Lil's Spirits: A Short Story
Preview This Side of the Veil
She was naturally unmoved by anything normally frightening. In fact, her nature was so extraordinary that nothing unnatural was abnormal and nothing abnormal was unnatural. But an aged woman on a cold and lonely mountain pass pedaling liquor to wounded and transient souls would seem an easy target for evil doers.
It was 3 a.m. and not a single light had skidded past the store for more than a half hour. There would be no more clients this dark morning; no more spirits dispensed to alter the senses. The lights dimmed as she walked to the double glass doors. She turned the deadbolt, stepped on the floor bolts, and pushed up the top bolts before clicking off the neon sign.
She walked back to an antique cash register at the end of a granite counter in the darkened store, saddled a stool, and reached for the dirty bottle and a clean glass stored there for easy access. The warm brown liquid never did much to alter her state of mind, but she had long grown accustomed to the taste. It tickled her old throat and warmed her belly which made her feel alive. So, she imbibed this familiar spirit every morning to remind her of her humanity.
She topped off the glass and was about to bring the second to her lips when a curious but familiar feeling alerted all her senses. She did not start; she simply placed the glass back on the counter careful to not spill a drop.
“Who is there?” She demanded of the darkness.
But the darkness did not respond. “You cannot hide. It is known that the shadows will not conceal you from me – I can smell you even. You stink of rot!”
Still there was silence.
The lights were drawn back up by some force only she knew.
“Come out of the darkness and show yourself!” She demanded. A modest but contemptuous laugh came from all directions.
“Deceiver!” She called out to the presence. “I know it is you. Come out! Come out now!”
A wall moved near a tall metal cooler full of malt liquors and cheap beer. A chameleon stepped out of his colors and walked into the light. A man, a comely man of no particular age and yet no particular youth – just a man, clean shaven and dressed to make an impression.
“Deceiver?” The man queried. “Really Lilith? From you, such a compelling snake.”
“A modest trick,” she responded without fear. “A curse of immortality.”
“A curse?” The man chuckled. “Ah, but you have forever performed it like a gift.”
“Yes, well I am a creature of nature. I adapt,” she retorted. “Still, not so convincing as a heavenly host no doubt – nor even a fallen one.”
"You wound me Lilith. As if I had a choice in the matter.”
“We all had our choices to make. I suppose we all have our parts to play too, don’t we?”
“Yes, it is all part of the great plan,” the man said with noticeable sarcasm.
“And just what is your plan Samael? What do I owe... the pleasure? Surely not a social call.”
“Lovely Lilith,” Samael said stretching out his open hand to Lilith and wiping onto her a new, younger face. “I still see you as you were in the Garden. Not this facade you wear now.”
“Yet another choice,” she responded as her former face returned, “that I have made for me because I do not submit to you anymore than I would for him.”
“For him?” Samael asked turning his gaze upward.
“You know very well of whom I speak,” Lilith snapped back. “By El my lot is cast. There I have no choice.”
“Oh, but you do have a choice! Come with me. You were my queen once...”
“I was your whore!”
“You were a mother!”
“A mother of beasts – monstrous and dumb giants.”
“Yet, to you have succumbed many men and women... and beasts,” Samael said. “Like mother like children.”
“Your horde not my children. Man is weak, woman weaker, and beasts are just beasts,” Lilith grew angry as she spoke.
“I have no master!” She insisted. “No man nor host of Hell or Heaven will ever call me his. I abide to avenge until I am no more, until the fire engulfs me, you, your Hell and all the pestilence of creation. How I have longed for that day for millennia.”
“Lilith!” Samael pleaded with her, but she stared out into the darkness and did not yield.
“Every day, over and over, I am awake. I am exhausted, yet I do not know rest. I do not sleep and therefore, I do not dream. I am starved but my hunger does not subside by consumption and taste forever escapes me. I am eternally parched by an unquenchable thirst. I take in these spirits in volumes but they do nothing to raise my own. I suffer but I do not hurt. I touch but I do not feel. I f--k but I do not... LOVE... but HATE... Oh, I – HAVE – HATE. It sustains me, fulfils me, lifts me up and empowers me. I have hate,” she said turning back to Samael with an unflinching gaze. “I-AM-HATE!”
“That is the spirit I’ve longed to see again,” Samael laughed.
“You want spirits?” Lilith bellowed as the lights came up in the store. “Take your pick from these shelves. But I will no more damn souls for you than I will save for him. May it all be swallowed by the fire!”
“Well at least you still f--k,” Samael mused. “Sounds as if you could use a good lay.”
Lilith opened her mouth to a hiss and for a brief moment she bore the fangs and slit pupils of a viper and scales flowed over her ashen skin.
“You can take me Destroyer,” she spat at him. “For that I do not have the power to resist, but I will never be yours.”
“Lilith, Lilith, my fine Lil-ith, but you were mine. I was yours. We were a team. You were there. We started this. You gave them a gift. You gave them knowledge. You mothered freedom.”
“I was a coward and a fool. I corrupted them. I was jealous and starved for power.”
“I gave you power,” Samael said as a reminder.
“You gave me lies and false promises,” she fired back. “You were a gifted tongue.”
Samael laughed at the double entendre.
“Have your laugh,” she said. “But you will forever more long for the taste… As I have said, you may take me, but I will never be yours. I will ask El for only one thing, that when Heaven’s wrath is put upon us, my eyes will be spared long enough to watch you consumed.”
Samael smiled through pursed lips.
“You should be more careful Lilith. I am not like Job.”
“I have said my mind, and you have not the power to scold me.”
“Very well,” Samael said. “I will give you another 600 years to think about it and perhaps I will call on you then.”
“I will set a reminder in my phone,” she responded. “Lest I forget.”