Sunday, 11 am
Do I really have to move? It is the last day of summer vacation, I will have to wake up at an ungodly hour from tomorrow anyway, might as well just stay in bed all day. But I am hungry, and that’s rather inconvenient to my lazy plans. With this primal motivation of hunger I make myself finally move out of my bed and towards the kitchen. No one’s home today, my brother is at a friend’s , my parents went out an hour ago for some home depot shopping, so it’s just me, some cereal and my Netflix this afternoon. Yay, alone time!
I could not be bothered to cook , I have had two bowls of cereal and milk while finishing up the last two episodes of ‘Good Omens’. That is some quality vacation time if you ask me, absolutely enjoyed it. I think I have an inclination to read or watch shows like that. Anything that has got to do with angels, demons, commentary on the conventional concept of hell and heaven, consider me signed for that content.
It’s always a bummer to finish a phenomenal show such as ‘Good Omens’, the end of the season somehow making it feel like an end of a travel into another world of adventure and mystery. As customary in a post-show haze, I find myself treading onto Instagram to go through fanart, fanfics and head canons of the show (an integral routine in a fangirl’s life). As I am logging into my account the thought of not having taken a bath yet briefly crosses my mind, I shrug it off, bathing in late afternoon is allowed during vacation after all.
Sunday, 3 pm
I am hungry, again.
I completely lost track of time as I stumbled through the black hole that is the internet. The abundance of fan content is simultaneously a blessing and a curse, on one hand it provides the joy to view and talk about the same interests, look at beautifully drawn art, read stories woven about your favorite characters in a number of scenarios, but on the other hand it is an endless pit in which you can get lost and not even know where the hours, days went by. Excess of everything is bad, right?
I can’t believe it is 3pm already; I should probably have real food for lunch now. I prepare myself some sandwiches (with real vegetable, I’m lazy but I try to maintain a modicum of health) and sit down at the dining table for once, giving the crease in my bed a break. For once, I don’t bring my phone or laptop to the table, or even switch on the TV for that matter. Just my sandwich and some quite time.
I get bored easily.
Yet, with a show of restraint I do not reach for the electronics again and settle for looking around the house at the new frames and décor my parents have added in the last few weeks. My eyes fall upon a photo collage lying on my brother’s table. There are no photos in it yet.
Sunday 3:30 pm
Looking at that empty collage gave me an idea. I am free, bored and have hundreds of unfiltered photos from our last family vacation, might as well make use of this time and select some shots to put in that collage. I connect my phone to the laptop and begin to flip through the snapshots. Looking through them makes a smile etch upon my face. What a wonderful vacation it was. We went to Dubai for the first time. I think it was our first proper vacation in last 4 years, what with my grandparent’s demise, my brother’s final year of college, my final year of school. It had become somewhat impossible to take a relaxing break.
Dubai was spectacular, the desert had its own calming effect, the soft sand on which we wrote our names. I took a picture of that too. The artificial beach created near Atlantis, the vantage point from Burj Khalifa, unique structure of FRAMES building, the markets and the Abra boat and best of all the serene Marina Walk at night. All of these places and moments have been captured in the photos and selfies we took. I go through each picture once again, looking closely this time and remembering exactly how the moment felt. I see my brother and I attempting to be the cliché tourists holding the top of Burj Khalifa, it is a lovely picture with the bustling crowd in the background walking towards the tower, except one person, a man who is actually looking towards us rather than the tower like everyone else. Huh, that’s odd. I see another picture of my brother and I riding those motorbikes in the desert, I am smiling very wide in this picture mostly because I rode something for the first time. There’s a couple and a man riding behind us as well, the man looks familiar. My favorite picture is the one all of us took together, it’s a selfie in an ‘Abra’, there was something elating about sitting in that small boat just to go to the other side of the road. The boat itself was quite adorable too, small and colorful. The picture however has been robbed of its cuteness by a stranger having photobombed it. It’s a man again he is looking straight at our camera. That’s a little creepy and he looks suspiciously familiar. Isn’t he the same person in other pictures?
I go through my pictures again, this time specifically looking for that man and he is everywhere. He is just there, standing, looking, and being creepy with those wide staring eyes and that small smile. His face is all sharp edges and has a sort of cold beauty to it. I feel myself being raptured into staring at it just as the doorbell rings and the spell seems to be broken. Feeling slightly disoriented I open the door to find that man standing in front of me. He is smiling a little wider this time.
I am stunned.
Before I can react in any way he say, ‘ Hey there! Come on now it is time to go. Your throne awaits you.’ Throne? ‘ Yeah you are the next heir after all, come on now.’ Huh? Did I say that out loud? ‘ No you didn’t I can read your thoughts for now, once you do the ascension ceremony I won’t, let’s go now otherwise we will be late’
This doesn’t make sense. I am more perplexed than scared of this strange man being here. Oddly enough, his presence doesn’t make me feel frightened, as it should. Something is familiar about him, and not just the familiarity of seeing him in my vacation photos but something comfortable.
“Who are you and what heir? I don’t understand, are you in the wrong place perhaps? Why are you in all my pictures?”
“Ah! I never gave you a proper introduction. Apologies, that’s hardly proper for someone of the court such as me. I am Asmodeus , one of the seven princes of Hell, here to escort you to your ascension my queen. I had been following you around for the past month to find the right time, sorry about ruining the photos. ”
Okay, what just happened? First off all this man just bowed to me and called me his queen. Second of all, I am perfectly human so what is this nonsense about ‘queen of hell’. Isn’t hell too hot? I don’t want to go.
“ I think you have the wrong person, besides the weather is too warm for me at Hell, I think I will pass. Alright, best of luck on finding your queen, although I don’t believe your story.” Just as I am about to shut the door and go back to figuring out a way to crop this guy out of my pictures, he slams his foot between the door and the wall.
“okay, listen you are the chosen heir. Lilith made it clear she wants a person from a sloth and gluttony background this time, lust is overdone, we need a change of sin and you fit the criteria. Just come along to the ascension for tonight, see the place and you can switch between staying in the mortal realm and Hell as and when you like, I mean the court culture is just for the aesthetic, we don’t actually abide by a monarch, we are demons, we don’t have rules. As for the weather, your stereotypes are quite offending; our Hell has the best breeze. So what’d you say? Coming for the ceremony? We have chocolate cake too and here’s the proof I am saying the truth.”
Well, who am I to say no to chocolate cake-
ARE THOSE WINGS SPROUTING FROM HIS BACK ? THAT’S HIS PROOF?
I will be damned, that’s a convincing enough proof. Humans can’t have wings, this strange man isn’t lying. Huh, that’s interesting then. I think I will check this ordeal out, I am bored anyway. “Sure okay, my parents will be home by 9 so just get me back before that. The cake better be good. Oh, and let me take a quick shower then we will head to it, cool?”
Asmodeus grins at me like a cheshire cat, “Cool, I will have you home by 8:45.You have 15 minutes to get ready your highness, everyone’s waiting for you down there.”