which he did.
with an assistant who wore glasses and carried a clipboard, on which he wrote constant notes. this assistant didn't speak.
in case anyone was wondering, the devil is moderately tall, pretty skinny yet toned, fashionable, charming, handsome, late 20's, funny, charismatic, polite, super friendly.
you know, like a devil would be.
he comes in and basically explains to us that we're all here to play a game, but first he wants to get to know us better, and we might want to get to know each other better as well. and the most off thing about him is, there's no malice in his voice. he doesn't have a single trace of hatred or anger or spite or cruelty, or even cunning, none of those bad traits that the devil's supposed to have. and i've always been a very good reader of people, so this totally throws me off and weirds me out.
so we played with playdough. and sang kid songs, and played get to know you games while standing in a giant circle, and colored. sometimes the devil lead us in discussions, or asked us questions, and sometimes we just talked among ourselves, but it wasn't long until we were all pretty comfortable with our situation. hat is, until the devil casually throws out that he's taking two of of with him to hell by the end of the day, and it doesn't matter which two because we all deserved to be there; each of us was summoned for a reason.
that left me wracking my brain, frantically trying to figure out how i deserved to go to hell. what had i done that was so bad? not to brag, but i'm a generally pretty good person- i'm honest, i'm giving, i care for my neighbors. it was driving me nuts.
then it was nap time. everyone had a cot, a blanket, and a pillow laid out for them on the large floor space, and we all climbed into our respective nap time beds. my cot was next to a black woman who i had made friends with earlier, and we whispered with each other for a while until we noticed that other people had fallen asleep and it was probably time to be quiet. even though so far the devil had been nothing but polite and kind, we didn't really want to tick him off to see what would happen.
after naps, the costs are all put away and little mats are brought out for us to sit on. so far, most of our activities had been at large tables or in circles, so that we were all able to see one another, but now the mats are set up in more of a classroom style, with the devil sitting on a tall stool up front and the mats all facing him. he told us we were going to play one more get to know you game, this time to see who had empathy and who didn't.
no one reacted to that sentence like i thought they should.
because i knew, i KNEW that this was it, this was THE test, it was why we were here, and i KNEW that one of us was going to get tortured, and this would determine who.
and i do not do well with torture.
he asked us question after question, sometimes as a group, sometimes individually. my brain scrambled and searched, completely in panic mode, as i tried my hardest not to scream. i tried to figure out what he was looking for and just said anything i thought would keep me from being the torture victim, even though i knew that what i said didn't really matter.
it was the devil.
he knew what my feelings were, and that's what he was looking for.
after what seemed like an eternity of questioning, he was done. the devil excused a little more than half of the people in the room, told them to take their things, and go home, he appreciated their time, and waved them off with a smile.
when he turned that smile on those of us still waiting for what ever was coming, it still seemed like a pure and friendly smile, nothing malicious at all, though perhaps a little sad. then he sent an odious, vain young girl, and an off-the-wall egotistical man in his mid twenties out with his assistant. and that's when the real panic started.
this time i really did know.
he was looking for people with empathy.
and that would be me.
he was going to torture me and the handful of empathetic souls left in the room with me by torturing the two most self absorbed people in this twisted study group.
i feel so sick.
the guy and gal who were escorted away become illuminated behind the mirrored wall. there are two separate compartments for them, and they're both seated at tables that are facing each other, but on opposite sides of a wall. it's obvious that they can't see us or each other, though we can very easily see them.
all of a sudden, i'm stuck to the mat i'm seated on, unable to move at all, or look away from the two behind the mirror, though that's all i want in the world. probably because that's all i want in the world.
the vain girl pulls out a mirror from her pocket and starts primping, and we all watch her for a second, but then a spotlight goes on in the boy's cubicle. the devil's voice asks what his favorite type of cereal is, though his mouth doesn't move. the boy responds with 'fruity pebbles' and suddenly, a bowl, a box of fruity pebbles, a large spoon, and a cartoon of milk materialize on the table. he's told to pour himself a bowl, and as he does, i can see that there's something wrong with the green flakes. they're poison?
they're a devil-metal that as he swallows, expands and rips through his flesh and organs. slowly. as i watched, magically stuck in place, my eyes trained on him, unable to look away as he writhes in pain and horror, being ripped apart by jagged pieces of metal throughout his entire digestive system. it takes a long time for him to die, and i'm forced to watch this horrible thing. i feel as though i'm being torn apart myself; i half wish it were me instead of him, but really i just wish i could do anything at all to make it stop, and the knowledge that i can only watch is almost unbearable.
and when that scene has finally ended, the girl dies too, horrifically, i am sure, but either my brain is not imaginatively dark enough to come up with another horrible death for me to watch, or it knew i was mentally exhausted, because i didn't see her die, i just knew it happened.
and then it was done. i was freed from my frozen position on my mat, and the devil was thanking us for joining him, as cordial as ever, and inviting us to leave- but not without one last little tidbit. he reminded us that each one of us was called here for a reason, that we all deserved to be there, and that very likely, we'd be seeing him again, sooner rather than later.
as i gathered my things from the cubbies and throughout my entire walk home, i was left searching my brain, trying to figure out what horrible sin i'd committed to make the devil hand select me to participate in his little torture session.
a terrifyingly, i could come up with nothing.