Dark Illumination

An entwined pair of stories that evolve murder, cults, and pseudo-science. Constructive criticism is always welcome. That's what the critique bowl is about.
Critique Bowl


Patton hadn’t been able to answer the devil’s question. In his head, the question had changed, altered, magnified, transposed and then taken itself way out of context. But it was there in that vaguely obtuse, red, upside-down pixel that had once been his understanding if everything that he had hatched an answer.

Of course, Patton did have to give the devil an answer. One he’d accept. “Nothing. I have nothing, expect nothing since there is but nothing left.” Utter defeat, his head hung low, up turned hands in his lap sitting in that uncomfortable chair. And it was true. Oh it was true, as Patton had felt absolutely nothing. And it had to be true, else the devil would never believe him. And this sorrow had to be so complete. It was required by the plan that the blanket of sorrow would hide. And the hate! Oh the hate, how that had to be buried beneath an entire abyss filled with junk emotions, his true intention being hid from all reality. So much hate. So much God fucking terrible hate that would leave to one thing, and that only. To truly answer the devil’s question: what would Patton gain from anything? To see the bastard’s head on a pike floating through this abyss he called his home.

Patton sat in the white, sterile lab with the aluminum case open revealing all its intricate wiring and various switches. And the two bulbs. Tools were scattered about every which way in their respective places. There was no need for them, but Patton just wanted to throw them in such a pattern that the Devil might think it more than intentional. And so that his impatience would increase. But not so much as Patton’s stare. What felt like hours had he stared at that little red switch next to the dark bulb. Such a silly concept: how much death had happened for something as silly as a bulb that makes darkness? Ah, but the ramifications were so intense, that only this much death would be a worthy sacrifice to its creation. And destruction.

“So?” A voice broke the silence, projecting from a small box in the corner of the room. Up above was the devil himself viewing from a glass observation deck. “Are you just going to look at it? Waste precious time?”

Patton made no gesture at a response. Maybe he didn’t hear. His finger and thumb just rested on the red switch.

“I don’t believe just looking at the device is going to fix it, my dear Patton. Unless you have some how managed to develop telekinesis as well? Oh, how I am going to enjoy digging through your corpse.”

Such inspiring words. But oh how helpless the devil must have felt, two failed experiments staring each other in the eyes, so to speak. It must have reminded him that he did not, in fact, control every fabric of reality. So then who did? “Me,” Patton announced under a breath.

“What was that?”

“Come here.” Patton hadn’t moved a muscle, still staring at the dark bulb.
The devil’s frustration manifested in every pore of his being, which of course meant you couldn’t very well tell. He flashed into the room. “What?”


The devil leaned in. “What am I looking for?” He straightened back up. “Damn it man, just fix it.”

“Can’t… Too weak.” And it certainly looked like it. The dark circles under and in Patton’s eyes had nearly reached his lips, and with his recent surgery, he certainly didn’t look well for wear.

“Fine.” The devil leaned in again. “What am I looking for.”

“Just look.” Patton flipped the switch on, then off.

“…Yes, nothing.”

“No. Look again.”

The devil approached closer, leaning further and further in with every flip of the switch. There was something there that apparently he couldn’t see. How was that even possible, given his eye augmentation for ten times zoom. And how could this… neanderthal see it with his natural eyes? More psycho nonsense? Likely. Regardless he peered in further. Inch by inch. A certain entrancing effect. Had this been why the man hadn’t moved in hours? No, that wasn’t it. What was- A trick.
But before the devil had the chance to react to his new thought, Patton had grabbed the back of his head and slammed it into the light bulb of the device, cutting half of his face off with its heavy glass. The devil pushed the weak man off of him, bleeding profusely from his right eye socket and temple. His eyeball fell to the floor with a squishy, hollow bounce as it sparked and fizzled.

“Nobody, NOBODY! Lays a hand on ME!” The devil pulled his gun from his holster, his one good eye and shock making it a bit difficult to train its sights on Patton. To hell, he had more than enough bullets to kill him. He fired two shots, both misses to either side of what appeared to be a lifeless Patton on the floor.

Until it started laughing. Subtle at first, a couple chuckles under his lifeless form, and then turning into a hysterical nonsense as he rolled over to see the bleeding man above him.

“Shut up shut up SHUT UP!” Three more shots, one finding its mark in Patton’s leg. The pain did not stop the laughing, though it did slow it down. With a snarky smirk that only a villain could possess, Patton pointed with a lazy index finger upward. “No. You shut up.”

And shoot yourself. What? I didn’t think that. The devil turned to his right, as if someone would be there. What was that? Nobody. It wasn’t Patton. It sounded like- Bend elbow. He did so. But why? He didn’t think such a thing, but it was him. It was his thoughts telling him this, only he didn’t think these thoughts, and there was no way Patton could get through the- “Oh dear-” No time for talking. Elbow up, gun at temple. “No no no no nonono.” Pull the trigger. “No. No no nononono.” Shut up and pull the trigger. No. I’m too strong for- Pull it. Pull the trigger. Pull the trigger you useless piece of God fucking trash. No body has ever loved you. You have spent a lifetime building an empire of hate and fear, now live in it. Fear yourself. Hate yourself. Hate everything you’ve ever done, fear yourself. No no no. The devil’s knees buckled, tears beginning to stream down his unbloodied half face. Pull the trigger. No! Pull. The. Trigger. It is the only good you will have ever graced the world with.

The gunshot echoed through the room, the devil’s lifeless head hitting the floor the only thing louder and more satisfying. Patton smiled.

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