“On the Course of Remembrance”
Memory’s like a one-trick pony: you either remember it, or you don’t. Of course, once magic comes into play, there’s always a small part of me that questions if this is truly my memory, or just a memory that I acquired from all my years of living…and I’ve been alive a long time, although not in the same body. Bodies are limiting things; I prefer to be everywhere just by thinking about it—but wishful thinking, that. I’m sure there was a time when magic was rampant in the world and it stopped when a group of foolish humans decided to kill the mortal God’s son. I wasn’t part of the festivities, but I was allowed to watch. And I did watch, watch as the son’s spirit stood beside me on Mount Golgotha and watched as they tortured his mortal body. “It’s like they want to see how much blood I have.”
“Or had,” I watched his mortal body scream and twitch as it was nailed to the wooden cross and just let him talk. “in a sense.” He was a kind man but an enigma: he only showed what was necessary, and that I understood. I wasn’t on his side, nor was I completely on the other side, either. I was just there. The man I’ve been pursuing around the world since I was a little girl (about three millennia worth of little girl years, if you wanted to be technical about it—and even then that’s only measured in human years) had yet to make an appearance. The mortal God’s son and I chattered in one plane of reality and only I saw how bloated the mortal God’s body was becoming with the people’s sin and bloodlust. It was like stuffing inside a turkey or a peacock and the cook wanted to have an idea of how much stuffing it could take before the bird would simply burst in the oven. “So…no more magic, huh?”
“Resuscitating a dead man has consequences, child.” He sounded a great deal older than the man propped up on the cross. They were dividing his garments now while playing dice. I thought it was a poor show of humanity, but the son reassured me that it could have gone a lot worse. As the body on the cross absorbed sin and poured out hope, the ebb and flow of potential magic energy began to fade from the crowd and they began to smell strongly of death than ever before. Puzzled, I turned to the mortal God’s son for answers. “Magic always leaves traces…and by killing me, they aid my resurrection. Father said that humans will find a way, though. They always do.” He left my side when it was time and went back into his mortal body, uttered “It is done.” The show was over, and only one man was able to grasp that they had just killed the son of their God. I looked at my fingertips and saw tendrils of green float into the sky. Even spectators got billed as long as they were human.
“Will I die from this, darling?” I said the words out loud, out of habit. If you say something long enough, it stops becoming awkward and transforms into something natural. The man I sought had been…how do you properly define it? He raised me, taught me magic because I wanted to see him and his kingdom forever and now I was inexplicably in love with him, even after all these reincarnations and trips to the Astral Plane. My feelings never changed—although now that I think about it, I didn’t really try to change them—the best way to describe it perhaps, is this way: I fell towards Beelzebub as naturally as a stone thrown into a pond will sink to the bottom. “No.” I jumped and turned around—there he was, as composed and purple as ever. Most days I wanted to touch him but I never did out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to let go.
“When have I ever let you die, Vanessa?” The Salem Witch Hunts, I wanted to say. That time I was branded as the Blood Countess, and one life cycle a few years back his host had left me to die because he wasn’t strong enough to give complete dominance to Beelze, a mistake he was reminded of every time I took off my choker. “You haven’t let me down yet, sweetheart.” In the depths of my heart I knew he never would, but the small bit of me—the third that was undeniably selfish and foolish and human—felt that he could if he ever grew tired of me. That was one of my biggest fears…that eventually, after all these millennias of chasing, playing, teaching and learning he would just look at me and say “I’ve had enough, leave me.” That took over my body and the next thing I knew, I hugged him and fought off the urge to cry. If there was one thing he detested over all else it was tears.
“I just need affection,” I murmured into his shoulder. Thank the gods for boots. He grunted and let me hold on, even if I wished he would hug me back, just this once. “You’re so spoiled, darling.” I smiled at his remark. I knew I was. I was spoiled by all of them—by Messiah, by Thanatos, by Beelze—and I didn’t mind at all. And since they had done so much for me, I just offered what I had in return: my skills, my drawings, my love, me. They knew what I was going to do even before I'd done it: it made planning surprises and planting gifts hard.
Back then I was twelve and impressionable, and all I wanted was to stay by his side. “I know. But I'm not twenty-one now.” I hugged my stuffed bear closer to my chest and lay down beside him. He had one hand on his heart and seemed to stroke it absently as he closed his eyes and went to sleep. I chuckled. The ring was still there and that made me feel glad. As long as his heart wore that ring, I would always be there.
“You're going to have to sleep in your own room sometime, you know.” We left the human world and went back home, to the Underworld. I entered the room we'd shared ever since he saved me; caught me when I fell from the tower in the sky--if that was indeed a true memory of my life and not just a dream that one of my many human hostesses created. I could never be sure until I asked, and some nights the room was too small for questions. “Well, this is kind of my room, Beelze.” He stuck his tongue out in reply and lay down on his side of the bed. I wanted to kiss him. But I was small and young and an apprentice--even thinking that he could desire me was laughable.
“Seriously though Vanessa...when you turn twenty-one, you'll have to sleep in your own room. You aren't a little girl anymore.”
Looking back at it now, it was hardly logical, but then again, I have never been.