By: Harry Mora

Michael stared at the ceiling noticing little stains probably from a leaking pipe between the floors. He was almost confident that he had succeeded in stepping through the tightest loophole he had ever found in a contract. He lay in his bed in this hospital he had built, cared for by doctors and nurses whose education he may have provided for through the scholarships he funded. He smiled "Yes I have done good works."

Michael Parker felt the darkness coming on. He could see it closing in around the edges of his world. He was prepared to die; had been preparing ever since that day in New York City. He had planned and plotted everything twice. He had been trying to find a way out of that very binding contract for all his life. He had found the loophole and was now hoping that he would be able to use it to get out of the agreement… and keep his soul.

The darkness lasted for a split second. Michael Parker had passed peacefully from this world.

Alexander Void appeared in front of him seemingly forming from the darkness itself. With him, he brought a blinding white light. He smiled and shook his head incredulously. "Michael, Michael, Michael; what am I to do with you?" Parker stared at him; wondered how this evil brought light to the darkness.

"I am the Morningstar you know. Held highest above all others; the angel of light; come now Michael you know all this. You have been doing your homework since you signed the deal with me." A shudder of fear went through his body at the idea that Void had known his plan all along. He could not have failed. God; please do not let me have fouled this up.

"Oh; you did not make any mistakes. You executed your plan extremely well Michael. You resisted all the temptations I sent you. You even handled your brother's death nobly. You did not fail." Michael did not understand. "Then why are you here? Why are we having this conversation? Is this one final attempt to have your contract honored?" Alexander Void smiled at him. "Michael; I do not think that I shall have to worry about collecting on contracts any longer."

Michael tried to understand what Alexander meant. As he looked around contemplating the meaning of what he heard and saw, he noticed how well he could see the man across from him. He looked down and noticed his hands, strong and young. The lines and spots of age had disappeared. He breathed and felt no struggle as he had for the final ten years of his life. In fact, he felt none of the frailties he had come to live with.

"Feeling well Michael?" the man in black asked mockingly. "What's happening to me?" Michael Parker's voice was not his own. In his own voice, he heard the voices of many. "You are being prepared for your eternity, my friend." So that was it, Michael thought. He had tricked the devil and now his punishment to be the Devil's lackey for all eternity.

"No not that Michael." "You will not serve me for eternity." The smirk grew to a smile. Michael felt all the pain, suffering, and evil of the world as Void drew closer to him. "Let me explain." He placed his hand on Michael's shoulder and a ripple of power shot through him.

"The god you have read about is not the same god that watched you now. Your race created an endless being of unlimited power; such imaginative humans. But how can anything be endless when even the sun will eventually nova and dissipate?" As he spoke, Void waved his hands and made the image of a sun going into super nova and becoming a black hole fill the space between him and Michael Parker.

He blinked his eyes rapidly trying to regain his sight, the vision of the nova having temporarily blinded him. "It was impossible but you humans had created us with faith and that faith kept growing and multiplying. How could one god handle the power of so many faiths? Nevertheless, god did try." Michael saw pyramids, temples, churches, and mosques engulfing an empty globe. In his mind, he saw as religion grew and spread among humanity.

"Moreover, the power given to him by the faith of your religions made it powerful, the power made it jealous, vengeful. The older religions knew this god. This was punishing 'Old testament' god." Plagues, fire, brimstone, and the angel of death rained down on the globe that floated in front of Michael and Alexander Void.

Michael stood frozen hearing, seeing, and feeling everything. "This god saw what the power was doing and felt how the many faiths were draining its essence." "In its infinite wisdom, it devised a plan, a way to allow your faiths to continue and grow without it becoming power mad."

"So it created a system to perpetuate your faiths for eternity even after its energy was spent." "Much like a star becomes a sun and a sun a nova, it granted the minor entities around it the power to ascend to a higher existence. It created a cycle of divinity."

"When these entities realized that they were diminishing over time, one of them granted the power of ascension to humans. It is our faith after all that had created them. Our minds are such powerful things. It is too bad we do not use much of them."

"You have tricked the ultimate trickster." Alexander continued as Michael stared in disbelief. "I am the king of deceit, and you deceived me. You made your contract null; you used my own powers against me." Alexander waved his hand over Michael mocking a blessing. Michael felt the pull of a million angry souls and power, power like he had never known.

"It is the way of things." Alexander no longer bore the look of a refined trickster. In truth, Alexander's image seemed to have no substance all. "You see only by having been ultimate evil can a being truly understand what it means to be ultimate benevolence." He held out his arms no longer carrying the aura of something ultimately wicked. "I have been in this state of existence long enough and the being above me who was the last of the original entities has grown tired. It is time for us all to ascend."

"Wait but you said YOU were the Angel of Light, the Morningstar." Michael was beginning to understand the implications of everything that lay before him. "We perpetuate the faith Michael. We perpetuate the belief that we are endless because faith expects it of us. Human faith could not survive knowing the truth. Humans want a constant; they want a god with no beginning and no end. We keep that circle intact."

As the entity before him shimmered out of his sight, Michael felt the realization of what he was. He let his gaze fall upon his new kingdom, and he understood his new purpose in the universe. HE was the Angel of Light; Michael had ascended.



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