He didn’t know how much time had passed as he left the jail and walked into town. It was as bright as day – everything was on fire. People were screaming and running as flames, terror and darkness overwhelmed them. He couldn’t see the witches, but he heard them.
He looked down at himself, covered in blood.
He marched through the town, heading the direction from which he had entered just days ago. A man came charging around the corner in a pure frenzy, screaming.
“Richard! Help!” John yelled as he ran at him.
In one, fluid motion Lucifer grabbed him, lifted him up into the air, and broke his neck. John landed on his back in the street, facedown.
He continued down the road, stopping when he reached the smoldering remains of the parish. The church near it still burned. He pulled a bottle out of his cloak and opened it, taking a drink. A memory floated back.
“I watch this fire and think about how it can’t help but grow. No apologies, no doubts, no plans. It just … burns,” he said.
“And if you could just burn – what would you do?” she asked.
“That’s my dilemma. I feel like I’m down to embers.”
“Well, then your embers have nothing to do but grow.”
He watched as the church continued to burn. A piece of the roof caved in and sent sparks up into the night sky.
“You care about them – that’s why it hurts,” she said.
“Not all of them,” he said. “But enough to notice when the sky is a little darker.”
He took a drink and looked back at the inferno of the town, the light of it reflecting in the clouds above.
He turned and continued up the road, toward the woods, bottle in hand.
“I won’t blame you if you go,” she said.
“Are you willing to let me go?” he asked.
“No, I’m not willing. But I’ll never keep you here against your will. Your will is your spirit … you’ll never betray it. I’ll never ask you to.”
Lucifer stopped just outside the woods, the road ahead of him nothing but darkness. He took another drink.
“All these things that make a person give themselves up – give up their spirit,” Lucifer answered.
“Is that what love is?” she asked.
“To some people,” he said.
She leaned back against him, his arms wrapped around her.
“No. Love makes a person richer, not poorer. But so many invert it. They think love is sacrifice,” Lucifer said.
Serendipity looked back up at the stars.
“And you don’t think so?” she asked.
They sat together, staring at the vast night sky. She cherished feeling him so close, feeling his heart beat, feeling him breathe. Turning her head, she looked up at him, her cheek against his chest.
“What if it costs everything?” Serendipity asked.
He looked down at her.
“Is it love if it’s anything less than that?” he asked.
They stared at each other.
“You know you have all of me,” Lucifer said.
“And you have all of me,” she said, reaching up, and putting her hand alongside his face, letting her fingers brush over his hair. “Someday we won’t be anything less.”
She felt his arms hold her tight. His eyes searched her own.
“So many years pass between when we are together,” Lucifer said. “Everytime I wonder if you’ll still be you, and if I’ll still be me.”
“What do you mean?”
She saw a hesitation in his face, a sadness.
“Bodies keep piling up, scars keep accumulating – and I wonder if there will come a day when you won’t recognize me,” he said.
She smiled at him.
“Lucifer, I will always recognize your eyes,” she said.
He smiled back and squeezed her tight, kissing her.
“You’re their light,” he said, drawing back and looking down at her. “And my love.”
“My love,” she said and pulled him close, kissed him again, then leaned her forehead against his. She looked up into his eyes. “When you feel like you’re down to embers, remember you’re not like this fire. You’re one of those,” she nodded her head toward the sky. “And if I’m not there to remind you, look up. Everytime I see them, I think of you.”
She drew him close, and kissed him again.
Lucifer stood outside the woods, the road ahead disappearing in its darkness. He took a drink, then turned back toward the town. He could still hear people screaming, others wailing. Looking down, he saw again how he was covered in blood.
He took a deep breath, then looked up at the night sky. The clouds masked the stars, so that it was nothing but black.
He took another drink, turned his back to the town, then followed the road into the woods.