment’

                ‘Your investment?’

                ‘I have a club of dedicated followers. The corrupt, the evil, who come there very often to shed their sins.’ He was very confident, ‘It feels so great to corrupt them again.’

                I concentrated on the long road ahead. The conversation was really turning out to be uncomfortable, even I was.

                ‘Why are you telling me this?’ I asked. ‘What If I stop the car now?’

                ‘You won’t’ He just stared into my eyes. He was right, I didn’t stop. His destination was just few miles ahead. Satan wasn’t nervous at all. Actually, I was. He was looking out of the windscreen. I opened it for him. The breeze hit his face. He seemed to enjoy it.

 I started to wonder, what just happened? Why didn’t I stop the car? Am I hypnotised or this man is really Satan? I could easily choose to believe that this guy is just crazy but what if he has already started to break into my free thoughts. I should be strong when feeling weak. If I let him get away, it would be a disgrace to my will as a believer. I can’t back off. If he is really Satan then I want to fail his mission. I want to question him 'Why -'

                ‘At ease, my friend, you need answers. You will get it.’ He seemed prepared. I saw the look in Satan’s eyes. He was not looking evil anymore. He looked guilty.

                ‘I was one of the worthiest followers of the Almighty. But I was disowned for my loyalty to Him.’

                ‘You can’t trick me, Satan. You were disowned because you chose to.’ I didn’t fumble.

Satan continued, ‘I chose to serve God with all my strength. But nobody paid me reverence. Paradise was lost.’

                ‘Who are you to decide? You lost it yourself. And you blame God?’

                ‘You would be right in saying that. But honestly, do you think my denial to his creation was correct?’ He questioned.

                ‘I cannot challenge His creation.’

               ‘Because I felt that the purity of creation will be corrupted by greed. I knew it and hence, I opposed.’

               ‘You don’t-‘

               ‘Can’t you see the distinction? Look what humans have achieved. Success of civilization is not measured by just human development. You should also develop your conscience.’

I listened, obediently.

               ‘God made me from fire and you, from clay. I felt inferior bowing to you. I was his mightiest angel who didn’t like to be disgraced this way.’

               ‘So you chose to deny God’s commands.’

               ‘He gave you free will and I was against it. My prediction became true.’ He sighed. ‘He sent his messengers to guide the illiterate and the unworthy to the right path. It took years of hard work to bring them together; it was much easier for me to break them.’

His justification was apparent. Probably, because humans never understood what God wanted them to be instead of what they are today? He went on.

               ‘What happened with Jesus, Noah and Moses? They brought the message of truth and peace and it didn’t even take me a day to turn their followers against them. You can imagine what free will has done to you.’

I couldn’t respond to his justification. He was talking sense. We reached the toll booth. I picked up a ticket and moved on. I was still wondering-

Am I carried away with his talks? Am I being manipulated? Can I justify God’s reasons? I am not a messenger, neither am I enlightened. I am not even a decent believer. How can I challenge the devil?

              ‘Just a few miles to reach my destination.’          

              ‘You can’t corrupt those people, Satan.’ I interrupted.

              ‘So you think you can stop me? I know you can’t because you are just like others. God created heaven for the good ones and hell for the crazy’s. So you think you think you will go to heaven?’

I was afraid to answer him.

              ‘It would be really easy for me to kill you now. I can ram you into a speeding truck but that wouldn’t server my purpose. I can only corrupt your free mind.’

             ‘What do you mean?’ I shot back.

             ‘The way you are questioning seems your mind is trapped with beliefs and ideals of peace. You care about others more than you care about yourself. Your thoughts are very similar to mine.’

             ‘Don’t compare me with you. You only believe in causing harm even though it’s not physical. I thought you were against free will but what you seem to do is just promote it even more. People have lost faith in religion and our Creator.’

             ‘I am just doing my job’, He replied, ‘And your little brain cannot influence me.’

             ‘You consider yourself to be powerful?’ I asked.

Satan shrugged.

             ‘This is the same reason why you were thrown out of paradise. Your jealousy and arrogance made you an outcast. You lost respect. You are spreading more violence than imagined. But remember, Satan, even you have an end.’

             ‘It wouldn’t matter. I have to prove your Creator that I was right and He was wrong. His creations will rot in His hell.’ He said aggressively.

I was calm and patient. ‘You’re completely wrong here. You think that God would allow that?’

            ‘He has allowed that to happen since the beginning.’ He replied.

            ‘You have no conscience.’ I rebutted.

            ‘Oh! So a little human being is going to teach me moral science.’

             ‘I know that word is not there in your dictionary but you need to know that God will never allow his creations to go to hell. He never created hell. Man made it for himself, his sins, his greed and his evil mind has made him earn it. You are responsible for it, not God.’

I looked right in his eyes.


Story -Sympathy for the Devil - continued here....




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